Do you want to get to know your Mac better? Whether you’re a beginner or experienced user, this guide will help you learn the basics of your Mac and how to use its many features. From understanding the interface and navigating Finder to mastering customizations and shortcuts, this guide is designed to give a comprehensive overview of everything you need to know about your Mac.
For those transitioning from Windows to Mac
Microsoft Windows has maintained a significant presence in the computer industry for a number of years. It continues to reign as the most popular operating system today, controlling around 87% of the market share in 2020. Over time, however, more and more people have started using Macs, which are powered by Apple’s macOS operating system. If you’re one of those who has decided to switch from Windows to Mac, there are a couple of things you should know before making the transition.
First and foremost, you need to be aware that the user interface of a Mac can feel quite different from what you’ve grown used to on Windows. The desktop itself looks different than what you may be used to – with all your launcher apps in one area, instead like Windows Start menu. Then there’s also file organization and software management, which will probably require some getting used to if you’re moving from Windows to Mac. Additionally, while many apps exist on both platforms such as Adobe Creative Cloud or Microsoft Office, there are certain applications that simply aren’t available on macOS so you may have to find alternatives when switching over.
Desktop and App Management
Desktop and app management can make a huge difference in how quickly and efficiently you complete tasks on your Mac. Managing open apps is made easy with two keyboard shortcuts- Activate Spotlight for searching and switching between apps.
Activating Spotlight for searching simply requires you to press Command + Space (⌘ + space) on your keyboard. Spotlight can do more than just locate files, for it also acts as a search engine able to answer basic questions, help solve math problems and even give instructions on how to complete certain tasks. When you have multiple applications open at once, Switching between them is easy with Command + Tab (⌘ + Tab). Press the Command key along with the Tab key to cycle through all activated apps to find what you are looking for. Once the desired app is highlighted, just let go of both keys an you will be switched over. Additionally, if you want to close one of the currently opened apps while in this view, then just press the Q key with command held down and the selected app will be closed instantly.
It can be frustrating and time consuming to organize files on a computer, especially if you don’t have the right tools. Managing files can be simplified with a few Mac OS commands that make it easier to open, delete, or duplicate files.
The opening of folders is often done manually via Finder or your Mac’s desktop using Command and the down or up arrow keys depending on the direction needed. Alternatively, MacOS Mojave or higher users have the advantage of an automatic “Stacks” feature activated by right-clicking to quickly organize their desktop clutter according to file type. Another useful command is Option + Command + Delete (⌥+⌘+Delete) which will delete a file without sending it through your Mac’s Trash Can first. Lastly, if you find yourself frequently needing duplicates of the same file, selecting the ‘Get Info’ option then checking the Stationary Pad box allows for this within one click when opening. Managing files becomes much simpler with these helpful built-in functionality options for Mac users.
Screenshots are a great way to capture information quickly and easily. Mac users have three different options when it comes to taking screenshots using keyboard shortcuts – Shift + Command + 3 (⇧+⌘+3), Shift + Command + 4 (⇧+⌘+4), and Shift + Command + 5 (⇧+⌘+5). The first two allow users to take a full-fledged or selective screenshot of the current screen respectively. The last option introduces an interface that lets you record your screen or a portion of your screen in its entirety.
For those looking for cleaner and visually appealing screenshots, they can opt to use Shift + Command + 4 (⇧+⌘+4) instead of the conventional command combination – here, pressing the spacebar will turn the icon into a camera which allows one to click on any open window to get a screenshot of just that customized interface element such as dock or menu bar. This usually results in minimalistic images more suitable for professional presentation purposes than ones obtained from the default command combination setting.
Safari, Apple’s web-viewer, has some awesome features that make our experience better. One of these features is Picture-in-Picture (PiP) mode, which allows you to watch a video while you do other things. On YouTube, all you have to do is right click twice on a playing video and it will bring up an option for PiP. Alternatively, if the right clicking method doesn’t work or you’re not watching YouTube, look for the audio icon in the Safari toolbar and right click. This will also give you access to PiP view.
To make navigation easier when working in Safari, Apple has also included a shortcut for copying links quickly without fiddling with a mouse. All you have to do is press Command + L to highlight the URL bar and afterwards hit Command + C to copy it immediately. This nifty little trick should save users quite a bit of time as it cuts out unnecessary steps usually taken with a mouse but still puts everything on your clipboard as needed.
Force Touch Trackpad
The Force Touch Trackpad for Macs is a great way to quickly make quick changes to documents and files without needing to click through extra buttons or check multiple dialog boxes. It features functions such as Quick Looks, where users can press down on a file or folder icon with the trackpad and get a sneak peek of what’s inside without having to open the file itself. This especially comes in handy when scrolling through long lists of similar items like photos or webpages. The dictionary function is another helpful tool when dealing with unknown words; if you see an unfamiliar word, highlight it and use the Force Touch Trackpad to get its definition without ever needing to leave the page.
Another great feature of the Force Touch Trackpad is its ability to easily rename folders and files right from their icons instead of needing access to the command line. Users can simply force touch on any one of their folders or files, type out a new name for it, and done. This also goes for finding previews for certain files, as users can get a glimpse before deciding whether they want to open it or not. All in all, this makes working from your Mac easier than ever – with just one click you can make all the adjustments you need.
Finder is the default file manager and search tool on Mac devices. It allows users to quickly locate and open files, folders, applications, and other items stored on their device. Finder provides a graphical user interface which displays the contents of a given directory in an easy-to-understand way. With Finder, you can not only find what you’re looking for easily, but also view associated metadata for documents such as image tags or author. It also displays full folder information like its size and item count so you know exactly how large of a folder your data is taking up.
In addition to allowing access to files stored locally on your Mac, Finder also lets you access cloud-based programs like Dropbox or iCloud Drive without having to switch between apps. This makes it even easier to retrieve documents from different sources in one place instead of manually searching each account separately. Whether you need to find something saved that day or months ago, Finder has got your back—and with the help of Spotlight being an additional source of searching capabilities if necessary, finding content has never been easier!
The Notification Center on Macs can be quite useful in managing app and system alerts. With a few simple clicks from the top menu bar, you can easily customise the types of notifications your get, as well as activate Do Not Disturb (DND). Activate DND quickly with no need to jump through tedious hoops – just hold down the Option key and click on the Notification Center icon in the top menu bar!
Once enabled, items like banners, alerts and sound notifications are stop so that you won’t get disturbed. Of course, once activated you have the ability to whitelist particular app notifications that will make it through regardless. This means that if something is important enough you won’t miss it during your peaceful rest period. You can change or toggle these settings directly from within the Notification Center so there’s no laborious process required.
The Dock on macOS is a crucial feature that helps to simplify the way users can interact with their computer. It runs along the bottom of the screen and provides a convenient set of shortcuts to apps installed on the Mac. Most Macs come pre-installed with some essential apps, such as Safari and iTunes, but users have the option of adding more apps by clicking and dragging their icons onto the Dock. This makes it very easy to launch apps without having to search through folders or look them up in Finder.
In addition to making it easier to launch apps, users also have control over how they arrange items on the Dock. They can click and drag app icons around, as well as drag them off completely if they no longer wish to keep a shortcut for them. The order in which these items appear reflects user preference and helps them find what they need more quickly with fewer clicks or keystrokes. All-in-all, the Dock is an invaluable addition to macOS that makes it even simpler for users to get around their computer quickly and easily.
In conclusion, Macs have a lot of advanced features that make them easy to use and navigate. Learning about them is the first step towards mastering your device. Finder, Notification Center, and the Dock are just three of these features that can help you get the most out of your Mac. With Finder, you can quickly locate files, applications, and other items stored on your device. The Notification Center lets you manage app and system alerts while Do Not Disturb gives you more control over how often you receive notifications. Last but not least, the Dock provides an easy way to launch apps with fewer clicks or keystrokes. Take some time to explore each feature thoroughly so that you can maximize their potential and make your life easier!