This article walks you through the process of getting to know your Mac and macOS, which are in English. This is due to the fact that the Author of this text uses only English-language versions of operating systems.
The origins of this choice go back far into the past, when I was still working as a software engineer. Since then, this habit has remained unchanged.
I will not impose on you my point of view on this matter. But We must come to an agreement that all screenshots given in this book will be taken in the macOS operating system in English.
This circumstance should not in any way affect the perception of the information contained in this book. Since all the most important and significant moments will be supported by screenshots with selected objects.
Thus, it will be possible to easily reproduce similar actions on an operating system with a different interface language.
So, you decided to take a step towards the new Apple ecosystem and bought a Mac computer. “Where to begin?” – this question is asked by almost all buyers of Apple computers. And it doesn’t just happen.
If a person has not used a computer at all and begins to get acquainted with a Mac computer, then it becomes extremely clear and understandable – it is necessary to master everything from scratch. And probably, this scenario of mastering Apple technology is optimal.
Another thing is when a person has been working in the Windows environment for several years. In this case, you may experience severe discomfort when taking the first steps on a computer running macOS.
Most of the time, I had to use Windows PCs. In addition, I had a chance to face the huge world of UNIX-like operating systems. And to be honest, this acquaintance was more than an exciting journey that led me to the world of macOS.
If you’ve ever used Linux and decided to switch to macOS, then most likely you will like the new operating system. At the very least, the process of mastering an Apple computer will be much easier and faster for you. In addition, the familiar terminal and Man pages are waiting for you here!
The command line in macOS, as well as in any other UNIX-like and Linux-like system, is the key to solving many problems. But as it turned out in practice, not all Mac users who have been using them for many years use this powerful tool. But about this and many other things in order.
If you’re just thinking about switching to a Mac
It’s no secret that the Windows operating system is installed on most computers around the world. According to NetMarketShare data, there are over 80 percent of Windows operating system users. Without a doubt, this is a pretty impressive figure.
Nevertheless, there are more and more people willing to leave the Microsoft ecosystem in the last few years. This is facilitated by a number of reasons, which can be discussed in more detail.
In my opinion, the starting point was a statement by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who announced in April 2018 that the Windows operating system is no longer a priority product for the company.
For many analysts and Windows users, this turn of events came as a complete surprise. But in fact, everything has been going towards this for a long time. Microsoft has focused on products that use cloud technologies for several years.
With each passing year, Microsoft has moved from a product company to more and more like a service company, with many of its products and services provided as a paid subscription. It is worth noting that representatives of the rival camp in the “face” of Apple “sin” with the same inclinations.
Everything looks quite logical. Why sell your product for just one fee? After all, you can issue a smaller invoice, but on an ongoing basis.
Reasons for moving from Windows to macOS
Returning to the possible reasons for the transition of users from the Windows operating system to macOS, we can name the first one, focusing on the above-mentioned fact:
Windows is no longer a priority product for Microsoft
Many of Windows users have recently encountered (and continue to encounter) errors and malfunctions of the operating system quite often.
A large number of problems appear as a result of updates to the Windows operating system. On many computers running Windows 10, the update process itself ended fatally repeatedly.
For those users who use computer equipment for professional purposes, computer failures and downtime are unacceptable.
But no one is without sin. Shortcomings in the work and the process of receiving updates also happen on macOS – here I recall the autumn update to macOS 10.15 Catalina, when many problems appeared both during the installation of the update and after the procedure was completed.
There are many complaints about the end of support for 32-bit applications in macOS Catalina. Many software products of famous manufacturers turned out to be incompatible with the new version of the OS, which caused great dissatisfaction from the users.
And at the same time, the described problems are not of a massive nature, as happened more than once on Windows computers. With the release of macOS Catalina, “epoch-making” changes have taken place and some of the inconveniences can be understood.
The company has managed to create its own ecosystem of applications and services when they all interact harmoniously across all Apple devices.
The Apple ecosystem includes: desktops and laptops running macOS, smartphones and tablets running iOS (in 2019, tablets got their own iPadOS operating system), Apple Watch smart watches running Watch OS.
Having bought one Apple device once, for example a Mac computer, a user can expand interaction with any other device in the ecosystem. To do this, just log into the operating system with the same Apple ID account.
Microsoft understood the obvious benefits of using devices in a single ecosystem and in order to increase sales of its own products, the company attempted to enter the smartphone market with its own operating system.
Unfortunately, it was all in vain. The conquest of market share for mobile devices did not happen. Why did I say “sorry” and still work on an Apple computer?
The answer is simple: If Microsoft’s mobile operating system for smartphones was successfully launched, the company would become a full-fledged player in the market. Healthy competition between the giants of the IT industry always benefits end users. That is, for you and me.
On a Mac, you can immediately experience the smoothness of the macOS interface and applications. Switching between application windows, working with menus and desktops is impressive.
Everything works perfectly, without jerks and freezes. Many Windows users were often annoyed by the above things. Stable and smooth operation of the operating system and applications is especially important for users who perform a large number of operations.
We are talking about the professional use of a computer by programmers, system administrators, designers and specialists of other specialties, when unstable software operation is unacceptable and results in downtime.
Apple device liquidity
Apple products not only have a high cost, but also slowly lose in price. More on this in the next chapter.
Join the Mac Owners Club
As noted above, Apple devices are losing value rather slowly. In practice, this means: once you buy a Mac, you can always sell it for a good price.
Many experienced Apple users do just that. Having bought a new Mac, they have been using it for several years. Then they sell for a good price. Having reported a relatively small amount of money, they purchase a new device.
Trade-in is a surcharge program to exchange old Apple devices for new ones. Once you buy an Apple device, you don’t have to look for a buyer when you decide to sell it.
Many stores are ready to offer you a unique opportunity to buy a new computer model under a special Trade-in program: bring an old Apple device to the store and buy a new one with a certain surcharge (depending on the model, technical condition and appearance).
Have you met something similar that is applicable to Windows computers? In my opinion, one more, quite weighty argument in favor of choosing Apple technology.
Initial computer setup
When you turn on your Mac for the first time, you are greeted by the Setup Assistant wizard.
During the setup process, you have to go through several windows on which you will be asked to create a personal Apple ID account. If you have used Apple devices before, such as iPhone or iPad, then you already have such an ID.
The main purpose of Setup Assistant is to create a new user account, if you don’t have one at the moment.
In addition to creating an Apple ID, the setup wizard prompts you to set a name and password for your computer account. You will need this information not only to log into your Mac, but also to change certain settings and install software.
Next, Setup Assistant will ask for permission to activate features like FileVault, iCloud Keychain, and Find My Mac.
Here we will dwell in more detail on new terms that can confuse not only a beginner, but also a seasoned user of Apple computers.
FileVault is a data encryption system that uses the XTS-AES-128 encryption algorithm. This mechanism for protecting user data provides a very high level of security.
The way FileVault works is quite simple – system and user data is transferred from an unprotected file system to an encrypted area of disk space.
After the data protection process is completed, all subsequent operations with files will take place in a protected mode automatically.
iCloud Keychain is Apple’s technology that stores personal user data – logins and passwords. When you activate this function, your credentials will be stored on macOS in a secure manner.
In addition to logins and passwords, iCloud Keychain works with credit card data, which will allow you to instantly pay for purchases.
But the main purpose of iCloud Keychain is still to automatically enter passwords instead of the user, which is undoubtedly very convenient and significantly speeds up work, especially on the Internet. It should also be remembered that multiple keychains can be stored on the same computer.
Find My Mac is an Apple service that allows you to remotely track the location of not only iOS devices, but also Mac computers, Apple Watch and AirPods. This functionality is tightly integrated into devices running on iOS and macOS.
If your Mac has been lost, using this service may help you find it and protect your personal information. However, for the technology to work, you must set up Find My Mac before it goes missing.
If during the initial setup you have not activated any of the functions described above, then you can always do it later.
Logging into your computer for the first time
And now, you are logged into your Mac. What are the first steps to take? Before you start working with the macOS operating system, you should make sure that it is up to date.
Why should updating the system be one of the first steps?
The answer to this question is quite obvious and there are several good reasons for this.
1) Using the current version of the operating system, you receive an update package that will ensure the security of the system and the inviolability of user data
2) Updates to the operating system are designed not only to fix identified security gaps, but also to fix possible bugs. And although the operating system macOS is much more stable and more reliable than Windows, it is also not perfect and it also contains errors.
The question is rather rhetorical, but don’t worry, the Mac user encounters glitches and bugs by orders of magnitude less than competing solutions.
3) Many macOS update packages not only eliminate errors, but also add new “buns.” We are talking about small, but sometimes very useful innovations. Agree, if you master a new technique, it would be nice to learn from the current version of the operating system with all available innovations at the start of training.
So, let’s hope that you and I did not have any disagreements about the need to update the operating system. Now it is worth moving from words to deeds.
Overview of controls
The person interacts with the computer through the user interface. The user interface UI acts like bridges connecting human and computer logic.
Subjective factors influence the emotional perception of interfaces. Objective qualities, in turn, are determined by the real experience of using the operating system over a long period of time.
MacOS Navigation Bar – Dock
The navigation bar is an essential control element of the interface of any operating system. And it’s not just about the Dock in macOS. A similar tool is present in Windows and Linux operating systems.
The Dock in macOS is considered a more elegant and convenient solution than competing systems.
The Dock contains shortcuts to launch programs and functions of the macOS operating system – Siri, Launchpad, Bin.
In addition, the Dock allows you to display up to three recently used apps that have not yet been added to the panel.
Another interesting feature is the ability to display folders with objects that have been downloaded from the Internet.
To start the program, just click on the corresponding icon. There are no differences from the control panels of other systems.
Launchpad application launcher
The application launcher is one of three key areas of the macOS user interface.
Like the navigation bar, Launchpad lets you find and launch an application installed on your system. But at the same time, the appearance of the application launcher is more reminiscent of the initial screen of the iOS operating system.
The Status Bar in macOS is one of Jacob Nielsen’s famous heuristics, while the macOS Status Bar is one of Jakob Nielsen’s famous heuristics.
The system should always inform users about what is happening, through appropriate feedback and within a reasonable time. Jakob Nielsen
Status Bar, located at the top of the screen by default. It is a very convenient and useful element of the macOS operating system.
This panel is always in sight. Informs the user about various events and states: battery status and capacity, volume level, notifications of running applications, date, time and much more.
An important and interesting feature of the Status Bar is the display of the menu of the active application:
Siri personal assistant
Artificial intelligence has long been an integral part of the huge number of users who use modern gadgets on a daily basis. Desktop operating systems Windows and macOS are no exception.
To start interacting with Siri, just click on the corresponding icon in the Dock or find one in Launchpad.
If you switched to macOS after Windows
Quite a large number of Mac users used to use PCs running the Windows operating system. If you are one of them, then some difficulties may arise.
Despite some similarities in the interface of operating systems, there are quite a lot of differences and nuances. They can be uncomfortable the first time you use macOS.
This chapter will cover some of the things that can save you time and get more productive on your Mac faster.
If you have used Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage in the past, then moving to macOS will not change anything significantly for you.
Fortunately, for the Apple operating system there is a full-fledged Microsoft OneDrive application that will allow you to synchronize all your files that were synchronized in the Microsoft cloud while working on a Windows computer.
The OneDrive app for the Mac platform can be downloaded from:
The author of this book successfully uses three cloud applications on one computer at the same time: iCloud Drive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive.
All modern MacBooks are equipped with an SSD. This allows you not to worry about the load on the built-in disk when synchronizing with cloud services.
If your Mac is equipped with a classic hard drive, using multiple cloud storages at the same time can reduce the performance of the disk subsystem and the computer as a whole.
The macOS operating system contains a set of necessary programs out of the box, including the Mail client.
This application will allow you to easily connect not only a Microsoft mail account, but also Google. Thus, all your correspondence and user data will be successfully synchronized in the macOS operating system.
To add an Outlook (Hotmail) account and start using Microsoft Mail on your Mac, all you need to do is:
1) Open system settings
2) Go to the Internet Accounts section
3) Select the type of Internet account Exchange
4) This action will launch the Microsoft Account Setup Wizard. After entering the credentials, the Mail client Mail will be able to connect to your Outlook mailbox and fully work with Microsoft mail.
If you have already registered your Microsoft account in the macOS operating system, then you will have access to all the Microsoft calendar data. They will sync in the Calendar app.
Gestures, Actions, Hot Keys
If you have been using the Microsoft system for a long period of time, then you probably managed to get used to the gestures, actions and hot keys of Windows OS.
This section of the book will describe the analogs of actions, gestures, and hotkeys in the macOS operating system.
Click the right mouse button. If you are using an Apple mouse, there is no difference. If you are using the TrackPad, click with two fingers at the same time.
Application windows. The buttons for closing, minimizing and maximizing the application window are located in the upper left corner.
Search for files of installed applications. Use the Spotlight tool. Click on the corresponding icon in the Status Bar.
Viewing files. The analogue of Windows Explorer is the Finder application.
Quick view of file contents. Use Quick Look.
Mac keyboard symbols
Most commonly used macOS keyboard shortcuts
Copy to Clipboard Command-C
Cut to Clipboard Command-X
Paste from Clipboard Command-V
Cancel Action Command-Z
Undo an undone action Command-Shift-Z
Close Application Window Command-W
Quit Application Command-Q
Switch between applications Command-Tab
Print Document Command-P
Applications are one of the most useful and interesting topics in relation to any operating system. macOS is no exception. As with Windows, macOS comes with a specific set of built-in applications and utilities.
To use a Mac computer effectively, a beginner should familiarize himself with the standard set of macOS applications, learn about their purpose and features. This section will also discuss other sources of obtaining applications.
Stock macOS applications
Before looking for third-party applications, you should familiarize yourself with those programs that are developed by Apple and are offered free of charge. As a rule, most of the routine tasks can be performed using a standard set of programs that are available to the user of the macOS operating system by default.
Activity Monitor app
Activity Monitor.app is analogous to the Task Manager program in Windows. Allows you to view a list of running processes, programs, processor load, network and many other parameters of the macOS operating system.
Bluetooth File Exchange app
Bluetooth File Exchange.app is for configuring and managing the connections of the Bluetooth wireless adapter.
This program will automate the execution of a large number of system actions that can be used to perform complex tasks without knowledge of any programming language or script development.
The calendar is an extremely useful application. Ideal for managing daily tasks. It syncs not only with Apple’s iCloud service.
Contacts.app is a very useful application. Allows you to store contact information not only in the Apple iCloud cloud service. If you worked with Windows and stored contacts in the Microsoft cloud, then all of them are successfully synchronized when you add a Microsoft account to macOS.
Digital Color Meter Utility
The Digital Color Meter.app utility is designed to display the color value displayed on the computer screen.
Find My app
Find My.app is a new app that first appeared in macOS Catalina. Combines the functionality of Find My iPhone and Find My Friends. Designed to find Apple devices, friends and family members.
Grapher.app is a very interesting program that allows you to display mathematical equations in the form of graphs.
Image Capture app
Image Capture.app is designed to import images from a scanner or old cameras that are connected with a cable directly to the computer. Currently, the program is used less and less. Modern cameras and camcorders are equipped with a Wi-Fi module that allows you to transmit footage over the air.
Mail.app is everything you need to work with email. This program allows you to process email from multiple accounts at the same time. In addition to iCloud, work with Google Gmail and Microsoft Outlook is supported.
Migration Assistant app
Migration Assistant.app is a wizard for transferring personal data to a Mac from another PC or a Time Machine backup.
The Notes.app program is designed to create notes. Allows you to work not only with the Apple iCloud cloud service. If you connect Google and / or Microsoft accounts, give the appropriate permission, then the Notes application will sync and work with similar cloud services Google and Microsoft.
Photo Booth app
Photo Booth.app allows you to take your own photo or record a video about yourself using the built-in or external camera.
Preview.app is a versatile program for viewing files of different formats. An indispensable tool in the daily work of a macOS user.
Safari.app is Apple’s proprietary browser. It is a great alternative to the popular Google Chrome browser. If you are looking for a simple, fast and reliable program for surfing the Internet, Safari can provide a high level of comfort while browsing the Web.
Stickies.app is an application that lets you create notes on your Mac desktop. At the moment, this program is an application of questionable utility. But it may be of interest to users who are accustomed to using this concept of notes.
Terminal.app is a macOS command line application. An undeservedly underestimated program that is used by a relatively small number of users. Starting with macOS 10.15.1 Catalina, the default shell is more advanced – Zsh (instead of Bash)
Tv.app is a new program that debuted for the first time with a version of the macOS Catalina operating system. Provides access to a library of movies and shows available on a paid subscription basis.
The media library is at the stage of active development and does not contain enough content for Russian-speaking users. There is no doubt that the situation will improve over time.
AirPort Utility.app is for configuring and managing your Wi-Fi wireless adapter.
Boot Camp Assistant app
Boot Camp Assistant.app is designed to set up and configure your Mac to dual-boot operating systems. The application is required if you want to install Windows as a second operating system on your Mac.
Books.app is not just an e-book reader. This application is nothing more than a full-fledged online store that sells many thousands of books. The application has the ability to import your files in EPUB and PDF formats, which will allow you to use Books.app as a viewer.
An ordinary game of chess to brighten up leisure and escape from the routine. You cannot save disk space by uninstalling this program. For some reason, Apple has reliably protected this application from deletion.
Console.app is a system log and report viewer. Used for troubleshooting and debugging problems.
Disk Utility.app is a utility designed to partition and format both the built-in disk and external drives connected to your Mac.
Font Book app
This program is a standard application that distinguishes macOS from competing operating systems. Allows you to manage fonts: view and install. If you are engaged in design or web development, then this application will become an irreplaceable assistant.
Home.app lets you manage HomeKit accessories.
Keychain Access app
Keychain Access.app is a password manager. Used to sync with Apple iCloud cloud service. In addition to credentials, this program stores credit card information, which allows you to instantly pay for purchases.
Maps.app is analogous to Google Maps. Despite the fact that Apple is constantly working to improve this program, it still lags behind a similar solution from Google in quality and functionality.
Mission Control app
Mission Control.app allows you to see all running applications on the desktop and switch between them. Another useful feature of this program is the management of virtual desktops.
Numbers.app is analogous to Excel from Microsoft Office. Quite a handy and useful tool for working with spreadsheets. Has sufficient functionality and in most cases quite successfully replaces Microsoft Excel.
Photos.app is a photo library on your Mac computer. Allows you to effectively organize content, manage arrays of photo and video materials.
QuickTime Player app
QuickTime Player.app is an extremely useful, default macOS application for viewing video files. This program can also record the contents of the computer screen.
Screenshot.app is an application for taking screenshots and recording videos of computer screen contents.
System Information app
System Information.app is a program that provides detailed information about the hardware and software of a computer.
TextEdit.app is the Windows equivalent of Notepad. It is the simplest text editor. There are a number of more advanced programs out there that can easily replace TextEdit and offer more functionality.
Voice Memos app
Voice Memos.app is a program that lets you use your Mac as a voice recorder. It is easy to take notes, give lectures and more with this application.
Audio MIDI Setup app
Audio MIDI Setup.app is a program for configuring and controlling MIDI devices connected to your Mac.
App Store app
App Store.app is the bottom of the most useful and commonly used stock applications in the macOS operating system. Allows you to install additionally both paid and free applications. Another important feature is updating the operating system.
Quite a commonly used program on any operating system. In my opinion, the implementation of this application in macOS is the most thoughtful and functional.
Calculator.app can work in several modes:
The ColorSync Utility.app provides control over the color profiles of the macOS operating system. Used for calibration with used devices: displays, scanners, cameras and printers.
Dictionary.app is actually an extremely useful program. Provides access to dictionary, thesaurus and Wikipedia. Allows you to instantly get the interpretation and translation of the word highlighted on the screen.
FaceTime.app allows you to make audio and video calls between users of Apple devices. This application is essentially an analogue of Skype, but only for the Apple ecosystem.
GarageBand.app is for music creation lovers. It is an excellent entry-level solution. If you don’t need the application, you can safely remove it. This action will free up disk space on your Mac for more useful applications.
iMovie.app is an editor for simple video editing. Quite a useful application that is very popular among Mac users.
Keynote.app is similar to PowerPoint from Microsoft Office. Allows you to create presentations of any level: from beginner to professional. Compatible with PowerPoint files.
Messages.app is a simple messenger program. Designed for messaging between users of Apple ecosystem devices. Messages can include not only text, but also allow you to share photos, videos, audio files, and other types of files.
Music.app is a new application that appeared in macOS Catalina. Came to replace the outdated iTunes program. This program is intended not only for listening to multimedia files. Music.app is a store where you can access a multi-million dollar collection of music tracks.
Pages.app is an analogue of the Word program from the Microsoft Office suite. This program is a good alternative to Microsoft Word. It is able to solve most everyday tasks, although it has slightly less functionality compared to a competing product.
Podcasts.app provides access to episodes of programs available on the Internet. As a rule, these are original audio and video materials of lectures, speeches, broadcasts of television and radio programs.
Reminders.app allows you to keep a to-do list with a reminder function. Basically, the same tasks can be accomplished with the Calendar.app app
Script Editor app
Script Editor.app is a program for creating scripts in AppleScript. Allows to solve rather complex tasks requiring automation. Unlike Automator, the app is more advanced.
Stocks.app is a program for tracking the dynamics of the stock market. The user is provided with business news from around the world.
Time Machine app
Time Machine.app is a pretty useful program. Designed for backing up your Mac computer.
VoiceOver Utility.app is a utility for visually impaired users.