Trending February 2024 # 10 Mac Terminal Commands You Should Know # Suggested March 2024 # Top 6 Popular

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One of the best ways to get the most out of Terminal on your Mac is to learn what all it can do for you. While it looks like more of a programmer’s thing, it is really easy to use once you have learned some commands for it. There are a number of commands, and they can accomplish different tasks for you.

Here we have compiled ten of those terminal commands that – as a Mac user – you should know.

1. Restart Your Mac When It Is Frozen

sudo

systemsetup

-setrestartfreeze

on

The above command helps you reboot your Mac when it is frozen. Just type it once in Terminal and it will reboot your machine whenever it freezes up.

2. Show Hidden Folders and Files

defaults

write

com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles

-bool

true

The above command enables Finder to show hidden files and folders on your Mac. It is quite useful when you wish to see the system folders that are hidden by default.

3. Disable Delete Prompt

defaults

write

com.apple.finder WarnOnEmptyTrash

-bool

false

It disables the prompt that you get while emptying the Trash on your Mac. All the files in the Trash will be gone without you first confirming the action.

4. Make Your Mac Speak Text

say TEXT

Enter anything in the place of TEXT in the above command and your Mac will speak it out for you. Sometimes it helps to hear things out loud, such as checking to see if it is correct or to fully understand what it means.

5. Activate AirDrop on Older Macs

defaults

write

com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces

-bool

TRUE

While AirDrop can be used on newer Macs just out of the box, older Macs require you to execute the above command to enable the functionality. It lets you exchange files between several of your Macs instantly.

6. Rebuild the Spotlight Index

sudo

mdutil

-E

/

Spotlight lets you quickly search for files and folders on your Mac. In order to do that it builds an index of all the files for faster searching. Sometimes the index needs to be rebuilt for various reasons, and the command above lets you do that. It helps you rebuild the Spotlight index on your Mac.

7. Enable Text Selection in Quick Look

8. Prevent Your Mac From Sleeping

caffeinate

Like humans, your Mac does fall asleep when it is not used for a certain amount of time. To prevent your Mac from falling asleep you can use the above command.

9. Remove Dashboard From Your Mac

defaults

write

com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled

-boolean

YES

When was the last time you used Dashboard on your Mac? If you do not remember you probably do not need it. The command above should help you remove it from your Mac.

If you ever want to get it back on your machine simply replace “YES” with “NO” in the above command, and it will be back.

10. See Commands History

history

Have you ever wondered what all the commands are that you have typed into the Terminal so far? The command above should list out all of those commands for you.

Conclusion

Knowing these commands should help you make the most out of the Terminal app on your Mac. It will no longer be an app that only a geek uses; it will become an app that everyone uses.

Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who’s written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He’s been into the field for last eight years and hasn’t spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.

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10 Best Airtag Tips And Tricks You Should Know

AirTag and item tracking go hand in hand. With precision tracking and the vast Find My Network backed by more than a billion Apple devices, Apple’s item tracker looks better equipped than its rivals. And it becomes a favorite choice for many, especially when you take into account its seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem. That said, if you wish to unlock all the goodness that comes bundled with the AirTag, here are the 10 best AirTag tips and tricks that you should try.

Best Apple AirTag Tips and Tricks (May 2023)

Beyond the hassle-free connection and item tracking, AirTag also provides the needed security so that wrong-doers can’t use it to track your location. To me, this is probably the most impressive feature of Apple’s item tracker. In this guide, I have talked about the nifty features that enhance your device tracking experience and security features that can prevent anyone from keeping a tab on your whereabouts. So without further ado, let’s take a look at what the AirTag is capable of.

1. Use Precision Finding to Locate a Misplaced AirTag

To use the Precision Finding feature, open the Find My app and go to the “Items” tab. Next, select the AirTag you wish to locate. After that, tap on the “Find Nearby” option and follow the onscreen instructions to find your lost item.

2. Make an AirTag Play a Sound to Find It Easily

If your misplaced AirTag is nearby, you can play a sound on the item tracker. The loud sound will make it easier to find the AirTag. To do that, launch the Find My app on your iPhone and go to the “Items” tab. Then, select the lost AirTag and tap on the “Play Sound” button. Once you find the AirTag, tap on “Stop Sound” to stop the AirTag’s beeping.

3. Check Your AirTag’s Battery Life

AirTag comes with a user-replaceable CR2032 battery. Though Apple claims that the CR2032 battery will last you a year on regular use, it might fall short depending on how you use the item tracker. Hence, it is better to keep track of the battery life of the AirTag so that you know how much juice you have left in the tank. I know this may seem trivial but will prove to be one of the best AirTag tips and tricks in the long run.

We have already compiled a detailed guide on how to check your AirTag’s battery life, and you can read the linked article for all the information. Also, we include the steps to replace the AirTag’s battery in this guide.

4. Replace Your AirTag’s Battery

Changing the AirTag’s battery is as straightforward as it can ever get. So, if you ever find your item tracker’s battery running low on power, you can replace it with ease. Notably, you can purchase the CR2032 battery inside the Apple AirTag on Amazon. Besides, you can also buy the batteries at many offline retail stores. Thus, when the time comes for the battery replacement, getting a new CR2032 battery won’t cost you much.

Here are some of the popular CR2032 battery packs for AirTag available on Amazon:

Steps to Replace AirTag’s Battery

First, we need to remove the existing battery of the AirTag. Press on the stainless steel back of your AirTag with two fingers. While pressing down, rotate counterclockwise until the cover stops rotating. Now, pull apart the two halves and then remove the old battery. After that, replace it with the new one.

5. Put Your AirTag in Lost Mode

When the AirTag is nearby, it’s easy to locate the item tracker thanks to Bluetooth and Precision Finding (on iPhone 11 and iPhone 12). But when the item tracker is out of range, you have to rely on the Find My Network to find the lost AirTag. Bear in mind that if there are no Apple devices in the area where your AirTag is located, you will only be able to view the tracker’s last location.

1

of

2

Open the Find My app on your iPhone and go to the Items tab. After that, select the AirTag and then swipe up on the card to access the Lost Mode section. Next, tap on Enable. Next up, you can enter your phone number and a custom message which will display when someone finds your lost AirTag. In the end, tap on “Activate” to enable Lost Mode on your AirTag.

Once you have marked your AirTag as lost, anyone with an NFC capable iPhone or Android device can access your lost message and choose to return the item tracker back to you. It will make you a good samaritan, and this one of the best AirTag tips and tricks.

6. Safely Return a Lost AirTag to its Rightful Owner

If you ever come across a lost AirTag, you can scan the item tracker to access the owner’s contact information. It’s worth noting that you will need an iPhone or an NFC-enabled Android device to view the details.

Simply tap and hold the white side of the AirTag to the back of your iPhone or an NFC-equipped Android device. After that, tap on the notification that shows up on your device. Now, a website with the details of the AirTag, including its serial number, and its owner’s contact information, will open up. Additionally, you might also see a custom lost message along with the phone number that will enable you to contact the rightful owner.

7. Factory Reset Your Apple AirTag

When you set up an AirTag with your iPhone, it is automatically linked to your Apple ID. That’s why you will need to factory reset the item tracker before handing it over to someone or selling it out. When you are in the Bluetooth range, resetting the AirTag is easy, and another handy tip and trick in your arsenal.

Reset AirTag via the Find My App

Navigate to the “Items” tab in the Find My app and select the AirTag that you want to remove. After that, swipe up to reveal the AirTag settings and tap on the “Remove Item” option. Then, confirm that you want to Remove the AirTag from your account in the pop-up window.

Reset the AirTag Manually

Next, pull apart the two halves of your AirTag and take out the battery. After that, put the battery back inside and press down on the battery until it makes a sound. When the sound finishes, repeat the same process four more times. Yeah, you need to remove and replace the battery and then press on the battery until you hear the sound five times.

Once you have completed the process, make sure to put the steel cover on the AirTag back on. After that, perfectly align the three tabs on the cover with the three slots on the device tracker. Finally, press down on it until there is a sound and then rotate it counterclockwise so that it locks securely in place. That’s it. You have now manually reset your AirTag.

You can also use this method to disable an AirTag found moving with you and make it your own with ease. The manual resetting of the AirTag is a tedious affair. So, always be sure the person giving you an AirTag has removed it from their account while the device tracker is in Bluetooth range.

8. Turn off AirTag Item Safety Alert

Keeping security in mind, iOS 14 allows only the owner to track the AirTag using the Find My app. Besides, it also features an anti-stalking system that alerts you when an unknown AirTag appears to be moving with you. It informs you that the AirTag’s owner can see your location, and it’s a well-thought-out implementation.

Do note that for as long as Item Safety Alerts are paused, the owner of an unknown AirTag can see your location. Also, bear in mind that you won’t receive alerts when you move around with that unknown item on you.

Open the Find My app on your iPhone or iPad and go to the “Me” tab. Now, turn off the toggle next to Item Safety Alerts.

Next, a popup will appear on the screen warning you that “the owner of an unknown will be able to see your location and you will no longer receive notifications when an unknown item is found moving with you.” Tap on “Disable” to confirm the action.

9. Stop People from Stalking You Using an AirTag

If your iOS device detects an AirTag that doesn’t belong to you moving with you for an extended period of time, it will alert you with a warning message. Now, you can take the necessary action and use our detailed guide to disable an AirTag found moving with you in a few easy steps.

10. Access AirTag’s Hidden Developer Menu

This isn’t really the best AirTag tip or trick and may get removed in an upcoming update. But, in what could be the icing on the cake for the folks who love to tinker with yet-to-be-rolled-out features, Apple has a secret AirTag developer mode accessible via the Find My app. The hidden developer mode shows a variety of data along with the sliders to adjust things like dot animation for precision finding, background color, and more.

So if you want to enable AirTag developer mode and play around with various dials and sliders, go ahead and follow our linked guide. There’s even a battery saver ‘Eco’ mode and an intriguing  ‘Interactive Mode’ hidden in the developer menu.

Make the Most of AirTag with These Tips and Tricks

The Bash Special Characters You Should Know About

Not all characters are equal in Bash. Some of them carry out special functions, tweak commands, and help us manipulate data. That’s why we’ve compiled the following list with the most important Bash special characters. Read on to find out how to use them and how they can make your daily Bash life easier.

Folder Path Separator (/)

In Bash, the forward-slash (/)separates the parts of a path, the subfolders-within-folders. To visit the folder named “pictures” inside your home folder, you’ll have to use the command cd as:

cd

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

Pictures

Everything after a forward slash in the above example resides within what precedes the slash.

Home Directory (~)

Instead of typing the full name of your home folder in your Bash terminal, you can use the tilde character (~). For example, to go to your home folder, use:

cd

~

You can also incorporate it into more complex paths. For example, to edit a file named “mydata.txt” inside the “Personal” folder in your Home directory, use:

nano

~

/

Personal

/

mydata.txt Current / Above Folder (.)

You can use a single (.) or double dot (..)to define whether an action should be performed inside the current directory or the one above, respectively. A single dot (.) maps to the current folder while a double dot (..) maps to the folder above it.

Let’s say you’re in the folder “/home/USERNAME/Pictures” and want to execute the script called “transform_images.sh” within the same directory. In this case, type:

sh

.

/

transform_images.sh

If, after executing the script, you want to return to the folder above the one you’re currently in, type:

cd

..

That would return you from the folder “/home/USERNAME/Pictures” to “/home/USERNAME.”

#!/bin/bash

cp

chúng tôi

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

scripts

/

file2.txt

Hashes are useful even if you’re not writing a script since they allow you to cancel parts of a command. To see that in action, try the following straightforward command:

echo

I am YOUR_NAME

Then, try the following instead:

echo

I am

#YOUR_NAME

You’ll only see “I am” returned in the second version because the hash will have canceled everything that followed after.

Ranges ([])

You can define character ranges by enclosing them in brackets ([]). To see that in action, let’s say you want to look for folder names that start with either D or M. Type:

ls

[

DM

]

*

Perhaps you’re in a folder filled with subfolders named after each year instead. To copy the folders for the previous five years into “/home/USERNAME/backup,” use:

cp

-r

201

[

56789

]

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

backup

You can even simplify them further with a dash (-):

cp

201

[

5

-

9

]

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

backup

Bash will iterate from 5 to 9 to include the numbers between them.

Suppose you have a huge file with thousands of entries and want to locate your name in it. Instead of searching for it in a text editor, do the following:

Tip: Learn more about pipes, data streams and redirection by using sed in Linux.

Command Separator (;)

Bash allows you to issue multiple commands in one go by separating them with semicolons (;). For example, to copy two folders to two different destinations with one command:

cp

-r

folder1 destination1;

cp

-r

folder2 destination2

The semicolon separates the two commands and tells Bash to execute them sequentially. Note that you can use more than two commands if you wish.

Wildcards (*)

You’ve probably already used the asterisk (*) in some commands. It matches any sequence of characters and allows actions like copying all JPG files from one folder to another:

cp

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

folder1

/*

.jpg

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

folder2

/

The question mark (?) is also a wildcard in Bash but only matches a single character. For example:

cp

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

201

?

/*

.jpg

/

home

/

USERNAME

/

folder2

/

The above command will copy all jpg files in folders that begin with “201.” Since the wildcard translates to any alphanumeric character, not only numbers, the above command would also copy any folder that might be named “201A” or “201z.”

Launch in Background (&)

You can run commands as background processes just by appending the command with an ampersand symbol (&):

Variables ($)

The dollar sign ($) allows you to set up variables for use in your commands. To see them in action, try entering the following in your terminal:

myname

=YOUR_NAME

myage

=YOUR_AGE

echo

"I'm

$myname

"

Note that there’s no dollar sign when assigning values to variables.

FYI: Bash variables can do more than just store static data. Learn how to create arrays and subshells inside shell variables.

Escapes () and Quotes (”)

If you want to use any of the special characters as it is in a command, you’ll have to escape it. You can do that by preceding the special character with a backslash (). For example, if you have a file with a name that includes an exclamation mark, you’d have to type ! instead for Bash to interpret it as an exclamation mark and not as a special character.

Another way would be using either single ('') or double-quotes (""). By enclosing a string in quotes, any special character in it will be treated as the actual character. There is a difference between single and double quotes, too. Single quotes will evaluate the enclosed string as text while double quotes allow you to use variables ($) within the enclosed string.

Aside from redirecting the output of programs, it is also possible to control where a program’s input comes from. The less-than (<) operator allows you to “pull” data out of files instead of “pushing” into them. For example, the following will remove all duplicate lines in the file “sort.txt” and sort them alphabetically:

A control character is an operator that allows you to include non-typeable characters inside your script. For example, the following will move the prompt one space down and one tab to the right:

printf

"

v

t

"

Control characters can support features such as Unicode formatting. It does this by using the x operator to interpret each byte value as a segment of a Unicode glyph.

The following code will print a null sign along with a delta character:

printf

"xe2x88x85 xe2x88x86

n

"

Note: You can find the hex value of your Unicode glyph by piping it to the xxd utility:

The Arithmetic Expansion character is an operator that can do mathematical equations without any external programs. It works by treating anything inside the expansion as arguments for an integer calculation.

For example, the following line will add two numbers and print the result on the screen:

echo

$

(

(

2

+

3

)

)

Further, you can also use variables inside any arithmetic expansion. The following code, for example, uses this as basis for a simple multiplication program:

#!/bin/bash

# Get the first ten multiples of a number.

for

(

(

i =

1

; i

<

=

10

; i++

)

)

;

do

echo

$

(

(

$1

*

$i

)

)

;

done

Evaluation Character

The Evaluation character is a logical operator that helps you create test conditions inside your scripts. It contains the ability to detect files as well as variable inequalities:

#!/bin/bash

string1

=

'Hello'

string2

=

'World'

if

[

[

$string1

!

=

$string2

]

]

;

then

echo

"The strings are not equal."

;

fi

The following example also uses the evaluation character as a way to test whether the current directory contains a “maketecheasier” file:

#!/bin/bash

if

[

[

-e

"maketecheasier"

]

]

;

then

echo

"There is a file with the name maketecheasier"

;

One of the downsides of the evaluation character is that it can only do a single test condition at any moment. To fix this, Bash provides two additional operators which extend the features of the evaluation character.

The AND character allows you to test two conditions and only return a value when both are true. For example, you can use it to make sure that a function will only run if it is in the right directory with the right file:

#!/bin/bash

target

=

"/home/ramces/maketecheasier"

if

[

[

$target

== $

(

pwd

)

&&

-e

"maketecheasier.txt"

]

]

;

then

echo

"Both conditions are true!"

fi

Similar to AND, the OR character also allows you to test two conditions in a single evaluation. However, it will return a value even if only one of the conditions is true. The following example uses this to check for two similar directories:

#!/bin/bash

then

echo

"A suitable directory exists!"

fi

Subshell Execution and Grouping

A subshell is an independent shell process that you can run from inside the current session. Unlike a regular shell, a subshell will only open when you call it and it will close as soon as it resolves.

This approach prevents subshells from passing information between other shells. For example, the cat program in the following code will not find “test.txt” even if the subshell goes to the right directory:

Frequently Asked Questions Is it possible to make a multi-line command in Bash?

Yes. You can do this by adding an escape character at the end of your command. This will move your cursor to the next line without running your program.

Can you get an earlier background program back to the foreground?

Yes. To do this, you need to run the jobs command and find the job number of the process that you want. Next, run fg followed by the number of your command to return it to the front.

Image credit: Xavier Cee via Unsplash. All alterations and screenshots by Ramces Red.

Ramces Red

Ramces is a technology writer that lived with computers all his life. A prolific reader and a student of Anthropology, he is an eccentric character that writes articles about Linux and anything *nix.

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Big Software Development Trends Of 2023 Should You Know

Software programmers sit at the coal face of this electronic revolution. The further we unlock the miracles and possibility of binary code, the further we change from mechanical, mechanical procedures into a computerised, virtual kingdom of bytes and programming languages, the more people rely on applications. Software development is the engine area of shift, not only in the technology businesses but around business, trade, business and culture at large.

You can say that driving shift is the reason why we do software development — invention a part of the work description. That means programmers are not able to always be ahead of the curve, so constantly aware of the most recent trends and the job of the boundaries they’re working to push back. So with this in mind — what are the greatest trends which have been shaping applications growth in 2023?

Possibly the largest overarching trend we’re seeing in software development nowadays — and one which applies to the first two themes within this listing — is the drive to produce software themselves agile, scalable and resource-efficient. Microservices is in the forefront of the trend and represents a new way of imagining program structure.

Rather than the conventional approach of construction programmes as solitary, self indulgent, ‘monolithic’ entities, microservices entails breaking down applications to individual functions, known as solutions. These elements are then merged together like a jigsaw puzzle to construct everything the end-user sees as an application utilizing APIs.

This strategy opens up huge opportunities for customisation, it means person components in an application could be substituted or updated without affecting the remainder of the program and is usually regarded as a critical way of speeding up installation cycles. In accordance with one study emphasized by TechRepublic, 71 percent of specialists using microservices state it makes growth easier.

Related: – How to Track Your Cell Phone with Best Android Tracking Software

Multiplatform User Interfaces

one specific situation which underlines why rapid development methods like microservices are carrying off is that the requirement to repurpose applications for various platforms. If you envision, say, programming the exact same program for iOS, Android, Windows and the internet, from the past that’s meant four times the job. Now, multiplatform development environments such as Google’s Flutter and Microsoft’s Xamarin provide a means of getting about that issue. They do this by dividing the most important application layer in the user interface, so the heart of a program can be written after, together with front customised for every OS utilizing native UI libraries and APIs. Does this make development easier and quicker, but the final products tend to work better across all platforms?

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is one of those large growth tendencies across the entire spectrum of electronic technologies, and programmers are facing enormous demand to embed’intelligent’ features into programs of each type. At the first phases of AI development, it had been treated as a highly specialised, market place or almost as an afterthought, tacked on as an extra value gimick. However, for AI to really achieve it’s possible, developers are having to choose an’AI-first’ strategy, programming together with AI capacities and functions front-of-mind in the start. Toolkits such as Microsoft Cognitive Services are assisting developers to get to grips with all the new skill sets necessary to code calculations as part of normal program and platform development.

10 Best Nordvpn Alternatives You Should Try

While NordVPN remains a popular VPN service, last year, Techcrunch reported that NordVPN was hacked in March 2023, following which, the popular VPN company came forward and confirmed the breach. According to NordVPN, the breach was only limited to one server in Finland. However, since they kept it quiet for so long, I don’t know if we should implicitly trust them. Whatever be the truth, you as a consumer should be wary of data breaches that can potentially expose your online identity. So, if you have been a NordVPN user, you should move to a secure VPN that offers the highest level of security with no compromise on user data. In this article, I have shared the 10 best NordVPN alternatives which are known for their reliability and ironclad security protocols. So let’s go ahead and explore the list in detail.

Best NordVPN Alternatives in 2023

Here, I have mentioned 10 VPNs like NordVPN which offer exceptional protection and various safeguards to your data. For example, I have given preference to those VPNs which offer various security protocols, out-of-the-box encryption, no jurisdiction over your data, a healthy number of servers, and more. Having said that, you will still get fast internet speed similar to NordVPN so don’t worry about that. Now without further delay, let’s jump right in.

1. Private Internet Access (PIA)

Visit Website (Starts at $3.33/month with the yearly plan)

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN which beats NordVPN in every aspect right from security to coverage of countries. It has more than 3000 servers in 94 countries (NordVPN has 5000+ servers but available only in 59 countries) all across the globe and the company is steadily expanding its reach. In terms of security, ExpressVPN also uses the highest standard OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec security protocols so that is great. On top of it, you also get AES 256-bit encryption and Automatic Kill Switch to halt your internet traffic in case the VPN disconnects abruptly. The best thing about ExpressVPN is that its headquarter is based in the British Virgin Islands so it’s out of the US or any other country’s reach. If you want a NordVPN alternative and don’t mind paying a premium to safeguard your privacy then ExpressVPN is a solid choice.

Visit Website (Starts at $8.32/month with the yearly plan)

3. Mullvad

Mullvad is among the first VPN providers to implement Wireguard protocol in their servers and that makes it the best VPN out there. You can easily replace NordVPN with Mullvad and I am sure you will see a huge leap in both speed and internet security. For what it’s worth, Mullvad has 409 servers in 39 countries.

Visit Website (Starts at $5/month)

4. TunnelBear

TunnelBear is my personal favorite because it offers reliable service and does not log your internet activity even under the free plan. You get 500MB of free data every month which is not enough I know, but you can upgrade to the paid plan and enjoy all the perks without any limitation. The monthly plan is cheaper than NordVPN and the service has adequate servers across 22 countries. Granted, its coverage is not as huge as NordVPN, but if you are based out of the covered countries, TunnelBear is a much better proposition than NordVPN. You get 256-bit AES encryption and OpenVPN security protocol. I would say, just try out TunnelBear under the free plan and if it makes sense to you, go for the premium plan.

Visit Website (Free, Starts at $4.99/month with the yearly plan)

5. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is another prominent VPN that truly rivals NordVPN in terms of servers and country coverage. It has got more than 5200 servers spread across 61 countries around the world. That is more than NordVPN’s 5000 servers and that is simply great. You can also share your VPN network with 7 other devices without any limitation on speed. Apart from that, CyberGhost is based in Romania which follows EU privacy laws but rejects the data retention policy. All it means is that your data will not be retained for future compliance by any regulation or government. Further, on the security front, you get OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec and PPTP protocols with Automatic Kill Switch and 256-bit encryption. Considering all the points, CyberGhost seems to be among the best alternatives to NordVPN and you can surely give it a try.

Visit Website (Starts at $5.95/month with the yearly plan)

6. PureVPN

Apart from that, PureVPN has support for six different security protocols but comes with IPSec as the default one. For many users, it may not be the best security protocol, but you can manually set up OpenVPN or any other security configuration as you desire. Also, the VPN is equipped with an automatic kill switch so that is great. To conclude, if you are looking for a NordVPN alternative that can cover maximum cities around the world then PureVPN is a solid choice.

Visit Website (Starts at $5.81/month with the yearly plan)

7. Surfshark

Surfshark is a relatively new VPN that is quite popular among the Redditors because of affordable pricing and iron-clad security. It’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands so your data is safe from any government’s outreach. Apart from that, Surfshark has 1040+ servers in more than 61 countries which is quite good. As for the security, it deploys two major protocols: OpenVPN (UDP and TCP) and IKEv2 with AES-256 encryption on top of it. Not to mention, the VPN comes with a kill switch similar to NordVPN which stops all the network activity in case the VPN disconnects abruptly. It helps you in protecting your IP address and online identity. All in all, Surfshark is a strong contender in the VPN race and can be a great alternative to NordVPN.

Visit Website (Starts at $1.99/month with the 24-months plan)

8. IPVanish

If you were using NordVPN for torrenting or P2P traffic then IPVanish is the perfect replacement you can opt for. It has more than 1400 anonymous servers spanned across 60 countries which offer excellent performance and without any downtime. On the security side of the thing, IPVanish has implemented 256-bit encryption and you can choose your protocol of choice from IKEv2, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), L2TP, and PPTP. I would say go with OpenVPN protocol for maximum protection and performance. Further, this VPN allows network tunneling on 10 devices which can be very helpful if you have a family and want to share your private connection. Strictly put, IPVanish is a great VPN and a suitable alternative to NordVPN if you are from the US or Canada.

Visit Website (Starts at $6.49/month with the yearly plan)

9. ProtonVPN

Visit Website (Free, Starts at $4/month with the yearly plan)

10. Windscribe

Windscribe is among the best freemium VPNs which offer 10GB of free data for a month. However, I would recommend you to go with the paid plan for better online protection and no logging of your internet traffic. In terms of coverage, it’s not as large as NordVPN, but offers its servers in more than 60 countries around the globe and promises no downtime. The VPN also supports multiple security protocols such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and SOCKS. You can further set up the VPN based on your security preference. You also get AES-256 encryption with the IKEv2 security protocol. To sum up, Windscribe is a worthy alternative to NordVPN and you can opt for it, but make sure to try the free plan before you make a jump.

Pick the Best NordVPN Alternative and Protect Your Online Identity

So that was our list of 10 best NordVPN alternatives which offer a great degree of security with a similar level of performance. NordVPN has a large number of servers across the world so we have tried to include VPNs which can match up with its performance and reliability. In terms of security too, we have chosen VPNs that come with OpenVPN and other high-end security protocols. Anyway, that is all from us. If you are a NordVPN user, you should switch to a suitable VPN from the list for better privacy.

Instagram Story Hacks: 30 Tricks And Features You Should Know

These Instagram Story hacks will save you time and make you the best storyteller in town (no pun intended).

You’ve probably already pored over our Must-Try Instagram Hacks. (It’s a fun beach read, I totally get it!) Now, it’s time to master the fine art of the Instagram Story.

It’s just basic math: If a picture is worth a thousand words, an Instagram Story post must be worth a million, right?

And these Instagram Story hacks will make you the best Story-teller in town.

Get your free pack of 72 customizable Instagram Stories templates now. Save time and look professional while promoting your brand in style.

Top Instagram Story hacks for 2023

Some might say there are almost too many features.

General Instagram Story hacks

1. Create a patterned backdrop for sharing a feed post

Is adding a custom backdrop necessary when you share a feed post on your Story? Goodness, no. But like wearing lipstick to a Zoom meeting, sometimes it’s just nice to add some pizazz to something routine.

How to do it:

Find the feed post that you’d like to share and screenshot it, cropping so it’s just the post.

Stretch the feed post to fill the whole screen—this seems wild, I know, but this will make the final post into a tappable link to the original post.

Next, open your camera roll and add in the background pattern of your choice.

Then, paste in the cropped screenshot of your post on top and arrange or resize as you’d like.

Upload the whole thing.

2. Fill the background with a solid color

The default gradient backgrounds are nice and all, but sometimes, you’ve got something to say that can only be framed by a wall of blinding chartreuse.

How to do it:

Tap the draw icon.

Select a color from the palette (tip: swipe right to see additional color options, or press and hold down on any particular color to open up a rainbow gradient of choices).

Once you’ve chosen a color, press anywhere on the image or text part of the screen and hold two or three seconds to fill

3. Uncover even more colors! More!

You’re greedy, but we’re not judging. You actually have access to every color of the rainbow and then some with Instagram Stories. Find your specific brand hues, or get funky with a questionable shade of puce.

How to do it:

Open Instagram Stories and select the brush tool.

Tap and hold any of the default color circles. This will open a color slider.

Explore the slider to find the custom color of your dreams!

Alternatively, drop an image into your Story and use the eyedropper tool to grab the exact matching shade.

4. Use a green screen in your Instagram Story

Green screen technology has been a gamechanger for social media. You can be anywhere and everywhere. Including the moon. Especially the moon.

How to do it:

Scroll right through the filters at the bottom of the screen to get to the magnifying glass; tap to search.

Search “green screen” and select Instagram’s green screen filter.

Tap Add media to choose your background video or photo from your phone’s image gallery.

Take a picture or make a video in front of this fake backdrop.

Instagram’s teleport feature is also fun — it uses the greenscreen backdrop, but the backdrop only appears when you move your device so you can create a fun reveal effect. (You’re in your bedroom… and then you’re on tour with Destiny’s Child! Yowza!)

5. Share with a select group of VIPs

Now that your boss and your Uncle Steve and your strata council president are all following you on Insta, the pressure to be a professional employee/niece/neighbor can really put a damper on your best, stupidest Instagram thoughts.

Instagram’s Close Friends feature is a chance to share more intimate, exclusive content to a select group (sorry, Uncle Steve!). For businesses, maybe it’s a way to offer some special treatment to members or VIPs (which, again, probably does not include Uncle Steve).

How to do it:

Select Close Friends.

Now, when you go to post a Story, the option to share to Close Friends will be at the bottom of the screen next to Your Story.

Source: Instagram

We know Stories are supposed to be a spontaneous medium. But are you really at your desk or on your phone all day? No! You’re living life so that you have something to make Instagram Stories about.

You actually can’t schedule Stories directly in the Instagram app… but you very much can schedule them with Hootsuite.

How to do it: Check out our step-by-step guide to scheduling your Stories with the Hootsuite schedule.

Start free 30-day trial

7. Add a layer of translucent color to a video or photo

Maybe you see life through rose-colored glasses, and want other people to, too. No sweat: just use this quick trick for colorizing your images or videos.

How to do it:

Upload or shoot your video or photo.

Tap the marker icon on the top of the screen.

Select the highlighter icon at the top of the screen.

Choose your preferred color from the bottom of the screen.

Tap and hold the photo until a layer of translucent color appears over top.

8. Post multiple Stories at once

It can take some time to properly prepare, edit or curate a multi-part Story, as any social media savant knows. But maybe you don’t want to leave your followers hanging as you search out the perfect background color or combination of stickers for Part 2 of your series on your local boat show. The solution is to prep multiple Story posts to all post at once (in the order you choose, of course) using Instagram’s Multi-capture tool.

How to do it:

Open Instagram Stories and scroll down to find the Multi-capture tool (a circle surrounded by another circle made of dashes).

Take a photo (note: you can’t upload pics or create video in this mode). You’ll see your snap added to a little circle in the bottom left-hand corner or the bottom of the screen.

Take up to 9 additional photos, for a total of 10. Each will be the foundation of a separate Story post.

When you’re done, tap on the little circle icon (in the left-hand corner, if you’re using a filter, or at the bottom of the screen if not) to move to the editing screen.

Here, you can take your sweet time adding text, stickers, music, or effects to each photo.

Ready to post? Tap Next.

9. Add music to your Instagram Story

Your Story needs a soundtrack! Needs it.

How to do it:

Record your video, take your picture or upload your content.

On the edit screen, tap the music note icon on the top of the screen.

Select your song.

On the editing screen, you have a few options to customize how the music is presented or visualized:

On the bottom, scroll between options to showcase the lyrics or the album cover.

At the top of the screen, tap the color wheel to change the color of any text.

Tap the number in a circle to adjust the duration of the clip.

At the very bottom of the screen, scroll to select the portion of the song you’d like to play.

Instagram Story photo hacks

10. Create “progression” posts that build on an image

Build the drama over several Story posts, by adding new elements to the same base image. Oooh, the suspense!

How to do it:

Craft a Story post as usual with video, photos, text, stickers or drawings.

Next, start a new Story.

Select Create, then go to your camera roll and select that first Story you’ve saved.

Now, you can seamlessly build on top of that first Story with additional elements.

Save this new creation to your camera roll.

Repeat as necessary.

11. Create a “revealing” Story series

Uncover a mystery image with the help of the eraser tool. This next hack involves skills from trick #3 and #7, above. Hope you’ve done your homework because this is absolutely a test.

How to do it:

Add an image in create mode.

Now fill the screen with color (see trick #3!).

Select the eraser tool.

Erase a bit of the color layer to reveal a small sliver of your image underneath.

Hit the save button to download this to your camera roll… but do not upload it yet.

Uncover some more of the image by continuing to erase the color layer, hitting the save button at various stages to capture the reveal step-by-step.

When you’re done collecting all of these images, start a fresh Story post and upload that very first image.

Post the next saved images one by one so that followers will see the image being uncovered in stages.

12. Create cool effects with the eraser tool

A few strategic swipes of the eraser can create the illusion of photo and other elements merging into one. Harmonious! Inspiring! Is this… art?

How to do it:

Open the photo you’d like to use.

Use the marker tool (we like neon) to create a visual element that overlaps the central object of your photo.

Now, use the eraser tool to erase any marker bits that overlap with the main photo object. It’ll look like the drawn bits are weaving around it. An optical illusion!

13. Compose a multi-image Story

The more images, the merrier! Use the paste tool to throw as many photos into a Story as you’d like. Who would dare stop you?!

How to do it:

Open your camera roll and select a photo.

Repeat to pile on the pics.

14. Use Instagram’s photobooth feature

You’re a model, baby! Instagram’s new Photobooth feature will take four snaps in a row, which you can then showcase in a variety of dynamic formats. (There are a lot of flashing camera bulbs, we’ll warn you right now.)

How to do it:

Open Instagram Stories and scroll down to find the Photobooth tool (an icon that looks like a pile of photos).

Choose a filter if you’d like, and then hit the shutter button. You’ll get a 3-2-1 countdown for each of four shots.

15. Create Boomerangs from your live photos

Did you snap a moment with your iPhone that you want to relive again — and then relive again backwards? And then forwards? And then backwards again?

If you’ve taken the photo as a Live photo, it’s possible. (If you’re not sure how to take a Live photo in the first place, just open your camera app and tap on the concentric circles at the top!)

How to do it:

Open Instagram Stories and swipe up to view your photo gallery.

Pick a live photo from your camera roll.

Hold down on the photo until the word “Boomerang” appears.

Instagram Story text hacks

16. Hide hashtags and @mentions

Preserve your aesthetic vision by tucking unlighting hashtags or tags out of sight. It’s the digital equivalent of hiding your electrical cords behind your mid-century-modern desk before Architectural Digest comes a-knockin’.

How to do it:

Method 1

Type out your hashtags and mentions.

Hit the stickers button and select your camera roll.

Add an image from your camera roll, which will be placed on top of your hashtags to obscure them.

Resize your image to fill the screen: the hashtags are technically there for Instagram to read, but human eyes won’t be able to see!

Method 2

If you start off creating a post with an image, add a text box on top and type your hashtags and mentions.

Tap the eyedropper icon.

Tap a spot on the photo to change the text to that same color and blend in.

Resize the text box if necessary.

17. Express yourself with even more fonts

The standard Instagram Story fonts are just the tip of the typographic iceberg.

If the in-app typewriter or Comic Sans-knockoff lettering isn’t doing it for you, find something more exciting to paste in.

How to do it:

Head to the Instagram Fonts Generator website on desktop or mobile.

Type in your message and hit enter to see your font options.

Copy the message and paste into the Instagram Story text box.

Pro tip: If you have a branded font, add your text right to an image with Photoshop, Over, or another image editing app, and then upload to Stories from there.

18. Layer text to add a shadow effect

For text that pops, try this double-up trick.

How to do it:

Type out your text, then select all and copy.

Start a new text box and paste in that text.

Shift that text ever so slightly and layer underneath the original text so it looks like a shadow effect.

19. Change text alignment in seconds

Put your Tinder skills to good use here: a quick swipe of the text will spice things up and shift things left, right, or back to center in a snap.

How to do it: As you’re typing, quickly swipe to the left or right to realign.

Instagram sticker hacks

20. Turn your Story into a shopping spree

If you’ve got an Instagram Shop, you can tag your one product in each Instagram Story with a product sticker.

How to do it:

Build your Instagram Story and tap the sticker icon.

Select Product.

Choose the item from your product catalog.

Customize the product sticker to suit your brand.

Source: Instagram

21. Change the color of a question sticker

To color coordinate or not to color coordinate? This is the question… or rather, a question about what to do with your question sticker.

How to do it:

Tap the sticker icon and select Question.

Type out your question and then tap the rainbow wheel at the top of the screen.

Continue to tap until the question sticker is the color of your choosing.

22. Access more gifs than ever

If there’s such a thing as too many gifs, we don’t want to hear it.

While Insta’s search allows you to peruse Giphy’s library, using the Giphy app itself allows you to create albums of your favorites for easy access—and you can share right from Giphy.

How to do it:

Open the Giphy app and find the gif you want.

Select the Instagram icon and then choose Share to Stories.

OR select Copy GIF and then paste into your Story.

Pro tip: If you have your own homemade gifs that you’d like to share on Insta Stories, save them to your camera roll and just copy and paste directly into a Story.

23. Create a Grid of Photos

Instagram Stories’ built-in layout tool feature is the perfect way to share multiple images in a variety of neatly organized grids, formatted to the specific dimensions of Stories. Because sometimes you just can’t choose which picture of your sushi dinner is the cutest, we get it!

How to do it:

On the left-hand side of the screen, scroll to find the Layout tool a square with disecting lines).

Your screen will now be divided into quadrants. Add a photo to the first square by swiping up to select one from your gallery, or use the camera to take a new picture.

Repeat for each quadrant.

Alternatively, switch up the layout by tapping the Change grid icon on the left-hand side of the screen.

Instagram Story video hacks

24. Answer questions on a Live Story

Answering your followers’ questions on an Instagram Live Story is like a fun interrogation you’re doing to yourself. (Need some help getting started with Instagram Live? Check out our step-by-step guide here.)

How to do it:

Once you’ve gone live, tap the question-mark icon at the bottom of the screen.

Tap the question you’d like to answer, and it will appear on your Live screen as you broadcast.

Questions will be greyed out once they’ve been selected so that you don’t pick the same one more than once.

25. Pin a sticker to your video

This is one of the oldest Instagram Story tricks in the book, but we’re not too big to admit that the mechanics of it have stumped us for years. If you, too, have been longing to pin a sticker, emoji, gif, or text to a specific moment or motion in a video, here’s the breakdown.

Pro tip: not sure which emoji to use in your Story? Try our free emoji translator.

How to do it:

This is essential: film the video within the Instagram Story. You can’t upload a video for this trick! We’ve tried! We’ve failed!

Add a sticker (or text, etc) to the Story.

Tap and hold that sticker.

Use the slider to scroll to the right point in your video.

Tap Pin.

26. Make your own Instagram filter

You don’t need to be a programmer to create your own custom filter to use or share with the world. Spark AR Studio has a ton of tutorials and simple step-by-step tools to help you put your stamp on the world (and, more specifically, your followers’ faces).

How to do it: Get the full guide to making your own Instagram AR filters here.

Source: Spark AR Studio

27. Save your fave filters

You want to have your Elf Ears filter at your fingertips, we get it. Thankfully, there’s a way to build an easy access library of your favorite effects.

How to do it:

Open up your Instagram Stories camera.

Swipe through the filters at the bottom of the screen until you get to the end .

Tap the icon of a magnifying glass that says Browse Effects.

Next time you open your camera, that effect will be available to select.

28. Use video as an animated background

How to do it:

Record a video or swipe up to choose one from your photo gallery.

Open up the sticker menu.

Select the photo sticker.

Choose the photo from your photo gallery.

This’ll layer on top of the video: move the photo or resize to your heart’s delight!

29. Share your Reels to your Stories

Locate your favourite Reel and tap the airplane icon to send it to your Story, so you can impress even more ‘Grammers with your Celine Dion lip syncs.

The bad news is that Instagram Reels get cut off after 15 seconds, but if you want to learn how to share a full 60-second Instagram Reel to your Story, we’ve got a hack for you! Just watch this video:

30. Use templates and design tools to make your Stories pop

Sure, a great chef can prepare a delicious meal with just a knife and a pan… but a kitchen full of tools will make creating a gourmet experience that much easier.

Likewise, branching out from the basic elements of Instagram Stories and incorporating external design and editing apps into your creative process will open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Is this a good metaphor, or am I just hungry? Download some apps and we’ll check in after lunch.

How to do it:

Try some of these fun Instagram Story Apps to take your images and videos to the next level.

Download these 20 free Instagram Stories templates and make ‘em your own.

Of course, no amount of hacks (or tips, or tricks, or gadgets or gizmos aplenty) can compare with good ol’ fashioned quality content. But we’ve got you covered there too: here are 20 creative Instagram Story ideas here to kick off some inspiration.

Manage your Instagram presence alongside your other social channels and save time using Hootsuite. From a single dashboard you can schedule and publish posts and Stories, edit images, and measure performance. Try it free today.

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Grow on Instagram

Easily create, analyze, and schedule Instagram posts, Stories, and Reels with Hootsuite. Save time and get results.

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