Kind of like this: Please share your hidden macOS features or tips and tricks but specific to OS X Lion 10.7.x ONLY

Do you know any hidden or little-known nice feature of OS X 10.7 (Lion)? It doesn't matter what it is—maybe just a short terminal command. Share your experiences on hidden OS X features here.

Please post one tip per answer. Please also check to see if your answer has already been posted - duplicate answers will be deleted. To search the answers of this question you can use inquestion:18677 (or inquestion:this, directly from the question page) in addition to your search terms in the search box in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Also provide details on how to achieve that feature, and if possible, include a relevant image too!


20 Answers 20


Holding and/or while resizing a window retains the aspect ratio and/or anchors the windows center, respectively.


Finder move is now similar to Cut and Paste

+C to copy the file/folder (nothing new here).

++V will then paste the file/folder at the new location, and delete it from the old location.

  • That's effectively a move operation. I'm not a Mac user and am wondering if this is the first time it's been made available through key strokes?
    – jdk
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 3:04
  • 3
    Yes. The problem with cut and paste is that it's destructive (When you cut the file got deleted, if you never paste the file again, that file is lost). So Mac never supports cut and paste (but supports drag and drop, again because that's not destructive). Thus this implementation is very elegant. Commented Jul 31, 2011 at 3:08
  • 7
    @the_great_monkey: Just clarifying: Cut isn't destructive on any system I know. On Windows, the user interface seems to suggest file “disappears” when it is cut (it becomes pale) but if you never paste, it'll be right there as well.
    – Dan
    Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 0:18
  • 5
    Every time a Windows refugee asks "why can't I cut and paste files in Finder?", someone else always responds with that same argument ("what if you never paste?"). Why do they assume that such a behavior would be so stupidly implemented? As Dan Abramov mentioned, "cutting" files has never been destructive on any system I've used.
    – peterjmag
    Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 2:32
  • 2
    Wow, glad I found this. The lack of cut and paste in the Finder is maddening, but I just accepted it as an annoyance and never bothered to pursue it because I assumed it was a weird philosophical decision that would have a nonsensical justification. Apparently I was right, I've put a lot of time in on other operating systems and have never been burned by dangerous cut and paste behavior, the "destructive" line of reasoning is asinine. Glad to know that there is an equivalent behavior.
    – Suboptimus
    Commented Dec 24, 2011 at 8:18

To get into the contents of the user's now hidden Library folder.

While in Finder view click on the "Go" menu item, and then click on the key - and you'll find the Library folder.

enter image description here

Alternately the Library Folder (or any other folder) can be unhidden with the command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library

in Terminal.app - to hide a folder, just use hidden instead of nohidden


To disable the restore/resume feature on a per-app basis set the NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows preference for that app to false.

E.G. to disable it for Preview enter the following in Terminal :-

defaults write com.apple.Preview NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

Diagnose wi-fi problems

Apple have added a useful little utility to diagnose wi-fi problems (check signal strength, see wi-fi related events, and even packet capture seem to be included). To access it use :

open /System/Library/CoreServices/Wi-Fi\ Diagnostics.app

from the terminal.


To disable the iOS Spell Check popup accented character picker (and gain your repeat keys again), type in the terminal:

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

to re-enable (default value):

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

UPDATE: this may not be working on GM. Will keep trying.. It requires restart.

  • Dude you are a lifesaver!
    – chiggsy
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 21:51
  • does this really kill the spell check or does this just get rid of the accent character picker? Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 1:31
  • @Bryan this should only affect the Press&Hold accent char picker. The spell checker is available in System Preferences and sometimes (bugs) it has to be manually disabled per-app. Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 2:06

Add A Recent Applications Stack to the Dock

Launch the terminal and type the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }

then you'll have to restart the Dock by issuing the following command:

killall Dock

The Dock will disappear for a moment then reappear. Your Dock will have a Recent Applications Stack located to the left of the Trash icon.

man sysdiagnose

  What sysdiagnose Collects:
           o   A spindump of the system
           o   Several seconds of fs_usage ouput
           o   Several seconds of top output
           o   Data about kernel zones
           o   Status of loaded kernel extensions
           o   Resident memory usage of user processes
           o   All system logs, kernel logs, opendirectory log, windowserver log, and log of power management events
           o   A System Profiler report
           o   All spin and crash reports
           o   Disk usage information
           o   I/O Kit registry information
           o   Network status
           o   If a specific process is supplied as an argument: list of malloc-allocated buffers in the process's heap is
           o   If a specific process is supplied as an argument: data about unreferenced malloc buffers in the process's
               memory is collected
           o   If a specific process is supplied as an argument: data about the virtual memory regions allocated in the


When in full screen mode in Safari, try dragging in from the sides to shrink the page width while staying in full screen mode.

via @MacTip

  • I thought that was a bug
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Aug 22, 2011 at 13:50
  • @Jonathan Nope it's not a bug, it's a feature.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 16:00
  • This is awesome! I just realized I'm tired of the whiteness fullscreen mode brings.
    – Dan
    Commented Sep 25, 2011 at 23:00

If you are selecting a rectangle for making a screenshot (e.g. with ++4) you can press and hold space to reposition the origin point of the rectangle without resizing it. Holding at the same time you can reposition the rectangle at along an axis. And if you hold only you can resize the rectangle along an axis (in both cases depending on the direction you initially move the mouse).

This is quite handy if you need to make precise screenshots and you don't want to spend a lot of time post processing your screenshots. The only bad thing about the selection rectangle is the fact that the borders are 2 pixels wide which makes it difficult to see the exact bounding of the rectangle.


Holding when opening an application skips Resume

So far I have gotten this to work via Finder, Spotlight, Launchpad, and Dock icons, but not via Alfred.


Get access to second by second scrubbing in Quicktime.

While a video is paused in quicktime if you click and hold on the high-speed scrub bar it it will bring up a new bar that has white lines that correspond with a second by second precise scrub bar.


In Mail, it used to be the case that when you clicked on a folder in the list of folders, it was very easy for your mouse (or finger) to slip a bit, causing the folder to be picked up and dropped inside a neighbouring folder.

My mother, who has arthritis, and so finds accurate mouse clicking by no means easy, often lost mail folders by doing this.

Lion fixes the problem: if you slip when clicking on a folder in Mail, you only select the neighbouring folder, with no harm done. It's a very subtle and impressive piece of user interface design, that most users will never notice.


turn off Mail.app animations:

defaults write com.apple.Mail DisableReplyAnimations -bool YES

via: https://twitter.com/#!/neave/status/95888750185431040


Highlight Stack Items on Hover

Launch the Terminal and type the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilite-stack -boolean yes

then, you’ll have to restart the Dock by issuing the following command:

killall Dock

To disable the hover highlights, type:

defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilite-stack -boolean no

then, restart the dock:

killall Dock

Always felt,it would be handy if there is a keyboard shortcut to access the application menu bar.
Like in Windows, we can use (Alt+First letter of the menu) to activate that menu.

Looks in Mac,there is no straight way to access application menu via shortcut.
But,found the following workaround:

  1. Command + Shift + / : focuses the Help menu
  2. Once it's focussed, we can use Left/Right arrows to access other menus

Reduce the size of the Finder side-bar font back to Snow Leopard size.

To get the font in the Finder back down to Snow Leopard size, go to System preferences / General / Sidebar icon size: Small.

  • This also affects Mail.app Commented Feb 24, 2012 at 17:49

Expanding threads with right arrow still works in Mail.app

It might be obvious for everyone else except me, but I just noticed that pressing the right arrow key in Mail.app when a collapsed thread is selected still expands the thread as it used to work in Mail in Snow Leopard and before. This is very useful when one wants to flag only one email of a long thread as it is easy to navigate to the right email and pressing ++L to flag it - no need to use the mouse.


To hide your desktop icons, use the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false

Afterwards, enter the following to make the changes go into effect:

killall Finder

To revert back, simply type:

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true

And remember to kill Finder once again.

killall Finder

Source: OSXDaily

  • Good tip, but I don't believe this is specific to Lion (10.7.x) Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 17:47

When using a Magic Mouse, you can enable a gesture to start Mission Control when you two-finger double tap the mouse (just tapping the surface, no clicking needed) in System Preferences > Mouse > More Gestures (tab).

If this feature is enabled, you can hover the mouse cursor over a dock icon, use the same gesture for Mission Control, but instead you will show all windows for the particular application being hovered over.

EDIT: Furthermore, when you use the gesture over a dock icon, it will show the recent items (for the appropriate apps) at the bottom of the screen.

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