Mac For Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips For Newbies

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Video: Mac For Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips For Newbies

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Video: 30 Mac / macOS Getting Started Tips! Do you know them all? 2023, February
Mac For Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips For Newbies
Mac For Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips For Newbies
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The default settings do not always make everyday work with the operating system as convenient and efficient as possible. In this article, we have collected 30 helpful tips for setting up macOS that can be useful to both novice and experienced Mac users.

Mac for Dummies: 30 Useful macOS Tips for Newbies
Mac for Dummies: 30 Useful macOS Tips for Newbies

Steve Jobs has spent a good deal of his life making Mac computers as easy to use as possible - but many of the really useful tricks are still not obvious.

1. Turn on the right mouse button and change the speed of movement

By default, the right mouse button Magic Mouse in macOS is disabled altogether, which is quite surprising for new Mac users, and the cursor movement speed is poor. In order to configure both of these parameters, go to  → System settings … → Mouse → Select and click.

Mac OS X
Mac OS X

Here we put a tick in front of the second item "Imitation of the right button (click on the right)", and below there is a speed controller, twisting to the right, we get just the reactive speed of the cursor on the display.

2. Move the Dock to the right or left side of the desktop

Dock on Mac (macOS)
Dock on Mac (macOS)

By default, the Dock is located at the bottom of the display, but you can use the workspace more productively by moving the dock to the left or right of the display. This will increase the working area of ​​the window in many applications, for example, in Safari, the page width is not as important as the height.

To customize the Dock, go to  → System Preferences… → Dock and in the “Screen Layout” column, put a full stop in front of “Left” or “Right”.

Move the Dock to the right or left side of the desktop
Move the Dock to the right or left side of the desktop

3. Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

If at some point while working with this or that application you need to minimize it, then in the upper left part of the window, click on the yellow button between the cross and expand. The program thumbnail will collapse to the right side of the Dock with a nice animation. But in this case, the program will not be minimized into its own icon, but an additional miniature will be created. If this situation does not suit you, then everything is fixable.

Go to  → System Preferences … → Dock and check the box next to the item "Remove the window in the Dock to the program icon".

Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock
Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

After that, by clicking on the "Minimize" button, the thumbnail will not be created if the program icon is already in the Dock.

Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock
Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

4. Spotlight - macOS search engine

Spotlight Mac
Spotlight Mac

The easiest way to get things done faster on Mac is with Spotlight search. Just press the shortcut ⌘Cmd + Space (some may have Ctrl + Space) and you can instantly find files, open applications, search the Internet (yes, you don't need to open a browser to do this) or all over your computer.

Spotlight can also be used as a calculator or currency converter. For example, enter “1000 usd” in the Spotlight search bar. The search engine will instantly display the current course.

Spotlight Mac
Spotlight Mac

You can learn more about search capabilities on Mac in this article.

BY THEME: How to open a video on Mac (macOS) in a third-party player (for example, VLC) by default.

5. Lost your cursor?

How to enable or disable cursor magnification on Mac (macOS)
How to enable or disable cursor magnification on Mac (macOS)

Just quickly move the mouse left and right, and at the same time look at the screen. The cursor will automatically increase in size, and it will be very difficult not to notice it. If desired, this function can be disabled (details).

6. Analogue Ctrl + alt = " + Delete on Mac

Ctrl + alt =
Ctrl + alt =

This combination from Windows does not work on Mac, but there is a great alternative - press ⌘Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + Esc, and immediately access the menu for forced closing of "frozen" programs (details).

If you're looking for an analogue of Windows Task Manager on Mac, then this article will tell you how to find it.

How to open Task Manager on Mac
How to open Task Manager on Mac

7. Delete files using hot keys

Still deleting files on your Mac by dragging and dropping them to the Trash icon? There is a way to do the same thing a little faster - ⌘Cmd + Delete.

8. Taking a screenshot on Mac is easier than on Windows

how to take screenshot on mac
how to take screenshot on mac

To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + 3 to select a specific area - ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + 4. By the way, these and many other keyboard shortcuts on Mac can be easily changed "for yourself" in the preferences (section Keyboard → Keyboard shortcuts).

With the release of macOS Mojave, Apple's desktop operating system has a new screenshot tool.

How to take a screenshot using Screenshot on macOS
How to take a screenshot using Screenshot on macOS

We talked about him in detail in this material.

If you don't need a shadow in the screenshots, then open Terminal (through the Spotlight search or by going to the Finder along the Programs → Utilities path), enter the following commands and press the Return (Enter) key after each line:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true

killall SystemUIServer

The shadow won't bother you anymore.

PS: To return everything to its original position, replace true with false.

9. Moving application windows in the background

Moving windows in the background
Moving windows in the background

In order to move the application window, which is in the background, without affecting the active program window in the foreground, press the ⌘Cmd key + the left mouse button while dragging.

10. Startup on Mac

How do I show only open apps in the macOS Dock?
How do I show only open apps in the macOS Dock?

You can set a set of applications that will be loaded immediately after turning on your Mac. To do this, go to System Preferences → Users and Groups → Login Objects tab and uncheck / place the checkboxes (details).

How to add or remove programs from Mac startup
How to add or remove programs from Mac startup

11. How to type the letter "ё" if it is not indicated on the keyboard

If you need the letter "ё" - just press and hold the Russian letter "e" on the keyboard, and after you see the hint window, press the number "1" on the keyboard.

12. How to check if Bluetooth headphones are connected to Mac?

There is a reliable way to check if music accidentally starts playing from your Mac's speakers. To do this, simply click on the sound icon in the upper right corner of the screen (this is called the status menu, and the entire bar at the top of the screen is the menu bar). You will see (checkmark next to the device name) if your headphones are connected to the Mac right now.

How to check if Bluetooth headphones are connected to Mac?
How to check if Bluetooth headphones are connected to Mac?

13. How to automatically hide the menu bar on Mac

How to Auto Hide Menu Bar on Mac
How to Auto Hide Menu Bar on Mac

Speaking of the menu bar - if it bothers you (for example, you don't like the fact that it takes up useful screen space), you can customize it so that it only appears when needed. To do this, go to System Preferences → General, and check the box next to Automatically hide and show menu bar (details).

14. How to change the arrangement of icons on the menu bar

How to remove icons in the menu bar (where the clock is) Mac (macOS)
How to remove icons in the menu bar (where the clock is) Mac (macOS)

If you want to change the arrangement of items in the status menu - press and hold ⌘Cmd on the keyboard, and then drag the necessary items with the mouse. By the way, unnecessary elements can be removed (instructions).

15. Split View mode, or how to quickly place two program windows on the screen at the same time

Split View on Mac
Split View on Mac

Do you need two programs to work at the same time? No problem - in the upper part of the window, press and hold the rightmost (most often green) button for 2 seconds. Choose the second program from the already open - and enjoy working in a "clean" interface without distracting details.

Learn more about the capabilities of Split View mode on this page.

16. Hot Corners on Mac

Mac OS X
Mac OS X

Hot Corners lets you hover your mouse over a corner of the screen and instantly do things like minimize all open windows, open Mission Control, Control Center, or put the display to sleep. You can configure active corners in the menu of the same name (System settings → Mission Control).

17. Use the Viewer to view and edit images

How to convert photos to,,, tiff, bmp formats on Mac
How to convert photos to,,, tiff, bmp formats on Mac

The standard Viewer allows you to not only view images, but also edit them - resize, crop, add comments and even change the format.

"View" allows you to make various markings on pictures
"View" allows you to make various markings on pictures

It can also be used to import a digital copy of your signature if you need to sign a document in digital format.

18. QuickTime Player allows you to record video and audio from your Mac screen without third-party applications

How to Record Video from Mac Screen (macOS)
How to Record Video from Mac Screen (macOS)

The built-in QuickTime Player has the ability to record an audio or video file that is playing right now on your screen, i.e. there is absolutely no need to look for third-party software for the same purposes (in detail).

How to Record Mac Screen Video with QuickTime Player
How to Record Mac Screen Video with QuickTime Player

Starting with macOS Mojave, there is another method for recording video from the Mac screen, which we described here.

19.Precise control of volume and brightness of the screen

How precise volume control works on macOS
How precise volume control works on macOS

If you want to decrease the sound volume on the Mac just a little bit, while changing the parameter with the F11 or F12 keys, hold down the keyboard shortcut ⇧Shift + ⌥Option (Alt). This will decay the sound more slowly than with the normal Fn + F11 or F12 adjustment. The same trick can be done with the screen brightness (detail).

20. Proportional change of the sides of the window

Press and hold ⇧Shift + ⌥Option (Alt) while resizing your program window. This trick will resize it proportionally.

Resizing window sides proportionally on macOS
Resizing window sides proportionally on macOS

A detailed article on Windows and Tabs on Mac (macOS): how to enlarge, shrink, minimize, close, etc. you can find it here.

21. How to rename several files at once

How to rename a file on Mac (macOS)
How to rename a file on Mac (macOS)

To rename several (for example, a dozen) files or photos in Finder at once, select them, right-click and select Rename objects (number of objects).

How to rename a file on Mac (macOS)
How to rename a file on Mac (macOS)

Next, enter the new information in the appropriate lines (details).

22. Creating your own keyboard shortcuts

Mac keyboard shortcuts
Mac keyboard shortcuts

You can also create keyboard shortcuts for applications. To do this, go to System Preferences, select the Keyboard section, then Keyboard Shortcuts.

Creating your own keyboard shortcuts
Creating your own keyboard shortcuts

Add the program to the list of applications (if it is not there) using the "+" icon, then enter the name of the command for which you want to assign a keyboard shortcut (it must be written exactly the same as in the program itself, including the characters "…"). The last step is to assign a keyboard shortcut for an action in the program (in detail).

23. Voice search with Siri

Useful Siri commands for Mac (macOS) in Russian
Useful Siri commands for Mac (macOS) in Russian

Of course, talking to your computer in public is a weird thing. But if no one bothers you, then voice prompt is a great way to search for information on the Internet, find photos, messages and other files on your Mac. You can find the multicolored Siri voice assistant icon (the search works through it) on the right side of the menu bar.

How to make a call using Siri on iPhone or iPad
How to make a call using Siri on iPhone or iPad

See this page for examples of useful Siri commands on macOS.

24. Quick display of emoji and special characters in macOS

How to quickly trigger special characters on Mac (macOS)
How to quickly trigger special characters on Mac (macOS)

In order to throw emoji into notes or any other application, you need to click Edit → Emoji and Symbols or the complex keyboard shortcut Control (⌃) + Command (⌘) + Space.

But, as it turned out, if you often use symbols and emoji, then there is a much easier and faster way to select and insert the required characters. Open  → System Preferences… → Keyboard and in the “Keyboard” tab, check the box next to “Show Keyboard, Emoji, and Symbols in the Menu Bar”.

Display emoji and special characters quickly on macOS
Display emoji and special characters quickly on macOS

Now, by clicking on the icon for switching the language, in the menu bar you will see the item "Show panel" Emoji and symbols"

Display emoji and special characters quickly on macOS
Display emoji and special characters quickly on macOS

Another advantage is that you will open a full-size version of the Symbols window (detail).

Mac OS X
Mac OS X

25. Customize Finder to Your Taste

tags in Finder on Mac
tags in Finder on Mac

You probably noticed that there are sometimes icons in the Finder window and on the desktop that you may never use, for example, you do not want the icons of the connected CD, DVD or iPod to appear on the desktop or so that there is a folder in the side menu of the Finder explorer AirDrop or iCloud Drive that you never use.

Customizing the Finder to Your Taste
Customizing the Finder to Your Taste

To customize the Finder to your liking, go to Finder → Customize, or press Command (⌘) +, (comma).

Customizing the Finder to Your Taste
Customizing the Finder to Your Taste

26. Picture-in-picture mode in Safari browser

Picture-in-picture on Mac
Picture-in-picture on Mac

Safari has a picture-in-picture mode. It does not support all video sites - but when it works, it saves usable screen space a lot. To enable it, go to YouTube, for example, press and hold the Ctrl key and double-click the video to see the option to enter picture-in-picture mode (details).

Picture-in-picture on Mac
Picture-in-picture on Mac

27. Moving windows using the trackpad

How to select or move items on Mac without clicking on the trackpad
How to select or move items on Mac without clicking on the trackpad

When working with a mouse, everything is simple and clear, as in Windows - I took the title of the window and dragged it across the desktop. The trackpad on a MacBook (or purchased separately) allows you to do the same in two ways.

The first (the most famous) - pinned his finger on the title of the window and dragged. But the method is not very convenient due to the fact that you have to constantly hold your finger with effort on the trackpad.

The second one implements all the features of the trackpad, namely, touching three fingers at the same time. If you click on the title of a window with three fingers, you can drag it across the desktop.

To activate this feature, go to  → System Preferences… → Universal Access.

In the left column, select the "Mouse and Trackpad" section and tap on the "Trackpad Options" button.

How to enable three-finger drag on macOS
How to enable three-finger drag on macOS

Check the box next to Enable Drag and drop and select Three Finger Drag.

How to enable three-finger drag on macOS
How to enable three-finger drag on macOS

In the same way, you can drag and drop icons for files and applications (details).

28. How to enable dark theme on Mac

How to enable dark theme in macOS Mojave
How to enable dark theme in macOS Mojave

MacOS, starting with the Mojave version, also has a dark theme. To try it out, go to System Preferences → General, and then click on the icon with a dark theme.

Dark theme in macOS Mojave: how to enable
Dark theme in macOS Mojave: how to enable

There are other more convenient ways to activate the dark theme on macOS, we talked about them here.

29. Extending the capabilities of the tab key

In windows and dialogs, by default, pressing the TAB key moves the focus between text boxes and lists. You can expand the possibilities of such pressing if you go to  → System settings … → Keyboard → the "Keyboard shortcut" tab and put a full stop opposite the "All control objects" item. You will become much more likely to use the TAB key.

Extending the capabilities of the tab key
Extending the capabilities of the tab key

30. Stacks - quick organization of files on the desktop

Stacks in macOS Mojave
Stacks in macOS Mojave

Another new macOS feature is Stacks. They collect all of the same type (for example, images in.jpg" alt="Image

Stacks in macOS Mojave, or how to organize files on your desktop into neat groups
Stacks in macOS Mojave, or how to organize files on your desktop into neat groups

31. Quick jump to user library

To quickly go to the hidden user library folder (Library) in Explorer, open the "Go" menu and hold down the ⌥Option (Alt) key on your keyboard and an additional line with the inscription "Library" will immediately appear.

Bonus - some more very useful shortcuts for Mac

Switching between applications - ⌘Cmd + Tab;

Switching between open windows of the same application - ⌘Cmd + ~;

Switching between tabs in the browser (in the same window) - ⌘Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + Forward / Back arrows. Alternative solution - Ctrl + Tab to go forward, Ctrl + Tab + ⇧Shift to go backward.

See also:

  • Hotkeys for macOS everyone should know.
  • 4 ways to select (highlight) files on Mac (macOS).
  • How to automatically empty the Trash on Mac (macOS).

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