Mac for Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips for Beginners

Mac for Dummies: 30 Useful MacOS Tips for Beginners All Apple NEWS

Not always the default settings make everyday work with the operating system as convenient and efficient as possible. In this article, we’ve compiled 30 helpful macOS setup tips that can be useful for both novice and experienced Mac users.

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Steve Jobs spent a considerable part of his life making Macs as easy to use as possible — but many of the really useful “tricks” remained unobvious.

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

By default, the right mouse button of the Magic Mouse in macOS is generally disabled, which is very surprising for new Mac users, and the speed of the cursor leaves much to be desired. In order to configure both of these parameters, go to  → System Settings …MouseSelect and press.

Mac OS X

Here we put a tick in front of the second paragraph “Simulate the right button (click on the right)“, And below there is a speed control, unscrewing to the right which, we get just the reactive speed of the cursor on the display.

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

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 panel to the left or right of the display. Thus, the working part of the window will increase in many applications, for example in Safari, the page width is not as important as the height.

To configure the Dock, go to  → System Settings …Dock and in the column “Screen layout“Put a point opposite”Left” or “On right“.

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

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3. Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

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

Go to  → System Settings …Dock and check the box next to “Hide window in the Dock in the program icon“.

Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

After that, by clicking on the “Collapse“, The thumbnail will not be created if the program icon is already in the Dock.

Minimize application windows to an icon in the Dock

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4. Spotlight – macOS Search Engine

Spotlight mac

The easiest way to get things done on your Mac faster is to use Spotlight Search. Just hit the keyboard shortcut ⌘Cmd + Space (some may have Ctrl + Space), and you can instantly find files, open applications, search the Internet (yes, it’s not necessary to open a browser for this) or throughout the computer.

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

Spotlight mac

You can read more about Mac search options in this article.

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5. Lost your cursor?

How to enable or disable the cursor zoom feature 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 (in detail).

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6. Analogue Ctrl + Alt + Delete on Mac

Ctrl + Alt + Del on Mac OS X

This combination of Windows does not work on Mac, but there is a great alternative – click ⌘Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + Esc, and immediately get access to the menu for the forced closure of “hung” programs (in detail).

If you are looking for an analogue Task manager from Windows to Mac, this article tells you how to find it.

How to open Task Manager on Mac

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7. Deleting files using hotkeys

Still deleting files on Mac by dragging them to the icon Baskets? There is a way to do the same a little faster – ⌘Cmd + Delete.

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

how to take a screenshot on mac

To take a screenshot of the entire screen, click ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + 3to select a specific area – ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + 4. By the way, these and many other keyboard shortcuts on Mac can be easily changed “for you” in the settings (section Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts)

With macOS Mojave, Apple’s desktop operating system has a new screenshot tool.

How to take a screenshot using the screen capture program on macOS

We talked about it in detail in this material.

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

defaults write disable-shadow -bool true

killall SystemUIServer

The shadow will no longer bother you.

P. S .: To return everything to its original position, replace true on the false.

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9. Moving application windows in the background

Moving windows in the background

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

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10. Startup on Mac

How to display only open applications in the macOS Dock

You can specify a set of applications that will load immediately after turning on your Mac. To do this, go to System Preferences → Users and Groups → Entities tab and uncheck / checkmark (detail).

How to add or remove programs from Mac startup

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

If you need a letter Ё – just press and hold the Russian letter on the keyboard E, and after you see a help window, press the number on the keyboard “1”.

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12. How do I check if my Bluetooth headset is connected to my Mac?

There is a reliable way to check if music starts playing accidentally from the speakers of your Mac. 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 (a checkmark opposite the name of the device) whether your headphones are connected to the Mac right now.

How to check if bluetooth headphones are connected to Mac?

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13. How to automatically hide the menu bar on a Mac

How to automatically hide menu bar on Mac

Speaking of the menu bar – if it bothers you (for example, you don’t like that it takes up useful space on the screen), you can configure it so that it appears only when necessary. To do this, go to System Settings → General, and check the box next to Hide and show the menu bar automatically (in detail).

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

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

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

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

Split View Mode on Mac

For work you need two programs at the same time? No problem – at the top of the window, press and hold the rightmost (most often green) button for 2 seconds. Choose the second program from among the already open ones – and enjoy working in a “clean” interface without distracting details.

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

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16. Active angles on Mac

Mac OS X

Function Active angles allows you to hover over a specific corner of the screen and instantly do things like minimize all open windows, open Mission control, Command centre or put the display to sleep mode. You can set active angles in the menu of the same name (System Preferences → Mission Control)

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17. Use the Viewer to view and edit images.

How to convert photos to jpg, png, gif, tiff, bmp formats on Mac

Standard program View allows you to not only view images, but also edit them – resize, crop, add comments and even change the format.

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

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

How to record video from a Mac screen (macOS)

The built-in QuickTime Player has the ability to record an audio or video file that is currently playing 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 video from a Mac screen using QuickTime Player

Starting with macOS Mojave, there’s another way that we talked about here for recording video from a Mac screen.

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19. Exact adjustment of volume and brightness of the screen

How fine volume control works on macOS

If you want to reduce the sound volume on the Mac just a little bit, when changing a parameter using the F11 or F12 buttons, hold down the key combination ⇧Shift + ⌥Option (Alt). This will reduce the sound more slowly than with normal adjustments. Fn + f11 or F12. The same trick can be done with screen brightness (in detail).

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20. Proportional change in the sides of the window

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

Proportionally changing the sides of the window on macOS

A detailed article on windows and tabs on Mac (macOS): how to enlarge, reduce, minimize, close, etc. You can find it here.

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21. How to rename several files at once

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)

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

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22. Creating your own keyboard shortcuts

Mac keyboard shortcuts

You can also create keyboard shortcuts for applications. To do this, go to System settings, Choose a section Keyboard, Further Keyboard shortcuts.

Create 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 should be written exactly the same as in the program itself, including the characters “…”). The last step is to assign a keyboard shortcut to an action in the program (in detail).

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23. Voice Search with Siri

Useful Siri Commands for Mac (macOS) in Russian

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

How to call using Siri on iPhone or iPad

Examples of useful Siri commands on macOS can be found on this page.

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24. Quickly display emojis and special characters on macOS

How to quickly trigger special characters on Mac (macOS)

In order to put emoji in notes or some other application, you must click EditEmoji and characters or a complex key combination Control (⌃) + Command (⌘) + Space.

But, as it turned out, if you often use symbols and emojis, then there is a much simpler and faster way to select and insert the required characters. Open  → System Settings …Keyboard and in the tab “Keyboard“Check the box next to”Show Keyboard Panels“,”Emoji“And”Symbols “in the menu bar“.

Fast display of emojis and special characters on macOS

Now, by clicking on the language switching icon, in the menu bar you will see the item “Show Emoji & Symbols panel“”.

Fast display of emojis and special characters on macOS

Another advantage is that you open the full-size version of the “Characters“(In detail).

Mac OS X

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25. Setting Finder to your taste

tags in Finder on Mac

Surely you noticed that the Finder window and the desktop sometimes have icons that you can never use, for example, you don’t want the icons of the connected CD, DVD or iPod to appear on the desktop, or there should be a folder in the side menu of the Finder Explorer AirDrop or iCloud Drive that you never use.

Finder Customization

To customize the Finder to your taste, go to the menu FinderCustomization or press key combination Command (⌘) + , (comma).

Finder Customization

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26. Picture-in-Picture Mode in Safari

Picture-in-Picture on Mac

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

Picture-in-Picture on Mac

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27. Moving windows using the trackpad

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

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

The first (most famous) – clamped a finger on the window title 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 window title with three fingers, you can drag it around the desktop.

To activate this feature, go to  → System Settings …Universal access.

In the left column, select the “Mouse and trackpad“And tap on the button”Trackpad Options“.

How to enable three-finger drag on macOS

Check the box next to “Enable Drag“And select”Three-finger drag“.

How to enable three-finger drag on macOS

In the same way, you can drag and drop the icons of files and applications (in detail).

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28. How to enable a dark theme on Mac

How to enable dark theme in macOS Mojave

On macOS, starting with the Mojave version, there is a dark theme. To try it out, go to System Settings → General, and then click on the icon with a dark theme.

Dark theme in macOS Mojave: how to enable

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

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29. Expanding the capabilities of the tab key

In windows and dialogs, by default, pressing the TAB button moves the focus between text blocks and lists. You can expand the possibilities of such a click if you go to  → System Settings …Keyboard → tab “Keyboard shortcut“And put a point opposite the paragraph”All management objects“. You will become much more likely to use the TAB key.

Extending the Tab Key


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30. Stack: organizzazione rapida dei file sul desktop

Un’altra nuova funzionalità di macOS è Stacks. Raccolgono tutti lo stesso tipo (ad esempio, immagini in formato .jpeg, documenti in .doc, ecc.) In cartelle. Per iniziare a utilizzare Stack, fai semplicemente clic con il pulsante destro del mouse sul desktop e seleziona l’opzione Stack in stack (in dettaglio).

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31. Passaggio rapido alla libreria utente

Per andare rapidamente alla cartella utente nascosta della libreria (Libreria) in Explorer, apri il menu Vai e tieni premuto il tasto pOpzione (Alt) sulla tastiera e apparirà immediatamente una riga aggiuntiva con la scritta “Libreria”.

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Bonus: alcune scorciatoie molto più utili per Mac

Passaggio da un’applicazione all’altra – ⌘Cmd + Tab;

Commutazione tra finestre aperte della stessa applicazione – ⌘Cmd + ~;

Passare da una scheda all’altra nel browser (nella stessa finestra) – ⌘Cmd + ⌥Opzione (Alt) + Frecce Avanti / Indietro. Una soluzione alternativa è Ctrl + Tab per andare avanti, Ctrl + Tab + ⇧Maiusc per tornare indietro.

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