How to quickly open any system preferences in macOS – 5 ways


The sophisticated, multi-faceted mechanism of Mac operating system settings comes with a native, friendly user interface. To get comfortable in MacOS System Preferences, a person needs to remember just a few rules.

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Using the context menu in the Dock

Searching in System Preferences on macOS

With the classic, alphabetical approach, we use the Dock panel to open the standard application System settings entirely and only then we begin to scour it in search of the desired section. However, if you clearly know which parameter you want to adjust and where the corresponding switch is located, you can skip a couple of unnecessary steps.

  • Right click on the icon System settings at the Dock. After a moment, a pop-up window will appear with the main menu items.
  • Select the required section. The system will immediately open a window with the selected setting, bypassing the intermediate stages.

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Hidden Show All button option

Searching in System Preferences on macOS

By default, click on this menu item System settings returns us to the basic menu (performs the function of the Back button), where all the sections are presented. But you can do otherwise – using the “press and hold” combination – it will lead to a drop-out of the context menu with a list of all available settings branches.

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Using the search box

Searching in System Preferences on macOS

In the upper right corner of the window, there is an analogue of the magic wand for those who are lost in the jungle of macOS settings. To use it, it is not even necessary to master the terminology perfectly, the system is smart enough to recognize the essence of the appeal as you enter the words of the query and offer a quick transition to the desired section.

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Using Spotlight

Searching in System Preferences on macOS

The proprietary search service in macOS duplicates the functions of local menus, allowing you to find and quickly activate the necessary switch right from the desktop.

  • Launch Spotlight with a combination of buttons ctrl + Space, enter the required text in the query field. The same search rules apply here as in the standard System Preferences window – the system is user-friendly and automatically selects the appropriate answer options.
  • Spotlight’s coverage is wide, so the SERP is unlikely to be empty.

Additional advice: System preferences aren’t always a priority when using Spotlight, and sometimes the exact opposite. In order not to get confused in the mass of search results, it is sometimes advisable to narrow down the search area. To do this, we visit all the same System settings, chapter Spotlight, subsection searching results, where we select unused items and uncheck them.

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Using keyboard function keys

Certain function keys on your Mac keyboard can also be used to trigger settings for related functions, you just need to add a keystroke ⌥Option (Alt)… For example, the combination F1 + ⌥Option (Alt) or F2 + ⌥Option (Alt) will open the monitor settings, F3 + ⌥Option (Alt) – Mission Control settings, F10 (or F11 or F12) + ⌥Option (Alt) serves to call up sound settings.

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