In this first post, I basically want to help you along the way, when starting on a MacBook. Of course these rules obviously applies also to any Mac, as the operational system is the main difference to lets say a windows user. Most people either under use the MacBook or they simply overuse it. Each platform has an incredible amount of possibilities it can offer, but of course it’s more important what you need to use the MacBook for and how to easily set things up.
I want to give you some firsthand ideas what to use and how to use it, if you are a first time Mac user. If you are an experienced user, maybe you get one or another pointer through this post.
First main steps
When you first enter into the Mac world, lots of things can be quite a change. With every new platform you are using this is normal, but you will get the hang of it very quick.
Let’s start using the mouse (or trackpad). On your MacBook you have a trackpad. On a Mac you make your normal “left click” by just clicking on the trackpad. You’re “right click” will be if you click with two fingers on your trackpad. Just like on any Windows computer, with a right click, you get more options.
Another important gesture on your MacBook is going to be your launchpad gesture. Launchpad is basically where all your installed programs are going to appear, just like on an iPhone or iPad. You can get to it by swiping your thumb, your pointing finger, your middle finger and our ring finger towards each other. If you don’t use a trackpad or you just don’t like it, you can simply click on the “rocket” in your dock.
If you like your shortcuts and you really want to continue using them, your main key on your keyboard is going to be “⌘cmd”. Basically cmd is going to replace your Ctrl. Anything you are used to doing with Ctrl you can basically do with cmd.
With these few first step, you can come a long way already.
Working with the Cloud
in the day and age we are living, being an active cloud user can be very handy. If you are thinking of buying your first MacBook I recommend to you, that you either buy the 256 GB or 512 GB hard drive. Why is that? One of your weakest link on any computer is your hard drive. Hard drives got better through the times, but they are still weak when it comes to durability.
How can you use the Cloud? You have two possibilities: You either use a Cloud provider or you are using your own Cloud server (I will make a later post on which one I recommend). Obviously if you don’t like your data to be outsourced you should have your own server. There are easy set-ups for a real affordable price nowadays.
The best Cloud provider for a Mac is of course iCloud. Every free account comes with 5 GB storage. You will find out, that this is nowhere close to be enough. I recommend you upgrade this plan to either 50 GB or 200 GB. I use the iCloud extensively with lots of documents and my cloud has about 100 GB filled. iPhone Photos are not my strong point yet, as I sadly don’t take many photos and my Adobe programs are backed up with the Adobe Cloud.
If you are choosing the iCloud the documents and just about anything that has access to it, is stored on the cloud and the neat thing is, that only those files are stored on your MacBook that you are using currently. Older files are only stored on your iCloud. That way you won’t have troubles, that your hard drive gets to full and your Mac is running smoother.
In order for you to turn this function on go to: Settings/iCloud/iCloud Drive Options and make sure the “Optimize Mac Storage” is ticked.
Of course the other great benefit of using a cloud is, that all your data is synced between the devices. Now whether to use Google Drive or OneDrive or Dropbox depends on a bit what other devices you are using but I will make a post about this too.
What programs should I use first?
This question can fully only be answered if you know for what you are using it for. But here are basically the most important ones I recommend:
Pages, Numbers and Keynote are apples alternative for Microsoft Office. The benefit are clearly that they are free of charge. If you do some basic writing or calculating then I believe Pages and Numbers will be more than enough for you. Of course if you are sending out mass letters or you are doing some deep and heavy formulas Microsoft Word and Excel are still the programs to go to. When it comes to keynote though, I believe it’s the best one out there at the moment. Videos are nicely in bedded. Keynote has a mobile app on the iPhone and through it, you can remote control the slides.
Outside of these programs I can recommend evernote for note taking. Apples native app is good and gains more and more new features but in Evernote you can use tags and overall it’s just gives you a cleaner look. Of course, you can add photos and images to evernote and mark them, which is very handy.
As far as your passwords are concerned, I believe the best program out there is 1Password7. I’ve used multiple password manager, but this one seems just the cleanest and best organized manager out there.
Safari is my most favorite browser so far. Maybe Google Chrome is a bit faster in loading time, but safari gives me everything I need. Well thought out and very practical.
What should you avoid?
There are two major things you should just change your mind from the very beginning. First how do you uninstall an app (program), second how are you cleaning up your Mac.
When people uninstall an app they always look for an uninstallment program or something the like. With MacBooks the most effective way to delete an app is going to your Finder and then in your programs folder and then simply right click the program you want to delete and delete it. That way you don’t delete important system files.
There are many apps and websites out there, that try to sell you on something that you have to use their service in order for you to rightfully delete the program. In the long run it will cost you unnecessary money and your nice MacBook will run worse and eventually other programs won’t load anymore and you have to reset your MacBook which cost time that Apple has set up for you to avoid.
The other programs like MacKeeper or CleanmyMac promise you that with their service they will free your Mac from leftovers and junk that just made your Mac slower. I’ve used those services before. They are overpriced and again, they are not necessary. A MacBook has a built in cleaner that’s called the OS. Apple’s OS simply doesn’t create much junk. Plus through the Apple Logo on the top left of your screen and then “About This Mac” and hard drive and Manage, you can free up most of these problems. I’ve had MacBooks on average of five years and I’ve never had to reset my MacBook unless I’ve used the above mentioned programs.
Using a MacBook for the first time will give you great satisfaction and joy. Is it a bit different from other Laptops. Yes it is. But I believe you can learn it very quickly.
Make sure you understand that your main friend is going to be Finder and that you start using the above mentioned programs, like Pages, Numbers and Keynote.
Update your iCloud as soon as you can. Better safe your money in the size of your hard drive and invest it into a good Cloud provider. Make sure you keep making the updates and you know that you will be able to get the most and best out of your device.