10 Must-Know Mac Tricks and Tips for Complete Beginners

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Tech-giant Apple has been growing steadily since its inception in 1976. But making the switch from PC to Mac can be intimidating at first.

Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks that can help ease your transition. Read on to learn 10 Mac tips that will make you an Apple pro before you know it!

1Spotlight

One of the best features that MacOS has to offer is Spotlight, a search function that looks through your entire computer’s contents, including apps, documents, and other files.

Using Spotlight, you can search for whatever you might need, including things like “messages from John” or “photos from 2018.” Whatever your needs are, Spotlight’s got your back.

You can also use Spotlight for unit conversions (like meters to feet) or some calculations. Spotlight is a personal assistant, filing system, and calculator, all rolled into one convenient package!

To try it today, simply hold down the Command key while hitting the space bar. A search bar should show up in the middle of your screen so you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

2Time Machine

Another great thing about Macs is that they include a feature called Time Machine, which is a built-in backup creator. That way, you never have to worry about losing your files.

It’s always a good idea to have a backup, but it’s easy to forget to back up your machine manually, or even find the time to do so. That’s what makes Time Machine so great.

With Time Machine, all of your backups will be quick and painless. Simply connect an external storage device like an external hard drive, open Time Machine, and select that storage device as your default backup.

Once you’ve done that, Time Machine will automatically start backing up your machine every now and then. The first backup might be a bit lengthy, but after your files are established, the subsequent updates to your backup should be speedy quick.

3System Updates

One of the things that people love about Apple is that they’re always coming up with bug fixes and even new features for your machine, even if you bought it years ago. To make sure you’re always ahead of the curve, it’s especially important to keep up with the frequent operating system updates that will pop up.

To update your Mac, just click on the notification in the top right corner of your screen. If you don’t see a notification, click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen. From the dropdown menu, click “System Preferences,” and then click “Software Update.”

4Sync Up Your Apple Devices

With the rise in popularity of other Apple devices like Apple Watches and iPhones, Mac users frequently take advantage of the continuity that Apple provides between its devices.

For example, if you save your desktop files on your iCloud account, you’ll be able to access those files on any of your Apple devices, making your files more accessible than ever.

Another great tool that Apple has developed is called Handoff. Handoff is a feature that allows you to start an action on one device and finish it on another. For example, if you read a text on your phone, you can open your computer and respond on that device instead.

5Superior Drag and Drop

Another important Mac tip to know is how you can use drag and drop to your advantage. On a Mac, you can drag or drop things from any app into another app.

For example, you can select a Word document in Microsoft Word and drag and drop it onto your desktop. Talk about convenience!

6Hidden Trackpad Gestures

If you’re using a Mac that has a trackpad, you’ll definitely want to learn some of the built-in trackpad shortcuts that Apple has concocted.

For example, using three fingers to swipe up will show you all your open windows and desktops. Three fingers swiping to the left or right will swap between desktops or full-screened apps. For even more options, open your System Preferences and enable some extra gestures to streamline your Mac experience.

7Ctrl + Alt + Del? Try Cmd + Opt + Esc!

One of the most popular Windows keyboard shortcuts of all time is the famous Control + Alt + Delete combo. These three keys, when held down together, open up the Task Manager, where you can manually quit apps that are otherwise frozen.

Macs, luckily, have a similar feature. However, every new Mac user should know that the keys you’ll use are a little bit different.

Instead of the traditional three keys, try holding down the Command key and Option key while pressing the Escape key. This should yield the same result.

Is one specific application freezing up your Mac? You may need to uninstall on Mac.

8Taking Full Screenshots

“Screenshot” does exactly what its name says: it takes a shot (or picture) of your screen, allowing users to quickly send pictures that appear on their screen. It’s also helpful if you need to quickly save data, such as a confirmation number or order receipt.

To take a screenshot of your entire screen, just press and hold Command + Shift + 3.

9Taking Partial Screenshots

If you only want to take a photo of part of your screen, Macs can do that too! Just press and hold Command + Shift + 4 and then click and drag to create a box to indicate what your photo will include.

10Screen Record in Quicktime

Sometimes a screenshot just won’t cut it! To take a video recording of your screen, open the Quicktime application to create a screen recording. Then, navigate to the “File” tab on your toolbar and select “New Screen Recording.”

Other Mac Tips

These ten mac tips are only a sampling of the many, many awesome features that MacOS allows its users. If you’re looking for more tech tips, check out our other blog posts to learn more!

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