New Mac Tips

For all those new Mac owners out there after Christmas here is a list of some settings I typically toggle when setting up a new Mac.  

  • Spotlight - One of the greatest tools I use everyday on my Macs is Spotlight.  Just hit command+space bar or click the magnifying glass in the top right corner, and you will get a little search box.  You can type in the name of files, preference panels or apps in it to quickly launch them.  It can also be used as a calculator in a pinch.
  • Organize System Preferences Alphabetically
    1. Open System Preferences
    2. Under the view menu select “Organize Alphabetically”
  • Update clock to display day and date
    1. Open System Preferences
    2. Go to “Date & Time” preferences
    3. Go to the Clock tab
    4. Check the “Show day of the week” and “Show date” option
  • Move the Dock to the right (especially for MacBooks because that vertical real estate is limited)
    1. Open System Preferences
    2. Go to the “Dock” preferences
    3. Change the “Position on screen” to the “Right” option
    4. While your at it you may want to change the size so the Dock icons are smaller
    5. You can also drag items right off your dock if you don’t think you will use them very often
  • Apple Watch unlock (so you don’t have to type your password in every time)
    1. Open System Preferences
    2. Go to the “Security & Privacy” preferences
    3. Check the “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac”
  • Set up Time Machine for your back up
    1. Get an external hard drive (format it using Disk Utility) if it isn’t already
    2. Plug in the external hard drive
    3. Open System Preferences
    4. Go to the “Time Machine” preferences
    5. Click the “Select Disk…” to set your backup disk as your external drive
    6. Check the “Backup Automatically” checkbox
    7. Check the “Show Time Machine in menu bar” so you can easily keep an eye on it
    8. Now your computer will be backed up whenever the drive is attached and you also have the ability to go back in time and restore files you may have accidentally deleted.
  • Enable iCloud Features
    1. If you have an iPhone or iPad you will most certainly want to sign in with your iCloud account
    2. Open System Preferences
    3. Go to the iCloud preferences
    4. Log in to your iCloud account
    5. I usually turn on all the different features like Photos, Mail, Contacts, etc…
    6. iCloud Drive has a feature from a couple years ago is the iCloud Drive syncing of your Desktop and Documents folder.  Once you turn that on any files you add to your Desktop or UserName/Documents folder will automatically be synced to iCloud and available from the Files app on your iPhone or iPad.
    7.  In the Messages app you can go to Preferences and go to the iMessage panel. There is an option to “Enable Messages in iCloud” which will put all your Messages in the cloud so they will be accessible from your Mac as well as your iOS devices.
    8. Set up Photos to so you can get your photo library from your iPhone on your computer (if you pay for iCloud Storage of course)
  • Finder Preferences - Some simple changes that make Finder more useful
    1. Open a new Finder window (click on the little Face icon at the end or the dock).  This is how you navigate the file system on macOS
    2. By default every new Finder window defaults to the “Recents” view which shows all the recently used files.  I find this to be less than useful.  If you open Preferences in the Finder menu you can change the “New Finder windows show:” option to either be Documents or your home folder (the one with your name)