New to macOS? Here’s What You Need to Know to Get Started

So you finally bought a Mac and now looking to learn the ways to get started. macOS is known for its simple and user-centric interface, so you will easily adjust to the new operating system in no time. 

This article is the beginner’s guide to help them learn the basics and get acquainted with macOS and Mac, of course. Let’s first understand what macOS is and how it is different. 

An Introduction to macOS

macOS is the operating system that comes integrated within Apple computers, including desktops and laptops. Unlike Windows, which is available on multiple devices from multiple brands, macOS comes only with Apple computers. 

Most users prefer Apple devices because both the hardware and software are developed by Apple. So, it is evident that the software is designed keeping in mind the hardware requirement and vice-versa.

The operating system receives security updates often along with one major upgrade every year. Earlier known as Mac OS X with the first launch (10.0) in 2001, it is now referred to as macOS and has come a long way with the current version Monterey (12.0).

The latest version of macOS allows access to power features such as SharePlay in FaceTime that allows multiple users to watch videos together on separate devices, snipping tool shortcut that enables you to capture screenshots natively, syncing data between Apple devices, and more. 

How to Set Up Your New Mac?

Setting up your new Mac computer will take nothing more than 20 minutes and time. After you unbox your Mac, the first step is to connect the power cables and peripherals. Turn your computer on, and you will see the Apple logo soon on the screen. 

Connect to WiFi and ensure to set up information such as keyboard layout, time zone, and more. Next, you will need an Apple ID to set up an iCloud drive, iTunes account, and App Store. If you are already using an Apple device such as an iPhone or iPad, you must have an Apple ID, so you May sign in using the same credentials. In case you don’t have it, create a new one. 

Once the initial setup is done, your Mac will start, and you can see a number of icons at the bottom of your computer screen. 

Get Started With macOS

When everything is in place, it’s time to understand macOS and its features. 

  • Desktop & Menu Bar

On first boot up, macOS will display core UI components such as the Menu bar at the top section of the screen, the Dock at the bottom, and Desktop behind all of them. Similar to other operating systems, macOS allows you to customize the user interface, including desktop, menu bar, Dock, and other elements to make it feel more personalized. 

  • The Dock 

If you have used Windows, you must know the Start Menu and the Taskbar. The Dock is similar to the Start menu and Taskbar in Windows, which is divided into two parts that include shortcuts to apps and minimized windows or pinned folders. You can personalize the Dock by selecting the icons for apps or files that you need to display on it and arranging its position on the screen. 

  • The Spotlight 

Spotlight, in simple terms, is your computer’s search engine that appears on pressing the Command + Space keys together. In the Spotlight search, type in your query or the name of the app that you wish to open on the computer. Not only can you find files and apps stored on the Mac, but you can perform simple arithmetic calculations, unit conversions, currency conversion, and similar tasks right within the Spotlight window. 

  • The Finder

As the name indicates, Finder helps you locate the files, folders, apps, and other items stored on the hard drive. Windows users can recollect it to the Windows Explorer as it allows you to browse the contents of the hard drive, external storage media, and any connected devices right within one single location. You can add or remove buttons in the Finder and arrange shortcuts or rearrange fields like the search bar the way you want.

  • System Preferences 

When you need to tweak or configure anything on your Mac, you will have to navigate to the System Preferences. By default, the System Preferences is pinned to the Dock as a silver cog icon. You may see numerous options on the System Preferences based on the Mac model and features. You can do pretty much anything right from creating user accounts to tweak display resolution to configuring security settings to changing trackpad sensitivity. 

  • Navigation & Gestures

When you are using a trackpad either with Apple’s Magic Trackpad or on a MacBook, Apple gives you access to a wide range of gestures. Gestures trigger certain actions that allow for quick navigation and speed up your overall productivity. You can customize the gestures as per your specific preferences for the frequent tasks that you perform on your computer in your daily routine. 

  • Notifications Center & Today

Clicking the three-line icon, you see on the top-right section of the Mac screen will take you to the Notification Center & Today screen. To navigate using the trackpad, swipe from the right edge with two fingers. It’s an area that allows you to manage widgets, so feel free to add or remove any widgets from the desktop to make your work easier. It enables you to manage notifications for various apps installed on the computer. 

  • Applications & Programs 

Applications and programs you download from the internet stores as a DMG file on your Mac. You can mount the DMG file by double-clicking it. The file will reflect in the macOS as a read-only drive. Now, you need to drag the APP (application) file to the Applications folder to install it on the computer. If you delete the APP file, the application will delete from the computer. 

  • AirPlay & AirDrop 

AirPlay is the wireless streaming technology from the house of Apple. It allows sending audio and video files to Apple TV through the AirPlay receiver. Click on the AirPlay button available on the top of the screen to stream content to the Apple receiver. AirDrop is Apple’s native wireless file-sharing technology that allows sending files from one Apple device to another. 

If you are wondering whether to purchase a Windows or macOS computer, the former gives you the features and functions you need to carry out all your computer-related tasks while the latter gives you experience.