Since your reading this article I am guessing you’ve decided to switch from a Windows to Mac. Congratulations on the upgrade or downgrade if you’re coming from a high-end Windows PC. But I digress, I know it may seem daunting switching operating systems.
If this is going to be your first time using a Mac don’t worry I’m here to walk you through the basics of what Mac OS is and how to get started with it.
Hey, guys here I will tell you about everything you need to know. about to make a switch from Windows to Mac OS easy.
So we’re on the same page here on this article made for first-time Mac users. So get ready to explore your Mac let’s put it up there.
Talking about Desktop in Mac
The desktop on the Mac and the one on windows are very different. While you will usually have icons like this PC control panel etc. On a Windows desktop. A Mac desktop does not have any of these.
It is generally cleaner and less cluttered out of the box than a Windows desktop. Oh and there’s no refresh option there.
Finder on a Mac is the Mac OS equivalent of File Explorer on Windows.
I say equivalent but it is superior in most respects. While on Windows you can open the Explorer by clicking on the Explorer icon or pressing Windows + E.
The Finder on a Mac is always open by default. You can’t even quit it and you really don’t need to anyway.
You can close it though by clicking on the red button on the top right. Oh, wait that’s Windows on the top left of the Finder window.
You can click on the finder icon in the dock to open a Finder window.
Creating new folders on Windows was done using Ctrl + Shift + N. But on a Mac, it is done by using Command + Shift + N. If you prefer using the mouse where you would have right click on windows gone to new and click on the folder.
On a Mac, you can tap with two fingers and click on your folder.
Let’s move on to renaming files and folders…
Renaming Files and Folder on Mac
On Windows, you can either right click on the file folder and click rename. Or you can select the file and hit F2.
On a Mac, you can either right-click on the file and click rename. You can simply select the file and hit Enter. Which brings me to another difference between Windows and Mac.
By default pressing enter on Windows will open up the selected file but do the same on a Mac you will have to press Command + O.
The Finder also supports tab browsing and you can create new Finder tabs by pressing Command + T.
Mac’s also organize your files differently while you must be used to seeing your drive partitions such as drive C, D, E etc.
On a Mac there are no such partitions your entire Drive is used as one partition and all your files are safe there. The most common places no are all available in the sidebar. See applications that’s where all your applications are saved.
Also if you connect USB drives to your laptop ejecting them before you remove them is good practice. While you can eject the USB Drive on Windows by clicking on the icon in the taskbar and selecting Eject. On a Mac, you have to locate the USB Drive on the Finder sidebar and click on the Eject icon next to it.
Lastly, if you want to check the properties of a file or folder you can do that as well. While on Windows you can right click on the file and click on properties.
On a Mac, you will have to either right click on the file and click Get Info or select the file and press Command + I.
Some Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know When Switch Windows to Mac
Copying files on Windows can be done with Ctrl + C but on a Mac, you’ll use Command + C.
Similarly to paste files you must be using Ctrl + V on Windows. But on a Mac, you would use Command + V. If you need to cut a file and paste it somewhere else you use Ctrl + X – Ctrl + V on Windows. However, on a Mac, you have to use Command + Option + C to copy and then Command + Option + V to move the file essentially working as a cut and paste.
If you needed to select all the files in a folder you will have used Ctrl + A on Windows. However, on a Mac, you’ll have to use Command + A to do the same.
Another useful keyboard shortcut that you must have been using on Windows selecting a number of files and pressing Delete to move them to the Recycle Bin a pressing Shift + Delete to delete them without moving them to the Recycle Bin.
If you want to do the same on a Mac you will have to use Command + Delete to move the files to the Trash or press Command + Option + Delete to delete them without moving to the Trash.
By the way, while we’re talking about deleting stuff the Delete key on a Mac is not the same as the Delete key on a Windows PC.
Mac’s delete key Fn like a Backspace and if you want to forward delete you will have to use Fn + Delete instead.
If you multitask on your laptop what am I saying of course you do! Then you must have used all tab to switch between applications on your Windows PC.
To do the same on a Mac you can use Command tab. Also to quit apps you probably use Alt + F4 on Windows whereas on the Mac you will have to use Command + Q.
These may not seem like the easiest shortcuts at first but you’ll get the hang of them in no time.
Trackpad and Gestures on Mac
The trackpad on a new Mac looks simple but hides a spectacular amount of complexity.
There is a reason why the Mac trackpad is the best in class? and that reason, for the most part, is gestures. While gestures on Windows trackpads are limited usually to pinching in and out for zooming.
The Mac trackpad offers a lot of gestures to navigate around the Mac OS environment.
You can form a three finger swipe up to open Mission Control. This is where you can see all the apps that you have launched on your Mac.
These apps are also displayed as icons the dock. With a small black dot under their icons. If you have opened multiple windows of the same app you can use a Three-Finger Swipe Down gesture. This will launch app expose which displays all of the windows of the app that was in focus when you perform the action.
By working on an app if you need to take a quick peek at the desktop you can simply Pinch Out with your Thumb and Three Fingers. This is exceptionally handy when you need to drag and drop a file onto an app from the desktop.
The Launchpad is technically the official way to access and launch out on the Mac although no one really uses it at all.
If you want to access the launch pad using the track by gestures you just need to perform a four-finger Pinch in.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I said that no one really uses the Launchpad to launch applications when the reason is Spotlight.
What is Spotlight on Mac
Spotlight on the Mac is a lot like the search in Windows while you can launch the Windows search by using Windows + S.
To launch Spotlight on the Mac you will have to use Command + Space or you can click on the lens icon in the menu bar.
From Spotlight just as in the Windows search you can do a lot of things. You can define words, look up things on the Internet, launch applications and can perform simple calculations.
The reason people prefer using Spotlight over Launchpad to launch applications is that. The spotlight is extremely accurate very fast and it saves people a lot of time.
Closing Apps on Mac
Apps on Mac OS don’t quit just by clicking on the cross arrow in the title bar. Think of it like Skype on Windows every app on a Mac behaves like that.
To actually quit an app on a Mac you can simply press Command + Q or you can click on the name of the app in the menu bar and click on Quit.
Alternatively, you can also simply right-click on the app’s icon and click on Quit. However, most apps on Windows simply quit when you click on the Red Button on the top right of the window.
Multi-Tasking on Mac
Multitasking is a necessity these days and Mac’s handle multitasking with ease.
Most of the gestures that you use for multitasking were already covered earlier in trackpad gestures. But I figured a little division won’t hurt.
If you have multiple apps open you can use the three finger swipe up to launch Mission Control and get a bird’s-eye view of all the open apps.
Similarly, if you have multiple windows of an app open you can just use the Three Finger Swipe Down in order to get an app expose. Which shows all the windows for that particular app.
Mac’s also support multiple desktops something that Windows has only started supporting in Windows 10.
If you want to use multiple desktops on a Windows PC. You can click on the task View icon in the taskbar and add new desktops or switch between desktops.
On a Mac, you can go to Mission Control and then add new desktops also switch between them. Multiple desktops on Windows offer a lot of keyboard shortcuts such as Windows + Ctrl + D to create a new desktop Windows + Ctrl + Left or Right to move between desktops and Windows + Ctrl + F4 to close the current desktop.
Mac doesn’t have any keyboard shortcuts. But you can move between multiple desktops on a Mac using a Three-Finger Swipe to the Left or Right.
Installing and Uninstalling Apps on Mac
Installing and Uninstalling apps is one of the most commonly performed actions on a laptop. Especially a new and it is drastically different on a Mac as compared to Windows.
While installing an application on Windows you would get a .exe file that will run an install wizard which will then take you to the setup.
Installing applications on a Mac is very easy. You will get a .dmg file when you double click on it it will open and you simply have to drag the application icon to your Applications folder and you’re done.
Uninstalling applications on windows can be quite a hassle as well. What with looking for an installer file and then uninstalling the software the process is quite simple on a Mac.
You simply have to go to that Applications folder right I talked about when we were discussing Finder and here you can simply select the application that you want to delete and press Command + Delete to uninstall it. Easy right?
Windows Snapping Features on Mac
One of the best things about windows is the window snapping features it offers. Unfortunately, this is not available on Mac OS.
Yes, you can view two apps side by side when they are in full-screen mode but that’s all.
Windows snapping on windows allows you to snap a window to a corner of the screen or easily maximize it by snapping it to the top of the screen.
If you want similar functionality on a Mac you can try better touch tool or better snap tool. This enables the same snapping features that are available in Windows.
Microsoft launched Cortana on the desktop Windows 10 and apple followed suit integrated Siri in Mac OS Sierra.
On Windows, Cortana abilities feel quite tough when you consider everything that Siri can do. You can use Cortana to get definitions, search the web, look up the files, and launch applications.
However, with Siri, you can do all that and you can adjust your system settings such as turning Bluetooth On or Off or get information about your Mac such as the amount of RAM you have installed.
The only issue I see with Siri on the Mac is that you cannot interact with it using text. You always have to talk to it.
Whereas you can interact with Cortana using only text if you so wish.
If you’ve only ever used Windows chances are your USB drives and external hard disks are all formatted in the NTFS file format. However, Mac does not support writing to NTFS formatted drives. If you can, I would suggest you format it drives in either Fat32 or exFAT format as they are supported by both Windows and Mac.
Otherwise, you can offer third-party applications such as Paragon NTFS for Mac.
Taking Screenshots on Mac
If you ever need to take screenshots you will love the flexibility offered by a Mac. On Windows, you can use a couple of methods to take screenshots. You can use the Windows Snipping Tool or you can take a screenshot using Windows + PrtSc.
On a Mac, you can use a lot of shortcuts to make the kind of screenshots you’d like. To take a screenshot of the entire screen just use Command + Shift + 3.
To take a screenshot of the region. Just use Command + Shift + 4 and then drag your cursor over the region you want to take a screenshot of.
To take screenshots of app windows you can use Command + Shift + 4 and then press Space.
There are a lot of other options available as well.
Taking Backups on Mac
Taking backups of your data is never a bad option and in fact, should be done as often as possible. Both Windows and Mac OS offer easy ways to backup data and all you need is an external storage device.
Taking a backup on a Mac is easy and restoring files from that backup is easy.
You simply have to connect an external storage device go to System Preferences – Time Machine and select the external storage device you connected.
Time Machine will start backing up your files to the disk. The first time you do this it might take very long. But the following backups will be completed really quickly.
Restoring files from a Time Machine backup is very easy as well.
Just connect the disk you use for Time Machine backups click on the time machine icon in the menu bar and click on enter time machine.
You can select the file you want to restore right click on it and restore it.
Non-Responsive Applications on Mac
This is not a situation you will face often on your Mac unless you really tack it to a level where the hardware can’t handle everything you’re throwing at it. But if you do face non-responsive apps you can choose to force quit them. This is similar to the Ctrl or deletes method of closing applications that are not responding to Windows.
On a Mac, you can press Command + Option + Escape to launch the force quit menu from where you can select any app that you want to force quit.
Well, those are the basics of using Mac OS I hope you found this article useful.