How to exclude folders from Time Machine on macOS

macOS has a built-in backup utility called Time Machine that can take periodic backups of your entire system. Much like backups of your iPhone that iTunes can take, a Time Machine backup can help restore your Mac’s files and the entire system to a previous stable state.

Exclude folders Time Machine

By default, Time Machine backs up everything; the entire OS installation, files for every single user configured on the Mac, and the main/system library folder, among other things. All you need to do is set Time Machine up, and it will do the rest.

If you’re taking a Time Machine back up but can do without backing up certain non-essential (or essential) folders, you can exclude them from the backup.

  1. Click the Apple icon on the menu bar, and select System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Time Machine preference.
  3. Click the Select Disk button, and select a disk to create the Time Machine backup on.
  4. Once a disk has been selected, click the Options… button at the bottom right.
  5. If you want to exclude system files and applications folders, enable the “Exclude system files and applcations’ option, and click Save.
  6. To exclude other folders, click the Plus button at the bottom of the ‘Exclude these items from backups’ panel.
  7. In the folder selection box that opens, navigate to the folder that you want to exclude, and select ‘Exclude’.
  8. Repeat for all folders that you want to exclude.
  9. Click Save.
  10. When you next take a Time Machine backup, the blacklisted folders will not be included in it.

Limitations

The following limitations apply to a Time Machine backup if you choose to exclude folders from it.

  • If you choose to exclude system folders, the Time Machine backup will only be good for restoring your files but will not be able to help you if the macOS installation has been corrupted. You will have to first fix a corrupt macOS installation, and/or install it fresh before you can get your files back.
  • Time Machine backups are taken incrementally; the new back up does not replace an older backup. When you exclude a folder from a backup, it will be excluded from the new back up, and not the old one.
  • You can exclude any folder of your choice from a Time Machine backup as long as it isn’t a hidden folder.
  • If you want to exclude a particular file from a backup, you should add it to a folder of its own, and exclude the folder. All sub-folders under a selected folder are also excluded from a backup.

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How to mirror a Mac to an iPhone

There are lots of different ways to mirror an iPhone’s screen to a Mac or even a Windows 10 system. Methods include wired and wireless solutions, both free and paid. If you need to mirror a Mac to an iPhone though, you may find there aren’t many options. Most aim to turn an iPhone or iPad into a second display for the Mac instead of mirroring its screen.

Mirror Mac to iPhone

There is no built-in tool that you can use to mirror a Mac to an iPhone. You will have to use a third-party app for job. The question is, which tool should you use? Most tools that you encounter for this particular job will be paid.

We recommend using MKMirror because it’s exceptionally simple to use. The app is normally paid but, at the time of writing, is free. Additionally, the app only has to be installed on a Mac. Nothing needs to be set up on the iPhone you will be mirroring the screen to.

  1. Download MKMirror from the Mac App Store.
  2. Install, and run the app. Grant it accessibility access so that it can stream your desktop.
  3. Once you’ve granted the app all the access it needs, you will see a QR code. Scan the QR code on your iPhone (use the stock Camera app on the iPhone). 
  4. Safari will open on your iPhone.
  5. The Safari tab will mirror the Mac screen.

Stream Mac webcam to iPhone

The MKMirror app can also be used to stream input from the Mac FaceTime camera to an iPhone.

  1. Run MKMirror.
  2. Under the Input selector section, open the Video dropdown.
  3. Select FaceTime in HD Camera.
  4. Scan the QR code on your iPhone to view the Mac camera feed on it.

Mirror quality

The mirrored Mac display looks perfect fine on the iPhone. MKMirror is a mirroring tool only so you won’t be able to control the Mac from your iPhone.

There is lag between the devices and it is noticeable. It doesn’t make the app impossible to use but it is there. It’s possible that if you mirror the Mac screen to multiple iPhones at the same time, the lag may increase.

You cannot stream audio unless the audio is coming from a virtual audio device on the Mac.

While advertised as a solution for mirroring a Mac screen to an iPhone, this will work just as well on an Android phone. The app uses HTTP live streaming and most modern phones support it just fine.

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How to enable low power mode on a Mac

The great thing about laptops, whether they run Windows or macOS, is portability. You aren’t tethered to a power source and you can get a reasonable amount of use, 3-5 hours, out of the battery. As batteries age though, the amount of use you can get out of a single charge depletes so users tend to look for a way to make the battery last longer.

On Windows 10, it’s easy. Switch to a low power mode plan. On macOS, it is a bit complicated.

Low power mode on Mac

macOS does not have a one-switch power mode that users can turn on. iOS has one, and it’s really great, but Apple has yet to add one to macOS. There are some settings you can change that will give reduce battery usage when your MacBook is idle/in sleep but there’s not much you can do out-of-the-box to reduce power consumption when you’re actively using it.

Basic power control settings

A few things you can change to reduce power consumption, if they do not disrupt your workflow are;

  1. Turn Bluetooth off (not recommended if Bluetooth mouse/keyboard are in use).
  2. Reduce brightness.
  3. Turn off wireless networking (Airport utility).
  4. Reduce or turn off keyboard backlight.
  5. Enable battery saving options from System Preferences>Energy Saver>Battery.

Power reduction apps

To fill in for the lack of a low power mode on macOS, there are apps that help reduce power usage. Endurance is one app that does well. It isn’t free. It costs $20 but it has a 7-day free trial.

  1. Install Endurance.
  2. Access the app’s preferences.
  3. Go through the power reduction measures the app can use and enable the ones that suit you.
  4. You can enable low power mode right away by selecting the ‘Low power mode is enabled’ option or, you can set it to enable when your battery reaches a certain level.

We tried the app on a MacBook Air 2015 model with about 250 battery cycles. It was 89% when Endurance was enabled. In three hours of heavy usage (multiple Chrome windows open, screencasts recorded, files uploaded online), the battery was at 20% in 3.5 hours.

Conclusion

There has been a push for Apple to add a low power mode to macOS but so far, there doesn’t seem to be one in the works. If Apple were to add one, it is possible it may only work on newer MacBook models. There are other apps similar to Endurance and they may be worth checking out too.

 

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How to connect an Xbox controller to a Mac

Macs are not popular for gaming. Apple has released models of its desktop system that are supposed to be able to handle modern games but they have not been a hit. That said, some games can still run on a Mac. You won’t be splurging on one if you’re looking to enjoy modern games but if you happen to have a Mac that you’d like to occasionally game on, some titles may be playable.

Xbox Controller on Mac

macOS does not automatically install drivers for peripherals and it certainly doesn’t support controllers out of the box. If you want to connect an Xbox One, Xbox 360, or any other generic Xbox controller to your Mac, you will have to manually install drivers.

Need to connect Xbox controllers to a Windows 10 system? Check out this post.

1. Xbox controller drivers for macOS

There are no official Xbox controller drivers for macOS. Only thrid-party drivers are available.

  1. Download the 360Controllers app from Github. Take note of which release is compatible with your version of macOS.
  2. Install the package and Restart the Mac.

2. Connect Xbox controller

Once the driver has been installed, follow these steps to connect it.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Xbox 360 Controllers preference.
  3. Connect your controller either through the attached wire, through a Microsoft adapter (a physical device), or pair it via Bluetooth.
  4. The dropdown at the top will show the device that has been detected. To test it, press a button or move one of the joysticks.
  5. To map the buttons, go to the Binding tab.

3. Uninstall Xbox controller drivers

If you later decide that you don’t want to use a controller with your Mac, or you need to remove and install a different version of these drivers, you can easily remove them.

  1. Open the System Preferences app.
  2. Go to the Xbox 360 Controllers preference.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the Uninstall button at the bottom.

Conclusion

Apple has Macs with some of the best, top-tier hardware you will find but these machines still do not run games well. The price tag they carry is an entirely different issue but you can normally get two power gaming rigs in the price of one game-ready Mac which doesn’t serve as much of a recommendation. While Apple has been pushing itself as a gaming platform, it’s only had success with its iOS and iPadOS devices. With macOS, it still lacks something as basic as controller support and there doesn’t seem to be any effort underway to fix this either.

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How to preview webp files with Quick Look on macOS

macOS has a neat utility called Quick Look that you can use to get a quick preview of files. This utility supports a lot of different file formats including script formats, text file formats, image formats, video formats, and more. It doesn’t offer any editing options but it is one of the fastest ways to preview a file since the utility is fast and opens in a split second.

While Quick Look supports an impressive number of file formats, it doesn’t support every single file format there is. There will always be exceptions. Out of the box, you cannot preview WEBP files with Quick Look however, you can install a Quick Look plugin to add support for this image format.

Preview WEBP with Quick Look

The plugin that we’re installing is called WebPQuickLook. Unlike most plugins, this one is installed via an installation script.

  1. Tap Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight.
  2. Enter ‘Terminal’.
  3. Select and open the app.
  4. You can install WebPQuickLook for a single user or for all users. To install it for all users, you will need admin rights. Use the following command to install WebPQuickLook.

For single user

curl -L https://raw.github.com/emin/WebPQuickLook/master/install.sh | sh

For all users

curl -L https://raw.github.com/emin/WebPQuickLook/master/install-all.sh | sh

  1. If you’re installing the plugin for all users, you will have to enter the admin password.
  2. Once installed, click the Apple logo on the Menu Bar.
  3. Select Log Out from the menu and log your user out.
  4. Log back in.
  5. Look for a WebP file and select it.
  6. Tap the Space bar.
  7. The WebP file will preview in Quick Look.

What is WebP

WebP is an image format developed by Google. You will normally find these types of files in the Google Play Store but other websites use them as well. The files can be previewed easily in the Chrome browser, in fact, most browsers are able to preview a WebP file. The format isn’t as common as PNG or JPG or JPEG yet, but it’s owned by Google so you can expect to run into it more often than other image types.

Conclusion

Quick Look can’t preview every single file there is. Apple has added support for formats it thinks users will encounter most often and it seems WebP didn’t make the cut. If you have other file types that Quick Look doesn’t preview, it’s worth investing the time to look for a Quick Look plugin that can add support for them.

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