MacBook and iPhone on a desktop

10 Tips and Tricks for Mac Beginners

If this is your first time using a Mac, welcome. The Mac is a great computer, but it might be hard to get the hang of at first. Don’t worry, here are some tips to get you started.

Using Spotlight on Mac, or the Search feature any other Apple device, is a massive time-saver. Spotlight will let you search for any file, photo, or app you have, and it can even help you do some basic math and convert currencies. And with the right Spotlight Search tips, you can search for anything instantly.

The easiest way to access Spotlight is by pressing Cmd + Space on your keyboard. The Spotlight Search will pop up in the middle of your screen. Afterward, all you need to do is type whatever you want to search. Spotlight will give you the best results it can find on your computer or suggest you search on the web for more options.

2. Use Apps in Full-Screen Mode

When you use an app in full-screen mode, it’ll cover your whole Mac screen, which is perfect for avoiding distractions. You won’t be able to see your menu bar at the top or the Dock at the bottom. But you can still access them by moving your pointer to your menu bar or Dock’s location.

Here’s how to put an app in full-screen mode:

  1. Open the app you want to use in full-screen mode.
  2. Click the full-screen button (the green button) located in the top left corner of the window. Alternatively, press Control + Cmd + F.
  3. The app will go into full-screen mode instantly.

That’s pretty much it. If you want to exit full-screen mode, you can move your pointer to the top of your screen and click the green full-screen button again.


3. Start Multitasking With Split View

You can use two apps side by side with Split View on a Mac, switching between them as you please. This is perfect for productivity and multitasking. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Open the two apps you want to use in Split View.
  2. On one app, hover your pointer over the Full-Screen button without clicking it. You can also click and hold the button for a moment.
  3. Select Tile Window to the Left of Screen or Tile Window to the Right of Screen.
  4. Now click the window of the other app you want to use in Split View.

And that’s it. Both windows will appear at the same time on your Mac screen. If you want to switch apps, you can go to the Full-Screen button in the top left corner and click Replace Tiled Window. You can also change the side of both apps by clicking and holding the app at the top and dragging it with your mouse or trackpad to the left or right. Or you can change how big each app is by clicking and dragging the black bar in the middle of the screen.

4. Use Multitouch Gestures With Your Trackpad

If you’re using a Magic Trackpad or a MacBook, you should try out the trackpad gestures. These gestures are easy to use and will save you a lot of time. There are a lot of trackpad Gestures you can learn on a Mac, but here are a few of the most common ones:

  • Double-tap the trackpad with two fingers to zoom in and out of a webpage or a PDF file.
  • Slide two fingers up or down to scroll.
  • Pinch in or out with two fingers to zoom in or out.
  • Swipe left or right with two fingers to move between the previous or the next page.
  • Open your Mac’s Launchpad and access all your installed apps by pinching in with four fingers at the same time (or three fingers and a thumb).

5. Use the Notification Center

Your Mac’s Notification Center stores all your notifications in one place. Of course, you’ll first need to know how to open it to make see those notifications.

To open your Mac’s Notification Center, all you need to do is click the date and time in the top-right corner of your screen. You’ll see any notifications at the top of the Notification Center, and below your notifications, you’ll find a list of widgets. You can use and customize widgets in the Notification Center by clicking the edit button right below the widgets section.

To close the Notification Center, you can click anywhere on your screen or click the date and time again.

6. Use the Control Center

Your Mac also has a Control Center. If you’re familiar with how your iPhone’s Control Center works, you already know how helpful this feature is. Control Center has many useful tools, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles, to help you control your Mac from one place.

To open your Mac’s Control Center, you need to click on the Control Center icon in the top-right corner of your screen. You can then use any of the controls available. What’s great is that you can customize the Control Center on Mac, to get the most useful controls at your disposal.

To exit Control Center, click anywhere on your Mac screen or click the Control Center icon once again.

7. Where to Find Apps That Aren’t in the Dock

If the apps you’re looking for aren’t in the Dock, it might be hard to figure out where they are. Don’t worry. they’re all stored in a place called Launchpad. Using Launchpad on a Mac is pretty easy, and you’ll find any app you’ve installed from the App Store in there.

If there are symbols on your Mac keyboard, you can press the F4 key to open Launchpad. As we previously showed you, you can also use Spotlight and type Launchpad. The Launchpad icon should also be located in your Mac’s Dock. This is an icon with nine squares of different colors. Once you open Launchpad, you’ll be able to see all the apps on your Mac.

8. Learn to Quit Apps on a Mac

It might not seem obvious at first, but quitting apps on your Mac is pretty straightforward, and there are a couple of ways to go about it. First, you can click the Close button (the red button with an X) located in the top-left corner of the app’s window. However, this only closes the window and might leave some apps running in the background, like the Mail app.

To completely quit an app on your Mac, click the app’s name in the menu bar and choose Quit [App]. If you’re all about learning keyboard shortcuts on your Mac, you can just press Cmd + Q instead.

9. Force Quit an App That’s Giving You Trouble

What happens when an app you’re using gets stuck and you can quit it normally? You’ll need to make your Mac force quit the app instead. There are also two ways you can do this.

First, you can open the Apple menu (the Apple icon) in the top-left corner of your screen and select Force Quit. However, a quicker way to do it is to press Option + Cmd + Esc. Both options will open a Force Quit window with a list of all the apps currently running on your Mac. You can select any app you want and click Force Quit to shut it down.

10. Quickly Swap Between Apps

You can quickly swap between several apps on your Mac with a simple keyboard shortcut. This is particularly useful when you have many apps running at once. Press and hold the Cmd key, then press the Tab key to cycle through apps. You can key pressing Tab to switch apps until you reach the app you want to go to. Release both keys to switch to the highlighted app.

Master Your Mac in Minutes

There are a lot more tricks you can try on your Mac, but using these tips is more than enough to get you started. Once you’ve got these beginner macOS tips down, it’s time to start delving into some of the apps that come with your Mac, like Safari.


17 Essential Safari Tips and Tricks for Mac Users

Read Next

About The Author