It seems like a computer should be a computer and they should all operate the same, but they don’t. Therefore, if you’ve been operating a PC for most of your life and switch to a Mac, it can sometimes seem a bit challenging and complicated, which can be discouraging.
Never fear, however, there are really only a few subtle differences between a PC and a Mac. Once you figure them out, you should be well on your way to developing a lifelong love affair with all things Apple.
Table of Contents
1] Buy AppleCare+
You have 60 days following the purchase of a Mac to purchase AppleCare+ and you can even purchase it online. Your Mac will already come with a limited one-year warranty and 90 days of complimentary support, but AppleCare+ will extend your warranty to 3 years and even cover up to two instances of accidental damage.
The reason so many people love Macs so much is they will generally far outlive a PC. That makes AppleCare+ well worth the investment.
2] Buy a case for your MacBook
Once again, your Mac is most likely going to far outlive a PC and while they are sturdy and durable, you still want to protect them. A MacBook Air case in particular is highly advisable.
The beauty of a MacBook Air is how light it is, but that can also make it even more susceptible to damage. A MacBook is a pretty significant investment, so protect it with a case.
3] The Command key on Mac take the place of Control on Windows
There is a good chance you use shortcuts for common tasks like copying and pasting text or escaping frozen programs. If so, you are probably used to using Control+X to cut or Control+V to paste. Macs use the same concept, but instead of using Control, they simply use Command.
Newer Macs will actually have “Command” written across the key, but if you happen to have inherited an older Mac, it will simply have the symbol ⌘ on the keypad.
Newer Macs will also have two command keys, one just to the right and one just to the left of the space bar. Older Macs only have one and it is located just to the left of the space bar. Get familiar with this key, because you will probably use it a lot.
4] How to close a frozen program
If you were a PC owner, you were probably familiar with using Ctrl+Alt+Del to call up a dialogue box to close unresponsive programs. Macs work essentially the same way, but you want to press Command+Shift+Esc instead.
5] Minimized and closed are two different things
On the top left of every window will be three dots: red, yellow and green. You may think that the red dot closes the program, but it doesn’t, it just closes the window. The yellow button minimizes the window and sends it down to the task bar on the bottom.
The green button will maximize the window to full screen. If you actually want to quit the program entirely, you can either press Command+q or you can click on the program name in the task bar on the top left. That will produce a drop down menu, and you can click on “quit program” to quit entirely.
6] Programs you have not quit will stay in the task bar
Unlike windows that use a start menu on the bottom left of the screen, Macs use a pop-up menu – or dock – at the bottom. If you scroll your mouse down to the bottom of the screen, the task bar or dock pops up.
It will show any programs you have specially placed in the dock and any programs or documents that are still open.
If your dock is getting cluttered, you can close any open programs or documents or remove some programs from the taskbar. You can remove programs from the dock by dragging them to the trash can on the right side of the dock.
7] Get to know multi-touch gestures
Macs can be operated seamlessly and smoothly by performing different gestures on a multi-touch trackpad or magic mouse. For instance, if you use three fingers to swipe forward will show you all of your open windows at once. Here are some other multi-touch gestures to get familiar with.
8] Use Siri
The same digital assistant that has been on your iPod or iPhone forever is now on Macs, but it can do even more. You can still use Siri to set reminders, make appointments or even make phone calls, but you can use Siri to find documents or even ask it how to perform certain functions like how to close a program.
9] You can still run Windows
No self-respecting Mac lower would every deign to use Windows, but if you are just making the switch you may use programs that are only windows compatible.
Believe it or not, your Mac can actually run Windows. You can either partition your hard drive and install a full version of Windows using Boot Camp Assistant or you can run both Windows and macOS with a virtualization app like VMware Fusion, Parallels Desktop or VirtualBox.
10] Screenshots are a breeze
Taking a shot of an entire screen on a PC is a breeze, but if you only want a portion of the screen, it can be tricky. Taking a screenshot of just the portion of the screen you want on a Mac, however, is a breeze.
To take a shot of the entire screen, press Shift+Command+3, to take a shot of just a segment, you can press Shift+Command+4 and use the cursor to create a box around just the section you want.
For the most part, Mac owners are a pretty die-hard lot. The only exception to this tends to be people who try and make the switch from a PC to a Mac.
There are any number of features on a Mac that seem so streamlined and intuitive to those who have used them for years but can be quite frustrating to new users. Just give it some time, however, and soon you will be swiping, tapping and “commanding” with ease.