Mac User Guide: The Best Tips and Tricks for Your Mac

Want to learn how to get the most from your Mac? Or perhaps you’ve run into a problem with your Apple computer and aren’t sure how to fix it. Regardless, our Mac user guide is here to help with our expert tips and tricks for Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops.

If you want to learn how to use MacOS and take your knowledge to the next level, we’ve grouped everything you need into categories, helping you discover more secret tips and helpful tutorials. You’ll be a Mac expert in next to no time.

Contents

Contents

Great features on your Mac

Sidecar | MacOS Catalina Hands-on
Apple

Over the years, Apple has built a lot of killer features into its Macs. These are things you won’t get on any other computer, from the ease and convenience of Apple Pay to the productivity power of Focus mode and Split View. Some of these features are unique to MacOS Monterey, the latest version of MacOS, so make sure you download and install it first.

How to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey

Tired of being distracted? Apple’s Focus mode lets you set customizable rules that block annoying apps and signal to others that you’re busy. It’s perfect for keeping you in the zone, no matter what you’re doing. Here’s how to use Focus mode in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey

Over time, you will collect a lot of shared photos, links, documents, and more that have all been sent to you by your contacts. Instead of searching through your apps to find this content, just use the Shared with You section, which groups everything together. Here’s how to use Shared with You in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey

Live Text is a clever new feature that lets you copy text from any picture on your device. It also works when you point your camera at text in front of you. That can then be copied and used in your documents. Here’s how to use Live Text in MacOS Monterey.

How to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac

Why get a separate Wacom tablet or drawing pad if you already have an iPad? After all, Apple’s Sidecar feature lets you use an iPad as a second screen or drawing tablet for your Mac. It’s super easy, too. Here’s how to use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac.

How to use iCloud

The beauty of Apple’s ecosystem is that everything is connected, so you can access your files on any Apple device. The key to that is iCloud, which has a ton of great cross-platform features. Here’s how to use iCloud.

How to use Siri on a Mac

Siri, Apple’s voice assistant, has improved every year since its inception. Now, it’s an excellent helper whatever you want to do, with many different uses for different situations. Here’s how to use Siri on a Mac.

How to use Apple Pay

If you carry your phone everywhere you go, it makes sense to use it to pay for purchases, right? That’s just what Apple Pay enables, giving you a secure way to pay with your phone. Here’s how to use Apple Pay.

How to use Notification Center widgets

Widgets are handy mini-apps that display quick bits of info, such as the upcoming weather forecast or your latest emails. They’re a great way to see what you need when you need it on your Mac. Here’s how to use Notification Center widgets.

How to use Control Center

The more you use your Mac, the more you find yourself diving into System Preferences to change some settings. Instead of rooting around for them, Control Center puts them at your fingertips in your Mac menu bar. Here’s how to use Control Center.

How to use Split View

Multitasking is made much easier with Split View, which gives you straightforward window management tools to display your apps how you want. Here’s how to use Split View.

How to get emoji on your Mac

Think emoji are just for mobile devices? Think again, as you can use them to your heart’s content on your Mac too. Here’s how to get emoji on your Mac.

Personalization and tweaks

macbook-pro-touch-bar

Getting your Mac just right is key to using it efficiently. Once you’ve followed the tips below, you’ll be able to tweak and tune it the way you like it. And once that’s the case, you won’t have to contend with annoying settings that don’t work the way they should, meaning there’s less getting in your way.

How to change your username

You’re not stuck with the username you created when you first set up your Mac. A few quick clicks and you can customize it how you want. Here’s how to change your username.

How to turn off notifications

There’s no doubting that notifications can be annoying, especially if they’re constantly going off. Rein in the chaos with our handy guide. Here’s how to turn off notifications.

How to allow pop-ups

There are times when you want to see a pop-up window when browsing the web. If your Mac automatically blocks them, we’ll show you how to enable them once again. Here’s how to allow pop-ups.

How to install fonts

Fonts are a key way to customize your Mac and can be useful for all kinds of projects. Luckily, installing them is simple and straightforward. Here’s how to install fonts.

How to change where screenshots are saved

Taking a screenshot on a Mac simply requires a three-button shortcut. But did you know you can change where screenshots are saved by default? Here’s how to change where screenshots are saved.

How to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro

The MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar has many uses, but sometimes its position means it can be accidentally pressed. That can be annoying if it launches processes you don’t want to run. Here’s how to disable the Touch Bar on a MacBook Pro.

Documents and apps

Apps are the beating heart of any Mac, so learning how to use some of the ones that come you’re your Apple computer is important. The same goes for documents — each Mac has some handy tricks that can make document creation and management a lot easier. Note that some of the features below only work in MacOS Monterey or later, so make sure you download and install MacOS Monterey before getting started.

How to change your Mac’s default apps

Apple likes to set the default apps that open certain file types, but you’re not stuck with the company’s choices. If you’d rather set your own default apps, here’s how to change your Mac’s default apps.

How to force quit an app

It’s a fact of life: Sometimes, an app will freeze on your Mac. But occasionally you can’t quit a frozen app in the standard way. Fortunately, there’s a solution thanks to the force quit command. Here’s how to force quit an app.

How to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey

MacOS Monterey brought an all-new Safari design, and tabs are a key element of that. Here’s how to get to grips with the new design and features. Here’s how to master Safari tabs in MacOS Monterey.

How to use Reminders to stay on track

Are you forgetful? There’s help at hand in the form of Apple’s Reminders app, which is packed full of features to help you remember the important things in your life. Here’s how to use Reminders to stay on track.

How to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey

What’s better than watching a great movie? Watching it with friends. The new SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey lets you do just that. Here’s how to use FaceTime’s SharePlay feature in MacOS Monterey.

How to disable FaceTime

Apple’s FaceTime app is the default for Mac video calls, but it’s not for everyone. If you’d rather it didn’t get in your way, you can disable it. Here’s how to disable FaceTime.

How to turn off iMessage

The little blue blobs in iMessage, Apple’s texting app, are ubiquitous. If it’s causing you problems on your Mac or you simply don’t want to use it, it can be turned off with a few quick clicks. Here’s how to turn off iMessage.

How to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey

MacOS Monterey’s Maps app gives you a great way to view the world. Zoom out and you see the earth at a distance. Here’s how to use Apple Maps’ globe view in MacOS Monterey.

How to create Apple Maps Guides

Got a collection of great places you want to visit? Store them together in Apple Maps using its Guides feature, newly added in MacOS Monterey. It’s a great way to share local info with friends. Here’s how to create Apple Maps Guides.

How to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey

A lot of Mac tasks can become repetitive if you do them a lot. Save the pain and tedium with Shortcuts, which automates complex tasks at the click of a button. Here’s how to use Shortcuts in MacOS Monterey.

How to print a PDF

There are many times when you might want to print a PDF on your Mac, but what if it’s not immediately obvious how to do it? Just follow our guide and you’ll be ready to go. Here’s how to print a PDF.

How to annotate a PDF

At first glance, you might not know you can annotate PDFs on your Mac. Yet there are actually a few ways to do it and add notes to your files. Here’s how to annotate a PDF.

Utilities

Owning a computer sometimes means getting down into the nitty-gritty like backing up your files and uninstalling apps. Macs are no different, and there are a lot of useful tools under the hood, like those that let you zoom in on any part of the screen or take a screenshot of any app or screen section. Here’s how to put them all to good use.

How to back up your Mac

No one wants to lose their precious data, yet that can happen if you don’t back it up. It needn’t be complicated though, and backing up your Mac can be a lot simpler than you might think. Here’s how to back up your Mac.

How to forget a network

Network problems are not uncommon, and it can be frustrating when you can’t connect to a network. Sometimes, getting your Mac to forget a troublesome network can be the solution. Here’s how to forget a network.

How to delete a user

If you have user profiles on your Mac that are no longer used, there’s no need to have them littering your computer any longer than is necessary. Here’s how to delete a user.

How to uninstall apps

Got some apps that you no longer use? Instead of having them taking up precious storage space, it’s best to uninstall them. Here’s how to uninstall apps.

How to take a screenshot

On a Mac, you can take a screenshot that is automatically saved to a location of your choice. It’s really quick and simple but has plenty of everyday uses. Here’s how to take a screenshot.

How to record a video

Whether you want to show a friend a gameplay clip or work out what is going wrong on your Mac, recording a video of your screen can help. Instead of using a phone, though, it’s best to record it directly from your computer. Here’s how to record a video.

How to zoom in

Apple is well-known for its commitment to accessibility. If you struggle to see small details on your screen, you can zoom in for a closer look. Here’s how to zoom in.

How to password protect a folder

Sometimes, you might want to keep the contents of a folder safe from prying eyes. To keep things under lock and key, you can password protect it. Here’s how to password protect a folder.

How to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube

A lot of people like to have a video open while working, but that might normally require you to switch between windows. When you’re watching YouTube on your Mac, though, you can pop the video out into its own small window. Here’s how to enable picture-in-picture for YouTube.

How to right-click

It might sound odd, but some Mac mice and trackpads lack a right-click button. But don’t worry, there are other ways to get the same functionality even if you don’t have this button. Here’s how to right-click.

Cross-platform: Connecting and sharing with your devices

Person using iPhone and MacBook.
Tomasz Zagorski/Unsplash

One of the great things about having a Mac is the interconnected ecosystem that comes with it. If you own any other Apple devices, they will all play nice with your computer, allowing you to do things that no other system can do. Here are our favorites.

How to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac

One of the great benefits of Apple’s M1 chip is that it can run iOS apps without issue. That opens up a whole new world of apps on your Mac. Here’s how to run iOS apps on an M1 Mac.

How to connect AirPods to a MacBook

Apple’s AirPods are some of the best wireless headphones in the business, so it’s natural you’d want to use them with your Mac. As you’d expect with Apple, connecting them couldn’t be easier. Here’s how to connect AirPods to a MacBook.

How to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac

If you use iCloud and have enabled iCloud Photo Stream, any photos you take on your iPhone will be synced to your Mac. It’s a great way to keep your photo collection up to date wherever you are. Here’s how to access your iCloud Photo Stream from your Mac.

How to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows

MacOS and Windows are two very different systems, but they can still work together. That’s true if you want to use an external hard drive with both operating systems, but you’ll need to make sure you take a few key steps first. Here’s how to share an external hard drive between Mac and Windows.

How to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more

Want to share your Apple music library with other people? It’s easy to do with Apple’s Home Sharing feature. Here’s how to share your Apple Music library on Mac, iOS, and more.

Installing MacOS and fixing problems

Macbook Air
Riley Young/Digital Trends

Everyone occasionally has to fix problems with their computer, and Macs are not immune. But don’t worry, there is help at hand in the form of our tutorials and guides, which will take you through everything you need to do to get your Mac up and running again.

How to download the MacOS Monterey public beta

Apple’s latest Mac operating system is called MacOS Monterey, and it comes with a raft of new features and tools. If you want to download it, there are some steps you need to take. Here’s how to download the MacOS Monterey public beta.

How to stop your Mac from freezing

Every once in a while, the chances are your Mac will freeze. It doesn’t have to keep happening, though, and you can fix it by taking action in a few different ways. Here’s how to stop your Mac from freezing.

How to speed up your Mac

No one likes a slow computer. But just because your Mac has lost its zip, that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of it. A few tweaks here and there can make a real difference. Here’s how to speed up your Mac.

How to free up space on your Mac

It’s difficult to upgrade your Mac’s storage space after purchase, so if you’re running out of room, you’ll want to know how to free up as much space as possible. Here’s how to free up space on your Mac.

How to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi

Sorting out your Wi-Fi connection can be a finicky business, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of success. We’ve put together our best tips in a single guide to help. Here’s how to fix problems with your Mac’s Wi-Fi.

How to fix audio issues in MacOS

Tired of your Mac’s audio causing problems? Not to worry, we’ve got some top suggestions no matter what is going wrong. Here’s how to fix audio issues in MacOS.

How to restore a Mac to its factory settings

Restoring to factory settings means putting everything back to the way it was when you first got your Mac — as it was when it came out of the factory, in other words. If you’re struggling to fix recurrent problems, this can be a good solution. Here’s how to restore a Mac to its factory settings.

Common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them

The MacBook Air is an incredibly popular laptop, but that doesn’t make it immune from problems. If you’re suffering, don’t worry, as there’s help at hand. Here are some common MacBook Air problems and how to fix them.

Common MacBook problems and how to fix them

MacBook Pro or MacBook Air — both of Apple’s laptop flavors can be beset by problems. Here are the most common ones and how to put them right. These are the most common MacBook problems and how to fix them.

How to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC

Every modern Mac uses Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) and a System Management Controller (SMC). Occasionally, these can cause problems with your Mac, and giving them a quick refresh can help to solve otherwise intractable problems. Here’s how to reset your Mac’s PRAM and SMC.

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