Q&A: MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a weekly feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers. We welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your own suggestions in the comments.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature in which we answer questions e-mailed in by our readers.

This week people wrote in with questions about keyboard shortcuts for managing browser address bars, AirDrop and battery life fluctuation, and problems quitting Mail. We continually answer e-mail questions, and though we present answers here, we welcome alternative approaches and views from readers and encourage you to post your suggestions in the comments.

Question: Keyboard shortcut for clearing the Address bar
MacFixIt reader Gene asks:

Do you know of a keyboard shortcut that will clear the address bar so I can easily type in a new address?

Answer:
Press Command-L and the contents of the address bar will be highlighted. You can delete what's there or copy it for use elsewhere, or you can paste in a new URL you have copied from elsewhere, or type a URL. This shortcut has been adopted for use in many browsers for OS X.


Question: AirDrop and battery life fluctuation
In the progress of troubleshooting battery performance, MacFixIt reader Cheryl asks:

I was wondering about AirDrop; is there a way to turn it off, or does it just still there until you use it? [Additionally,] as I am working I see the calculating time fluctuating up and down...6:08..4:45..7:15...5:35..is that normal? I've never really watched it before. I've only been watching since I've noticed the battery life shortened. Using Mail, Firefox and QuickBooks.

Answer:
Apple's AirDrop feature is only activated when you access it.

As for the apparent battery life fluctuations, this is normal behavior that's based on how the system is using the battery. When you open programs the system will use more CPU and activate components such as the hard drive, and therefore use more battery power per unit of time. This will cause the remaining battery life calculation to change.

If the predicted battery life continually fluctuates when you let the system sit for a while, you might try quitting an application or two and then repeating the process to see if the fluctuations die down. Sometimes programs can continually access system components that cause it to keep drives and other hardware active, thereby reducing battery life. Quitting these applications should result in a smoother battery life calculation, and longer battery life overall.


Question: Mail refusing to quit
MacFixIt reader Marcelo asks:

After updating to Mac OS X 10.7.2, I'm experiencing some problems with Mail. When it is open and I want to close it, I go to the Menu Bar and then click in Mail --> Quit Mail. The problem is that Mail don't quit and, even if I right-click it in Dock and choose "Quit," I'm not able to close it; if I try to logout the current section or restart the computer, I receive a message that says that Mail Application is not allowing the logout/restart.

Answer:
Sometimes Mail may pause when accessing mailboxes, and not quit until it is done with these tasks. There are several options you can try:

  1. Force-quit Mail
    If this only happens once or twice, choose "Force Quit" from the Apple menu (or press Option-Command-Escape) and then select and quit the Mail application.

  2. Rebuild mailboxes
    Sometimes this can be a result of an error in a mailbox or two. Try selecting your inbox and choosing Rebuild from the Mailboxes menu (down at the bottom).

  3. Remove Mail's preferences
    If for some reason Mail's preferences are corrupted, then its ability to access network resources may be affected and result in the program hanging or pausing. To refresh the settings, quit Mail, then press the Option key and choose Library from the Finder's Go menu. Then go to the Preferences folder and remove the file called "com.apple.Mail.plist." After this is done, relaunch Mail. When Mail opens, you'll need to give it your e-mail account information again, but your downloaded messages and mailbox organization should remain intact.

Hopefully one of those three options will get Mail to quit properly.



Questions? Comments? Have a fix? Post them below or e-mail us!
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Computers
About the author

    Topher, an avid Mac user for the past 15 years, has been a contributing author to MacFixIt since the spring of 2008. One of his passions is troubleshooting Mac problems and making the best use of Macs and Apple hardware at home and in the workplace.

     

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