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There’s a reason Mac users are so loyal. Apple’s main selling point is the ability to control both the hardware and software of their devices.
This provides for much smoother user experiences on a Mac device. If you’re a new Mac user, there are probably features available you have yet to discover and explore.
Check out these 6 features every Mac user should know.
1. Spotlight Search
Your Mac device can seem like a labyrinth if you’re used to the setup of a PC. The folder names won’t be intuitive at first because you’re looking for default folders to hold your important tools.
But Mac devices aren’t set up like that. Finder isn’t necessarily the organizational hub for all things Mac. You can eliminate the confusion over where to find applications, files and other documents using Spotlight.
Click Command then Spacebar to launch Spotlight. A small search bar appears on top of any program you’re running that allows you to look for files, information, or anything else that might be useful to your device.
Think of Spotlight as the personal search engine for your Mac device. For example, if you search ‘cake’ in spotlight, any cake recipes you have bookmarked in your Safari browser will appear in search results along with any other files with that name included.
Spotlight can also teach you new things like how to use time machine on mac by pulling up a brief software tutorial. It’s a great tool to get to know as you explore how your device operates.
2. Unit Conversions
Macs allow you to take calculations one step further with unit conversions. You can request specific conversions or simply add one unit to Spotlight.
When you add a unit like ’14 pounds’ to the search bar, you’ll get a list of unit conversion possibilities to choose from. These conversions range from the most common to the least common.
This is especially helpful when you’re traveling and you need to do quick money conversions. Your Mac can convert between most major currencies.
3. Talk to Siri
Have a request? Siri is listening.
Mac computers can talk and listen as long as you’re running macOS Sierra and later. Launch Siri by holding down Command and Space for a few seconds. You can also click the Siri icon on the menu or dock to ask a question.
On Mac computers released after 2018, Siri can be summoned by saying ‘Hey Siri.’ Siri is useful in providing quick facts like the temperature outside or recent sports scores.
Depending on your subscriptions, Siri can also launch games and music on your device. Keep in mind that Siri works best with Apple applications and may not be able to launch certain third-party apps.
4. Windows Access
Now that you’ve upgraded to a Mac computer, you no longer need to live in a Windows world. But for those rare occasions when Windows access is needed, your Mac device has your back.
You have the option to run Windows along with your OS using an app like VMware Fusion or Parallels desktop. These are virtualization apps that may or may not mean having to partition your hard drive.
The other option is to run Windows using your hardware. To do this, open ‘Boot Camp Assistant’ in your ‘Utilities’ folder to get started. You’ll be able to run Windows-specific software or access files that aren’t Mac-compatible on your device.
5. Take Screenshots
Mac users have an edge over PC users with the screen capture shortcut. When you need a quick screenshot, press Shift, Command, and number 3 at the same time.
You’ll notice a tiny icon of the screenshot in the corner of your screen for a few seconds after taking the picture. The purpose of this icon is to give you a chance to edit the image before saving it.
Click the icon to crop, recolor or resize the screen capture before it saves. The screen capture saves to your desktop unless you specify another place for it to go.
Use Shift, Command, and number 4 if you only want to capture a portion of the screen. Hit the space bar and click the portion of the screen you want to capture.
This feature works best when you’re only looking to capture a single Window. On newer model Macs, Shift, Command and the number 6 take snapshots of the OLED strip on the Touch Bar.
Make sure you’re running macOS Mojave, Catalina, or later to get the best out of your screen capture features. Before these OS releases, there wasn’t an option to preview your screen capture for quick editing.
6. Split Screen
Need to work with two apps at once? On a Mac, you don’t need to toggle between Windows to get the job done.
As long as you’re using OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later you can take advantage of the Split Screen view. You can manually set up a split-screen view on an older OS by left-clicking the green maximize button on the top left corner of the window.
Just drag it next to the other item you want to display to snap it into place. The displays can be arranged side by side giving you the opportunity to work in two windows at once.
With macOS Catalina and later, all you have to do is left-click and hold the green maximize button. You’ll see a dropdown menu that gives you the option to Tile Window to Left or Right of Screen. Either of these options creates a Split Screen view on your Mac device.
You can also use this dropdown menu to move windows to another device using Sidecar. For example, if you have an iPad pro set up next to your Macbook Pro, you can drag the window off of your laptop screen onto the desktop of the iPad giving you access to two screens.
Maximizing Your Mac Device
There’s so much to know and explore on a new Mac device. You’ll probably find yourself uncovering new tips and tricks with every use.
Don’t feel you have to memorize every resource your Mac device has to offer. Focus on the resources that make your top five tasks easier to navigate.
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