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revealing the hidden Library

With OSX Lion, Apple decided to make the user Library folder a hidden item. If you don’t know what this folder is for or never use it, that’s probably a good thing. However, for many others, it’s a bit annoying. Here’s a couple of tips for viewing your hidden Library folder.

1. See it only when you need it
If you only need infrequent access to your user/library folder, you might as well leave it hidden and use the ‘Go’ menu in the Finder menubar to get to it.

Hold down the option key while viewing the Menu, and ‘Library’ will appear in the menu list. Release the option key and you’ll see it magically disappear.

2. Change its ‘hidden’ folder status
However, if you want to have your Library folder permanently visible, you need to change its ‘hidden’ status in Terminal.

To do that, open up the Terminal App (in Applications > Utilities) and copy/paste the following command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library

Then press ‘Return’ and quit Terminal. You should now see your Library appear in Finder when you view your Home/User folder.

secrets of the option key

option key

The option key can be used to access some hidden menus in Apple programs as well as accomplish some common tasks more quickly.

There are two ways the option key can be employed, depending on the app and the menu you’re dealing with. Try holding down the option key and clicking on the volume icon at the top of your screen. Notice how it gives you a menu instead of the volume slider? Having problems with your wifi connection and need some technical information? Try opt and click on the Wi-fi (formerly known as’Airport’) icon. See all that greyed out data about your signal that wasn’t there before?

This will only work if you depress the option key before you click the icon. However, in some Apple menus you can click the menu first, and then pressing or releasing the opt key will change some of the available commands. Many of them are subtle, and the best thing to do is play around and explore for yourself, but let’s just take a look at a couple here.

Start with the Finder menu, and compare the two shots below. The one on the left is the ordinary menu. Notice the ellipsis (the ‘…’ ) in the ‘Empty Trash…’ command?

An ellipsis after a command tells you that clicking on it will not execute the command but take you to another menu or dialogue box. In the case of Trash, as we know, that’s just the confirmation box. Thing is, how many times do you ever click ‘Empty Trash…’ with the intention of saying ‘No’. Well, for me, that’s never, so why waste time having to deal with an unnecessary dialogue box?

Now look at the menu on the right. This is what appears if you hold down the option key either before or after clicking the menu. Notice the ellipsis has gone. That means that clicking ‘Empty Trash’ will execute the command immediately, skipping the confirmation dialogue completely.

OK, now you’ve got the idea, go through all the Finder menus (File, Edit, Window, etc). Alternately press and release the opt key and see how the menus change. You can explore the secrets of the opt key in other Apple apps too, including Safari. One I like there is [Safari] File > Close Tab changes to ‘Close Other Tabs’ with the opt key.

Finally, I posted earlier on how to disable Resume permanently. Remember, you can also use the option key to force the App to forget what you were doing. In any Apple app, just hold down the option key when you click Quit from the App menu, or use the hotkey combination ‘Opt + Cmd + Q‘.

Nice. 🙂

Got any other secret opt-key menus you like? Let us know in the comments!

turn off Resume – updated

 this post has been superceded. See the definitive guide to turning of Resume for good>>here!<<

This is going to be a major pain for a lot of people, including me!

One of the main reasons I do Cmd-Q (Quit command) is precisely because I want the app to open in a default mode and not to re-open what I was just doing. This is particularly the case if an app goes a bit squiffy or is just not doing what I want it to do.

One way to avoid Resume is to use the option key when you quit. Use the hotkey combination

Opt + Cmd + Q

or chose Quit from the application menu while holding down the option key. That will both quit the program and discard all current windows. However, if you want to turn off Resume completely, here’s how to do it:

1. Go to the Apple icon in the top left and choose ‘System Preferences’.

 The first icon at the top is ‘General’. Choose that, then look down the bottom for an option that says ‘Restore windows when quitting and re-opening apps’. You need to UN-check that box to turn of Resume.

However, that’s not the end of Resume, as epbernstein kindly pointed out in the Commments below. Lion will still re-open all your un-quitted apps if you do a restart. In order to avoid this, you need to make sure you un-check the dialogue box in the close-down/restart menu:

By default, this will always be checked, so you’ll have to remember to un-check it every time. Alternatively, you can install and run a script to make this dialog box ineffective (it’ll still show it’s checked, but it won’t work). This is not an ideal solution since it means that if you forget (or someone else using your machine doesn’t know), there’s no indication that the feature is ‘off’. However, if you’re desperate to make sure this feature is off, this looks like the best option so far. 

In case you didn’t see the note at the top of the page:😉
NOTE: this post has been superceded. See the definitive guide to turning of Resume for good>>here!<<

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