New to Mac? Here are our top 10 things to do when first setting up your Mac
After opening the box, your Mac is almost ready to go. There are several things that you can do right away to make your user experience even more smooth.
The default user settings are good for many people. We highly recommend learning about personalization and customizations available so that you can create a computing environment that works best for you. Contact us for classes or coaching, sign up for notifications and specials for our online learning site www.applejuiceacademy.com, or just sign up for our newsletter at www.macjuicynews.com.
#1 Run Software Update *Essential*
This is critical. Apple is continuously producing updates for their software to fix bugs, improve compatibility, improve security and add features. Go to the Apple menu, then Software Update a few times, because some updates are only available sequentially.
In System Preferences=>Software Update, you can make sure that your mac automatically checks for updates. Always apply Apple updates as soon as you can to protect your Mac and to make sure your system stays stable.
#2 Enable right-click *Important*
Right-click gives you access to easy to access functions. It is not enabled by default. Even your MacBookPro trackpad and the Magic Trackpad are capable of having a right-click. Go to System Preferences => choose Trackpad or Mouse and check the box next to “Secondary click”.
#3 Show the date and time in your favored format in the menu bar *Optional*
The Mac menu bar is the very top smallish bar across the top OD your screen. In System Preferences under Date & Time > Clock.
#4 Customize the Finder Window *Optional*
I do this by default for all my clients. Click on the Finder guy on the left side of the Dock at the bottom of your screen. Then, after a Finder window opens, go to the top menu click on Finder => View =>Then choose Customize Toolbar. There, you can drag items like the trash can, delete icon and add folder icon to you toolbar. These will be helpful when you are working with your files.
#5 Turn on the firewall *Optional*
The firewall can be enabled in System Preferences under Security. It’s just a matter of switching it on, that’s all.
#6 Set up Time Machine *Essential*
This is the most important thing you can do for your sanity.There is no less expensive insurance to save time over reinstalling all your applications, data, etc. Time Machine is software that comes with your Mac. It automatically keeps up-to-date backups of your entire system and makes restoring your Mac super easy if something should happen,much as a hard drive failure. It happens frequently, so don’t take any chances.
All you needed is an external hard drive with more capacity than the hard drive on your Mac. We recommend 2-3 times the capacity. There is no excuse, because you pay more in time or data lost or for someone to try to recover it and get your machine back in order. You can get external drives even at WalMart for $100-$150.
Check out our article on Setting up Time Machine
#7 Install Google Chrome *Highly Recommended*
Now that the operating system tweaks are out of the way, it’s time to look at some must-have FREE 3rd party applications. First, Is Google Chrome. Safari is a great internet browser, but you never know when a certain site may require an alternative like Chrome or Firefox to function correctly.
Google’s Chrome has just surpassed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in total usage WorldWide. Amazing achievement and this Application makes surfing faster. Get it here: Google Chrome.
#8 Install Flip4Mac WMV *Essential*
No Windows Media Player for Mac means no compatibility with WMV and WMA files, right? Not so fast! Flip4Mac WMV is a simple plugin that makes QuickTime compatible with these media file formats. Get the free player Flip44Mac.
#9 Install VLC Player *Optional*
VLC is its own media player and it plays just about everything out there – perfect for those times when QuickTime won’t play a video or audio file for you. It’s my favorite video player. Get VLC.
#10 Install StuffIt Expander *Essential*
Occasionally, you’ll download a file from the Internet. Mac OS X comes with support for ZIP files, which is the most common type of compressed folder. RAR is another type of compression that is becoming prevalent. Have StuffIt Expander ready to go and you’ll avoid dealing with it later. The free version is quite adequate. Get Stuffit Expander.
This is just a start for new Mac owners. If you are a veteran Mac user, please share your tips in the comments below, for the benefit of all our readers.
If you are new to Macs or want a refresher for the latest OS version, contact us for classes. Get notifications for free learning opportunities as well as affordable courses at our online learning site www.applejuiceacademy.com by joining the list there.