While Macs are powerful and easy to use, they have many features to discover and get comfortable with to get the most from your device. Getting a new Mac can be exciting, but learning how to use it may take time. Here are eight tips for new Mac users.
1. Set up your new Mac
Before using your Mac, you must set it up using the right options. The Mac setup procedure is easy, but it may take time to go through each setting you want to disable, enable, or change. Once you’ve powered your computer, set the accessibility and location settings. If you have data on another device and want it on your Mac, you can use the migration assistant to transfer it. Create an Apple ID and set a strong password. With this account, you can log into Apple services.
Review and alter some vital settings from Make This Your New Mac, including enabling location services, choosing your time zone, setting up the screen time, choosing your look, turning on FileVault disk encryption, and enabling and improving Siri and dictation. Lastly, update your computer to ensure you’re running an up-to-date macOS version.
2. Familiarize yourself with the menu bar
The menu bar on your screen’s top-left corner has commands for what you do regularly, including lock the screen, open system settings, update apps, and shut your Mac down. It has menus like the app menu next to it. the app name you’re using will appear in bold, and the other menus will follow. Every app contains a help menu where you can quickly get the details on how to use the app. Each menu has commands with information regarding symbols in the keyboard shortcuts.
The status menu lets you check your Mac’s status or personalize features. The spotlight icon on your menu bar allows you to look for things on your device and the website. The control menu lets you access the features you use regularly. There are also the Siri and notification center icons you can use to make it easier to navigate your Mac. You can add items to menu bar, remove them, or rearrange them to customize the bar to your liking.
3. Backup your data
Backing up data on Mac involves keeping a copy of important information in an alternative location to make it easy to recover when damaged, deleted, or corrupted, ensuring security. Back up your data at an interval based on how frequently data changes, its value, and how much time it takes to do the backup.
Your Mac has a time machine, an in-built backup feature, which automatically creates an updated copy of your data or files and keeps them on an external disc or storage device. If you don’t want to wait for the automatic backup, you can start backing up your data manually with the time machine option.
4. Understand the user accounts
While you must create an account when setting up your Mac, you should create separate user accounts if you’ll be sharing the device with others. These user accounts are important because they allow users to save their preferences, settings, and files without affecting the rest of the Mac users. There are different user accounts you should know before creating yours, including:
- Standard: These accounts are used for regular daily tasks, and you can do anything you wish to, including customizing your desktop. Enabling the parental control settings lets you convert this account into a managed one
- Administrator: They’re special accounts you can use to alter the system settings or manage others’ accounts. The administrator accounts have complete access to all the settings on the computer. Each Mac has an administrator account, and you, the owner, should already have its password
- Managed: These are the only accounts that can contain parental controls. If you’re sharing the Mac with your children, make a separate managed account for every child. Go to parental controls in the system preferences and set time limits, website restrictions, and more
If you sign in through the administrator account, an unauthorized user can easily modify your Mac. Creating a standard account even when you aren’t sharing the device with anyone would be much safer.
5. Learn the Mac keyboard shortcuts
Mac has many shortcut keys. And while learning all of them can be challenging, you can start with the essential ones to make it easy to navigate the device. The keyboard shortcut keys on Mac are a time saver. However, they depend on muscle memory and knowledge.
You can learn shortcuts for document creation, finder and system, and shut down, log out, and sleep. You should also learn common shortcuts like cut, copy, and paste. Consider learning app shortcuts as shown in the app menus. Such shortcuts may work in one app and not in another. You can learn Safari, accessibility, startup, Apple music, and spotlight shortcuts.
6. Use the trackpad
As a new Mac user, you might not be familiar with using the trackpad, a versatile, helpful feature for scrolling through webpages, rotating photos, zooming in on documents, and more. The force touch trackpad has pressure-sensing abilities to increase the interactivity level. Learning the key trackpad gestures makes you more efficient. Tap to click, secondary (right) click, scroll, three-finger drag, zoom out or in, smart zoom, rotate, mission control, Launchpad, swipe between pages, open notification center, app expose, and show desk are gestures every new user can learn to increase efficiency and reduce strain on their hands.
7. Get Mac accessories
Mac accessories are an excellent way to unlock the device’s full potential and streamline workflow. They help you make the most of your computer while saving time and avoiding frustration. Charging adapters, keyboards, laptop sleeves and cases, mice, USB docks and hubs, laptop stands, external monitors, desk mats, totes, backpacks, and earbuds and headphones are some of the Mac accessories you can buy to improve your experience.
8. Take screenshots or screen recordings
You can take good-quality screenshots on your Mac and edit them to your liking. You can click shift-command-3 to capture the entire screen’s screenshot or shift-command-4 to highlight a particular screen section for screenshotting. Tapping on shift-command-5 opens the screenshot icon to edit screenshot options or record videos.
Learning to use a Mac may take time for new users. However, implementing these tips can help you navigate your Mac with ease.