MAS­TER YOUR DESK­TOP

It’s easy to get around the macOS desk­top – here are the es­sen­tials

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

Own all the fea­tures of your Mac’s desk­top

Whether you’re new to the Mac or have up­graded to Sierra from a much older ver­sion of OS X (now macOS), the new desk­top might look dif­fer­ent

from what you’re used to. Don’t worry, though: the ba­sics are much the same as be­fore (and much like Win­dows Ex­plorer, if you’re coming to the Mac from a PC). Here’s an overview of Finder – the app you’re ac­tu­ally us­ing when you view the desk­top, open and man­age win­dows, nav­i­gate around your hard drive and or­gan­ise your files and fold­ers.

1 Ap­ple menu

Click the Ap­ple logo at the top-left cor­ner of your screen and you’ll find lots of handy stuff for manag­ing and con­trol­ling your Mac. Soft­ware Up­date is vi­tal for keep­ing soft­ware up to date, and App Store is for find­ing new apps. As well as op­tions to sleep, restart and shut down your Mac, an­other use­ful com­mand is Force Quit, which you can use to close a mis­be­hav­ing app (or any app, though you’ll lose any un­saved work).

2 Menu bar

On the Mac this menu bar strip is al­ways present – un­less you hide it or switch to ‘full-screen’ mode – and it changes ac­cord­ing to which ap­pli­ca­tion is cur­rently ac­tive. Af­ter the Ap­ple menu, the first bold word you see is al­ways the name of the spe­cific ap­pli­ca­tion you’re cur­rently work­ing with, and its menu holds com­mands to do with that app, such as quit­ting, edit­ing and cus­tomis­ing its pref­er­ences and hid­ing it.

3 Menu bar items

At the right-hand end of the menu bar you’ll find vi­tal info about your Wi-Fi, bat­tery charge, vol­ume level and more. Click an icon to view de­tails or set­tings. Some other ser­vices and apps add icons here. Some of th­ese can be re­moved by hold­ing ç and drag­ging them off, but oth­ers will need a com­mand to quit them. Click the right­most icon to open No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre; click the mul­ti­coloured icon to ac­ti­vate Siri and the mag­ni­fy­ing glass icon to bring up Spot­light.

4 Desk­top

You can cus­tomise the Sierra desk­top with your own images: go to Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, then Desk­top & Screen Saver. Go to the Finder menu > Pref­er­ences for more op­tions, in­clud­ing whether icons for ex­ter­nal me­dia and con­nected servers show up on the Desk­top. In fact, the Desk­top is just a folder too: click Desk­top in a Finder win­dow side­bar and you can also view its con­tents in a win­dow, just as you can the con­tents of any other folder.

5 Side­bar

Each win­dow in Finder shows this side­bar (un­less you specif­i­cally hide it by choos­ing View > Hide Side­bar). It pro­vides quick ac­cess to stor­age de­vices, com­put­ers on your lo­cal net­work, fold­ers that you use reg­u­larly, and other items you add to it. You can choose ex­actly what your Mac dis­plays here in Finder > Pref­er­ences > Side­bar. Click the side­bar item you want to view and the win­dow con­tent changes to show that item on the right.

6 Fold­ers/views

Your ac­count’s folder in­cludes var­i­ous spe­cial fold­ers, such as Movies, Mu­sic and Pic­tures, which are in­tended to store those me­dia. Air­Drop may ap­pear here too – it isn’t a folder, but a way to trans­fer files be­tween nearby Macs and iOS de­vices, even if they aren’t con­nected to the same net­work. You can view the con­tents of a folder in dif­fer­ent ways: as icons; as a list that can be sorted by at­tributes such as date mod­i­fied; in a hi­er­ar­chy; or in Cover Flow.

7 Apps

The Dock shows cur­rently run­ning applications (the ones with a lit­tle black ar­row un­der their icon), but not the in­di­vid­ual win­dows that are open for th­ese apps – usu­ally you can right-click on an app’s icon and it will list the win­dows it has open. Ex­cept for some sys­tem util­i­ties, apps stay open even when you close the last win­dow, so you have to quit them; the eas­i­est way to do this is usu­ally by press­ing ç+q, but you can right click and hit Quit.

8 The Dock

There’s a di­vider to­wards the right of the Dock; apps sit to the left of this and files and fold­ers that you want quick ac­cess to can be dropped to the right. You can keep favourite apps in the Dock, so you can launch them with a click: just drag an icon into the Dock. To re­move the icon of an app you rarely use, just drag it out of the Dock – the icon will van­ish in a puff of smoke.

9 Stacks

Just to the right of the Dock’s di­vid­ing line are short­cuts known as stacks. Click one to see its con­tents; click an item within it to open that item, or click the ‘Open in Finder’ ar­row icon to open the en­tire folder. You can change a stack’s ap­pear­ance by rightclick­ing it and se­lect­ing a View op­tion from the menu that ap­pears in front of you.

10 Trash

Drag and drop files here to delete them. Files stay in the Trash un­til you empty it by right-click­ing here and choos­ing Empty Trash. To re­store a file be­fore it is deleted, open the Trash, rightclick the file and se­lect Put Back. Drag an ex­ter­nal drive here and the icon changes to an eject icon.

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