It would not matter how lengthy you have used a Mac, there’s nonetheless loads of methods to get essentially the most worth out of MacOS. 

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Apple’s Mac computer systems are so full of options, it is easy to overlook about a number of the extra helpful or useful shortcuts and instruments. That’s true whether or not you have been utilizing a Mac for years, like I’ve, otherwise you’re getting began for the primary time. 

For instance, did you know you should use Preview to signal a doc in a few seconds? Or what in regards to the skill to drag settings out of Control Center to your menu bar? Yea, me both. 

The most up-to-date replace, MacOS 11 Big Sur, made some important adjustments to the best way the Mac appears to be like and works. But at its core, the Mac remains to be a Mac, simply with a extra iOS-like interface and borrowed options like Control Center. 

Below I’ll present you the way to get essentially the most out of your Mac with 10 tips and tricks.


Keep your Mac up to date for safety fixes and new options. It would not price you something. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Free updates for years and years and years

It’s far too simple to take routine software program updates as a right — they’re one thing we simply count on from system makers now. But Apple has continued to launch updates for gadgets which can be extremely outdated. Here, take a look at the record of Macs that may run MacOS Big Sur, the newest working system. 

I’ve a 2011 iMac that was lastly left behind almost 10 years after I purchased it. 

Not solely do software program updates add new options, however they proceed to optimize your pc and embody essential safety updates as nicely. 

Do your self a favor and ensure you maintain your Mac up to date every time a brand new replace is launched. It’s completely positive to wait a day or two to be certain that no main bugs slipped by means of testing undetected, however after that click on on the Apple emblem within the top-left nook of the menu bar, choose System Preferences adopted by Software Updates

Take management of Control Center, rearrange the menu bar

Arguably one of many greatest interface adjustments Apple made to MacOS Big Sur is the addition of Control Center to the menu bar. For those that do not personal an iPhone or an iPad, Control Center is the place you may discover all of the, nicely, controls for settings like Do Not Disturb, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and show brightness on that respective system. 

Using the Control Center is simple sufficient, you click on on the icon, choose the setting you need to change and that is about it. 

But here is a professional tip: If you end up lacking fast entry to any of the settings now included in Control Center, simply drag that icon out of Control Center and place it in your Menu Bar. 

For instance, I steadily fiddle with Bluetooth gadgets and have to handle what my Mac is related to. With this trick, I can transfer the Bluetooth icon again to the menu bar (the place it ought to all the time be, ha!) and entry it with fewer clicks. The similar goes for anything in Control Center. 

When I realized about this trick my thoughts was blown. Seriously. 


Move and resize your signature whereas including it to your doc. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Sign a doc with none particular app wanted

One of my favourite hidden options of MacOS is that you should use Preview to signal paperwork. I exploit it on a regular basis to signal paperwork for work or my children’ college. 

The gist of it’s this: Open the doc you want to register Preview, then click on on the pencil icon on the prime, adopted by the signature emblem. You can then use your iPhone to create and save your signature, which is then added to your doc. 

I’ve a extra full walkthrough you possibly can try for those who’re in want of a free instrument to signal something from a mortgage on a brand new automotive to a discipline journey permission slip.


Select your iPad from the Display menu and increase, you might have one other show. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Have an iPad? Now you might have one other show

I do not use Apple’s Sidecar characteristic almost sufficient, however I would like to change that. Sidecar permits you to use your iPad as an exterior show to your Mac. It’s a totally wi-fi connection, and takes only a second to activate. 

Your iPad will want to have iPadOS 13 or later put in, and your Mac will want MacOS Catalina or newer. 

With your iPad close to your Mac, you possibly can activate Sidecar a few other ways. The best is to go to Control Center > Display and choose your iPad in your Mac. Otherwise, you possibly can open system preferences and open the Sidecar settings panel. 

Your iPad can both mirror your Mac’s show, or act as an prolonged desktop, providing you with one other display screen and more room to put home windows and apps. You may even proceed to use your iPad and different apps, then return to the Sidecar view with out breaking the connection. If you are going to use it for an extended time frame, I recommend connecting your iPad to your Mac with a cable. 


You can simply share data between your iPad and Mac. 

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Apple’s Continuity characteristic is low-key my favourite

Continuity is a characteristic you may already be utilizing and not even notice it. The nondescript title is what Apple makes use of to hyperlink all your Apple devices collectively, permitting you to decide up a job in your Mac the place you left off in your iPhone. Or one thing as seemingly easy as taking a telephone name in your Mac — that is Continuity in motion. 

But maybe my favourite and most used facet of Continuity is Handoff. If you have ever seen an app icon seem and then disappear on the far right aspect of the app dock in your Mac — that is handoff. If you had been to click on that app icon, it could open no matter app you are utilizing in your iPhone, Apple Watch or iPad in your Mac. 

For instance, for those who’re writing an e mail in your iPhone however need to end it in your Mac, click on the Mail app icon and the compose window will open, along with your draft prepared for you to end. 

I typically will copy a string of textual content on one system, however want to paste it right into a textual content discipline on one other system. Continuity features a Universal Clipboard characteristic, so so long as each gadgets are close to one another, you possibly can copy in your Mac and paste in your iPhone with out doing something particular in any respect. Try it. It’s actually superior. 

Share MacOS document

It’s true. You can share your Apple-created paperwork identical to Google docs. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple’s model of Google Docs are constructed right in

Every Mac comes with Pages, Numbers and Keynote put in out of the field. Those three apps are the Google equal of Docs, Sheets and Slides, or Microsoft’s equal of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. 

One of the largest attracts to Google Docs is the flexibility to share and collaborate in actual time with fellow customers utilizing your favourite internet browser. It’s a useful instrument, little doubt, and one I exploit each single day. 

However, Apple’s suite of apps have a collaboration instrument of their very own constructed right in, and the folks you are working with do not even have to personal a Mac. You can ship an invitation to any doc by clicking on the Collaborate button and sending your invite. From there it’s also possible to set permissions, and require a password to entry the hyperlink. 

You can then work collectively on a doc in actual time, identical to you’d with Google Docs. Whoever you are working with can open the hyperlink, add their title so adjustments are credited to them, and begin working within the doc immediately in Chrome or Microsoft Edge. 

Scan paperwork, import pictures immediately out of your iPhone

Speaking of Apple’s creativity suite, here is an oft-forgotten characteristic constructed into MacOS that makes scanning a doc or importing a photograph right into a doc a breeze. 

To examine if an app helps this characteristic, right-click in any textual content discipline and search for a bit along with your close by iPhone listed. Under that part would be the choice(s) supported by the app. For instance, after I right-click in a Pages doc, I’m proven three choices for my iPhone 12 Pro: take photograph, scan paperwork or add sketch. 

Select the choice that works greatest for you, and then unlock your iPhone or iPad. It will routinely open the right display screen based mostly in your choice, and if you’re completed it is going to be added to your doc. 


Sharing a folder out of your Mac takes a few clicks. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Share iCloud folders with ease

Apple made it attainable to share iCloud Drive folders with the launch of iOS 13 a few years in the past. It works identical to sharing a folder on Dropbox or OneDrive does, solely as a substitute of utilizing a third-party service, you are utilizing one thing that is constructed immediately into your Mac. 

I lined how to share a folder and all its caveats when the characteristic made its debut. Make positive to test it out, particularly for those who’re bored with paying for a number of cloud storage companies. 

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Get inventive with GarageBand and iMovie

Each Mac contains GarageBand and iMovie, Apple’s core audio and video enhancing instruments, respectively. It’s simple to take a look at both app as one thing for professionals or inventive folks, and whereas there’s some reality to that, each apps are simple to use and get began with. 

I’ve personally used GarageBand to report podcasts and interviews, each of which don’t have anything to do with musical devices. As for iMovie, I’ve created numerous trailers utilizing the inbuilt scenes and instruments with my children. I used every a type of periods as a approach to train myself how to use iMovie and edit video, again after I was doing CNET How To movies. 

I admit, it is easy to get intimidated by each apps. But for those who’re wanting to decide up a brand new pastime, open both one and begin experimenting. 


iPhone and iPad apps aren’t included within the default search outcomes. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Run iPhone and iPad apps in your Mac

Apple’s newest Mac computer systems all use the corporate’s personal processor, the M1. Because it is the identical kind of processor that powers your iPhone or iPad, and thanks to adjustments Apple has made to MacOS Big Sur, you possibly can set up and use the identical apps you do in your telephone or pill immediately in your Mac. 

There are just a few other ways of getting iPhone and iPad apps onto your M1 Mac, however I lined the entire particulars right here

There’s lots extra the Mac can do in addition to this record. Like the remainder of the new options on Big Sur. There are a number of hidden options you need to know, too. If you simply obtained a Mac, ensure you set it up the right approach

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