Business Columns & Blogs

Using Mac’s Mission Control to make sense of a cluttered desktop

Q: I’m new to the Mac operating system. I recently hit some button on my keyboard that shrank down all the open program windows and returned them to normal when I clicked one. What happened and how did I do that?

A: If it felt like you suddenly got an overhead view of all the open windows and programs on your Mac’s desktop, you have stumbled upon the Mission Control feature. When intentionally summoned, Mission Control can be used to quickly locate a particular window in a cluttered desktop, temporarily move aside a program open in the full-screen or split-view modes, or see any alternate desktop spaces you may have created for different tasks on your Mac.

Depending on your Mac hardware, you can land on the Mission Control screen in several ways. Some Mac laptops put a shortcut to the utility on the keyboard’s F3 key. You may also see a Mission Control in the Mac’s dock; it features three colored squares on a black background. (The same icon is also available in the Launchpad, a system tool that displays the clickable icons of all your Mac’s installed applications in the center of the screen when you click the silver rocket icon in the dock, or press the F4 button on some Mac laptops.)

Unless you have turned off the gesture in your settings, Apple’s Multi-Touch and Magic Trackpads take you to Mission Control when you swipe up with three or four fingers at once. You also can get there by tapping twice on a Bluetooth-enabled Apple Magic Mouse.

To learn more about using the feature, go to the Mac’s Help menu in the main toolbar, enter “Mission Control” in the search box and press the Enter key. You can change the way Mission Control behaves in the Mac’s System Preferences.

Taking Screen Grabs On Android

Q: How do you take a screen image on Android?

A: How you take a picture of the current screen displayed on your Android device depends on your hardware and the version of the operating system you are using. A screen image is also known as a screen shot, screen grab or screen capture. You can find screen shot apps in the Google Play store and some phone-makers may include their own screen-capture utility, but many models just require the push of a few buttons.

On many Android smartphones and tablets, you just need to press and hold down the power and the volume down buttons together. You should see a quick flash and then a preview of the screenshot before it disappears into your photo gallery app. Getting the timing right may take some practice — if you press the power button too soon, the device turns off, and if you land on volume down too early, you see a sound control bar appear on screen.

If your Android hardware has a physical home button, try pressing the home and power buttons together, this is similar to the procedure to take a screenshot on an Apple iOS device, but you should press the Sleep/Wake/Power button and then immediately press the home button. Many of Samsung’s Galaxy phones use this method, but on some models, you can also take a snapshot of your screen by swiping the edge of your palm across the front of the screen.

If your device is running Android 6.0 or later and you have the current version of the Google app installed, you can easily take and share a screen shot with the Google Assistant tool built into the software. Just press and hold the on-screen home button. Swipe up and choose Share Screenshot; on some devices, you just need to wait for the toolbar to appear after you capture the shot and then tap the Share icon. From there you can email it, upload it or post it elsewhere.