If you’ve just gotten a brand new Mac, whether it’s a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac, there are various universal settings and features you should consider from the start . If you’re feeling a little confused by macOS – if you’ve only used Windows, for example – some of these can also help you adjust to the new operating system. A few tweaks here and there can also make a big difference in how you use your Mac, making your computing time seem smoother and more productive.
Here we present 11 tips for setting up your new Mac, none of which will cost you a cent but all of which could prove their weight in gold. By following them, you will ensure that you are up to date and able to use your data from the past. You will also find that navigation is easier and information is much more easily accessible at your fingertips.
11 Tips for Setting Up Your New Mac
These tips are based on macOS Sonoma. Some features are not available for older operating systems.
1. Take a screenshot or record the screen
It’s very easy to take a screenshot on a Mac with the built-in screenshot tool in macOS. The method you choose, however, depends on what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want to take a screenshot of the entire screen, you need to press Command+Shift+3 on your keyboard. If you prefer to take a screenshot of a section of the screen, you press Command+Shift+4 on your keyboard then click and drag the pointer around the part you want to capture – just let go to take the hit.
Additional options are available, including the ability to record the Mac screen. For that, press Command+Shift+5, select a recording option And click Save. You can then click Stop When you have finished.
Complete guide: How to take a screenshot on a Mac
2. How to force shutdown on Mac
If an app crashes or isn’t working properly and you just want to pull the plug completely, a force shutdown will do the trick. There are several ways to do this.
You could right-click an app in the Dock (learn how to right click on mac if you are not sure), then select Force Quit.
You could also click on the Apple logo at the top left of the screen, select Force Quit And choose the app you want to stop.
Or, for an open application, hold Command+Shift+Option And click Escape.
Complete guide: How to Force Shutdown on Mac
3. Use split screen
The split-screen option is perfect for multitasking, allowing two apps to run simultaneously, side-by-side on your Mac’s screen. Rather than worrying about resizing windows, you allow both applications to fill their portion of their screen.
Simply open two or more apps. SO hover over the green full screen button on a single application and click on the tiled window on the left/right of the screen. Following, select another app on the other side of the screen. This application will appear next to the first one. You can drag the slider to the middle to adjust the space each app is allowed to occupy. Press Esc to exit split-screen mode.
Complete guide: How to split your screen on Mac
4. Control your Mac from your iPhone
If you own a Mac, it’s also likely that you have an iPhone, and if that’s the case, you’ll be able to get even more out of your computer. Your iPhone will allow you to access your Mac when you’re on the go. Simply set up your computer using Google’s Remote Desktop app.
Rather than trying to explain everything here because it’s a relatively complex process, you should check out our comprehensive guide. Suffice to say that you will be able to remotely connect to your Mac and control it. You can also access files on your devices if you use cloud storage apps like iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Drive.
Complete guide: how to remotely control your Mac from your iPhone or iPad
5. Add widgets to desktops
With macOS Sonoma, it’s now possible to add widgets, including interactive widgets, to your Mac desktop, so why not get started right away and find the ones you’ll find useful. Click on the date and time in the upper right corner to display the Notification Center, then scroll down And select Edit widgets. You can now browse available widgets And drag the desired widgets to the desktop.
Complete guide: how to use macOS widgets
6. Configure Safari Profiles
With Safari 17 and later, you can create separate profiles and group websites depending on the situation. You can have Safari profiles for family members or – meaning they will have their own histories, tabs, tab groups and favorites – or for personal and professional use. These can be created in Safari itself so open the Safari app SO select Safari And click Create profile. Select Start using profiles And add profile name, customize profile icon And select how you want to display favorites. Click Create Profile and you will find the different ones located towards the left of the Safari pane.
7. Turn your most used websites into apps
If you use websites regularly (tomsguide.com perhaps), you can turn them into apps that can be placed in the Dock. With macOS Sonoma, all you have to do is access a website, click File And select Add to Dock. Give the app a name And select Add. When you launch the application you have just created, you will see that it looks like an application with its own navigation buttons and toolbar.
8. Enable Hot Corners
Hot corners are very useful and you only realize how useful they are once you start using the feature. It allows you to assign functions to the corner of each screen, making it easier to lock the screen, put the Mac to sleep or launch functions and applications, for example. You must configure them beforehand in order to click on the Apple logo in the upper left corner and select System Settings. NOW choose Desktop and Dock And scroll to bottom has click on Hot Corners. You can now use the drop-down menus to select a function for each corner of the screen and click Done. When you hover over these corners, the function will be activated.
9. Find the emoji keyboard on Mac
You’ll definitely know where your Mac’s keyboard is: it’s right in front of you when you use your computer. But, in addition to being able to type letters, numbers and symbols, you can also use an emoji keyboard.
To get there, press Ctrl+Command+Space. The emoji keyboard will then appear. You can click on an emoji to add it to a document or you can use the search bar if you can’t find what you want.
10. Activate Batteries
You can organize files into groups using Stacks on your desktop. For example, you can group all your images together and have documents in another stack, ready to be clicked and expanded. You will need to enable the feature, however. SO click on desktop And select Show. NOW click Use batteries. Your files will be instantly stacked, creating a neater desktop.
11. Turn off Hey Siri
Hey, Siri is really helpful. It lets you ask a bunch of questions and accomplish tasks. But it can also be really annoying if you have an iPhone or iPad: issuing a command on one of those devices could accidentally disable Siri on your Mac. You can disable Hey Siri if you click on the Apple icon, select System Settings, choose Siri and SpotlightAnd disable Ask Siri.
There you have it: 11 tips for setting up your new Mac! You can also dig deeper into your Mac by trying 18 macOS Terminal Commands to Make You a Power User. You can also learn to set default apps on Mac discover how to show hidden files on Mac and discover how to clear cache on Mac.
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