Ultimate User Guide for Mac Desktop and MacBook: Pro Tips and Tricks

Apple devices are known for their high performance, ease of use, and minimalistic yet catchy design. Thanks to these features combined with the unique lifestyle philosophy associated with Apple products, Macs are vigorously desired and highly demanded by many users. However, if before turning to Apple you've worked on any other type of computer, learning how to use a Mac smoothly will take some time and effort. Luckily, you can speed up this process by checking out the super essential tips and tricks we've gathered for you in our manual. Read on and uncover simple ways to become a Mac power user with ease!

Best Hacks to Enhance Experience with Your Mac for Dummies and Experts

new to Mac

If you're new to Mac, you should know that over the years, Apple computers have acquired plenty of hacks, tricks, and secret features. In case you're having issues switching from Windows to Mac, the following guide will be especially useful. We at MacPowerUser, share the philosophy and lifestyle of Apple Company and want to maximize mac adopters positive user experience. For this reason, we have put together a set of beneficial tips based on Mac experts' know-how's as well as our own deep expertise. In this tutorial, you will discover both twice-told and lesser-known tips and hacks that surely will come in handy both for beginners and experienced users. No matter, have you bought a Mac Pro or Mac Air on OS Sierra recently or were using previous versions for years, we will show how to use Mac most effectively to get the most of it!

Below, we present six hand-picked tips that you can utilize for starters. We urge you to browse our website to find dozens and hundreds valuable Mac user hacks more!

Tip #1: Desktop Sync across Available Apple Devices

iCloud folder


Back up files stored on your Desktop and in Documents folder using iCloud file sharing feature. Also, it helps to sync the data across available Apple devices, so switching computers isn’t a problem anymore. However, it works for both Desktop and Documents folders at the same time or none at all. There’s no possibility to exclude specific folders or files, so you have to ensure your iCloud Drive has enough storage space.

To setup desktop sync:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> iCloud.
  2. Hit the ‘Options’ button next to iCloud Drive.
  3. Choose the Desktop and Documents Folders.

All files kept on your Desktop and in Documents folder synchronize across the available Apple devices. The first data sync can take some time, especially if you have plenty of files. It will take lesser time later on.

Tip #2: Universal Clipboard


macOS Sierra and High Sierra users can benefit from Universal Clipboard. This feature allows copying and pasting files across all available Apple devices. Forget about AirDropping or mailing text, images, and videos from your iPhone to Mac. For security reasons, Universal Clipboard uses peer-to-peer sharing via Bluetooth and doesn’t transfer files over the net. Check if Bluetooth is working on both Apple devices to proceed with settings.

Before using the Universal Clipboard in Sierra, you need to turn on Handoff:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> General.
  2. Tick ‘Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.’

To make settings on your iPhone or iPad, do the following:

  1. Go to Settings -> General.
  2. Choose ‘Handoff & Suggested Apps’ and switch the Handoff on.

Finally, to transfer the files:

  • Make sure you’re logged in under the same Apple ID on both devices.
  • Press ‘Control+C’ on your Mac.
  • Hold down and select ‘Paste’ on your iPhone.
General Settings

Tip #3: iPhone Hotspot Signal Strength and Battery Check

online privacy

Staying online is a top priority for many Mac users. What to do if you can’t go online on your Mac? Setup an iPhone hotspot and share the connection with your Apple Mac device.

  1. Find ‘Cellular/Mobile Data’ settings on your iPhone.
  2. Turn on the Personal Hotspot.
  3. In your Mac menu, click on the WiFi icon.
  4. Locate the iPhone and type in the password shown on your phone.

As soon as you’ve connected your Apple devices, you can see the signal strength and your iPhone’s battery status. This will give you a clue on how long you can stay connected.

Tip #4: Private Web Browsing in Safari

The latest Safari 11 version has caused quite a stir among the marketers because of its strict cookie handling policies. Staying on guard of user privacy, Apple’s Safari browser allows opening a window for private web browsing. To start a private user session in Safari, click File -> New Private Window. Or, simply use the ‘Shift+Cmd+N’ key combination. The search bar in the newly opened private window will be grey. Every new tab opened in this window will as well be confidential.

For those seeking more online privacy, it is possible to set DuckDuckGo as a default search engine. To do this, go to Preferences ->Search. Click on the ‘Search Engine’ to tick DuckDuckGo in the drop-down list of offered search engines.

Tip #5: Use Apple Watch to Unlock Your Mac

Apple Watch owners can use it to unlock their Mac instead of having to type in the password. The feature works via Bluetooth so your Mac will unlock only if your Apple Watch is close enough to detect. To make the trick work, ensure that your Apple devices are using compatible operating systems (macOS Sierra/High Sierra, iOS, watchOS).

To start using this feature make sure Two-Factor Authentication is working on both your Mac and iPhone. To configure it on your Mac:

  • Go to System Preferences -> iCloud, then click ‘Account ’
  • Type in your iCloud password, then click the Security Tab.
  • Click ‘Turn On Two-Factor ’

To make settings for your iPhone:

  • Go to Settings -> iCloud, then tap your Apple ID.
  • Select ‘Password & Security,' then tap ‘Turn On Two-Factor ’
  • Switch back to your Mac and go to System Preferences -> ‘Security & ’
  • Tick ‘Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.’
  • To finalize, ensure your Apple Watch is on and unlocked.

Next time you approach your Mac with an Apple Watch, it will notify you with a buzz, and the laptop will unlock automatically.

Security & Privacy

Tip #6: Reclaim the Disk Space with Optimized Storage

Lack of disk space is a typical problem faced by many Apple Mac users. Relatively small SSDs that come supplied with Mac Air and Mac Pro computers get cluttered with data pretty fast. Users of macOS Sierra and High Sierra can unclutter your disk and reclaim some space with Optimized Storage functionality.

  • Click the Apple icon -> choose ‘About This Mac’ from the drop-down menu.
  • Click the ‘Storage’ tab, then click ‘Details’ (or ‘Manage’).

After that, you access the tools that can help you reclaim the disk space.

  • Use iCloud Photo Library to transfer any images and videos stored in Photos to iCloud Drive. Depending on the disk space, your original photos can get replaced with lower-resolution copies. However, you can download the original version.
  • Use Optimized Storage to remove watched iTunes movies and TV programs. It is possible to download them again for viewing
  • Use Empty Trash Automatically to purge the Trash bin automatically 30 days after the files in it were deleted.
  • Use Reduce Clutter to locate downloads, outdated and large files, browser files, etc. There is an option to remove the data that you no longer need manually.

More Cool Things to Do on a Mac

What are the other cool tips and tricks a Mac user can put in practice? There is a gazillion of hacks to boost your Mac’s performance. For instance, macOS Sierra and High Sierra users can use Apple Pay to make fast electronic payments. All it takes is to enter the debit/credit card details on the available Apple device. Also, Mac users can turn on the Night Shift mode to prevent insomnia and eyesight issues.

Siri offers a vast selection of capabilities users shouldn’t miss out on:

  • Hands-free tweeting;
  • In-depth documents search;
  • Quick FaceTime calls;
  • Location-based reminders;
  • Computer storage check.

Bear in mind that Mac’s performance largely depends on its hardware, maintenance and the user himself. Keeping your Mac clean and using anti-malware protection will prevent critical issues, system failure, computer viruses, etc. Using onboard Mac utilities and trusted third-party apps for Mac OS cleaning and optimization will prolong the lifespan of your device.

Inspect all sections of our MacPowerUser website to discover best tips and hacks how to get the most of your Apple computer and become a truly professional Mac user!