Your trusted tour guide to macOS Sierra macOS is the engine that runs your Mac, so it's a good idea to know a bit about how it works. Fully updated to cover macOS Sierra, this long-time bestseller is the map you need to navigate Apple's operating system. Whether you're exploring macOS for the first time, looking for shortcuts to speed up common tasks, or trying to fix a common problem, macOS Sierra For Dummies provides easy-to-follow answers to all your questions. Written by Bob 'Dr. Mac' LeVitus, a well-known tech columnist and Mac expert, this hands-on guide offers how-to information on the classic elements that help run Macs as well as timesaving tips on working with all the major changes that come with Sierra. The book begins with a plain-English explanation of the basics of the macOS desktop and goes on to cover everything from finding files faster, making the most of organization and communication tools, getting your Mac on a network, adding music, movies, and books, and so much more. In short: life with your Mac is about to get so much easier and more efficient! * Get acquainted with the newest and classic features of macOS Sierra * Discover shortcuts for saving time when working on your Mac * Learn how popular mobile tools like Siri and Apple Pay are now part of macOS * Use the latest creative and productivity tools that come with Sierra * Find helpful troubleshooting and safety tips With the help of this bestselling guide, you'll learn not only how to do it, but how to do it better on macOS Sierra.
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macOS™ Sierra For Dummies®
Published by: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774, www.wiley.com
Copyright © 2017 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey
Published simultaneously in Canada
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2016954407
ISBN 978-1-119-28065-1 (pbk); ISBN 978-1-119-28067-5 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-119-28066-8 (ebk)
Table of Contents
About This Book
Icons Used in This Book
Beyond the Book
Where to Go from Here
Part 1: Introducing macOS Sierra: The Basics
Chapter 1: macOS Sierra 101 (Prerequisites: None)
Gnawing to the Core of macOS
A Safety Net for the Absolute Beginner (or Any User)
Not Just a Beatles Movie: Help and the Help Menu
Chapter 2: Desktop and Windows and Menus (Oh My!)
Touring the Finder and Its Desktop
Anatomy of a Window
Working with Windows
Chapter 3: What’s Up, Dock?
A Quick Introduction to Your Dock
Customizing Your Dock
Part 2: Inside macOS Sierra (Or How Stuff Works)
Chapter 4: Delving Deeper into the Finder and Its Desktop
Introducing the Finder and Its Minions: The Desktop and Icons
Aliases Are Awesome!
The View(s) from a Window
Finder on the Menu
Customizing Finder Windows
Digging for Icon Data in the Info Window
Chapter 5: Have It Your Way
Introducing System Preferences
Putting a Picture on the Desktop
Setting Up a Screen Saver
Putting Widgets on the Dashboard
Giving Buttons, Menus, and Windows a Makeover
Adjusting the Keyboard, Mouse, Trackpad, and Other Hardware
Styling Your Sound
Chapter 6: The Care and Feeding of Files and Folders
A Quick Primer on Finding Files
Understanding the macOS Folder Structure
Saving Your Document Before It’s Too Late
Open, Sez Me
Organizing Your Stuff in Folders
Shuffling Files and Folders
The Incredible New iCloud Drive
Chapter 7: Comprehending the macOS Clipboard
Introducing the New and Improved Clipboard
Copying Files and Folders
Pasting from the Clipboard
Sierra’s New Universal Clipboard
Part 3: Getting Things Done in macOS Sierra
Chapter 8: Four Terrific Timesaving Tools
With a Quick Look
Spotlight on Finding Files and Folders Faster
Blast Off with Mission Control
Launchpad: The Place for Applications
Customizing Your Launchpad
Chapter 9: Organizing Your Life
Keeping Track with Calendar
Reminders: Protection Against Forgetting
Everything You Need to Know about the Notification Center
Use Notes for Making Notes
Chapter 10: Siri-ously!
What Siri Can Do for You
Working with Siri
Making Siri Your Own
Chapter 11: Maps Are Where It’s At
Part 4: Getting Along with Others in macOS Sierra
Chapter 12: (Inter)Networking
Getting Connected to the Internet
Browsing the Web with Safari
Audio and Video Calls with FaceTime
Chapter 13: Dealing with People
Collecting Your Contacts
Chapter 14: Communicating with Mail and Messages
Sending and Receiving Email with Mail
Communicating with Messages
Chapter 15: Sharing Your Mac and Liking It
Introducing Networks and File Sharing
Setting Up File Sharing
Access and Permissions: Who Can Do What
Connecting to a Shared Disk or Folder on a Remote Mac
Changing Your Password
More Types of Sharing
Part 5: Getting Creative in macOS Sierra
Chapter 16: The Musical Mac
Apple Music and iTunes Match Rock!
Working with Media
All About Playlists
Chapter 17: The Multimedia Mac
Playing Movies and Music in QuickTime Player
iBooks on the Mac
You’re the Star with Photo Booth
Viewing and Converting Images and PDFs in Preview
Chapter 18: Words and Letters
Processing Words with TextEdit
Chapter 19: Publish or Perish: The Fail-Safe Guide to Printing
Before Diving In …
Ready: Connecting and Adding Your Printer
Set: Setting Up Your Document with Page Setup
Print: Printing with the Print Sheet
Preview and PDF Options
Part 6: The Care and Feeding of macOS Sierra
Chapter 20: Features for the Way You Work
Talking and Listening to Your Mac
A Few More Useful Goodies
Chapter 21: Safety First: Backups and Other Security Issues
Backing Up Is (Not) Hard to Do
Why You Need Two Sets of Backups
Non-Backup Security Concerns
Protecting Your Data from Prying Eyes
Chapter 22: Utility Chest
Chapter 23: Troubleshooting OS X
About Startup Disks and Booting
Recovering with Recovery HD
If Your Mac Crashes at Startup
Part 7: The Part of Tens
Chapter 24: Ten (Or So) Ways to Speed Up Your Mac Experience
Use Those Keyboard Shortcuts
Improve Your Typing Skills
Resolution: It’s Not Just for New Year’s Day Anymore
A Mac with a View — and Preferences, Too
Get a New, Faster Model
You Can Never Have Too Much RAM!
Get an Accelerated Graphics Card
Get a Solid-State Drive (SSD)
Get a New Hard Drive
Chapter 25: Ten Great Websites for Mac Freaks
The Mac Observer
Other World Computing
About the Author
Connect with Dummies
End User License Agreement
Table of Contents
You made the right choice twice: macOS Sierra (version 10.12) and this book. Take a deep breath and get ready to have a rollicking good time. That’s right. This is a computer book, but it’s fun. What a concept! Whether you’re brand spanking new to the Mac or a grizzled Mac vet, I guarantee that reading this book to discover the ins and outs of macOS Sierra will make everything easier. The publisher couldn’t say as much on the cover if it weren’t true!
This book’s roots lie with my international best seller Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies, an award-winning book so good that long-deceased Mac clone-maker Power Computing gave away a copy with every Mac clone it sold. macOS Sierra For Dummies is the latest revision and has been, once again, completely updated to include all the tasty goodness in macOS Sierra. In other words, this edition combines all the old, familiar features of previous editions — but is once again updated to reflect the latest and greatest offering from Apple as well as feedback from readers.
Why write a For Dummies book about Sierra? Well, Sierra is a big, somewhat complicated personal-computer operating system. So I made macOS Sierra For Dummies a not-so-big, not-too-complicated book that shows you what Sierra is all about without boring you to tears, confusing you, or poking you with sharp objects.
In fact, I think you’ll be so darned comfortable that I wanted the title to be macOS Sierra Made Easy, but the publishers wouldn’t let me. Apparently, we For Dummies authors have to follow some rules, and using For Dummies in this book’s title is one of them.
And speaking of dummies — remember, that’s just a word. I don’t think you’re a dummy at all — quite the opposite! My second choice for this book’s title was macOS Sierra For People Smart Enough to Know They Need This Book, but you can just imagine what Wiley thought of that. (“C’mon, that’s the whole point of the name!” they insisted. “Besides, it’s shorter our way.”)
The book is chock-full of information and advice, explaining everything you need to know about macOS Sierra in language you can understand — along with timesaving tips, tricks, techniques, and step-by-step instructions, all served up in generous quantities.
Another rule we For Dummies authors must follow is that our books cannot exceed a certain number of pages. (Brevity is the soul of wit, and all that.) So I wish I could have included some things that didn’t fit and while I feel confident you’ll find what you need to know about macOS Sierra in this book, some things bear further looking into, including these:
Information about many of the applications (programs) that come with macOS Sierra: An installation of macOS Sierra includes roughly 50 applications, mostly located in the Applications and Utilities folders. I’d love to walk you through each one of them, but that would have required a book a whole lot bigger, heavier, and more expensive than this one.
I brief you on the handful of bundled applications essential to using macOS Sierra and keep the focus there — namely, Calendar, Contacts, Messages, Mail, Safari, Siri, TextEdit, and the like — as well as several important utilities you may need to know how to use someday.
Information about Microsoft Office, Apple lifestyle and productivity apps (iMovie, Numbers, Pages, and so on), Adobe Photoshop, Quicken, and other third-party applications:
Okay, if all the gory details of all the bundled (read:
macOS Sierra applications don’t fit here, I think you’ll understand why digging into third-party applications that cost extra was out of the question.
Information about programming for the Mac:
This book is about using macOS Sierra, not writing code for it. Dozens of books — most of which are two or three times the size of this book — cover programming on the Mac; this one doesn’t.
Within this book, you may note that some web addresses break across two lines of text. If you’re reading this book in print and want to visit one of these web pages, simply key in the web address exactly as it’s noted in the text, pretending as though the line break doesn’t exist. If you’re reading this as an e-book, you’ve got it easy — just click the web address to be taken directly to the web page.
Although I know what happens when you make assumptions, I’ve made a few anyway. First, I assume that you, gentle reader, know nothing about using macOS — beyond knowing what a Mac is, that you want to use macOS, that you want to understand macOS without having to digest an incomprehensible technical manual, and that you made the right choice by selecting this particular book. And so I do my best to explain each new concept in full and loving detail. Maybe that’s foolish, but … that’s how I roll.
Oh, and I also assume that you can read. If you can’t, ignore this paragraph.
Little round pictures (icons) appear off to the left side of the text throughout this book. Consider these icons miniature road signs, telling you a little something extra about the topic at hand. Here’s what the different icons look like and what they all mean.
Look for Tip icons to find the juiciest morsels: shortcuts, tips, and undocumented secrets about Sierra. Try them all; impress your friends!
When you see this icon, it means that this particular morsel is something that I think you should memorize (or at least write on your shirt cuff).
Put on your propeller-beanie hat and pocket protector; these parts include the truly geeky stuff. It’s certainly not required reading, but it must be interesting or informative, or I wouldn’t have wasted your time with it.
Read these notes very, very, very carefully. (Did I say very?) Warning icons flag important cautionary information. The author and publisher won’t be responsible if your Mac explodes or spews flaming parts because you ignored a Warning icon. Just kidding. Macs don’t explode or spew (with the exception of a few choice PowerBook 5300s, which won’t run Sierra anyway). But I got your attention, didn’t I?
Well, now, what could this icon possibly be about? Named by famous editorial consultant Mr. Obvious, this icon highlights all things new and different in macOS Sierra.
In addition to what you’re reading right now, this product also comes with a free access-anywhere Cheat Sheet that provides handy shortcuts for use with macOS Sierra, offers my backup recommendations, and more. To get this Cheat Sheet, simply go to www.dummies.com and type macOS Sierra For Dummies Cheat Sheet in the Search box.
The first few chapters of this book are where I describe the basic things that you need to understand to operate your Mac effectively. If you’re new to Macs and macOS Sierra, start there.
macOS Sierra is only slightly different from previous Mac operating systems, and the first part of the book presents concepts so basic that if you’ve been using a Mac for long, you might think you know it all — and okay, you might know most of it. But remember that not-so-old-timers need a solid foundation, too. So here’s my advice: Skim through stuff you already know and you’ll get to the better stuff sooner.
I would love to hear how this book worked for you. So please send me your thoughts, platitudes, likes and dislikes, and any other comments. Did this book work for you? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What questions were unanswered? Did you want to know more (or less) about something? Tell me! I have received more than 100 suggestions about previous editions, many of which are incorporated here. So please (please!) keep up the good work! Email me at [email protected] I appreciate your feedback, and I try to respond to all reasonably polite email within a few days.
So what are you waiting for? Go! Enjoy the book!
IN THIS PART …
Find the most basic of basics, including how to turn on your Mac.
Get a gentle introduction to the Sierra Finder and its Desktop.
Make the Dock work harder for you.
Find everything you need to know about Sierra’s windows, icons, and menus (oh my)!
Get all the bad puns and wisecracks you’ve come to expect.
Discover a plethora of Finder tips and tricks to make life with Sierra even easier (and more fulfilling).
IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding what an operating system is and is not
Turning on your Mac
Getting to know the startup process
Turning off your Mac
Avoiding major Mac mistakes
Pointing, clicking, dragging, and other uses for your mouse
Getting help from your Mac
Congratulate yourself on choosing macOS Sierra 10.12, the thirteenth release of the operating system (OS) formerly known as OS X. Congratulate yourself for scoring more than just an OS upgrade. See, macOS Sierra includes a few new features that make using your Mac even easier, plus hundreds of tweaks to help you do more work in less time.
In this chapter, I start at the very beginning and talk about macOS in mostly abstract terms; then I move on to explain what you need to know to use macOS Sierra successfully.
If you’ve been using macOS (formerly OS X) for a while, most of the information in this chapter may seem hauntingly familiar; a number of features that I describe haven’t changed in years. But if you decide to skip this chapter because you think you have all the new stuff figured out, I assure you that you’ll miss at least a couple of things that Apple didn’t bother to tell you (as if you read every word in macOS Help — the only user manual Apple provides — anyway!).
Tantalized? Let’s rock.
The operating system (that is, the OS part of macOS) is what makes your Mac a Mac. Without it, your Mac is nothing but a pile of silicon and circuits — no smarter than a toaster.
“So what does an operating system do?” you ask. Good question. The short answer is that an OS controls the basic and most important functions of your computer. In the case of macOS and your Mac, the operating system
Controls how windows, icons, and menus work
Keeps track of files
Manages networking and security
Does housekeeping (No kidding!)
Other forms of software, such as word processors and web browsers, rely on the OS to create and maintain the environment in which they work their magic. When you create a memo, for example, the word processor provides the tools for you to type and format the information and save it in a file. In the background, the OS is the muscle for the word processor, performing crucial functions such as the following:
Providing the mechanism for drawing and moving the onscreen window in which you write the memo
Keeping track of the file when you save it
Helping the word processor create drop-down menus and dialogs for you to interact with
Communicating with other programs
And much, much more (stuff that only geeks could care about)
So, armed with a little background in operating systems, take a gander at the next section before you do anything else with your Mac.
One last thing: As I mention in this book’s Introduction (I’m repeating it here only in case you normally don’t read introductions), macOS Sierra comes with more than 50 applications in its Applications folder. Although I’d love to tell you all about each and every one, I have only so many pages at my disposal.
Most of the world’s personal computers use Microsoft Windows (although more and more people are switching to the Mac). But you’re among the lucky few to have a computer with an OS that’s intuitive, easy to use, and (dare I say?) fun. If you don’t believe me, try using Windows for a day or two. Go ahead. You probably won’t suffer any permanent damage. In fact, you’ll really begin to appreciate how good you have it. Feel free to hug your Mac. Or give it a peck on the disc drive slot (assuming that your Mac has one; most, including the MacBook, MacBook Air, and Mac mini at this writing, don’t). Just try not to get your tongue caught.
As someone once told me, “Claiming that macOS is inferior to Windows because more people use Windows is like saying that all other restaurants serve food that’s inferior to McDonald’s.”
We might be a minority, but Mac users have the best, most stable, most modern all-purpose operating system in the world, and here’s why: Unix, on which macOS is based, is widely regarded as the best industrial-strength operating system on the planet. For now, just know that being based on Unix means that a Mac running macOS will crash less often than an older (pre-OS X) Mac or most Windows machines, which means less downtime. Being Unix-based also means getting far fewer viruses and encounters with malicious software. But perhaps the biggest advantage macOS has is that when an application crashes, it doesn’t crash your entire computer, and you don’t have to restart the whole computer to continue working.
By the way, since the advent of Intel-powered Macs a few years ago, you can run Windows natively also on any Mac powered by an Intel processor, as I describe in Chapter 20. Note that the opposite isn’t true: You can run Windows on your Mac if you care to, but you can’t run macOS on a Dell or HP (or any other computer not made by Apple), at least not without serious hacking (which is technically illegal anyway).
And don’t let that Unix or Windows stuff scare you. It’s there if you want it, but if you don’t want it or don’t care (like most users), you’ll rarely even know it’s there. In fact, you’ll rarely (if ever) see the word Unix or Windows again in this book. As far as you’re concerned, Unix under the hood means your Mac will just run and run and run without crashing and crashing and crashing. As for Windows, your Mac can run it if you need it; otherwise, it’s just another checklist item on the list of reasons Macs are better than PCs.
One of the best features about all Macs is the excellent built-in help, and macOS Sierra doesn’t cheat you on that legacy: This system has online help in abundance. When you have a question about how to do something, the Help Center is the first place you should visit (after this book, of course).
Clicking the Help menu reveals the Search field at the top of the menu and the Mac Help and New to Mac items. Choosing Mac Help opens the Mac Help window, as shown in Figure 1-5; choosing New to Mac launches Safari and displays a tour of macOS Sierra.
FIGURE 1-5: Mac Help is nothing if not helpful.
Though the keyboard shortcut for Help no long appears on the Help menu, the same shortcut as always, Shift++?, still opens Help.
You can browse Help by clicking a topic in the Table of Contents and then clicking a subtopic. If you don’t see the Table of Contents, click the Table of Contents button as shown in Figure 1-5.
To search Mac Help, simply type a word or phrase in either Search field — the one in the Help menu itself or the one near the top of the Help window on the right side — and then press Return. In a few seconds, your Mac provides you one or more articles to read, which (theoretically) are related to your question. Usually. If you type menus and press Return, for example, you get ten results, as shown in Figure 1-6.
FIGURE 1-6: You have questions? Mac Help has answers.
As long as your Mac is connected to the Internet, search results include articles from the Apple online support database.
Although you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to use Mac Help, you do need an Internet connection to get the most out of it. (Chapter 12 can help you set up an Internet connection, if you don’t have one.) That’s because macOS installs only certain help articles on your hard drive. If you ask a question that those articles don’t answer, Mac Help connects to the Apple website and downloads the answer (assuming that you have an active Internet connection). These answers appear when you click See All Help Results near the bottom of Figure 1-6. Click one of these entries, and Help Viewer retrieves the text over the Internet. Although this can sometimes be inconvenient, it’s also quite smart. This way, Apple can update the Help system at any time without requiring any action from you.
Furthermore, after you ask a question and Mac Help has grabbed the answer from the Apple website, the answer remains on your hard drive forever. If you ask for it again — even at a later date — your computer won’t have to download it from the Apple website again.
Click Search the Web (near the bottom of Figure 1-6) to launch Safari and perform a web search for the phrase you typed.
Here’s a cool feature I like to call automatic visual help cues. Here’s how they work:
Type a word or phrase in the Help menu’s Search field.
Select any item that has a menu icon to its left (such as the three items with Trash in their names in Figure1-7.
The automatic visual cue — an arrow — appears, pointing at that command in the appropriate menu.
FIGURE 1-7: If you choose an item with a menu icon, an arrow points to that item in context.
Finally, don’t forget that most apps have their own Help systems, so if you want general help with your Mac, you need to first click the Finder icon in the Dock, click the Desktop, or use the app-switching shortcut +tab to activate the Finder. Only then can you choose Mac Help from the Finder’s Help menu.
IN THIS CHAPTER
Understanding the Finder
Checking out the parts of a window
Dealing with dealie-boppers in windows
Resizing, moving, and closing windows
Getting comfortable with menu basics
This chapter introduces important features of macOS, starting with the first things you see when you log in: the Finder and its Desktop. After a quick look around the Desktop, you get a look into two of its most useful features: windows and menus.
Windows are (and have always been) an integral part of Mac computing. Windows in the Finder (or, as a PC user would say, “on the Desktop”) show you the contents of the hard drive, optical drive, flash (thumb) drive, network drive, disk image, and folder icons. Windows in applications do many things. The point is that windows are part of what makes your Mac a Mac; knowing how they work — and how to use them — is essential.
Menus are another quintessential part of the Mac experience. The latter part of this chapter starts you out with a few menu basics. As needed, I direct you to other parts of the book for greater detail. So relax and don’t worry. By the end of this chapter, you’ll be ready to work with windows and menus in any application that uses them (and most applications, games excluded, do).
The Finder is the program that creates the Desktop, keeps track of your files and folders, and is always running. Just about everything you do on your Mac begins and ends with the Finder. It’s where you manage files, store documents, launch programs, and much more. If you ever expect to master your Mac, the first step is to master the Finder and Desktop. (The default Sierra Finder and Desktop appear in the preceding chapter, in Figure 1-2).
The Finder is the center of your Mac OS experience, so before I go any further, here’s a quick description of its most prominent features:
Desktop: The Desktop is the area behind the windows and the Dock. In macOS 10.12, the default Desktop picture again honors its namesake, showing a portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
It’s also where your hard drive icon (ordinarily) lives, although if you bought a new Mac with Sierra preinstalled, there won’t be any icons on it at all.
If you don’t see your disk icon(s), and you’re old-school like me and prefer to always see disk icons on your Desktop, never fear — you’ll learn how to enable this behavior in Chapter 4.
The Desktop isn’t a window, yet it acts like one. Like a folder window or disk window, the Desktop can contain icons. But unlike most windows, which require a bit of navigation to get to, the Desktop is always there behind any open windows, making it a great place for icons you use a lot, such as oft-used folders, applications, or documents.
Some folks use the terms Desktop and Finder interchangeably to refer to the total Mac environment you see after you log in — the icons, windows, menus, and all that other cool stuff. Just to make things confusing, the background you see on your screen — the picture behind your hard drive icon and your open windows — is also called the Desktop. In this book, I refer to the application you use when the Desktop is showing as the Finder. When I say Desktop, I’m talking about the picture background behind your windows and the Dock, which you can use as a storage place for icons if you like.
To make things even more confusing, the Desktop is a full-screen representation of the icons in the Desktop folder inside your Home folder. Don’t panic. This will become crystal clear in upcoming pages and chapters.
The Dock is the Finder’s main navigation shortcut tool. It makes getting to frequently used icons easy, even when you have a screen full of windows. Like the Desktop, the Dock is a great place for the folders, applications, and specific documents you use most. Besides putting your frequently used icons at your fingertips, it’s extremely customizable; read more about it in
Icons are the little pictures you see in your windows and even on your Desktop. Icons represent the things you work with on your Mac, such as applications (programs), documents, folders, utilities, and more.
Opening most icons (by double-clicking them) makes a window appear. Windows in the Finder show you the contents of hard drive and folder icons; windows in applications usually show the contents of documents. In the sections that follow, you can find the full scoop on Sierra windows.
Menus let you choose to do things, such as create new folders; duplicate files; cut, copy, or paste text; and so on. I introduce menu basics later in this chapter in the “
” section; you find details about working with menus for specific tasks throughout this book.
Whereas this chapter offers a basic introduction to the Finder and Desktop, Chapter 6 explains in detail how to navigate and manage your files in the Finder. But before you start using the Finder, it helps to know the basics of working with windows and menus; if these Mac features are new to you, I suggest that you read this entire chapter now and pay special attention to Chapter 6 later.
Windows are a ubiquitous part of using a Mac. When you open a folder, you see a window. When you write a letter, the document that you’re working on appears in a window. When you browse the Internet, web pages appear in a window … and so on.
For the most part, windows are windows from program to program. You’ll probably notice that some programs (Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Word, for example) take liberties with windows by adding features such as custom toolbars or textual information (such as zoom percentage or file size) around the edges of the document window and in toolbars.
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