Master Your Mac

Simple Ways to Tweak, Customize, and Secure OS X
by Matt Cone

November 2012, 424 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-59327-406-1
Contents | Reviews | Updates

OS X is a lot more than just a pretty face. Sure, the basics are easy, but beneath that gorgeous surface lie countless powerful features.

If you want to go beyond the basics, Master Your Mac will take you there. With tips on everything from organizing your workspace to strengthening your computer’s security, author Matt Cone will show you how to tweak, customize, and control your Mac. And since many of the best tools for unlocking your Mac’s potential don’t come with OS X, you’ll discover the best apps to fix those everyday Apple annoyances and make your computer do things your way.

In Master Your Mac, you’ll find out how to change hidden defaults and enable undocumented features; repair disk permissions to improve performance and keep things humming along; monitor your system; and even create a bootable USB drive for emergencies. You’ll also learn how to:

  • Automate day-to-day tasks with AppleScript, triggers, and Automator macros
  • Handle massive amounts of email and media with synced accounts and spam filters
  • Turn your Mac into a file or web server
  • Improve your web experience by creating Safari extensions and using site-specific browsers
  • Secure your Mac with firmware passwords, firewalls, and FileVault full-disk encryption

Master Your Mac is packed with tips and addons to make everything you do with your Mac faster, easier, and better. Make OS X your own.

Covers OS X Mountain Lion.

About the Author

Matt Cone, a freelance writer specializing in Apple hardware and software, has been a Mac user for more than 20 years. A former ghostwriter for some of Apple’s most notable instructors, Cone founded in 1999, one of the most popular online destinations for OS X tutorials.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Back to Basics
Chapter 1: The Best Shortcuts (and How to Make Your Own)
Chapter 2: Starting Applications Automatically at Login
Chapter 3: Finding Files and Folders Fast
Chapter 4: Organizing Windows
Chapter 5: Cleaning House
Chapter 6: Adjusting Energy and Display Settings
Part 2: Boosting Productivity
Chapter 7: Launching Applications Fast
Chapter 8: Customizing Trackpad and Mouse Gestures
Chapter 9: Connecting Multiple Displays to Your Mac
Chapter 10: Talking to Your Mac
Part 3: Automation
Chapter 11: Automating Tasks with Macros
Chapter 12: Automating Tasks with AppleScript
Chapter 13: Creating a Bluetooth Proximity Monitor
Chapter 14: Automating File and Folder Actions
Chapter 15: Triggering Location-Based Actions
Part 4: Managing Your Life
Chapter 16: Managing Your Email
Chapter 17: Killing Spam
Chapter 18: Creating Quick and Easy Alerts
Chapter 19: Managing Your Music
Part 5: Internet and Networks
Chapter 20: Creating Your Own Safari Extension
Chapter 21: Turning Websites into Applications
Chapter 22: Storing Files in the Cloud
Chapter 23: Accessing Your Mac Remotely
Chapter 24: Turning Your Mac into a Web and FTP Server
Chapter 25: Wirelessly Sharing a Printer and Hard Drive
Chapter 26: Synchronizing Files Between Computers
Part 6: Serious Security
Chapter 27: Creating Strong Passwords and Storing Them Securely
Chapter 28: Enabling Firmware Password Protection
Chapter 29: Encrypting Your Mac’s Internet Connection
Chapter 30: Enabling Firewalls
Chapter 31: Preserving Your Anonymity Online
Chapter 32: Encrypting Your Hard Disks and Backups
Part 7: Monitoring, Troubleshooting, and Maintenance
Chapter 33: System and Process Monitoring
Chapter 34: Repairing Disk Permissions
Chapter 35: Verifying and Repairing the Hard Disk
Chapter 36: Making Better File Backups
Chapter 37: Maintaining a MacBook’s Battery
Chapter 38: Creating an Emergency USB Drive


View the Index (PDF)
View the detailed Table of Contents (PDF)



"It's one of our favorite Mac-related books right now."
—Cory Bohon, Mac|Life (Read More)

"Mr. Cone's style is simple, direct, and informative and lets readers take action simply and easily. I highly recommend this book for those wanting to make more of their Mac experience."
—Mark Kellner, The Washington Times (Read More)

"This is an excellent book...I'm very happy to recommend it to MacTips readers."
—Miraz Jordan, MacTips (Read More)

"Most of the ideas in this book are both basic to OS X and useful. As a Linux user who is using an iMac a lot, I found this book especially useful."
—Greg Laden, National Geographic's "ScienceBlogs" (Read More)

"A great book for Mac users who want to do more with their Macs. Cone successfully translates the hands-on approach he presents on his Macinstruct website into this compendium of project-based tutorials."
—Kirk McElhearn, Senior Macworld Contributor

"A breath of fresh air in a crowded field of OS X literature."
—Charles Moore, MacPrices (Read More)

"I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to take their Mac user skills to the next level."
—Tad Anderson, SYS-CON MEDIA (Read More)

"If you are looking to increase your understanding of OS X and want to learn how to better tailor your Mac to your needs, then I think that Master Your Mac would be a good choice to add to your library."
—Ocala Macintosh User Group (Read More)

"Matt Cone's Master Your Mac is one of those informative, fun reads for those looking to gain control over their Macintosh computer and begin to better understand the power under the hood."
—Michael Murdock, DocMurdock (Read More)

"Mr. Cone's writing style is clear and concise, a joy to read. Master Your Mac will be a valuable addition to your technology library."
—Devin King, Southern California Macintosh Owners/Users Group (Read More)