So you’ve just decided to take the leap and jump on the Apple bandwagon by buying a mac. You open it; try to configure it but eventually end up getting frustrated because you’ve always been a PC guy. Fret not; this will be the only guide that you’ll need to become a pro Mac user.

Firstly, getting used to a mac is not difficult at all. If you’ve decided to make the switch, you sure as hell can master a Mac device in no time.

This guide assumes you’ve done the initial startup and you are now trying to find your way through the Mac OS X User Interface. Also, since the new Macs come pre installed with the latest Mac OS (OS X Mavericks), all instructions will be based on the latest OS.

Apple ID

Firstly, if you don’t have an Apple ID, get one immediately. Safari comes pre installed so head over to the Apple website or click here. You’ll need it to sign in to a few Apple services like iTunes, iMessages, FaceTime, etc. which are quite essential if you plan to enter the Apple ecosystem and if your friends and family are already using Apple products.

Dock – The Mac’s start bar

What the Start Bar is to the PC, Dock is for the Mac. The dock is nothing but the row of icons to the bottom of the screen.

System Preferences – Configuring your Mac to your needs

What the control panel is to a PC, System Preferences is to a Mac. To change any Mac related setting/preference (these words will be used alternatively from here onwards), the ‘system preferences’ is the go to area. By default, this is the gear like icon in the dock.

Here, you’ll be able to configure you’re your display, trackpad, configure your network, Date/Time, Mails, add/delete printers and a number of other things.

How do I right click on the trackpad?

If you’re used to a Mouse/Trackpad with right and left click, you’ll find the iconic rectangular glass trackpad of a mac quite annoying. However, there is a very easy solution. Head over to system preferences < Trackpad < Point & Click (tab) < Secondary click, change ‘Click or tap with two fingers’ to ‘Click in bottom right corner’. The trackpad now behaves in a similar manner to a PC trackpad with the left mouse button on the bottom left and the right click on the bottom right corner.

To learn more about the various gestures of the trackpad, you can see all the settings with an example on the right side of the system preferences screen. To configure the settings, you can further explore the system preferences.

Resizing the Dock

System Preferences < Dock < Adjust Size.

Alternately, scroll your cursor to the line lying flat in the dock (right side of the dock) till you see the cursor change to ns-resize type cursor. Press and scroll up or down to adjust the size of the Dock.


Being a PC user, you’re probably used to a lot of shortcuts. Mac too has shortcuts to do the same job, as you would require in a PC. However, the catch is, you’ll have to re-learn all these shortcuts. And as with any learning process, it takes time. Keep in mind; the command button (⌘) is the key to all shortcuts. This guide is an excellent place to start learning all the Mac shortcuts.


Remember the good old days when phones came equipped with Bluetooth for file sharing? Airdrop is a similar technology, with the only difference being that files are transferred using an ad-hoc network created by your iDevice when you click the Airdrop tab in the Finder’s sidebar.

This technology, though brilliant, does come with its own set of shortcomings. iOS 7 introduced Airdrop in iPhones and iPads (subject to iPhone and iPad model) and here is where I still fail to understand why Apple didn’t allow file transferring between its iOS devices and Mac devices. 

Unfortunately, you cannot transfer files from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac device via Airdrop and you are still stuck with file transferring through the traditional iTunes method.

Another drawback of this technology is the lack of support of the file types. This means, if you’re in a meeting and wish to share files with all or any particular attendee, you need to be careful of the file type you wish to transfer. You can share images or videos but you cannot transfer files made in Microsoft Office (which include Word, Excel, Powerpoint) or .mp3/music files. So what file types are supported by Airdrop? For the little time that I have used Airdrop for testing purposes, apart from images and videos, I have only been able to transfer a .txt file successfully.


Launchpad is the iOS style view of the Apps on your Mac. Here, you can find additional apps like Airport Utility, Activity Monitor (much like the Windows Task Manager), etc.

To access the Launchpad, you can either click on the Launchpad icon in the Dock, or pinch 5 fingers on the Trackpad as a shortcut. To exit, press the ‘esc’ button.

Mission Control

This gives you a look at all the open Applications on your mac. However, the functionality is not limited to a bird’s eye view of all the open applications. For multitasking, you can have multiple windows and each window can have its own set of open applications. This feature is extremely handy if you connect your Mac to multiple screens.

To open a new window in Mission Control, hover the cursor to the top right corner of the screen and press the ‘+’ button. To remove a window, simply hover the cursor over the window icon on the top center of the screen and press the ‘x’ symbol to close.


Hide/Unhide a file in Mac

Open terminal (Finder < Applications < Utilities < Terminal) and type the following command to hide a file of folder:

chflags hidden PathOfFileToHide

To unhide the file, type the following command:

chflags nohidden PathOfFileToUnhide

To determine the path, simply drag the file from the location to the terminal.

External Hard Disk Compatibility

If you’ve been using external hard disks on your PC to create backups of all your important data, it is possible that your external hard disk has been formatted as NTFS file storage system.

Why can’t I copy my data from my Mac to the external hard disk?

To check, connect your hard disk, right click anywhere in the blank area just as you would on a PC and from the drop down menu, click ‘Get Info’. Under the general section of the information window, check for the format of your hard disk. If it reads NTFS, you are most likely to only copy from the hard disk to your mac and not vice versa. This is because you only have the permission to read from the hard disk and no write permissions.

To check the Read/Write permissions, open the ‘get info’ window of the external hard disk and scroll down to the ‘Sharing and Permissions’ section. Here you can find out if you have Read/Write permissions. If it says Read only, don’t worry; the Tuxera NTFS has got you covered.

How do I make NTFS format read/write on a Mac?

Download Tuxera NTFS for Mac by clicking here. You may or may not wish to subscribe to Tuxera’s newsletter service. Once downloaded, install the application. All installation packages end with .dmg, similar to PC’s .exe format for executable files.

Once the installation is done, you may need to restart your system. After restarting, Tuxera NTFS icon will be visible in the System Preferences app. Head over to the ‘Get Info’ section of the external hard disk. Under the ‘Sharing and Permissions’ section, you will now see read and write permissions enabled.

Adding multiple files to a folder

This is a neat little trick that I learnt recently. To add multiple files to a new folder, select the files that you wish to move to the new folder. After selecting, press ^ + ⌘ + N i.e. Control + Command + N.
Alternately, you can also select all files to be moved, right click and select ‘New Folder with Selection (number of items)’.

Cut/Copy/Paste in Mac

By now you must have figured out that a Mac’s working is significantly different from a PC and moving files from one destination to another in a Mac is no different.

Fortunately, to copy and paste files, Mac uses the traditional Command (⌘) + C and Command (⌘) + V shortcuts.

To cut a file and move it from one destination to the other, a small trick is involved. Copy the file(s)/folder(s) and you normally would with the Command (⌘) + C shortcut. To paste, press, Command (⌘) + Option/Alt (⌥) + V. This will move the file from one location to the other, aka, cut files from one destination to the other.

Taking Screenshots

To take a screenshot of the entire screen, use the following shortcut:

Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 3

To take a screenshot of a particular area of the screen, use the following shortcut:

Command (⌘) + Shift (⇧) + 4

The cursor changes to a crosshair with cursor position information. Drag the area that you want to take a screenshot of and when you’re done selecting the area, screenshot will be taken.

For both the shortcuts, as soon as a screenshot is taken, you will hear a clicking noise similar to the ones found on a smartphone’s camera app. All screenshots are saved on the Desktop.

Alternate Dock Effects

Apart from the Genie and Scale effect to minimize an open window, there one more effect that is hidden which is called the ‘suck effect’. To activate this effect, open Terminal (Applications < Utilities < Terminal). In the terminal, copy paste or write the following line:

defaults write com.apple.dock mineffect –string suck

To activate this effect, you must restart your dock. In order to do so, after writing the above command, hit enter/return and type:

killall dock

Press enter/return. The dock will disappear momentarily and then reappear. You should now have the ‘suck’ effect activatedwhile closing or opening applications from the dock.

You might have noted a genie effect while minimizing or maximizing the screen of a particular application. To see the genie effect in slow motion, press Shift (⇧) while minimizing or maximizing the application’s window.

Switching between open Applications

To switch between open applications in a Mac, the shortcut is similar to a PC, i.e. Command (⌘) + Tab.

Backspace in Mac

Anybody who has been a PC user is definitely used to the backspace key. However, as you might have noticed on an Apple keyboard, there is no backspace key. There is only the delete button which doubles up as the backspace. In order to use the delete button as backspace, use function (Fn) + delete.

Keep in mind; the backspace key has multiple functions in Windows. On a Mac, it is only limited to typing purposes. Backspace has no functionality in the Finder window.

Viewing (scrolling through) multiple photos in Mac

Mac has an inbuilt preview app to view photos. The problem is, the preview app is worst of its kind! While you might want to look at all pictures in a folder at once, this is not possible in the preview app. As an alternate, click one of the photos on the folder and press spacebar. This way, you can scroll through all the photos of that particular folder using the direction keys.

These are just a few of the tricks that I have learnt so far. Having used a Mac device for only 2 weeks, I’m getting the hang of it quite easily. Do you have any tips or tricks to share? Let me know in the comments section!

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