Macs All-in-One For Dummies book cover

Macs All-in-One For Dummies

Authors:
Joe Hutsko ,
Barbara Boyd ,
Jesse Feiler ,
Doug Sahlin
Published: January 9, 2020

Overview

Your all-in-one guide to the wonderful world of your Mac

Are you getting the most from your Mac? Given what’s possible, it’s pretty unlikely.  Whether you’re just beginning your journey or are already a seasoned traveler, the six information-packed minibooks included in Macs All-in-One for Dummies open up a world of knowledge, from how to set up a recently bought Mac to exploring the coolest new features on your beloved device. 

Now updated with what you need to know about the newest generation of hardware and software, Macs All-in-One For Dummies is your guide to simply everything: protecting your Mac; backing up and restoring data with Time Machine; managing applications on the Dock, Launchpad, and Desktop; syncing with iCloud, organizing your life with Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and Notifications; presenting with Keynote; crunching with Numbers; getting creative with iMovie and GarageBand—the list goes on! 

  • Explore the newest version of MacOS
  • Set up and customize a new Mac with ease
  • Become more efficient, professional, smart, and creative with the latest must-have apps
  • Use Home Sharing to stream content to other computers, iOS devices, and Apple TVs
  • Dive into six books in one place: Mac Basics, Online Communications, Beyond the Basics, Your Mac as a Multimedia Entertainment Center, Taking Care of Business, and Mac Networking

Whatever you want from your world of Mac, you’ll find it here—as well as a million other incredible things you’ll love. Get started on your new Mac journey today!  

Your all-in-one guide to the wonderful world of your Mac

Are you getting the most from your Mac? Given what’s possible, it’s pretty unlikely.  Whether you’re just beginning your journey or are already a seasoned traveler, the six information-packed minibooks included in Macs All-in-One for Dummies open up a world of knowledge, from how to set up a recently bought Mac to exploring the coolest new features on your beloved device. 

Now updated with what you need to know about the newest generation of hardware and software, Macs All-in-One For Dummies is your guide to simply everything: protecting your Mac; backing up and restoring data with Time Machine; managing applications on the Dock, Launchpad, and Desktop; syncing with iCloud, organizing your life with Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and Notifications;

presenting with Keynote; crunching with Numbers; getting creative with iMovie and GarageBand—the list goes on! 

  • Explore the newest version of MacOS
  • Set up and customize a new Mac with ease
  • Become more efficient, professional, smart, and creative with the latest must-have apps
  • Use Home Sharing to stream content to other computers, iOS devices, and Apple TVs
  • Dive into six books in one place: Mac Basics, Online Communications, Beyond the Basics, Your Mac as a Multimedia Entertainment Center, Taking Care of Business, and Mac Networking

Whatever you want from your world of Mac, you’ll find it here—as well as a million other incredible things you’ll love. Get started on your new Mac journey today!  

Macs All-in-One For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Macs come in all shapes and sizes, but you turn all of them on and off, and do things with the keyboard and mouse or trackpad the same way. This Cheat Sheet of timesaving keyboard shortcuts, mouse and trackpad actions, Mac-related websites, and definitions can help you get the most from your Mac right away.

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General Macs Articles

How to Establish an Apple Identity on a Mac

When you first turn on your Mac (or install an upgrade to the operating system), a series of questions and prompts appear, including a prompt to sign in to your Apple ID account or create a new Apple ID. An Apple ID identifies you and your devices in all things Apple that you do: registering new products, purchasing media and apps from the iTunes Store, the Book Store, and the App Store, as well as signing in to your iCloud account. iCloud is Apple’s remote syncing and storage service. You might already have an Apple ID. You can use the same Apple ID for everything, iCloud and Apple Music included, or create separate Apple IDs for separate accounts. Note: If you’ve used Apple products long enough that you still have one of the very old Apple IDs that isn’t an email address, you do have to set up a new account to use iCloud. In this article, we explain two ways to create an Apple ID.

If you don’t have an email address or want to create an @icloud.com email as your Apple ID and use it for all your Apple interactions, set up a new Apple ID from within iCloud in System Preferences, not during the Mac setup. When you set up an Apple ID during the Mac setup, you must use an existing non-Apple domain email address — because if you have an Apple domain email address, that is your Apple ID and you use that to sign in.

How to create an Apple ID during Mac setup

When you first turn on your Mac, the onscreen dialog prompts you to sign in with your Apple ID or create a new one. Read through these steps to see what to expect: 1. Click one of the following on the opening screen:
  • Sign In with Apple ID: Type in your existing Apple ID and password and then click Continue.
  • Create Apple ID: The Apple ID website opens. Type the information requested in the fields on the form: Use an existing email address as your Apple ID, choose three security questions and answers, and provide your date of birth and an optional rescue email that’s different than your Apple ID email. Complete the form with your mailing address (so the products you order online can be shipped to you), select your preferred language from the pop-up menu, select the email you want to receive from Apple, type the Captcha word, select the check box to concede your agreement to the Terms of Service, and finally, click the Create Apple ID button.
  • Use Separate ID for iCloud and Apple Music: The iCloud icon is highlighted in the center of the screen. Enter the Apple ID you use with iCloud or click Create Apple ID, which takes you to the Apple ID website as we explain in the previous bullet. Click Continue. The iTunes and App Stores icons are highlighted; type in the Apple ID you use with them or click Create Apple ID and repeat as above. (Using separate Apple IDs is not necessary.)

If you want to create an Apple ID with an @icloud.com suffix, click Don’t Sign In and confirm your choice by clicking the Skip button in the dialog that appears. Go to the next section to create an Apple ID and email address in iCloud.

2. If you sign in with an existing Apple ID, you are prompted to do the following:
  • Turn on Find My Mac, which we suggest you do.
  • Choose three security questions and answers.
  • Agree to the Terms of Service.
The message in the window lets you know your Mac is being set up, and then the Desktop appears.

Use two-factor authentication

Online security is a bigger concern than ever these days. There are three highly recommended techniques for keeping yourself safe online:
  • You can use yourself (that is, your fingerprint or face). This is called biometric security. Touch ID, which is available on the latest MacBooks, can implement a biometric feature.
  • Devices with cameras that support FaceID can use your face for login.
  • Two-factor authentication requires you to use two devices to log in. It is highly secure, and don’t panic: You don’t need two Macs (but they will work). If you happen to have your iPad or iPhone nearby, you can use it for authentication. This means that you need to authenticate yourself to your iPhone and your Mac.
To set up two-factor authentication, you need to provide the alternate device information to be used during login. If you’re using the same Apple ID on both your Mac and your iPhone or iPad, the Apple ID is used automatically. You can also provide the phone number of your phone. Here’s what two-factor authentication looks like after you’ve established two devices with the same Apple ID or provided your phone number and turned the two-factor authentication on when you’re setting up your iCloud account. This is an example of a case in which you’re logging into your Mac and using your iPhone as the second factor (the process is the same if you log into your iPhone and use your Mac as the second factor). 1. Log into your Mac with your Apple ID as usual.

You receive an automated message on your iPhone, as shown in this figure. It contains a six-digit verification code that can only be used once. (This code is sent either to your Apple ID devices or to your phone.)

2. On your Mac, enter the code that appeared on your phone, as shown here.

If you want an alternate verification code, you can ask for it by clicking Didn’t Get a Verification Code, as shown.

3. If you’re asked if you trust the browser, click Trust.

How to create an Apple ID in iCloud

We find creating and using an @icloud.com email address as your Apple ID convenient because you need remember only one password for all your interactions with Apple, and we like to think there’s added security for the information you sync across devices using iCloud when using an Apple domain rather than Google mail, Yahoo!, or one of the other email service providers.

If you use the iCloud email only for exchanges with Apple, notifications about product updates or invoices don’t get lost in the shuffle of myriad messages in a more active email account.

Here we show you how to create an Apple ID with iCloud and then segue into managing your iCloud preferences in the next section. 1. Choose Apple→System Preferences or click the System Preferences icon on the Dock. Then click the Internet Accounts button.

The Internet Accounts window opens.

2. Click the iCloud button in the left column

The iCloud preferences window opens.

3. Click Create Apple ID. 4. Enter your Date of Birth, and then click Next.

The Create an Apple ID window opens, as shown.

5. Select the Get Free iCloud Email Address link.

This appears right below the “This will be your new Apple ID” Message.

6. Type in your email address, first name, last name, and password.

Your password must be at least eight characters and contain at least one number, one uppercase letter, and one lowercase letter.

7. (Optional) Select the Email Updates check box for Apple news and update information. 8. Click Next.

If someone else already uses the name you chose, you’re prompted to type an alternative. It may take a few tries to find an unused name.

9. Select three security questions and answers from the pop-up menus that appear on the next window. 10. Type in a rescue email, which is different than the iCloud email address you just created.

Apple uses this address to communicate with you in the event you completely forget your iCloud email address and password. There are various services that let you create an email address that is free like Gmail; however, check that “free” doesn’t mean that you’re allowing access to your data in exchange for the email account.

11. Click Next. 12. Select the check box to confirm that you read and agree to the Terms of Service, and then click Continue. 13. The iCloud activation screen opens, as shown.

Leave both check boxes checked.

14. Click Next.

You’re asked to provide security features for your account. These features change from time to time as Apple tightens security. Among the options you may be asked for are passphrases you can use, as well as a device that you can use to confirm access (known as two-factor authentication).

This figure shows some of the security mechanism in use at the time of this writing.

15. When requested, type a mobile phone number that will be used to send approval codes to your mobile phone when you access iCloud Keychain from another device.

This adds additional security to iCloud Keychain access.

16. Click Next.

iCloud opens, as shown in the following figure.

A list of Apple apps that work with iCloud appears, and check marks indicate which are active. The data in checked apps can sync across all devices — computers, iPhones, iPads, iPod touches — that sign in to the same iCloud account. Some apps have options that you can use to refine what is or isn’t allowed for that app when it interacts with iCloud.

Your legacy Apple ID

New Apple IDs take the form of an email address. If you have an Apple ID that you created several years ago, it may be in the form of a name, such as barbaradepaula. If your Apple ID isn’t an email address, you can continue to use it for iTunes, App, and iBook Store purchases, though. Just know that you have to create a different Apple ID for iCloud because that service requires the email address ID format.

General Macs Articles

How to Store Your Data in iCloud

iCloud remotely stores and syncs data that you access from various devices — your Mac and other Apple devices, such as iPhones, iPads, and iPods, and PCs running Windows. Sign in to the same iCloud account on different devices, and the data for activated apps syncs; that is, you find the same data on all your devices, and when you make a change on one device, it shows up on the others. iCloud works with the following Apple apps and the data within them:

  • Contacts (known as Address Book in earlier versions of Mac OS X)
  • Calendar (known as iCal in earlier versions of Mac OS X)
  • Reminders
  • Mail
  • Notes
  • Safari bookmarks, reading list, tabs, and viewing history
  • Photos from both iPhoto and Aperture
  • iTunes music and television shows
  • iWork apps (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote)
  • Preview
  • TextEdit
  • Keychain
  • GarageBand

iCloud also works with third-party iCloud-enabled apps, such as iA Writer.

Here are some situations where iCloud can make your life easier:
  • You want to back up the songs you add to the Music app and TV show collections.
  • You use both a Mac and an iOS device, such as an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • You want to access Contacts, Calendar, and Mail from more than one computer — Mac or Windows — say, one for work and one at home.
  • You keep a calendar that other people need to see and maybe even edit.
  • You want to activate Find My Mac to keep tabs on your Mac’s location and re-locate it should it be lost or stolen.
The initial setup on your Mac or the creation of an iCloud Apple ID activates your iCloud account and places a copy of the data from Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and Safari from your Mac to the cloud (that is, the Apple data storage equipment). Here, we show you how to work with the iCloud preferences, sync devices, and sign in to and use the iCloud website.

If you use a Windows PC in addition to your Mac, you can download the iCloud Control Panel 3.0 for Windows, which enables iCloud storage and syncing in Windows. You then access the iCloud apps through iCloud.com and Microsoft Outlook.

How to configure iCloud preferences

You can choose which apps you want to use with iCloud and how they can be used. For example, you may want to keep Contacts and Calendars synced across all your devices but prefer that Notes stay separate because you use Notes on your iPhone for shopping lists that you don’t need on your Mac. Here’s how to customize how you work with iCloud: 1. Choose Apple→System Preferences and then click the Internet Accounts button.

The Internet Accounts window appears.

2. If you haven’t signed in to iCloud, click the Sign In button, enter your Apple ID and password, and click Sign In. 3. Click iCloud.

The iCloud window appears displaying your iCloud account information.

4. Click the Options button that is to the right of the iCloud Drive icon.

The iCloud Drive options window appears. This window enables you to choose which documents are stored in iCloud.

5. Specify which documents you want to store in your iCloud drive.

Click the check mark that corresponds to each app that contains documents that you want to store in your iCloud drive.

6. (Optional) Click the Manage button in the lower right to see the data that occupies your allotted iCloud storage, as shown.

Click each item in the list on the left to see the files for each. Backups (top of this list) keeps the backups of your iOS devices — not your Mac. iCloud keeps documents and data for iCloud-enabled apps but does not back up your entire Mac.

7. (Optional) Click the Buy More Storage button.

A free iCloud account gives you 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage — but songs purchased from the Apple Music Store or up to 25,000 tracks in iTunes Match (if you’re subscribed) plus photos in PhotoStream don’t count toward that amount. In PhotoStream, iCloud stores up to 1,000 photos from the last 30 days. You can purchase additional storage for a yearly subscription fee if necessary, as shown.

If you decide to purchase additional storage, click the desired storage amount and then click Next. Follow the onscreen instructions to add your personal and payment information.

8. Click Done. 9. Click the Close button in the upper left to quit System Preferences.

Syncing with your other devices

The only reason this topic has a heading is so it stands out because it couldn’t be simpler. To sync iCloud app specific documents, such as Pages documents, and data from apps such as Calendar and Contacts with your iOS devices, do the following: 1. Tap Settings on the Home screen of the device you want to sync with iCloud. 2. Tap iCloud. 3. Sign in to your iCloud account. 4. Tap the apps you want to use to the on position.

The data in each app is automatically synced between your Mac and your iOS device.

You must have an Internet connection to use iCloud.

Using the iCloud website

To manage your data on iCloud, you can go to the iCloud website. Follow these steps: 1. Click the Safari icon on the Dock or from Launchpad. 2. Type www.icloud.com in the URL field in Safari.

The iCloud website opens with the sign in fields.

3. Type in your Apple ID or the email you used when you set up your iCloud account, and then type your password. 4. (Optional) Select the Keep Me Signed In check box if you want to stay connected to iCloud even when you go to other websites or quit Safari. 5. Press the Enter key or click the arrow button.

Your name appears in the upper-right corner, and icons that take you to your activated services appear in the window, as shown.

6. Click any of the icons to go to the app you want. 7. From the app window, click the cloud button in the upper-left corner to return to the opening iCloud web page. 8. Click the arrow to the right of your name and choose Sign Out to close iCloud.com.

Note that when you sign out, you have the option to trust the browser you’re using and won’t need to trust the browser the next time you sign into the iCloud website.

General Macs Articles

Safari Privacy: Safe Ways to Store Personal Info

Safari and iCloud have terrific built-in features that help you remember user names and passwords and credit card information. And Safari has security and privacy features to keep that personal information to yourself — or to your Mac. Here, we tell you how to use AutoFill so Safari remembers passwords for you, and then we explain how to keep your information safe.

AutoFill track passwords and more

If you don’t share your Mac and you visit a lot of websites that require usernames and passwords, Safari can remember and automatically fill in the username and password for you when you open those websites.
Safari can also automatically fill in forms with your name and address, credit card information, and information you’ve completed on an online form in the past. Safari encrypts this information, so even though it’s remembered, it’s safe. In the following steps, we also show you how to add credit card information to Safari’s brain trust. After adding card information, when you’re making an online purchase and reach the credit card information fields, a drop-down field lets you choose which credit card you want to use from those you entered. To use the AutoFill options, as shown, do the following: 1. Choose Safari→Preferences and click the AutoFill button on the toolbar. 2. Select the Using Info from My Contacts Card check box.

Safari presents pre-filled drop-down fields in website forms that request information such as your address and telephone number, which will be taken from Contacts.

Click Edit to open Contacts and view the information that will be accessed.

3. Select the User Names and Passwords check box.

The first time you visit a website that requires a username and password, Safari asks whether you want it remembered. If you choose Yes, your username and password are filled in automatically the next time you visit the website.

4. (Optional) Click the Edit button next to User Names and Passwords.

The Passwords Are Locked dialog appears.

5. Enter your admin password.

The Passwords Preferences dialog opens showing you a list that is divided into three columns: Websites, Username, and Password. The first column shows each website you’ve visited that require a password. If you’ve allowed Safari to save your password for the site, a name or email address appears in the Username column and the password used is hidden by asterisks. After the Passwords Preferences dialog opens, you can do the following:

  • Deselect AutoFill User Names and Passwords and Safari will not auto-fill usernames or passwords, nor will you be prompted by Safari to save website usernames and passwords. This also deselects usernames and passwords in AutoFill preferences.
  • Click a website, and then click Details to display the username and password Safari saved for that site.
  • Click a website (or Control-click multiple websites) and then click the Remove button to eliminate those usernames and passwords from Safari’s memory.
  • Click the Add button to open a dialog box into which you can enter a URL and the username and password required to access the site.

Then click the AutoFill button to return to the AutoFill Preferences.

6. Select the Credit Cards check box and then click Edit.

The Credit Cards Are Locked dialog appears.

7. Enter your admin password and then click Unlock.

The dialog box refreshes showing information for any credit cards you have saved.

8. To edit a credit card, select it and then modify the information.

You can edit the cardholder name, card number, expiration date, and cardholder name, or click Remove to delete the card information.

9. Click Add to add a card to the list.

A dialog appears in which you fill in the card description, card number, expiration date, and cardholder name.

If you choose to use AutoFill for names, passwords — and especially credit cards — we highly recommend setting up your Mac to require a password whenever it is turned on or wakes from sleep.

10. Select the Other Forms check box, which will remember what you enter the first time you fill in a form and use it if the same website asks for the same information again.

Click the Edit button to see, and remove, websites for which AutoFill has been enabled.

If you turn on the Keychain option in iCloud, the information you let AutoFill manage is available across all devices signed in to the same iCloud account with Keychain activated.

Protect your web-browsing privacy

Safari encrypts your web browsing to help avoid Internet eavesdropping and potential digital theft. And, instead of letting websites access your information automatically when you fill out forms, Safari detects forms and presents your information in drop-down fields so you can choose which information to insert. As a rule, Safari keeps track of your browsing history, but if you use Safari on a public Mac, perhaps in a library, you may not want to leave a trace of where you’ve been. Choose File→New Private Window and Safari keeps your browsing secrets safe. When you enable Private Browsing, a new Safari window opens, and the Search or Enter Website Name field has a black background. In a nutshell, turning on the Private Browsing keeps your web-browsing history usage private by
  • Not tracking which websites you visit, which means they don’t show up in History
  • Removing any files that you downloaded from the Downloads window (Window→Downloads)
  • Not saving names or passwords that you enter on websites
  • Not saving search words or terms that you enter in the Search and Address field
In other words, when you open a private window, Safari gets a case of amnesia, making Safari mind its own business until you close the private window. You know when Private Browsing is active because the Search or Enter Website Name field has a dark gray background. You can use the navigation buttons during the session, but when you close Safari, or close the private window, your viewing history is erased. In short, opening a private window is an excellent solution when you’re surfing for your husband’s anniversary present. After you close a private window, Safari goes back to thoughtfully keeping track of the websites you visit and the terms you type into the search box so you can easily return to those sites or searches later. In addition to surfing with a private window, Safari offers Security and Privacy preferences. Do the following to set these up: 1. Choose Safari→Preferences and click the Security button on the toolbar. 2. Select the check box next to the options you want to activate:
  • Fraudulent Sites: When you open a website that Safari finds suspicious, you receive a warning that requires you to confirm or cancel opening the page. Safari uses Google Safe Browsing to determine if a site is fraudulent.
  • Web Content: JavaScript is a language used for buttons, forms, and other website content; if this check box is left clear, some website functionality may be lost. Pop-up windows often contain advertising, so you may want to leave this check box clear. That said, some website functionality may be lost if you don’t enable this feature. In both cases, if necessary, you’ll receive a message from the website prompting you to activate the feature.
3. Click the Privacy button on the toolbar to open Privacy preferences, as shown. 4. Protect your privacy by accepting the default Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.

This option makes it harder for companies to track your browsing across multiple websites. We strongly suggest you do not deselect this option.

5. Tighten your web-browsing security by clicking the Block All Cookies check box.

If you select this option, Safari warns you that websites may not work if you enable this option. When this option is not selected, which is the default state, Safari keeps a list of websites that have stored data that can be used to track your browsing. You can click the Manage Website Data button and see who’s tracking what, and then select specific sites you would like to remove, or remove all.

To enable quick surfing without interruptions, do not block all cookies, but visit the Privacy preferences frequently, click Manage Website Data, and remove suspect sites.

Cookies are pieces of information about you that websites you visit use to track your browser usage. Cookies may also be used for user authentication or specific information. When you sign up with a website, that site gives you a cookie so that the next time you go to that website, it recognizes you because it sees you have one of its cookies.

6. Accept the default Apple Pay and Apple Card option.

With the default option enabled, Safari lets you make purchases on the web with Apple Pay and Apple Card using your iPhone or Apple Watch to confirm payment. If you have none of the previously mentioned Apple baubles, feel free to deselect this option.

7. Click the Close button.