10 MacBook Pro Tips for Beginners.
Macbook Pro is a very powerful laptop; one that can multiply your productivity. But it can also be a little tricky, especially if you’re used to working in a Windows environment. In this article, we’ve compiled 10 helpful tips to help you get up to speed with this sleek, modern block of aluminum.
Note. We are currently using a 2018 model running macOS High Sierra for this article, so some features may not be available to you if you are using an older MBP model or an older version of macOS.
We also made a video on our YouTube channel that highlights some of the highlights below. Be sure to see:
1. Work faster with multi-touch gestures
The first thing you need to know is the massive, tactile trackpad. There is a reason the MacBook Pro trackpad is so large and why it is so different from other laptop trackpads.
It can actually support multi-touch gestures like your smartphone or tablet. Yes, there are a few Windows 10 laptops out there that can do that too, but MacBook Pros have multitouch support for years now and the implementation is just better.
Let’s get started with multitouch right now. Using the trackpad, hover your mouse over any object that cannot be clicked in this article (try the space bar). Now bring your thumb and forefinger together (touching the panel), and then expand the image as if you were magnifying the image on your smartphone.
Notice how everything expands, as if you zoom in (because you do). Bring everything back to its original size by making a squeeze gesture.
You can also achieve much the same effect by simultaneously double-tapping an inactive spot on the page with two fingers. This should enlarge the page. Zoom out by double-tapping again with two fingers.
You can explore (as well as customize) other touchpad gestures by going to Apple menu System Preferences.
Then click on the trackpad.
After that, you should see the Direction and Click, Scroll and Zoom and More Gestures tabs at the top.
2. Let Siri do some things for you
Even if you’re new to the Apple ecosystem, you’ve probably already heard of Siri, a virtual assistant that answers questions and even performs some tasks for you. Siri debuted on the iPhone, but has now found its way into the iPad and other Apple devices, including the Mac.
You can access Siri by tapping its icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
Once launched, Siri may start responding to questions / requests, for example:
- Show my downloads folder
- Brighten the screen
- How fast is my Mac?
- FaceTime Bob
- What’s the weather like tomorrow?
- And so on.
Siri uses artificial intelligence (AI) that allows it to learn more as you continue to use it. Once you get the hang of it, it really helps you get more done.
3. The delete key has not been broken
On a Windows keyboard, if you want to use the Delete key to delete a character, you usually place the cursor to the left of that character and press the Delete key. Oddly enough, if you did this on a MacBook Pro keyboard, the cursor would simply move to the left.
Worse, if a character is to the left of the cursor, that character will be deleted – as you would expect if you did it with the Windows Backspace key.
Sounds illogical, right? Well, if you’re used to Windows, then that’s for sure. To achieve the same effect as pressing the Windows Delete key, simply press fn + Delete. Once you get used to it, everything will stop being so illogical.
4. Right click = double-finger click
The right-click functionality is one of the most useful features in Windows, allowing you to launch context menus that display the options you need at the moment or context. Unfortunately, this feature is not available by default on MacBook Pro. Nothing happens if you try to right-click on the trackpad.
But don’t worry. The Mac equivalent of right-clicking is just as simple. Remember the two-finger double-tap we learned earlier? Well, if you reduce this to just one tap, you can get the same effect as right clicking. Try it yourself. Press with one tap with two fingers while the cursor is over an article. You should immediately see a pop-up context menu as soon as you perform a gesture.
Also, be sure to check out my other article on other Mac equivalents of Windows programs.
5. Capture screen shots
Sometimes, you may need to take a screenshot for use in a document or presentation. To take screenshots on your Mac, you can do any of the following:
- To take a screenshot of the entire screen, press command + shift + 3
- To take a screenshot of part On press command + shift + 4 on screen, and then when the crosshair appears, tap and drag the crosshair over the area you want to capture. Once you cover the area you want to capture, release. Easy as pie.
Usually, your images are stored on your desktop. However, if you have a screen capture tool like Snagit, images will usually be pasted there. Check out my more detailed post on extra keyboard shortcuts in OS X.
6. Connect more devices with Thunderbolt
So far, we’ve focused on what you see on the screen. Let’s move to a different location on the unibody of your MacBook Pro. Look from the side, especially the oddly shaped power connector. Apple didn’t design this connector so that it just looks like a Thunderbolt port next to it. THIS IS a Thunderbolt port. Both ports are exactly the same.
So you can charge your laptop through any of the ports, and you can connect any compatible device (like an external drive, external monitor, external microphone, etc.) to any of them.
Having a Thunderbolt port as a power connector can come in handy, especially if you’re using a smaller 13-inch MacBook Pro that only has two Thunderbolt ports. For example, suppose you want to record audio through an external microphone AND still have an external monitor to view — say, your scenario — while ALSO using the home screen to display the application.
To do this, on a 13-inch MacBook Pro, you can temporarily unplug the power cord, plug in one of the devices instead, and then plug the other device into a different port. MacBook Pros have long battery life, so you can get a lot of work done even with MBP turned off.
7. Bring on Emojis!
If you’re a Millennial, Gen Z, or anyone who just loves expressing their opinions with emojis, frowns and the like, you’ll be glad to know that your MacBook Pro has a hotkey to launch Apple’s vast collection of emojis. Just press Control + Command + Space. This should trigger this:
Most apps allow you to simply tap on an emoticon to use it. Others may need to drag the emoji into place.
8. Fast search with Spotlight
Usually, when we want to search for something on the Internet, we launch our favorite web browser and then enter our search into the search bar. Then, if we want to find a file (on Windows), we open explorer or go to the start menu and search there.
MacOS brings all the search functionality together in one place. You can do all searches in Spotlight. To launch Spotlight, just press Command + Space. After that, the Spotlight search bar should appear, where you can enter whatever you want to find, whether it’s a file on your file system or something on the Internet.
If you can’t find the file you’re looking for, but are 100% sure it is on your system, you may just need to re-index the disk. But this is for another post, so stay tuned.
9. Work more efficiently with split screen
Advanced users usually have 2 or more external monitors for more efficient operation. With 2 or more screens, you can easily:
- compare documents,
- use one screen as your main workspace and the other to display links,
- Use one screen for editing and another for displaying results,
- and so on.
But what if you don’t have an external monitor? Well, you can always split the screen in two. To do this, you first need to set the two apps that you want to place next to each other in full screen mode. Just click on the green circle in the upper left corner of each app.
When the two apps are in full screen mode, press the F3 key to enter Mission Control mode, as shown below. Once you enter Mission Control, place the two apps / desktops next to each other. If you don’t see any apps / desktops in the top line, hover your mouse over this area.
Once the two apps are next to each other, drag the app from right to left until it overlaps the app on the left. Release.
When they are connected together, click on the desktop where the two applications are located. After that, you should see your two apps in split screen mode as shown below.
10. Where can I find all of my apps?
Speaking of apps, let’s end this article by showing you where you can find apps on your MacBook Pro. Long way to go is to launch Finder and go to Applications.
But if you want a faster way, just click on the gray rocket icon in the dock. This should bring up the Launch Pad. Scroll to the side by sliding two fingers horizontally on the trackpad and tap to select an app.
You can also assign a keyboard shortcut to LaunchPad by going to System Preferences – Keyboard – Hotkeys – LaunchPad & Dock. Another good option for quickly accessing your applications is to go to Finder and drag the entire Applications folder onto your dock.
When you click on this icon now, all your apps will be downloaded straight from the dock.
That’s all for this article. Hope you enjoyed it! We’ll write more detailed instructions on how to get more out of your Mac soon.