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hidden features for Windows 11 and macOS Monterey
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Kim's column

Hidden features to try now on your Windows PC or Mac

I’m often asked if the latest Mac or Windows update is ready for prime time. Unfortunately, most of us have dealt with enough buggy software that we’re hesitant to hit “install” on a significant upgrade.

If you haven’t jumped up to macOS Monterey or Windows 11, I can now safely say it’s time. Before you update, take the one important step and make sure you have enough space for it. Tap or click here to see how much storage is available on your computer.

Updates don’t just bring new features. They protect your machine from known exploits and security issues, too. Tap or click here for five more smart ways to get your digital life in order.

Once your machine is up to date, let’s jump into a few new tricks to try out.

Windows: Realign the Start button back to the left

With Windows 11, the Start button is centered in the taskbar, which may throw you off if you’ve been using Windows for years. Moving it back to the left is easy:

  • Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  • Choose Personalization and Taskbar.
  • Select Taskbar behaviors, then click Left under Taskbar alignment.

Get a fresh start: Windows PC not working correctly? Try a clean install.

Mac: Copy and paste text from a photo

This feature is seriously cool. Say there’s an image with an email address. You can add it to your contacts list, send out an email, or even start a FaceTime call. This trick also works for website addresses within images. You can open a link on your browser or use Quick Look to see the site’s information.

To try it out, open an image with text in the Preview app on your Mac.

  • Hover your pointer over the text. Then, drag to select it. From here, you can copy, translate, look up the meaning, search the web, or share the text.

SECURITY 101: 5 essential Mac security settings you should enable now

Windows: Customize quick settings

The notification center in Windows 11 contains quick settings that give you easy access to your commonly used settings and apps. You can add or remove quick settings to your liking:

  • Press Win + A to open quick settings.
  • Select the Edit quick settings icon.
  • Select the Add button to add a quick setting or press the pin icon on the quick setting you want to remove.
  • Confirm your changes by hitting Done.

RELATED: 5 best Windows 11 utilities to get more out of your PC

Mac: Focus on what matters

Notifications can seriously mess with your flow when trying to get things done. With Mac’s new Focus feature, you can choose which notifications are important and which ones can wait till later.

  • To turn it on, click the Control Center icon in the menu bar. It looks like two small parallel bars.
  • Click Focus and choose Do Not Disturb for the timeframe you prefer.
  • You can also customize your options by clicking Focus Preferences. Here you can turn on Focus mode automatically at certain times and allow notifications from the apps and people of your choosing.

Buzz, buzz: Quick tech fix to stop annoying notifications on your phone for good

Windows: Snap it into place

Do you typically have multiple windows open while you work? Snap layouts are an excellent way to keep organized and enhance productivity. Move your open applications into different positions on the screen until you find a layout that works for you.

To use a snap layout, hover your mouse over a window’s maximize button or press Win + Z, then choose a snap layout.

Those aren’t the only shortcuts new to Windows 11. Here are a few more useful options:

  • Win + A opens Quick Settings
  • Win + N opens the Notification Center
  • Win + Z opens the Widget panel
  • Win + C opens Microsoft Teams

Mac: Try out Quick Notes

If you use iPadOS 15, you’re probably familiar with Quick Notes. It lets you take notes no matter what you’re doing. All you have to do is bring your cursor to your display screen’s bottom-right corner. This pops up a box; click on it to start working.

There, you can write down an idea, insert a link or save a photo. You can even add tags to make them easier to find later.

All your Quick Notes are saved in a designated section within the larger Notes app, which you can access across all your Apple devices. You can also add mentions and look over past activities.

The Notes app is more powerful than it gets the credit. Tap or click for 5 useful things you didn’t know Apple Notes can do.

Windows: Easy way to launch voice typing

With voice typing, you can enter text on your PC by speaking. This is such a timesaver if you have thoughts that you need to get onto a page.

  • Press the Windows key + H on your keyboard to start voice typing.
  • Say “stop listening” or press the microphone button on the voice typing menu to stop voice typing.

Bonus Tip: Dark Web 101: What’s there and why the government can’t shut it down

Wade through the waters of the Dark Web, and you’ll find drugs, assassins, and all sorts of disturbing imagery. But it’s also a haven for privacy advocates. In this episode, I speak with ASU professor Victor Benjamin, who reveals just why it’s so hard to regulate — and why folks of all backgrounds can’t stop coming back.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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