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Ten improvements we'd like to see in OS X

Macworld Staff | April 26, 2013
As part of last year's surprise release of Mountain Lion, Apple promised that it would begin delivering yearly updates to Mac OS X, much as it has to iOS in recent years.

iCloud for all

iCloud needs to store more than just the documents that Apple currently allows. Open the Save to iCloud option to all types of files; and more importantly, make it easy to share those documents with others. Dropbox, as terrific as it is, should not be eating Apple's lunch. Not content with killing Dropbox? Maybe Apple could kill CrashPlan and its ilk too, by offering online backups for the Mac. Apple has made both of these things available in the past (in the form of .Mac and MobileMe's late, no so lamented iDisk and Backup), but they weren't well implemented. Try again now that people understand the need for them.--Christopher Breen

Go back in time...farther

Time Machine is a dead-simple way to back up your data. Yet eventually your backup drive runs out of space, and you're left with a technology that either starts deleting old files that you may want to keep or refuses to back up anything. Why not extend its plug-and-play ability by allowing the user to tack on another hard drive? Do so and up pops a message 'Would you like to add this drive to your backup set?' Click Yes and Time Machine continues backing up to the new drive while maintaining the backed-up data on the original drive.--Christopher Breen

Preinstall the installer

It's terrific that you can reinstall OS X by booting from the Recovery HD partition, but that capability would be even more powerful and convenient if Apple also included a copy of the installer in that partition--thereby saving you the trouble of downloading a multigigabyte installer. Given the number of people who download our instructions for doing exactly this, it's clearly a feature that many people want.--Christopher Breen

Embrace multiple monitors

Yes, we know that most Mac users have but a single screen, even though Apple sells an external display. Unfortunately, multiple-monitor options languish in the dark ages: Ever try using Mountain Lion's full-screen mode on a machine with two displays? Hope you like linen. Extending your desktop onto an external display is all good and dandy, but it'd be great if OS X went beyond that and let you devote the second display more intelligently to information such as notifications, or even Dashboard widgets.--Dan Moren

Mend Messages

It's the app that many of us love to loathe. Despite being out of beta for many months, Messages is still a mess. Not everybody agrees with me that it should be split into separate apps, but most people would like to see Apple's all-things-messaging app get a little more stable (when it comes to messages that are out of order or delivered hours or sometimes days late, for example), a little smarter (especially in dealing with messages that arrive on multiple devices), and a little more polished. Unlike most default OS X apps, it often feels as though Apple didn't make it.--Dan Moren


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