How to add a dark/light theme toggle to the menu bar on macOS

Dark themes have finally made it to desktops but they’re still basic. You can’t schedule them without using an app or a script or some other work around, and the theme requires several clicks to change. There’s no simple way to change it but you can add a dark/light theme toggle to the menu bar and switch the themes from there. Here’s how.

Dark/light theme toggle

There are apps that you can use to add a dark/light theme toggle to the menu bar and that is the easier way to go about it. If you don’t want an app, you can create one with the Automator though when you add it to the menu bar, you’re going to have to go through a menu to use it. It will take two clicks to get the job done. We’re going to detail both processes. Pick what suits you best.

Dark Switch

Download and run the app called Dark Switch. It’s a simple toggle app that runs in the menu bar. It does require special system access to run but it’s a very neat solution. Click the app’s button in the menu bar and it will change the current theme.

Automator application

Open Automator and create a new Application type document. From the column on the left, select ‘Change System Appearance’ and drag & drop it on to the pane on the right. Save it with a name that tells you what it’s for. You can add it to the Application folder, and change its icon if you want.

Out of the box, you won’t be able to add this app to the menu bar. You need a third-party app to do that and we recommend XMenu.

Install the app and run it. Access its preferences from the app’s menu. On the preferences window, select ‘User Defined’. This will add a heart icon to the menu bar. Click it, and go to XMenu>Open Folder in Finder.

In the folder that opens, move the Automator app that you created to it.

Once you do that, you can click the heart shaped icon in the menu bar and select the app that can toggle the dark/light theme.

macOS not only needs a native way to toggle the theme but also a way to schedule it. It appears that, at present, third-party apps are doing the job whereas this ought to be something the system can do.

Read How to add a dark/light theme toggle to the menu bar on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to fix the MacBook key press bug

The new MacBooks have defective keyboards. This is a hardware problem and nothing to do with macOS itself. What happens is when you tap a key on your keyboard, it often registers as multiple key presses. The problem has been widely documented and Unbox Therapy has demonstrated it in one of their videos. Apple has acknowledged this problem and is offering to fix it for the ‘small percentage’ that are experiencing it. There is now an app that attempts to fix the MacBook key press bug.

The app is called Unshaky and it is a free, open source app that is trying to offer a software solution to the hardware problem. Before you try it out, you need to know a few things;

  1. This is not an Apple approved solution.
  2. It may or may not work perfectly. You might end up with a keyboard that is easier to work with but one that still repeats letters when it isn’t supposed to.
  3. Software solutions can be used to fix hardware problems so this isn’t an outlandish idea.
  4. Results will differ as will the settings from one device to the other.
  5. You will need to spend a little time tweaking the settings to get it to work right.

Macbook key press bug

Download Unshaky and run it. It requires special Accessibility permission to run.

Once the app is running, right-click its icon in the menu bar and select Configuration from the menu.

You will see a list of all the keys on your keyboard and a field next to them for milliseconds (ms). Click inside the field to edit it and enter a number. This number will determine the ‘delay’ between key press repeats that must be ignored.

If you’re familiar with the Macbook key press bug, you know that if you press a key once, it is executed several times. This delay that you add with Unshaky will force the other key presses that happen within the delay period to be ignored. If you do need to type a letter twice, you will need to tap it twice. The app recommends using a 40ms delay but you’re free to play with this value until it works for you. You can set the delay for each key individually or for all keys at once.

If your MacBook isn’t eligible for the repair and you don’t want to spend money to get it fixed, you can try this app. We strongly recommend that you take the time to set it up properly and experiment with the delay until you get it right.

If it works for you, you should set the app to run at start up.

Read How to fix the MacBook key press bug by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to reset the System Management Controller on macOS

macOS has a few built-in utilities that help you troubleshoot problems with the OS. Most utilities troubleshoot software related problems but Macs can also have hardware problems. These can be related to your battery if you have a MacBook, or your keyboard, or the temperature management system, among other things. If you’re having trouble with the hardware on your Mac, you can reset the System Management Controller on macOS. Here’s how.

Before you reset the System Management Controller, you should read up on when Apple recommends you should do it.

Reset System Management Controller

The process will differ based on whether or not you can remove the battery from your Mac or unplug it. The newer MacBook models do not let you remove the battery however, if you have an iMac, you can unplug it.

iMac and Mac Mini

Shout down your Mac from the Apple menu. Once it’s off, unplug your iMac or Mac Mini. Wait for 15 seconds. Don’t guess the time. Plug the power cord back in, and wait another 5 seconds before your turn your Mac back on.

MacBooks

With MacBooks, resetting the System Management Controller will differ based on whether or not you can remove the battery.

If the battery cannot be removed, it’s a good idea to let it discharge just a bit. 98% charge will do. Shut down the MacBook from the Apple menu. Once it’s off, hold down the Shift+Control+Option and then the Power button. Keep these buttons held down for 10 seconds, and then release them.

Press the power button to turn your MacBook on.

If the battery can be removed, remove it and disconnect the power cable. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds and release it. Connect your battery and then turn the Mac on.

Post SMC reset problems

Normally, resetting the SMC doesn’t result in problems however, if your MacBook doesn’t turn on after an SMC reset, or it charges for a bit too long, let it. Wait for the MacBook to finish charging, and then give it a bit more time before you try and turn it on.

If your iMac or Mac Mini won’t turn on, plug it in and wait a while before you try to turn it on again. If it doesn’t turn on even after one hour, you might need to take it in to be looked at. In some cases, the fix might just be that a memory stick needs to be removed and added back. Regardless, you should have a professional check it.

Read How to reset the System Management Controller on macOS by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to back up Photoshop document presets

If you often create documents in Photoshop where the canvas is a certain size, it’s a good idea to save that size as a preset. A document preset in Photoshop can be used to quickly open a new file that has a few predefined basic features e.g., the canvas size, the resolution, the color mode, etc. Creating them can be time consuming so it’s a good idea to back up Photoshop document presets just in case. You can use the backup to quickly add the same presets to a different system, or just restore it on your system if you do a fresh install.

Create document presets

Creating document presets is pretty easy and we’ve detailed the process here. If you’ve already added presets, make sure they appear in the Saved tab in the create new document window. If they do, you can back them up.

Back up document presets

The document presets can be backed up on both macOS and Windows 10. The process involves backing up one file but you need to know where the file is saved. If you’re not running the latest version of Photoshop, you may not find the file in the locations given below but look around for a folder called Adobe Photoshop Settings and it should be there.

Windows 10

Open File Explorer and paste the following in the location bar;

%APPDATA%\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CC 2018\Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 Settings\

In the folder that opens, look for a file called New Doc Sizes.json. This is the file that you need to back up. If you want, you can open it in Notepad, or any other text editor, and edit the presets directly.

macOS

On macOS, you need to go to the following location. Be sure to replace the YourUser part with your own user name.

YourUser/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Photoshop CS4/Presets

In this location, look for the New Doc Sizes.json file. Back it up and again, you can open it and edit the presets directly.

Importing document presets

Importing the file is pretty easy. You need to have Photoshop installed of course so that the directory the file goes in to is already there. Make sure the app itself is not running. Open the correct directory for your OS and paste the file there.

Open Photoshop and the Create Document window should feature all the presets that the file originally had. It might be a good idea to check the Saved tab to see if they appear in it or not. If they only appear in the Recent tab, you might need to save them again though it’s rare that you would need to.

Read How to back up Photoshop document presets by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to enable/disable desktop stacks on macOS Mojave

Desktop clutter, in fact most clutter, is something that everyone on a computer struggles with. For most people, the desktop is a good place to put files that need to be accessed often but you can only put so many items on your desktop before it turns into a mess. macOS Mojave has a feature called desktop stacks that helps you keep your desktop somewhat cleaner if you tend to place loads of files on it. Here’s how you can enable/disable desktop stacks on macOS Mojave.

Desktop stacks

Desktop stacks are basically virtual folders. When you put files on your desktop, they’re grouped together so that it looks like there’s just one file. This virtual folder has an arrow on it and when you click it, it expands to reveal the files in it.

Enable/disable desktop stacks

To enable/disable desktop stacks, open Finder or just go to your desktop and click on an empty area so that you get Finder in the menu bar.

Once you have the Finder’s items in the menu bar, go to View>Use Stacks. Select it if you want to enable desktop stacks, or uncheck it if you want to disable them.

By default, the stacks are created based on file type. This means that if you, for example, have loads of image files on your desktop, they will all be grouped into one stack. If you want to change the grouping criteria, go to View>Group Stacks By and select how you want the files to be grouped. You can group them by the date they were last opened on, the date they were added, the date they were modified, the date they were created, and by tags.

Most of the grouping criteria is date based. You don’t have an option to group by file extension so if you have JPGs and PNGs, they will all go into one stack.

As mentioned before, the stacks are virtual folders which means they don’t actually exist. If you happen to open Desktop in Finder you will find all your files listed there in no folder of any sort. Compared to the clean look of your desktop, the Finder is going to show you a bit of the mess.

The point is, this feature is cosmetic for the most part. It’s not going to organize your files for you. It will only make your desktop look cleaner.┬áThat’s not to say it’s a useless feature. It’s quite good for anyone who habitually puts files on their desktop though it might encourage users to continue to neglect organizing files.

Read How to enable/disable desktop stacks on macOS Mojave by Fatima Wahab on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter