Turn Your Mac into a WiFi Hotspot

We all love wifi, don’t we? In the malls, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels- we simply love taking photos of where we are or post what’s on our mind and share it instantly to our friends via Twitter or Facebook. But we sometimes fall into a situation where we need to have Internet access on two or more of our devices and there’s nothing but an ethernet (wired) cable to connect to or your phone’s personal hotspot just won’t work.

Well, here’s good news: using your Mac computer, you can take advantage of that ethernet cable and share its Internet wonders through wifi. Actually, you can also use your iPhone 4/4S to tether Internet reliably (Network rates apply. I am using Globe postpaid unlimited data plan so I don’t have to worry about data charges) without using the iPhone’s very dubious “iPhone to Wi-Fi” Personal Hotspot feature.

HOW? You need your Mac!

Let’s get into the details:

Turn Your Mac into a WiFi Hotspot 101

I will be using my iPhone’s Internet sharing via USB to demo this feature. The same process applies if you are to use an ethernet cable as a source. First, you need to connect your iPhone (or plug in the Cat5 UTP cable if using ethernet) to your Mac using the USB data cable. Then go to your iPhone’s settings and turn on Personal Hotspot. Choose USB from the option (see photos below).

Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB

Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB

You should now be connected to the Internet using your iPhone. To verify, go to System Preferences > Network. iPhone USB option should display a green indicator and a Connected status.
Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB

To enable the Internet Sharing feature on your Mac (see detailed screenshots below), go to System Preferences > Sharing. Click Internet Sharing and make sure it is still unchecked so you can configure the setting. On the Share your connection from option, choose iPhone USB if you are to use Personal Hotspot or Ethernet if using a wired source. To set a wifi password, click Wi-Fi options and fill in the required data. When done, don’t forget to tick check Internet Sharing. A dialogue box will drop down, click Start.

Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB

A new wifi icon (arrow up icon) on your menu bar will appear. It means that Internet is being transmitted from your Mac to other devices.

Congratulations, you just set-up Internet Sharing on your Mac. You can now connect all your other devices using wifi and even share it with your friends! Follow me on twitter @enjayneer.

Internet Sharing on Mac using Personal Hotspot iPhone 4S USB

By the way, the background image is a photo of Raffles Place and Merlion Park I took when I visited Singapore.

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Track Down Stolen Mac, iPhone or iPod Touch with iCloud

The last thing you would want to happen to your gadgets or valuables is to misplace them or worse, get stolen. No matter how we despise this idea, we have to accept the fact that it does happen- and it can happen to you.

With that being said, should you find out one day that your Apple device got stolen or misplaced, what’s the first thing you should do? Okay, breathe in, breathe out and continue reading.

Apple’s iCloud has a lot of nice features and what’s nice about it is that you can sync all your Apple devices by using just one user login we call, Apple ID. With iCloud, you can instantly access your notes, contacts, calendars, bookmarks, photos, etc, anywhere using your Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Aside from the sync feature, an important facet of the iCloud is Find My *insert Apple device here*. As long as your iDevice is connected to the Web, you ‘ll be able easily track down its location, display a warning message or play a sound and even lock or wipe it remotely. This can be done by logging in to your iCloud account via a web browser (www.icloud.com) or using the Find My iPhone App on your iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Find My iPhone Web access via iCloud.com:

Find My Iphone Web via iCloud.com

Find My iPhone iPad App:

Find My iPhone iPad App

However, for Mac (OS X Lion) users, there is one important reminder: IF YOUR MAC IS PASSWORD PROTECTED UPON LOGIN, and it got stolen, you are in serious trouble because there is no way for the person in possession of your device to access your Macbook, which means no Internet access on your Mac, making the Find My Mac feature useless — UNLESS you activate the “Guest User” login account. Actually this is not a full user account. When someone tries to access the Guest User option, the Mac will boot a secured Safari-only portrayal of the system, allowing access to the Internet, thus allowing the owner to track down the Mac’s location using iCloud’s Find My Mac.

To activate the “Guest User” security feature, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Uncheck “Disable restarting to Safari when screen is locked”. And you are set.

Mac “Guest User” Disable restarting to Safari when screen is locked security feature

Enough said. Let’s now discuss how to take full advantage of this security feature. Here’s how to activate Find My iPhone feature on your Mac and iPad (iPhone and iPod Touch, all the same) respectively.

On your Mac, go to System Preferences > iCloud. Make sure “Find My Mac” is checked.

Setting up Find My Mac on iCloud

On the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, go to Settings > iCloud. Make sure “Find My iPad(iPhone)” is ticked on.

Find My iPhone iCloud setting on iPad

View Photos Faster on Mac with Quick Look

Viewing images (and PDF files) on a Mac using Preview app is disappointingly slow. Opening (double-clicking) a high-resolution photo will take you about 5 – 10 seconds to appear. Well, I have good news for you. There’s an alternative and faster way to view images (and preview all other items) on your Mac: Quick Look, that little eye icon on the toolbar. By default, the Quick Look icon is hidden. You need to first access the toolbar setting to make it one of your default icons on your toolbar.

You see that eye icon? That’s the Quick Look button.

Quick Look Feature on Mac OS X

Clicking on the Quick Look button launches an unbelievably fast preview of any file that you selected. And selecting multiple photos launches an instant slide show.

Quick Look Feature on Mac OS X

Right-click on the tool bar area and select “Customize Toolbar…“. This will reveal a lot of hidden features which you can add on the toolbar for instant access.

Quick Look Feature on Mac OS X

Simply drag and drop any of the icon you wish to appear on your toolbar, and voila!

Quick Look Feature on Mac OS X

Shortcut: Space Bar

Or you can use a shortcut: Just hit the spacebar with your highlighted file and it will launch a quick look. Hit space bar again and it will close. 🙂