Activate Spotlight for Searching
To bring up a handy search interface that will let you find files on your Mac, just use Command + Space. Spotlight can do all kinds of things, from locating files to answering basic questions to solving math problems.
Swap Between Apps
To switch between your open applications, press Command + Tab. Keep holding down the Command key and then press Tab to cycle through the open apps. Let go when the app you want is highlighted.
Close Apps From App Switcher – When you’re in the Command + Tab view, press the Q key with command held down to close an open app.
If you don’t already use Hot Corners, they’re worth checking out. You can set tasks that will happen when your mouse hovers in a specific corner, like launching Mission Control, showing the desktop, and more. Set them up in System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners.
Hide a Window
To quickly hide a window on the desktop, just press Command + H. The app will disappear into the background, but you can get it back by clicking on the icon on the dock or using Command + Tab.
Hide All Windows
MAC Tips and Tricks- You can hide all of the windows except for the window for the app you’re currently using by pressing Option + Command + H.
Switch Between Multiple Desktops –
If you use multiple desktops, you can swap between them quickly by pressing the Control button and then either the left or the right arrow.
Quickly Open Folders
To open up a folder in Finder or on your desktop, hold Command and press the down arrow key. To go back, just hold Command and press the up arrow key.
Clean Up Your Desktop
For those with macOS Mojave or later, on a messy desktop, just right click and choose “Stacks” to have your Mac automatically organize everything by file type.
Instant File Deletion
If you want to delete a file and want to bypass the Trash Can on the Mac that saves files before deleting them, just select a file and press Option + Command + Delete at the same time.
Create an Auto Duplicating File –
If you want to create a duplicate file when clicking on a specific file, just right click, select “Get Info.” and then check the Stationary Pad box. Every time you open that file, it’ll actually open a duplicate, which is great for templates and similar file types.
Shift + Command + 3 takes a screenshot, Shift + Command + 4 lets you select an area of the screen to screenshot, but Shift + Command + 5, a lesser known option, brings up an interface that lets you record your screen or a portion of your screen.
MAC Tips and Tricks-When using Shift + Command + 4 to select an area of the screen, if you press spacebar, the icon turns to a camera. From there, you can click on any open window to get a screenshot of just that window or interface element like dock or menu bar.
Easier Link Copying
If you want to copy the current URL in Safari, press Command + L to highlight the URL bar and then press Command + C to copy. It’s quicker than using a mouse.
Rename Folders and Files
MAC Tips and Tricks – If you Force Touch on a folder or file name, you can quickly rename it. Force Touch on a folder or file icon and you can see a preview of the file.
Alternate Mouse Control
There’s an option to control your mouse cursor with your keyboard, and it can be enabled in Accessibility. Open up the Accessibility settings and under Pointer Control, choose the Alternate Control Methods tab. From there, turn on Enable Mouse Keys and select toggle to turn on Mouse Keys when Option is pressed five times. When you press Option x5, Mouse Keys turn on and you can use the keyboard to move the mouse.
Configure tracking speed for mouse
If you use a mouse instead of a trackpad, you’ll want to boost the tracking speed via System Preferences → Mouse. Like with the trackpad, I recommend setting the mouse tracking speed to level 9 for increased sensitivity and efficiency.
Configure tracking speed for trackpad
The very first thing I do when setting up a new Mac is to go to System Preferences → Trackpad and adjust the trackpad tracking speed. macOS sets the tracking speed to level four by default, which is much too slow to efficiently navigate around the interface. I tend to adjust my tracking speed to level 9, which is just one level short of the max value.
Enable tap to click for trackpad
By default, macOS forces you to physically press down on the trackpad to initiate a click, but there is a provision inside System Preferences → Trackpad to enable tap to click. As its name implies, tap to click allows you to initiate clicks by just tapping on the trackpad instead of pressing down. Since we’re all used to just tapping on our iPhones and iPads, it’s a change that translates easily.
Enable right-click for mouse
It goes without saying that right-click is instrumental for navigating around macOS, and should be among the first things enabled if you prefer using a mouse with your Mac. To enable right-click, go to System Preferences → Mouse, and check the box next to Enable Secondary Click.
Enable Apple Watch unlock
If you’re an Apple Watch user, head over to System Preferences → Security and Privacy, and enable the option for Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac. Not only will this make it so that your Apple Watch will automatically unlock your Mac upon waking it from sleep, it’s also useful for unlocking apps like the excellent 1Password, and areas around macOS that require administrator authentication.
Copy & paste text between devices
A really cool tip I love about Macs and iPhones is the way you can copy text on one device, then paste it on another instantly.
You will need to make sure that your Bluetooth and Wifi are switched on both devices for this to work. You will also need to be logged into the same iCloud account on the devices.
Screenshot part of your screen
By holding Command + Shift then pressing the number 4 key, this will allow you to take a snapshot of any part of your screen.
Preview files and media quickly
MAC Tips and Tricks – To preview a file, highlight it and then press the space bar. This will provide you with a short preview of the file without requiring you to open it.
Swipe gesture with three fingers on the Trackpad
Workflow will be easier and faster if you use trackpad movements such as the 3-finger swipe up to access all open windows, or the 3-finger side swipe to access the desktop.
Toggle Between Light and Dark Modes with Ease
By selecting display from the settings icon in the right-hand Menu Bar, you may simply switch between light and dark modes.
File renaming made simple
To rename a file quickly and easily, highlight it by clicking it once, then click the Return key on your computer. When you’re finished, simply press the Return key again, and the new file name will be saved.
Add a signature to a document
You may add a signature to the preview app to sign papers fast and effortlessly. Go to the ‘Preview’ app then navigate to > Tools > Annotate > Signature > Manage signatures.
Use AirDrop to send files to and from any Apple device
AirDrop is a brilliant feature which most people may already know about, but needs to be mentioned. You can easily send files or photos quickly to anyone Apple device. Simply right click on the file > Go to ‘Share’ > AirDrop > Then choose the person to send the file to. The person receiving the file must have their AirDrop setting to be discovered by everyone.
Command + Q to quit any window instantly
MAC Tips and Tricks – To quickly close open programs on your Mac, press Command + Q.
Hide the Dock to free up additional screen space
Make sure that the dock is either automatically hidden or shown by going to ‘Dock & Menu Bar’ in the Mac settings. Go to Settings > Dock & Menu Bar. This will give you a lot more screen space, which is fantastic for large word documents or browsing the web.
Add volume controls to menu bar
Volume controls can be found within the new Control Center in macOS Big Sur, but I prefer to have a singular volume control button directly in the menu bar for quicker access. To add the volume shortcut to the menu bar, drag the Volume module from Control Center and release it on the menu bar.
Remove Spotlight from menu bar
Since you can access Spotlight search with a simple ⌘+Space keyboard combination, I recommend removing the Spotlight shortcut from the menu bar, which is slower, and takes up space. To remove Spotlight, hold the ⌘ key while dragging the Spotlight icon from the menu bar towards the middle of the desktop until you see an ‘(x)’ icon.
New Finder windows show desktop
macOS defaults to show the Recents folder whenever opening up a new Finder window, but Recents often looks messy, so I prefer to make new windows default to the desktop instead. To make a similar change, open Finder, and go to Finder Preferences → General, and in the dropdown box under New Finder windows show select your destination of choice.
Add ‘hard disks’ to the desktop
MAC Tips and Tricks -Under the General tab of Finder preferences, enable hard disks on the desktop to add links to your Mac’s internal storage drive. This shortcut lends quick access to the Applications, Library, System, and Users folder.
Keep folders on top when sorting by name
Folders can sometimes get lost in the shuffle when sorting by name. To help with this problem, you can configure the Finder to always display folders at the top of a list. In Finder preferences, go to the Advanced tab, and check the box under the Keep folders on top heading.
Make searches use the current folder
When you perform a search within a Finder window, macOS defaults to search everywhere on your Mac. To make searches always default to the current folder, go to Finder preferences → Advanced, and select the Search the Current Folder option in the dropdown box beneath When performing a search.
Add User Library to sidebar
The ~/Library, or User Library, contains configuration files and folders for the apps and settings on your Mac. By default, this library is hidden within Finder, but it’s easy to reveal the location by clicking the Go menu in the Finder, and holding the ⌥ key on your keyboard. Upon doing so, the User Library folder will appear as an option. Click the Library folder to open it, and go to File → Add to sidebar to add the User Library as a sidebar shortcut. Of course, the User Library should only be accessed if you know what you’re doing, but I often use it to manage application preferences, and to access configuration files for Final Cut Pro.
Enjoy the Tips and Tricks Keys 🙂