New to Mac OS? Learn How to Use a Mac With These Top Tips and Tricks

By on September 2, 2020

If you’ve just purchased a new Mac or you’ve been using a Windows machine for a long time, there is a good chance you’re not familiar with some aspects of your new computer. Apple builds a lot of useful functionality into its machines. Knowing what they offer can make your life with your computer even better.

We want you to learn how to use a Mac in the best possible way. We want you to be efficient, effective, and save you time and effort. This is what the following tips and tricks are all about.

So, read on to find out about some of the best, hidden gems packed into a Mac.

Use Spotlight

One of the best features of Mac OS is Spotlight. This functionality is, essentially, a full search engine for your Mac. Hit Command and Space to bring it up. Or you can click the magnifying icon at the top right of your screen.

From Spotlight, you can search all your files. You can ask questions about your Mac or use it as a regular search engine. You can also find and open apps or even use it as a quick calculator.

It’s fully customizable, too. So, if Spotlight is bringing you search results that don’t help you, tweak the parameters so that it works better for you. Choose Apple Menu, System Preferences, Spotlight to get into the settings.

Reset Your Password When Locked Out

Hopefully, it won’t happen too often, but it’s worth knowing what to do if you forget your Mac password. Recovery mode is something you should know as you learn to use a Mac.

For recovery mode, turn off your Mac. Press and hold Command and R and then press the on button. Keep holding Command and R until the progress bar comes on.

Once you can, click Utilities in the menu bar. Then choose Terminal. In the window that appears, type “resetpassword” with no spaces.

Close out that window the reset password tool will be ready for you to use. The tool shows you all your accounts so you can reset the password as you wish.

Devise Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the great things about owning a Mac is all the keyboard shortcuts. There are lots of standard shortcuts that mean you don’t need to keep moving your hand to a mouse. But when you learn how to use a Mac, you’ll discover that you can create your own shortcuts, too.

To create your own, click System Preferences and then Keyboard. Then choose Shortcuts and then App Shortcuts. Once you have navigated through to this section, click the + sign.

From that point, you can access the app you want to set up a shortcut for. Maybe you want easy access to the Task Manager app, for example. And, if you’re not familiar yet with Task Manager, here’s an in-depth guide to check out:

Keyboard Tricks

The keyboard really is your friend on a Mac. Not only can you set up your own shortcuts, but there are also lots of tricks to learn, too. A great example of these handy tricks is the alternate mouse control.

You can choose to use your keyboard to control your mouse or cursor. This option is called alternate mouse control. It’s a great choice for people who find moving a mouse painful or difficult.

Click the Accessibility app to start making the changes to your system.

Click the Pointer Control option. Choose the Alternate Control Methods option. Click Enable Mouse Keys.

You’re going to choose to turn on the mouse keys when Option is pressed five times. Selecting this choice means that if you press Option on the keyboard five times in a row you will be able to move the mouse using the keyboard.

Make Your Force Touch Trackpad Work For You

If you’re not familiar with the Mac trackpad it’s worth focusing on how best to use it when you learn how to use a Mac. It functions differently to most trackpads on Windows operating systems.

The Mac trackpad offers users a lot of functionality that you will quickly learn to enjoy. It makes you more efficient as you work.

Quick Looks is one of these trackpad functions. The Quick Look is a sort of preview button. Click and hold on the trackpad over something you’re interested in on a website, like a link or some piece of content.

You’ll get a small preview pop up on your screen of what you will see if you click through to that link or content.

The trackpad also operates as a dictionary. Simply highlight the word on the screen you want more information about. Then press down on the force touch trackpad. You’ll see the dictionary definition pop up for you to read.

If you want to rename a folder or a file, just use the quick option on the trackpad. Hold down on the trackpad on the name of the folder or file. You’ll have the option to rename it right there and then.

You can also use the force touch trackpad to preview folders and files just like you can with website links and content.

Take a Screenshot

Screenshots are so handy and the Mac makes them easy to take. And it isn’t just the accessible icon on the menu bar.

There is, of course, a handy keyboard shortcut for a screenshot. Just press Shift, Command, and 3. That takes a quick screenshot.

Shift, Command, and 4 sets you up to choose the part of the screen you want to capture. But Shift, Command, and 5 is less well known. This shortcut records your screen in video format!

To make sure you grab the correct thing on your screen, press the spacebar when you’re holding Shift, Command, and 4. This option allows you to choose any window you have open. That means you’ll only get that window in your screenshot.

Learn How to Use a Mac 

There are so many hidden features and useful functionality in your new Mac. So it’s important you learn how to use a Mac. As you can see from this shortlist, Apple tries to make their Macs user-friendly and efficient.

From easy access to many operations through keyboard shortcuts to full search functionality and a clever trackpad, your Mac has it all. It’s time to start playing around and see what things you can learn.

For more great tips and tricks about technology check out our blog today. We’ve also got great articles on education, health, and more.

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