Top 10 Best Mac Tips and Tricks

How to Customize Your Mac Desktop
Reading time: 6 Minutes

If you just bought your first brand-spanking new Mac, you need to get familiarize with different Mac tips and tricks that will help you get the best and most out of your unit. These tips and tricks are designed to help you perform various tasks at an optimal level. Even if you’re a Mac user for quite some time, you probably don’t know all of the amazing tips and tricks that is why listed down the top 10 best tips and tricks that might come handy.

1. Keyboard Shortcuts

The mouse or your Mac’s Trackpad can easily be one of the great parts of your unit but the keyboard is your greatest helper. With command shortcuts that let you do actions and commands as fast and simple, it can reduce your work time in half. Some of the most helpful Mac keyboard shortcuts you need to keep in mind include:

  • Command + Q, to quit a program or app.
  • Command + Option + Esc, to force-quit an unresponsive or frozen app.
  • Command + H, to hide an app or window.
  • Command + Tab, to activate the app switcher. Holding down on Command and hitting the Tab key lets you switch from one app to another right to left while pressing Command + ~, lets you switch through apps from left to right.
  • Command + M, to minimize a window.
  • Command + Spacebar, to launch Spotlight.
  • Command + Option + D, to hide and show the Dock.

Remember that these are just a few of the most effective Mac keyboard tricks but you can create your own custom shortcuts, too. Here are the steps:

  • Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Application Shortcuts
  • Pick your own combination of keys for specific commands you want to use the shortcuts for.

2. Sync Desktops for Multiple Macs

If you’re one of the many who is used to saving files and folders on the Desktop and use more than one Mac, you will likely find this neat trick to be very beneficial. One of the best features that came with the Sierra is the ability to sync Desktop with iCloud. Simply sync them by going to your iCloud using any of your Mac devices, then you can go ahead and access your Desktop files and folders anywhere you are as long as you are connected to the internet and have access to a Mac or Apple device. This is especially helpful if you have been working on a Mac device and had to switch to another because you need to move. You can also access Documents folder on the iCloud. To activate the feature, follow these steps:

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  • Go to System Preferences > iCloud.
  • Click on Options. Select Desktop & Documents.

Take note that the free iCloud subscription has a storage limit of 5GB. If you are a heavy user, consider subscribing to a bigger storage allowance. An additional 50GB currently cost $0.99 per month. Not bad for a secure and convenient storage, right?

3. Siri-Related Tricks

If you’re fond of Apple’s intuitive AI, Siri, you can actually direct her into doing simple deeds. You can save some of your precious time by asking Siri to quickly change system settings instead of going through the System Preferences options. To use this feature, make sure that Siri is activated on your Mac. To talk to her, simply press Command + Spacebar simultaneously then instruct her what to do. For example:

  • “Increase brightness.”
  • “Turn on Bluetooth.”
  • “Show disk space.”

Remember that Siri is not perfect. There will be times when she will mishear you. The good thing is you can correct what she hears before she performs the task you requested. When talking to Siri, you will be shown transcribed texts. You can correct the words she misheard before hitting Return/Enter.

4. Run Windows on Your Mac

If for some reason you can’t totally let go of your affections to Windows and you need to do something that requires a WindowsOS, you’re in luck, because Apple is nice enough to let their users use Windows on Macs. With the help of virtualization apps like Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, or VirtualBox, you can run Windows 7 or 8 alongside your macOS. These are paid apps though and quality of graphics won’t be as great as you want them to be.

If you don’t want to spend money on virtualization, you can partition your disk and install Windows. You can use Mac’s built-in Boot Camp Assistant to run it. Take note that only one operating system can run on your Mac if you use Boot Camp. So if you need to switch from one OS to another, you’ll need to restart and select which OS to use.

5. Reveal Hidden Options

Sometimes, you might find yourself growing impatient while looking for hidden options and locating the correct menu path for the commands you need. Thankfully, Mac offers different ways to make your life easier, for example pressing down the Alt/Option key while clicking the specific menu will reveal the options in the menu bar, as well as the items in the menus.

6. Restrict Usage

If there are others users of your Mac, like friends or probably your kids, it is best to restrict access and determine what other people can do on your Mac and when they can do it. There may be important files and documents in your Mac that can’t simply be accessible to everyone. For example, children might accidentally access websites and install not secure programs and malicious malware that end up compromising your privacy, identity, and other sensitive information. With Mac’s Parental Controls, you can limit Finder functions, set amount or length of computer usage per day, and limit underage access.

If you have children that have been using your Mac before you learned about the existence of Parental Controls, it is in your best interest to scan your Mac for potential problems. Mac repair app, a handy Mac cleaning tool, is designed to automatically run a complete scan of your Mac to get rid of problematic files and programs. With this tool, you can make sure that your Mac is free from any malicious files and programs.

7. Search For Flight Information Using Spotlight

Anyone you know that is traveling by plane? You can get updated on-flight information through Mac’s very own Spotlight. If you know the flight number, you can check if it has already taken off, where the plane currently is, and if it has arrived at its destination. Just press Command + Spacebar to launch Spotlight. Type in the flight number and press Return. This helpful pretty helpful in terms of planning when to move and hop in the car to drive and fetch them at the airport.

8. Sign Documents Using Trackpad

Need to sign documents, electronically, the quickest way possible? If you have a Magic Trackpad, this shouldn’t be a problem. With the handy tool and your fingers, you can sign PDFs right away. To sign a document, follow these steps:

  • Open the PDF file you need to sign.
  • Click on the toolbox icon found at the top right of the Preview toolbar.
  • Choose the signature icon, which looks like a squiggle.
  • Choose Create Signature, make sure the Trackpad tab is selected.
  • Guide your finger on the Trackpad. Follow the on-screen instructions when prompted.
  • Select your signature from the menu and drag it to the document. Resize if needed.

If you sign a lot of electronic documents, you may want to invest in a stylus compatible with your Trackpad.

9. QuicklyType Common Phrases

If you have an iPhone or an iPad, you probably noticed the three suggested words when you type something — this is the magic of QuickType. If you like this feature, you can also use the function on your Mac to make typing on certain apps faster. In TextEdit or Notes, you can press Esc + Alt while you type a word to reveal suggested words. If the word you’re typing is on the list, you can simply select it from there. This is helpful if you’re too tired to type out words, especially hard to spell ones.

10. Pin Important Notes

A lot of us use Notes to avoid forgetting important details or light-bulb type of ideas. You can make Notes a little more useful by pinning important notes. Pinned notes stay on top of the list, allowing you to find them faster and easier. To pin a note, just right-click on the note you want to pin, then choose Pin Note. You can also keep a note secret by locking it. Right-click on the note, and then choose LockNote. A password will be needed to open a locked note.

With these top tips and tricks up your sleeve, you are bound to make the most out of your Mac. Do you know other tricks? Feel free to comment your favorite Mac tips below.

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