Four quick April Fools pranks for your Mac-loving friends

CalendarIconXHappy April Fools day! If you have an inkling to participate in sly festivities on this day of pranks, you might consider looking no further than your friend or colleagues’ Macs. While you can post a fake note on a fridge, or lure a buddy to some humorous end, with only quick access to a friend’s Mac or iPhone you can have quite a fun time at his or her expense.

Granted there are many things you can do to prank someone, and with the extensive use of computers you have many options at your disposal, but here are a few innocent approaches you can take:

Invert their screens

Normally people enjoy using their screens in standard orientations, but by going to the Displays system preferences you may be able to select an option to rotate the screen 90 or 180 degrees. Note that this is not available on all systems, and usually is only available for external displays.

Give your friends a unique name for Siri to use

If your friend has an iPhone, grab it while they are logged in and hold the home button to activate Siri. Then say “Call me (pick whatever suits your needs here)” and you will have Siri now refer to the person as the phrase or name you mentioned. This is intended to allow you to have Siri use a nickname for you or others in your contacts, but it has this (un)fortunate side-effect of being perfect for pranks.

Set a screenshot to fullscreen

Press Shift-Command-3 to quickly take a screenshot of your friend’s screen. Open the file that appears on the Desktop in Preview, and click the green “Zoom” button for the image’s window. This will set it to full-screen and not allow them to interact with the system as they left it. While this can be amusing, just be sure you are around to prevent them from assuming things have locked up and force-reset their Macs. Note that you might disable screen savers and system sleep for this one.

Make use of the “Say” command

OS X supports the ability to speak a given body of text. With this, you can open the Terminal on a system and type “say” followed by a space and then your desired text encased in quotes. Pressing Enter will have the system say the given text. While you can use this to set up OS X to speak a very long body of text, you can also do so by remote access to the system. First open the Sharing system preferences, and then enable the Remote Apple Events service. This will allow you to interact with this machine via AppleScript. Then make note of the system’s name or IP address. Now go to another Mac on the same network and when your friend sits down at the affected Mac, open the Script Editor on your computer and run the following command (replace “ipaddress” with the network name or IP of the target system):

tell application "System Events" of machine "eppc://ipaddress" to say "hello"

When entered, click the “Play” arrow to run the command, and it should have the system say “hello”. You can repeatedly run the script and change the spoken text to your heart’s desire–just be sure you have the volume turned up on the target system.