30 ways to improve your Mac

Get your Mac working better for you

You'll need OS X 10.7.2 installed, but once it's in place, just sign in with your Apple ID, choose what to sync and that's it. Within minutes your devices will be wirelessly talking to each other, making sure you have access to your precious photos, documents and settings wherever you are. And remember: you automatically get 5GB iCloud storage for free!

13. Plot your next hike, jog or bike ride


Let your Mac help you find suitable routes for your fitness regime with the help of a free app called Trail Runner. This helps you plot local routes for biking, hiking and running.

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Get started by clicking the Community button to find local routes entered by others, or create your own from scratch by plotting your own course on the map. Once created, you can sync your route with your iPod, iPhone or other mobile device. You'll be covering more distance in no time!

14. Beef up your Mac's system memory


One of the most effective ways you can speed up your Mac - particularly if you're running Lion with just 2GB RAM - is to double or even quadruple your memory.

For many Macs, it's the simplest upgrade you can perform, in which case save yourself some serious dosh and source your memory from a site like Crucial where an 8GB upgrade for the 2011 Mac mini costs just £35 at time of writing.

Check out our tutorial on How to install Mac Memory. If you're unhappy opening up your Mac, contact your local Apple retailer to get an estimate for a fitting.

15. Stay in touch with far-flung friends and family for free


The cost of phone calls - particularly abroad - can be prohibitive, but the good news is that you can make voice and video calls for free using your internet connection.

Download Skype and get your contacts to do the same. Then you can find out when they're online and make a direct video or voice call using your webcam and headset.

Skype is extremely simple to set up and will save you a fortune in phone charges. You can even use it to place voice calls to phones worldwide at a fraction of the cost of your landline or mobile tariff. Skype's been around for years - isn't it time you got in on the act?

16. Watch and record TV on your Mac


It's possible to watch both live and catch-up TV on your Mac over the internet, using services such as BBC iPlayer and TVCatchup. But you can also turn your Mac into a fully functioning TV with recording capabilities.

Plug in the Elgato EyeTV Diversity, connect it up to your TV aerial and you can watch and record digital Freeview on your Mac. Thanks to its dual tuners, you can even watch one show while recording another.

Combine it with the Apple TV and you stream your recordings back to your HD TV. Use TV internet services, or turn your Mac into a fully functional TV set with PVR capabilities.

17. Take your Apple kit completely wireless

Airport express

Frustrated at having to switch on a computer just to access its shared printer? Annoyed because you can't listen to your iTunes library in another room?

Replace your existing router with an Airport Express, set it up next to your home stereo or speakers and you'll be able to stream music direct from any iTunes library on your network direct to that room. Better still, plug in your USB printer to the Airport Express and you'll be able to print directly to it without having to faff about with shared printers or switching on another computer first.

18. Stream video from your Mac to your TV

If you've got a big-screen TV, imagine watching some of the video content stored on your Mac on it. Rather than attempt to set up your Mac in the same room as your TV, why not invest in an Apple TV?