13 Must-Know Tips for New Mac Users: Apple Mac Tutorials for Beginners

Apple Mac Tutorials for Beginners

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Congrats on getting your first Apple Mac computer! Now, how the heck do you use it?

If you’ve been using a Windows computer for most of your life, there will definitely be an adjustment period. Don’t worry, this is one of many Apple Mac tutorials for beginners. That means we will cover the very basics as well as some of the more advanced functions.

It’s worth the initial awkwardness if you’re looking to join the leagues of young and professional mac users.

The first step is to set up shop in your favorite cafe so you can show off your new toy. The second is to read on so you know how to use it. 

The Basics of Apple Mac Tutorials for Beginners

The first time you look at the Apple operating system, it might feel like you’ve fallen into Wonderland. Everything’s just slightly different. 

Once you recognize the patterns of the subtle changes, you will be able to adjust to them fairly quickly. Any good apple mac tutorial for beginners will cover these changes too. 

  • Closing or Resizing a Window – You might be finding yourself moving your cursor to the upper right-hand corner of a window to close it out of pure PC muscle memory.

On a Mac, you will find a red circle to close the window, a yellow circle to minimize it, and a green one to make the window full screen all in the upper left-hand corner of a window.

  • Finder –  Instead of Windows File Explorer, new Mac users will be using Finder. They both do basically the same thing, but the layout will be a little different than what you’re used to. Just like File Explorer, you have layout options to choose from so you can make the set up easier for you to use.
  • Connecting to the Wifi – This is one of the most important tips for using a mac. To get wireless internet access, you can click the wifi symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the screen next to the battery and clock. In the dropdown menu, select the wifi you’re looking to connect to. This will open a window for you to enter your password.

If that doesn’t work, you might have to do some deeper wifi troubleshooting

  • Trash – If you’re trying to toss an old document you no longer need, you’re probably looking for the Recycling bin. On the Mac, it’s simply called Trash. You can find this on the dock at the bottom of your screen rather than a shortcut on the desktop.

You will be able to recover items from the Trash as well, as long as you don’t empty your trash beforehand. 

  • Command Key – One of the most notable differences between a PC and a Mac is the utility key.  You’re not going to find a Ctrl key, but instead a Command key.

You can explore the various Mac keyboard shortcuts here. Once you know which ones you’d likely be using most, write them down on a sticky note and stick it next to your trackpad. You’ll have them memorized in no time. 

  • ScreenShots – There are a few ways to take a screenshot on a Mac. To create a .jpeg image of your entire screen press It’s simple, to take a snap of your entire screen, Shift + Command + 3 all at once. You’ll find the .jpeg on your desktop.

If you want to take a screenshot of a portion of your screen instead of the whole thing, you can press Shift + Command + 4. It will also save directly to the desktop. 

Customize your Mac

Have you ever seen that old Apple Superbowl commercial where a lady in red running shorts frees the masses by throwing a sledgehammer at a brainwashing projection?

The point it was trying to make is that with a Mac, you are able to be a little different from everyone else. You’re able to be unique rather than boring like everyone else. 

So let’s live up to the message and learn to make your mac your own through customization.  You can find a lot of options to tweak within System Preferences but these are the main ones every Mac user has mastered. 

  • Menu Bar – Mac’s are known for their sleek and minimal style. If you want to emphasize that by hiding the menu bar (also known as the dock) when not in use, there’s an easy fix. Go to the apple in the left-hand corner, open System Preferences, go to General, then click “Automatically hide and show the menu bar.” It will pop up so you can access it when you hover near it.

You can also edit what is shown on your menu bar by right-clicking the app and pinning it or unpinning it to your Dock. 

  • Desktop Background – Let’s say you’ve got a specific photo you’d like to use as your wallpaper. All you have to do is open System Preferences again, go to Desktop and Screen Saver, and click the plus symbol towards the bottom left of the window. That will pull up Finder where you can upload your image to use as a wallpaper.

You can also change how the image fits on your screen as a wallpaper too. This will help keep the image from getting distorted. This is also where you can choose your screensaver, but keep in mind that an active screensaver can still drain a battery. 

Work Stuff

There’s a stereotype that Windows computers are better suited for business matters. Mac computers are just as useful for work tasks as Windows computers are, once you know how to use them. It just takes some practice. 

  1. PDF’s to Word – Compatibility issues between Microsoft Office and Apple Products can be a hassle. But you can easily convert a word document into a PDF using Adobe Acrobat.

All you have to do is open your PDF file, go to the right sidebar and choose the Export PDF tool. Select Microsoft Word as your desired format and export.

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat, you can learn how to convert PDF to Word on Mac using other ways like Google Docs. 

  • Adding a Printer – To add a printer to your Mac, head back over to system preferences. Select Printers and Scanners. The window that pops up will have a plus and minus sign in the bottom left area. Click the plus sign.

If you don’t see your printer under the Default tab, you will likely see it in the IP tab if it’s connected to the same wifi you are. If it’s still not showing up, you may have to do a printer troubleshooting deep dive. 

  • Split-screen mode – The best solution to the annoyance of flipping back forth between windows is the split-screen mode. It will allow you to easily view two apps at once by sharing the desktop screen.

To use this feature, you’ll need to full size two apps then go to mission control by pressing F3. Once there, put the two apps next to each other. Then drag the app on the right to the left so it is on top of the first app. Then let go! You should now have both windows on your screen.

Finding Your Stuff

  1. Spotlight – This feature lets you search both your entire computer and the internet at the same time. It’s very helpful when looking for a buried email or when you just have to know how tall Chris Hemsworth is.

To access Spotlight, just hit Command+Space, and you have it all at your fingertips. 

  1. How to find all your apps – If you’re looking for an app but can’t find it on your dock, it might be hiding in your LaunchPad. You can open your launchpad by clicking the grey circle with a rocket in it on your dock or in finder.  You can scroll through Launchpad by swiping two fingers across your trackpad.

You’ll find a lot of useful default apps here like the calculator, iTunes, and Mail. 

Now that you have a solid understanding of how to use your new mac, you will start noticing how you can figure out other obstacles on your own. Remember, it’s going to take some time to get used to, just like driving a new car. Don’t rush it and crash the thing. 

There are many apple mac tutorials for beginners that cover more specific Mac functions too, so don’t be afraid to explore! What’s your favorite Mac function? What made you decide to make the big switch? Comment below and let us know!