How to use your Mac without bothering others

June 22, 2011 in Mac OS X

You probably don’t normally worry about how much noise or light your Mac makes until someone is napping nearby (or maybe you’re in a library) and then every click seems magnified and your screen seems to light the whole room. Watch this video to learn some easy tricks to make your Mac quieter and not as bright, while staying very readable.

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If you are doing a lot of clicking, the noise of your trackpad button can quickly become annoying to others around you. You can easily solve this by turning on the One Finger “Tap to Click” trackpad gesture. Turn on the “Dragging” and “Drag Lock” gestures below it and you won’t need your trackpad button for dragging either. Your clicks and drags will be silent!

In a quiet environment you’ll probably just mute your sound so you don’t accidentally bother someone nearby. But what if the system needs to alert you of some problem. The “Flash the screen when an alert sound occurs” solves this problem by converting alert sounds into a brief screen flash.

Screens have been getting brighter and brighter and this makes for gorgeous viewing of photos and videos and great contrast for easy reading. But it also means that you are filling the room with bright light. You can lower the display brightness to solve this somewhat but that then reduces the contrast and can lead to eyestrain. Another option is to switch to “White on black” so all those white backgrounds turn black. If you are reading a document, the only light coming from the screen could be just the text. You’ll be amazed at how much darker the room gets when you try this. The keyboard shortcut is the four-key “chord” Control+Option+Command+8 (⌃⌥⌘8).

Try some or all of those techniques and you and your Mac will be quieter and not so glaring, and those sleeping or studying around you won’t be annoyed.

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