MacBook For Dummies
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Once your MacBook is running and you give it the once-over, your next chore is setting up your laptop. Apple tweaks the MacBook setup questions on a regular basis, and they’re very easy to answer. Everything is explained onscreen as you familiarize yourself with your new MacBook. It even comes complete with onscreen Help if you need it.

It’s a good idea to know what to expect, however, as well as what information you need to have at hand. There are also support opportunities and neat features like Apple’s iCloud. Consider this to be a study guide for whatever your MacBook’s setup procedure throws at you.

Your iCloud account is your friend

Apple offers you the chance to create an iCloud account (which you access with your Apple ID) during the initial setup of Catalina. (If you already have an iCloud account from an earlier version of macOS, or if you created an Apple ID while using your iPad or iPhone, you skipped ahead without a second thought.)

If you’re careful about your online travels and decide not to supply your personal data, however, you may decide to pass up the chance to create your iCloud account during Catalina setup, most likely thinking that you’ll take care of it later.

Unfortunately, all sorts of macOS features and applications hinge on your iCloud account, including the App Store, Messages, the iTunes Store, and FaceTime. If you skip the iCloud account-creation process during setup, you can take care of that chore at any time. It’s free and painless, and makes you one of the “in crowd.”

When you’re prompted for an iCloud password by one of the aforementioned applications, click the Create Apple ID/iCloud Account button to start the ball rolling. The application leads you through the process step by step. You can also create your ID through the App Store or the iTunes Store. Click the Account link in either of these applications, and you’re prompted to create your iCloud account.

Note that Apple now uses what it calls 2 Factor Authentication for your Apple ID. This feature provides much tighter security for your Apple ID. But if you share your Apple ID among multiple Macs or between iOS devices (such as an iPhone or iPad), 2 Factor Authentication involves entering a code on each of those computers and devices. Code entry isn’t a huge hassle, but if you’re switching from a Windows PC, it may seem a little strange!

Setting up macOS Catalina

After you start your MacBook for the first time — or if you’ve just upgraded from macOS Mojave — your laptop launches Catalina setup automatically. The setup process takes care of several tasks:
  • Setup provides Catalina your personal information. Your MacBook ships with a bathtub full of applications, many of which use your personal data (such as your address and telephone number) to fill out your documents automatically.

    If that stored personal information starts you worrying about identity theft, I congratulate you. If you’re using common sense, sharing your personal data at any time should make you uneasy. In this case, however, you’re fine. Apple doesn’t disseminate this information anywhere else, and the applications that use your personal data won’t send it anywhere either. Also, Safari (the Apple web browser) fills out forms on a web page automatically only if you give your permission.

  • Setup creates your user account. You’re prompted for a username and password, which Setup uses to create your administrator-level account.
  • Setup configures your language and keyboard choices. macOS is a truly international operating system, so you’re offered the chance to configure your laptop to use a specific language and keyboard layout.
  • Setup configures your email accounts in Apple Mail. If you already have an email account set up with your Internet service provider (ISP), keep handy the email-account information that the ISP provided to answer these questions. The info should include your email address and your login name and password. Catalina can even configure your email account automatically for you (including many web-based email services such as Google Mail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook) if you supply your account ID and password.
  • Setup allows you to open an iCloud account. Apple’s iCloud service just plain rocks — especially the free storage. Take this advice: Join up, trooper, and create your iCloud account during setup. The standard iCloud service is free, and upgrading to additional space is a breeze if you decide that you like the service’s benefits. For now, just sign up (or sign in, if you already have an iCloud account) and take the opportunity to feel smug about owning an Apple MacBook.
  • Setup sends your registration information to Apple. As a proud owner of a MacBook, take advantage of the year of hardware warranty support and the free 90 days of telephone support. All you have to use ’em is register. Rest assured that all this info is confidential.
  • Setup offers to launch Migration Assistant. This assistant guides you through the process of migrating (an engineer’s term for moving) your existing user data from your old Mac or PC to your laptop. Naturally, if your MacBook is your first Macintosh computer, you can skip this step with a song in your heart!

Registering your MacBook

Many people don’t register every piece of computer hardware they buy. You may not register the wireless Bluetooth adapter, for example, because the expenditure is small, the gizmo has no moving parts, and you’re not likely to need technical support to use it or get it fixed.

Your MacBook is a different kettle of fish, so it’s strongly recommended that you register your purchase with Apple during the setup process. You spent a fair amount on your MacBook, and your investment has a significant number of very expensive parts.

In fact, the purchase of an AppleCare Protection Plan extended warranty to go with your new MacBook is a good idea for the ultimate in peace of mind. If you can invest a couple of hundred dollars more, you’ll have a full three years of service coverage from the purchase date.

Even the hardiest of technowizards know the value of an extended warranty for your MacBook

If you don’t register your MacBook, you can’t receive support.

Rest assured that Apple isn’t one of those companies that constantly pesters you with email advertisements and near-spam.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Mark L. Chambers is a technical author, computer consultant, programmer, and hardware technician with over 30 years of experience. He has written over 30 computer books, including MacBook For Dummies, 9th Edition and Macs For Seniors For ­Dummies, 4th Edition.

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