Three Useful Features on Your Mac
The Mac is a popular computer for those who are purchasing a computer for the first time or for those who simply like an easy and intuitive user experience. In addition to the Mac's pleasing user interface and great sense of design, the Mac comes with some features that are often overlooked, but which can greatly enhance your experience and productivity.
1. Get familiar with System Preferences
System Preferences for your Mac is equivalent to the cockpit for airplanes. System preferences makes sure that everything if functioning to your specifications, so you are prepared to take flight into the many journeys you will explore on your Mac. To access it, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner and select "System Preferences."
- General - The Mac experience starts with the visuals. Under general, you can define the appearance for your buttons, menus, and windows, chose a highlight color, size of sidebar icon, and how you want scroll bars to function. This section also let’s you set up your default browser which is a priority for most computer owners.
- Security and Privacy - This is important for a variety of reasons that pertain to FileVault, Firewall, and Privacy, but for those who are just getting started, this is where you can set up a login password. You can require how long your computer will sleep before signing in and whether or not you would like to sign in using your Apple Watch. Since Apple is concerned with protecting your security, you will have the option to select “App Store and identified developers” when downloading third party apps that are not downloaded through the Mac App Store.
- Mission Control - This feature is a must for Mac users, especially when accessing multiple open applications. Here you can control settings for arranging apps based on recent usage, switching to a space with open windows, grouping windows by applications and having the option to have separates for each application.
System Preferences is indispensable, so you want to take time to review this entire section, but most importantly Network for Wi-Fi, Internet Accounts for social media connections, and Users and Groups if you would like the computer to be shared.
2. Get the most out of your track pad
The track pad is the perfect tool for swiping between applications, scrolling through web pages, browsing finder windows, and navigating between desktops. While it can be daunting trying to understand all the things your Mac has to offer or how to integrate new features into your routine workflows, the track pad's functionality is easy to grasp because Apple provides video tutorials right inside your Mac. Visiting System Preferences," click on "Trackpad." You will find three main menus for "Point and Click," "Scroll and Zoom," and "Other Gestures."
- Point and click let's you choose two or three fingers as a tapping gesture to access quick data points (e.g. looking up the definition of word on the web).
- Scroll and Zoom lets you control the direction of scrolling, and whether or not you want to use two fingers to pinch and zoom in, double tap for smart zoom, or rotate objects.
- "Other Gestures" cover a wider range of functions, including using two fingers to swipe between pages (very useful for browsing through web pages); swiping between full screen apps; swiping from the left of your screen to bring up notifications; using a four finger swipe upwards to bring up mission control; pinching inward with your thumb and three fingers to bring up launchpad (an iOS view of your apps); and pinching outward with your thumb and three fingers to view your desktop.
3. Use multiple desktops
Mission control and launchpad are great for accessing applications, especially when you have many open at the same time, but multiple desktops offer a more efficient use of space when open applications increase in number. If you are unsure what it means to have multiple desktops, use mission control to spread out your open applications. Along the very top, you will see "Desktop 1." Use two or three fingers to drag one of your floating applications to the far right along the top. A plus symbol will automatically appear, prompting you to place that application in a separate desktop window. By choosing to organize your apps in this way, you can take full advantage of using multiple full screen apps at one time, or by simply accessing any open apps in separate windows for easier access and navigation.
Once you become familiar with System Preferences, your track pad's functionality, and how to use multiple desktops, you will have the perfect ingredients for priming the canvas of your computer work space, thereby making masterful use of your Mac and everything it has to offer.