We’ve put together some of our best practices when unboxing that shiny new Mac you may have spoiled yourself with or received as a gift from a friend, family member, or work this holiday season. Starting with a fresh machine is, hands down, the best way to kick off a productive year. Here’s the Parallels Desktop for Mac guide to setting up your new Mac the right way:
Save the box! Apple does an incredible job with their product packaging, and they’ve engineered the boxes precisely to ensure your machine is protected. Saving the box can help if you decide to move, resell your machine, or even if you plan to potentially return the machine. Personally, I would suggest keeping any receipts you may have inside the box. Yes, we live in a digital world where you can generally find your receipt in your email. However, the unexpected happens, and it’s nice to keep the physical receipts, just in case. (The receipt also has the serial number printed on it so you don’t have to physically flip your machine over and read those tiiiiiiiny little letters and numbers.)
Powering It Up & Setup Assistant:
Press the Power button and hear the age-old start up chime. Ahh…..I love that sound. Brand new Mac machines will automatically launch the Setup Assistant, and Apple has made it incredibly easy to get started. Go ahead and set up your machine with your personal configurations and details. You’ll find the Migration Assistant within the Setup; this is where you can set up as a new machine, migrate data from an old Mac, use Time Machine with an external hard drive, or port over data from an old PC! Don’t worry, you can always migrate older data through Time Machine at any point if you’re feeling antsy to get your machine set up quickly.
Essential Tips ‘n’ Tricks:
First things first: Get your machine updated. Apple releases updates often, and it’s safe to say that an update—or two—may have been released between the time the machine is boxed during production and the time you receive it. Head to the top left corner where the Apple menu is and select the App Store. Go to the Updates Tab, and if you have software that needs an update, it will show up here:
System Preferences: Customize your machine how you want it! Your machine is going to be your “home” for productivity. Whether it’s for personal or work use, its best to get your machine fine-tuned to how you’d like it to avoid hang ups later. Personally, I adjust my Trackpad Natural Scrolling and gestures, and set up Hot Corners. I also adjust the magnification in the Dock for better accuracy because I stuff my Dock with tons of my most-used apps for quick access.
Spotlight Search: Hitting Command + Spacebar will launch Spotlight Search. Use Spotlight to quickly launch an app you do not have in your dock, find a file, or even search through your web history. Spotlight Search saves my sanity.
Use keyboard shortcuts:
Here are some of the most helpful Mac keyboard shortcuts:
Command + Tab: Cycle between active applications
Command + W: Close window
Command + Q: Quit application
Command + Shift + 3 or Command + Shift + 4: Screenshot the entire screen or screenshot a selected area. Screenshot will save to Desktop.
Check out our infographic on the best keyboard shortcuts to memorize: Essential Mac Shortcuts Infographic http://blog.parallels.com/2015/06/25/all-the-essential-mac-shortcuts-in-one-infographic/
MacTracker: This free app has been my go-to secret for years now. MacTracker provides detailed technical information on every Apple Mac along with Apple-branded Mac-compatible devices. You can use this to look up older products via serial number or to see the hardware and software details of your current machine. Very helpful if looking to do hardware upgrades such as RAM or battery purchases.
Evernote: Make a note, have it everywhere, find anything fast, and share it with anyone. Evernote is prime for productivity, and I suggest this app because it offers a plan for everyone, ranging from “Free” to “Premium.”
1Password: Collect all your passwords, secure notes, and credit cards in one safe place. Regardless of your platform—Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android—you’re covered!
Parallels Desktop for Mac: Running Windows on Mac has never been easier. Switching from PC to Mac without rebooting your machine saves you valuable time. Plus, if you’ve never owned a Mac before, you can use Parallels Desktop as a life-saving tool as you’re transitioning so you don’t feel lost in the dark!
Parallels Toolbox: Imagine having a set of tools, with no complicated settings, to simplify everyday tasks. Take a screenshot with a simple click, secure private files with a password, download a favorite video from YouTube or Facebook with little fuss, easily record a screencast, or keep your Mac from sleeping with the push of a button.
Spotify: What is life without music? Horrible. Spotify plans range from Free to Premium, allowing you to enjoy a huge library of music. I use Spotify religiously on my Mac while at work to help me avoid in-office distractions and stay on task.