Master Your Mac: 8 Essential Tips for New Users

Written by Kevin Liew on 08 May 2023
39,112 Views • Techniques

Switching to MacOS can be challenging, especially if you have been using a different system for a long time. Whether your macOS device is an iMac, MacBook Pro, or another model, this sophisticated yet user-friendly powerhouse can be a great addition to your tech arsenal. However, mastering the ins and outs of Apple's operating system takes some learning and practice. Here are tips to help you get the most out of your Mac.

Use the Dock

The dock is a great way to access your favorite apps or files quickly. You can add items to the dock by dragging them from Finder or the Applications folder and dropping them onto the dock. You can also make folders in the dock by dragging one item onto another, creating a folder with both items inside. 

To remove an item from the dock, click and hold on an icon until all items jiggle. Then click the small x at the top of each icon to delete it. It is also easy to rearrange the order of your items in the dock by clicking and dragging one onto another.

This feature can make it easier to access everything you need quickly and easily from the dock, making your workflow faster and more efficient. You can also customize the size of the icons in the dock by right-clicking on an icon, selecting Options, and then selecting a size. 

Get Familiar With the Finder

The Finder is the default file manager on your Mac, where you'll find all of the files, folders, and applications stored on your system. Familiarizing yourself with the Finder is essential to mastering your Mac because it's one of the most powerful tools. To access the Finder, click on the Finder icon in your dock. On the left side of the Finder, you'll find a list of different places such as Applications, Documents, and Downloads. It is a good place to start your research.

You can also use Finder to create new folders, rename files or delete items you no longer need. To accomplish this, right-click on an item and select the desired action from the menu. The Finder also allows you to search for items using the magnifying glass icon at the top of the Finder window, which is helpful if you can't find something or if it's been moved to another location.

Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a great way to become more efficient with your Mac and save time. Once you start using them, they will quickly become part of your routine. The most common keyboard shortcut is the Command + C and Command + V combination, which copies and pastes text. Other shortcuts include Command+Z for undoing an action, Command + F for finding text, and Command+S for saving a document. You can even create custom keyboard shortcuts in the Mac System Preferences menu.

Another useful shortcut is taking screenshots of your screen, particularly for tutorials or troubleshooting. To do this, press Command+Shift+3 and take a screenshot of the whole screen. Alternatively, one can choose Command+Shift+4 to select a specific area of your screen to capture. You can also use the extend Raycast to easily and quickly create custom shortcuts for websites or documents you often use, saving you time and streamlining your workflow. 

Use Split View

Split View is an incredibly useful feature on Macs that allows you to view two apps side by side. This can be helpful if you must multitask or compare information between different applications. To use Split View, open both apps and locate them on opposite sides of the screen. Choose one app and select either Tile Window to the Left side of the Screen or Tile Window to the right. Your chosen app will fill that side of the screen. Click the other app on the opposite side of the screen for it to fill the other half. It's that easy. When you're done, click the green bubble or press Esc on your keyboard to exit Split View.

Force Quit an App

Sometimes apps can freeze or become unresponsive, causing them to stop working. This can be incredibly frustrating, but if it happens, you can force quit the app to restart it. To do this, press Command+Option+Escape on your keyboard, and a Force Quit window will appear with a list of all open applications. Select the app that is not working correctly and click Force Quit. It will close the app and allow you to reopen it fresh. Force quitting an app is a great way to quickly get things up and running again when something isn't working properly.

Use Multitouch Gestures

Multitouch gestures are a powerful way to access different functions and tools on your Mac quickly. Multitouch gestures allow you to simultaneously use two, three, or four fingers to perform various actions, such as zooming in or out of an image, scrolling through documents, and more. Most Apple trackpads are already configured to take advantage of multitouch gestures, and you can customize them in the settings. Take your time and get to know different gestures. It will make navigating and using your Mac much easier.

Find Apps That Aren't On the Dock

The dock is the launcher on your Mac that allows you to access your apps quickly, but it may not include all the apps you have installed. If you want to find an app that isn't in the dock, there are a few different ways. First, you can use Spotlight Search if you know the app's name or even a part of it. If it's installed on your system, Spotlight will find it. You can also use Finder to find apps that aren't in the dock. Open Finder and click Applications in the left-hand sidebar. Here, you can browse through all the apps installed on your system quickly.

Swap Between Apps

As a Mac user, you probably have multiple apps running simultaneously, making it difficult to navigate between them quickly. Luckily, by holding down the Cmd key and pressing the Tab key, you can cycle through all the running apps without using your mouse or trackpad. Keep pressing Tab until you find the app you would like to switch to, then release both keys to make the switch. This feature is a real-time-saver, especially when working on multiple projects at once and switching between apps frequently.

These are just some of the many useful tips and tricks that Mac users should know. Mastering a few simple commands makes working on your Mac much easier and more efficient. No matter if you're a newbie or an advanced user, these simple tips and tricks will help you use all Mac advantages to the fullest. 

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