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mac-os-x-mavericksAfter Mountain Lion, Apple has run out of big cat names to use. The next instalment of Apple’s popular operating system – OS X Mavericks – is named after the Northern California surfing spot, and in fall of this year it’s coming to a Mac near you.

Mac OS X Mavericks isn’t anything like the big reboot we’re seeing in iOS 7 What's New in iOS 7? What's New in iOS 7? A new generation of iOS is nearly upon us, revealed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last week. Guided strongly by (Sir) Jony Ive, iOS 7 marks a clear departure from the skeumorphic UI elements of... Read More , but this update brings a lot of long overdue features to the Mac, like tabs in Finder, better multiple monitor support and an iCloud password manager. See all that’s changed in our Mavericks update Apple Unveils OS X Mavericks, Set For Release This Fall [Updates] Apple Unveils OS X Mavericks, Set For Release This Fall [Updates] Apple just unveiled the next version of its OS X system, branded Mavericks. Craig Federighi, VP of Software Engineering, demonstrated new and updated OS X applications that both increase the operating system's functionalities and performance. Read More .

With that tasty list of upcoming features out of the bag, it sure is annoying having to wait several months for Mavericks to arrive. So let’s not wait patiently. Let’s not wait at all. We can get started right this minute and add the best features from Mac OS X Mavericks to the current OS using third-party software!

It won’t be as tightly integrated as it will be in Mavericks, but it will be more than enough to bridge those remaining summer months until the real deal comes a-knocking.

Finder Tabs and Tags

The feature you’re likely most looking forward to is the addition of tabs in Finder. It’s a long overdue change that brings the trusted file browser up to date. In fact, it’s surprising that it took this long for tabs to make their appearance.

totalfinder

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TotalFinder ($18) is an application that spices up Finder’s appearance with tabs, dual browsing (two finder windows side by side in one tab) and cut-and-paste support. The best thing about TotalFinder is that it extends Finder, but does not attempt to replace it. This means you have all the integration with the operating system of old as well as all the features that are present in Finder by default.

XtraFinder Give Finder The Upgrade It Sorely Needs With XtraFinder [Mac] Give Finder The Upgrade It Sorely Needs With XtraFinder [Mac] People are always going on about the Mac user experience; how it just works. For the most part, I agree with them. The operating system is like a smooth breeze, and most of the default... Read More is a free TotalFinder alternative. Although its dual browsing mode isn’t as spiffy as TotalFinder’s, tab support works like a charm. The absence of a price tag doesn’t hurt either.

tagit-wide

To add tag support, you can make use of the free and open source Tagit application. Serious operating system integration is lacking, but once you integrate Tagit into your workflow it gets surprisingly easy to use. Give Tagit a prominent place in your Dock (or add it to the Finder toolbar) and add tags by dropping files on the application icon. On the other hand, clicking the Tagit icon lets you search tags, as shown in the screenshot above.

iBooks

With an iBooks application similar to the one present in iOS, Apple hopes to expand on its (already sizeable) stake in the eBook market. You’ll have access to the same iBooks store and any applications purchased on your iPhone or iPad will also automatically appear on your computer.

kindle-mac

That’s very good news. But even better news is that these services already exist! It’s called Kindle for Mac The Kindle Reader For Mac Has Arrived [Mac] The Kindle Reader For Mac Has Arrived [Mac] Read More , which ties into Amazon’s flagship eBook service. Amazon’s eBook store is at least as impressive as the iBook store and eBooks are similarly synchronised between devices.

Just like on iBooks, pages are synced as well, so you can start reading right where you left off (on another device). However, unlike iBooks the Kindle branch boasts support for a much wider array of devices, including Mac OS X, Windows, iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Blackberry phones.

iCloud Keychain

Your Keychain is the part of your Mac that remembers your passwords. With Mavericks, the Keychain finally takes to the cloud. After associating your Keychain with your iCloud account, passwords will be shared across devices.

A great way to keep your passwords in the cloud is LastPass. It, too, allows you to use your passwords across several devices, encrypted by way of one (preferably very, very strong) master password. Watch the video embedded below for more information. By participating on MakeUseOf, you can even claim one year LastPass Premium LastPass Premium: Treat Yourself To The Best Password Management Ever [Rewards] LastPass Premium: Treat Yourself To The Best Password Management Ever [Rewards] If you've never heard of LastPass, I'm sorry to say that you have been living under a rock. However, you are reading this article, so you've already made a step in the right direction. LastPass... Read More  as a reward!

LastPass isn’t the only kid on the password block. 1Password ($49.99), similar to LastPass, fills in your passwords and forms using web browser extensions. In addition to passwords and notes, 1Password also offers support for storing credit card data. The password vault application (pictured below) can be used to edit stored credentials right from your desktop.

1password1a

Each is better in certain scenarios than the other. LastPass and 1Password both work with any type of computer and have largely decent smartphone apps. The strengths of both systems lie in the cross-platform compatibility and proven record in handling sensitive data.

Fast-forward to Mavericks’ release: the iCloud Keychain better integrates with the operating system at a core level. This is a particularly great advantage for iOS devices, where other applications are normally sandboxed. However, the iCloud Keychain will only extend to Apple products, so if you use an Android or Windows Phone device alongside your Mac, 1Password, LastPass or another third-party service will suit you better.

Multiple Displays

Not exactly a game changer, but a very nice upgrade: OS X Mavericks plans to offer better support for multiple displays. Away goes the distinction between primary and secondary displays and in future each display gets its own menu bar and Dock.

multimon-trans

Multimon ($9.99) is a tool for multiple monitor management. It gets you multiple menu bars. One for each screen! In addition, Multimon offers shortcuts for quickly moving application windows to different monitors and supports even the most exotic multiple screen layouts.

Conclusion

You simply can’t expect the same level of integration from a third-party app as you can a core OS element. Tagit gets you tagging right away, but it’s notably less integrated than the final solution will be. Similarly, LastPass and 1Password don’t integrate as well with desktop applications and smartphone apps as we can likely expect from iCloud Keychain. Regardless, the above tools will be more than sufficient to bridge the remaining summer months until Apple releases Mavericks and its bounty of new features in earnest.

What feature in Mac OS X Mavericks are you most looking forward to? Have you added any of these to Mountain Lion? Add your thoughts in the comments, below.

  1. Billy Bob
    August 31, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Whats your thoughts about KEEPER password manager
    I use KEEPER and like it so far, But it costs 10 dollars for
    each device to have Sync.

    • Sheldon Cooper For President
      November 8, 2013 at 2:18 am

      KEEPER password manager is a nifty little program but it is a little steep at $10 a device... I would just perhaps google or search on youtube for a good keychain like password manager that's free

  2. Chew J
    July 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I really can't wait for the release of the stable version of OSX Mavericks.

    • Simon S
      July 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Same here! I'm especially looking forward to iBooks and the iCloud keychain.

  3. Bill
    July 16, 2013 at 6:04 am

    I'm looking forward to having the dock on both screens.

    • Simon S
      July 16, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Are you planning to try Multimon? If you do, let us know what you think!

  4. Sassah122 S
    July 15, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    I already know how to read iBooks purchased on a iDevice on Mac. Here are a few easy steps.
    1. Sync your iDevice to your Mac.
    2. Search for a book title using spotlight (it must be one you already have on your iDevice).
    3. Open the .ePub file and enjoy! You can use a free ePub reading program such as BookReader Lite to view them.

    This might sound a bit crazy but it works!

    • Simon Slangen
      August 11, 2013 at 7:25 pm

      Sweet. I'll definitely check it out. Thanks!

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