If you just got a new MacBook and do not have a FileVault backup, you have to set things up from scratch. If you’re just moving from Windows and this is your very first time with macOS, there are certain settings you need to change to make it easier using your new laptop.
This post lists 11 basic settings and features you need to tweak to improve your user experience with your new machine.
1. Enable battery percentage
- 1 1. Enable battery percentage
- 2 2. Add shortcuts to Finder sidebar
- 3 3. Show file extensions
- 4 4. Enable Finder tab, path and status bar
- 5 5. Adjust Trackpad settings
- 6 6. Install apps from 3rd party
- 7 7. Customize the Touch Bar
- 8 8. Make menu bar and dock dark
- 9 9. Enable Night Shift
- 10 10. Show Emoji shortcut
- 11 11. Customize dock
You’re going to be looking at lot at your battery level, but the percentage is hidden by default. To enable battery percentage on macOS:
– Click the battery icon at the top-right.
– Click Show Percentage.
To make finding files easier, you need to customize your Finder UI. By default, lots of needed shortcuts are hidden from the sidebar. To quickly access your hard drive, music and movies folder, you can add them as shortcuts to the sidebar.
– Look for Finder on the dock and open.
– On the menu bar, click Finder > Preferences.
– Select the Sidebar tab.
– Select the items you intend to show every time on Finder’s sidebar.
3. Show file extensions
You may not really need this. As a matter of fact, you should only enable it if you know exactly what you’re doing. If you intend to see every file extension, you sure need it. For instance, I want to be able to differentiate PNG images from JPEG images within the same folder. To do this:
– Launch Finder.
– On the menu bar, click Finder > Preferences
– Select the Advanced tab.
– Check show all filename extensions.
4. Enable Finder tab, path and status bar
Since you’re going to be spending lots of time within Finder, you should do all it takes to make it a very effective tool. Personally, I always like to know exactly where I am when I’m within a folder and the only way to know this is by enabling Finder path and status. I also want to be able to create Finder tabs easily.
– Launch Finder.
– On the menu bar, click Show Path Bar, Show Status Bar, Show Tab Bar.
5. Adjust Trackpad settings
By default, a new MacBook’s touchpad is not fun to use. You can’t simply tap to click. You might also want to adjust the tracking speed and customize the trackpad to taste.
– Go to System Preferences > Trackpad.
– Check Tap to click.
– You might also adjust the tracking speed if the default isn’t perfect for you.
6. Install apps from 3rd party
Chances are that you’re going to install a lot of third-party apps from outside the App Store. Apple seems to discourage this by only allowing to install from the App Store and verified developers by default. To be able to install apps from anywhere:
On macOS Sierra and newer versions
– Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
– Type (or simply paste) this:
sudo spctl --master-disable
– This should disable Gatekeeper and let you install apps from anywhere.
On older versions of OS X
– Go to System Preferences > Security.
– Under Allow applications downloaded from, check Anywhere.
Note: Changing this setting might pose a security risk. Be sure you know what you’re doing before allowing your machine to install apps from just anywhere.
7. Customize the Touch Bar
If your MacBook comes with the Touch Bar, you should consider customizing available shortcuts if you’re going to be using it a lot. To do this:
– Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Customize Control Strip.
– Remove items you don’t need from the Touch Bar and add new ones using the simple drag and drop interface.
– Click Done when you’re satisfied with the new look.
Even though a better dark mode is coming with macOS Mojave, I’ve been using the inbuilt dark theme for my menu bar and dock as seen in the screenshots above. If this appeals to you, it can be enabled easily:
– Go to System Preferences > General.
– Check Use dark menu bar and Dock.
9. Enable Night Shift
It has been proven that blue light from mobile devices and laptops might mess with your sleep pattern. To let your MacBook automatically filter out blue light at night, you should enable Night Shift from the settings.
– Go to System Preferences > Displays > Night Shift.
– Choose your preferred schedule (but Sunset to Sunset is recommended).
10. Show Emoji shortcut
If you use emojis a lot, you might want to have a shortcut on your menu bar. To do this:
– Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.
– Check Show keyboards and emoji viewers in menu bar.
11. Customize dock
You’re definitely going to be launching applications mostly from the Dock. Chances are that you won’t be using most of the apps added by default. To remove items from the Dock, you can simply drag them off.
To add new items, go to your applications folder, then drag and drop new items to the dock.
By going to System Preferences > Dock, you can also customize the general look.