2017 is well underway, but it’s not too late to kick off a productive year with a fresh and brand new device.
Apple’s new MacBook Pro is the laptop of choice for many professionals, and whether you decide to spoil yourself with your own purchase or received one as a gift, here are some tips and best practices to help you get started.
Save the box! Apple does an admirable 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.
You may also want to keep any receipts from this purchase inside the box. Yes, we live in a digital world where you can generally find your receipt in your email. However, it’s nice to keep physical receipts just in case the unexpected happens. (The receipt usually also has the serial number printed on it so you don’t have to physically flip your machine over and read those tiny little letters and numbers.)
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.
First things first: Get your machine up-to-date.
Apple releases updates often, and it’s safe to say that an update or two would 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:
Next, head over to System Preferences to customize your machine the way 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.
For example, you may want to adjust your Trackpad Natural Scrolling and gestures and set up Hot Corners. You may also want to adjust the magnification in the Dock for better accuracy, especially if you stuff your Dock with tons of apps.
Last but not least, familiarise yourself with some essential keyboard shortcuts.
Keyboard shortcuts can save you a tonne of time for both work and play by executing frequently used commands with just a few taps, so it’s worth taking the time to practice a couple of them if you’re not yet familiar with them.
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.
- Command + Spacebar: Use Spotlight to quickly launch an app you do not have in your dock, find a file, or even search through your web history.
- For even more keyboard shortcuts, check out this handy infographic: Essential Mac Shortcuts Infographic
Stuff your dock with essential apps
Your new Mac is only as powerful as the apps you install on it. Hit the ground running with a few of these favourites:
– 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 favourite 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.