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A while ago we gave you quick fixes for 11 common Mac problems and quirks. Today, we’ll take a look at workarounds for eight more potential macOS annoyances.
Keep in mind that not all the issues listed here are system glitches. Some of them are features that are either less than ideal or don’t align with how you use your computer.
1. You Can’t Quit Finder
macOS doesn’t let you quit Finder. You can only close Finder’s active window — the app itself will continue to show up in the app switcher and appear as “active” in the Dock. This can be annoying, especially if you always rely on Spotlight to bring up files and folders for you.
If you wish you could quit Finder like you quit other applications (and open it only when you need it), you can! All it takes is a one-time tweak from the Terminal application. Paste the following piece of code into the app and hit Enter:
defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool true
Follow this up by restarting Finder with the command:
Reverting to the default behavior of Finder is just as easy. Use the same sequence of commands as above, only replacing “true” at the end of the first command with “false”.
Note: A side effect of programming Finder to quit is that the Trash icon in the Dock stays unresponsive unless you open Finder first.
2. You Get iCloud Authentication Prompts
When faced with the iCloud error message shown below or an iCloud authentication dialog, you open iCloud Preferences… and enter your iCloud password when prompted. That should make the prompt go away, right? In some cases it doesn’t.
Either the login prompt or a login error message keep popping up over and over again at random times, often when you restart your Mac. That’s the “iCloud login loop” you’re dealing with. It’s a known bug, often caused by a faulty Wi-Fi connection or an update gone wrong.
To get rid of the recurring sign-in prompt, sign out of your iCloud account from System Preferences > iCloud, restart your Mac, and sign into iCloud again. These steps got rid of the authentication failures for me.
Is the problem persisting for you? Disconnect iCloud from individual apps like Reminders and Messages before you sign out of iCloud. Then reboot your Mac, sign into iCloud, and connect the apps again.
3. You Get “Login” Keychain Password Prompts
Unlike the “iCloud login loop” problem we discussed above, the login keychain problem is not because of a bug.
If you’re asked to enter the login keychain password every time you log into your user account, it’s most likely because that password doesn’t match your current user account password.
To fix the problem, first open the Keychain Access application and click on Change Password for Keychain “login”. Here’s a snapshot of the dialog box that will pop up:
In the Current Password: field, type in the old password of your user account, i.e. the one you currently use to gain access to the login keychain. In the New Password: and Verify: fields type in the current password of your user account and hit the OK button. You can now close the Keychain Access app. The recurring password prompt shouldn’t bother you anymore.
In case you have forgotten the old password of your user account, you might have to create a new login keychain.
4. You Find the System Preferences Pane Too Cluttered
You probably never visit certain sections of System Preferences now that you have set them up to your liking. But the icons for those sections still show up, and you wade through them to get to the settings you want. You don’t have to!
Hide unused or rarely used sections in System Preferences via View > Customize… For each section icon that you want to hide, deselect the checkbox that shows up next to it. Hit the Done button next to the window title to save the changes.
Of course, decluttering the System Preferences dialog is just one way to find settings faster.
5. You Can’t See Certain Attachments in Mail
You have the Mail app open, and you’re reading an email with an attachment. Now if only you can find the attachment. There is one for sure, or so the “paper clip” icons in the message header and the message list tell you. But you can’t see the attachment no matter how many times you deselect and reselect the email.
This problem has been around for several years now, and there’s no quick fix. At least not for everyone. You can force the phantom attachments to show up by rebuilding the relevant mailbox with Mailbox > Rebuild. This solution has proved quick and effective for me on many occasions.
Rebuilding a mailbox is time consuming if the mailbox has many messages. There’s also the risk of losing them, as some users have reported. Recovering the messages is possible, but it’s not a given. Also, for IMAP and Exchange accounts, Mail deletes the messages from your Mac and downloads them again from the mail server. This equals bandwidth consumption.
To keep your inbox intact, it’s best to switch to webmail to check out the missing attachment. If AWOL attachments and garbled messages turn out to be a recurring problem, it would be best to rebuild the mailbox. Be sure to research how to keep your messages safe first.
Note: You can’t discount the possibility that the missing attachment might just be an email signature or a company logo.
6. You Can’t Find the “Clean Up” Options in Finder
Don’t get alarmed if you notice that the Clean Up and Clean Up By options have disappeared from the context menu in Finder. Switch to the “icon view” and you’ll see them again. If they still haven’t shown up, select Arrange By > None from the context menu. That should bring those options back. (You can also select None from the View > Show View Options > Arrange By: dropdown menu instead.)
The disappearance of the “clean up” options is not a flaw — you’re meant to see those options only when you haven’t chosen to auto-arrange files and folders.
7. You Have to Click “Back” in Finder Too Many Times
If you rely less on Finder search and more on manual navigation to find files and folders, you’ll appreciate this upcoming shortcut. It allows you to jump to the top in the active folder’s hierarchy without having to click on the Back button a bunch of times.
Let’s say you’re viewing the contents of the Downloads folder. Hold down the control key and click on the folder title (“Downloads”) in the Finder window. You should get a dropdown menu that displays the hierarchy within which the Downloads folder lives. Check out the screenshot below to see what I mean.
Click on any of the locations in the hierarchy list and Finder transports you there immediately. I use this shortcut to jump to the Home folder often. It allows me to hide the links to Movies, Music, Applications, and so on from the Finder sidebar and still keep those folders handy.
Here’s another Finder shortcut you’ll want to know about: emptying Trash from the keyboard. Hit command+shift+delete when you have any Finder window open to clean up the Trash folder.
8. You Deleted a Stock App (and Want It Back)
macOS has many useful pre-installed apps. Unfortunately, if you have deleted one of them, getting it back is not straightforward (unlike in iOS 10, where you can reinstall stock apps from the App Store). Restoring a stock application on macOS is still possible though, if you install an app like Pacifist (shareware).
Pacifist allows you to extract files and folders from various types of archives including disk images (DMG) and package files (PKG). You can use it to reinstall any deleted or damaged stock application on your Mac if you have access to the macOS installer.
For example, let’s say you have deleted the Calendar application. We’ll show you how you can bring it back. After you install and open Pacifist, use either the Open Apple Installers or Open Package option to select the macOS installer in Finder and load its contents.
The contents of the installer will show up as a nested set of packages. Look for Calendar.app under Contents of OSInstall > Contents of Essentials > Applications.
Once you select Calendar.app, hit the Install button in the toolbar. Next, give the go-ahead for the installation, and enter your system password if prompted. That’s all the work you need to do to get the Calendar application back, as good as new.
Note: Certain apps like GarageBand and iMovie are replaceable from the App Store. If they came bundled with your Mac in the first place, you can download them for free anytime. If they didn’t, you’ll have to pay for them first.
What’s Your Biggest macOS Pet Peeve?
No operating system is perfect. It can’t be, when there as many workflows and preferences as there are users. A feature designed to please the majority or provide maximum convenience might drive you insane. Look on the bright side: with a bit of research you can find a way to tone down the annoyance, even if you can’t get rid of it altogether.
Which macOS feature or flaw annoys you the most? Have you found a fix or workaround for it?
Image Credits: pathdoc/Shutterstock