macOS Catalina For Dummies book cover

macOS Catalina For Dummies

Author:
Bob LeVitus
Published: November 12, 2019

Overview

Get a handle on macOS Catalina

It doesn't matter if you're doing your computing on an old reliable Macbook or a brand-new Mac desktop, both rely on macOS to help you get things done. It helps to have an equally reliable guidebook to steer you through the tasks and steps that make macOS run efficiently.

This fun and friendly guide provides the direction you need to easily navigate the classic and brand new features in macOS Catalina. Longtime expert Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus shares his years of experience to help you better understand Catalina and make it a timesaving tool in your life. 

  • Take a tour of the macOS Catalina interface
  • Get organized and save time with macOS applications
  • Find pro tips on speeding up your Mac   
  • Back up your data

macOS Catalina For Dummies is perfect for new and inexperienced macOS users looking to grasp the fundamentals of the operating system.

Get a handle on macOS Catalina

It doesn't matter if you're doing your computing on an old reliable Macbook or a brand-new Mac desktop, both rely on macOS to help you get things done. It helps to have an equally reliable guidebook to steer you through the tasks and steps that make macOS run efficiently.

This fun and friendly guide provides the direction you need to easily navigate the classic and brand new features in macOS Catalina. Longtime expert Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus shares

his years of experience to help you better understand Catalina and make it a timesaving tool in your life. 

  • Take a tour of the macOS Catalina interface
  • Get organized and save time with macOS applications
  • Find pro tips on speeding up your Mac   
  • Back up your data

macOS Catalina For Dummies is perfect for new and inexperienced macOS users looking to grasp the fundamentals of the operating system.

macOS Catalina For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Whether you’ve purchased a new Mac with macOS Catalina pre-installed or you’ve upgraded from a previous version of macOS, you’ll find that Catalina makes your Mac easier to use and offers myriad improvements to make you more productive. Get additional information on things you should never do to your Mac, a list of useful and timesaving keyboard shortcuts, a discussion of when folders are too full and when (and when not) to create subfolders, recommendations for backing up data, and a short discussion of Apple devices and continuity between them.

Articles From The Book

5 results

Catalina Articles

Track Productivity with the Screen Time App on Your Mac

We can all use a break from our digital devices, and Apple’s solution is Screen Time. Although Screen Time includes the parental controls that used to appear in the Parental Controls System Preferences pane, this new feature is about policing your own screen time behavior as well as the behavior of others in your family (if you so desire). If you have an iDevice, you’re probably familiar with Screen Time, which provides insight into how you spend your time on your iPhone or other iDevices, including which apps you used and websites you visited and for how long you. On the Mac, Screen Time is a System Preferences pane (choose the Apple icon→System Preferences or click the System Preferences Dock icon). Today’s date appears at the top of the pane by default. Use the arrows on either side of the Today button near the upper-right corner to view days before or after the day being displayed, or click the Today button to return to your stats for today. If you have other devices using Screen Time, you’ll see a pop-up menu at the bottom of the window; click it and choose what you see in Screen Time: All Devices or any individual device. And if you're using Family Sharing, click your name below your picture to set Screen Time options for other family members. All Screen Time actions takes place in the seven tabs in your Mac’s sidebar on the left, namely:

  • App Usage: Displays details about the apps you used and how long you used them.
  • Notifications: Displays the number of notifications you received on this day and the time you received them.
  • Pickups: Shows you how many times you picked up your devices.
  • Downtime: Sets a schedule for times when only apps you have specifically allowed during downtime are available. A reminder appears 5 minutes before downtime starts.
  • App Limits: Sets time limits for apps and app categories.
  • Always Allowed: Enables the check box for apps you want to remain available during downtime.
  • Content & Privacy: Replaces the Parental Controls options in earlier versions of macOS. Enable or disable content by type, Apple online store, or specific app, as well as allow or disallow passcode changes, account changes, and other options for which you may want to restrict changes.
Finally, the Options button at the bottom of the sidebar offers two choices. Share Across Devices enables reporting for this Mac to be shared with your other devices. Screen Time Passcode lets you secure your Screen Time settings with a passcode and allow more time when limits expire.

Want to use the awesome Screen Time app on your iPhone? Use this guide to set downtime and restrictions.

Catalina Articles

How to Use the Podcasts App on Your Mac

Podcasts are like radio or television shows, except when you subscribe to them, you can listen to or watch them at any time you like. Podcasts have been growing in popularity. As a result, thousands of podcasts are available and many (or most) are free. There are podcasts on a vast variety of topics so there is something for everyone. If you want to listen to podcasts on your Mac, you’ll want to check out the new Podcasts app that comes with macOS Catalina. Let’s give it a try by checking out a podcast for Mac enthusiasts. To find podcasts, launch the Podcasts app and follow these steps:

  1. Click Browse or Top Charts in the sidebar.
  2. Click a link in the content pane on the right or type a keyword or phrase in the Search field at the top of the sidebar.
  3. When you find a podcast that appeals to you, do one of the following:
    • Double-click it to listen to a preview.
    • Click the + button to download the current episode of that podcast.
    • Click the Subscribe button to receive all future episodes of that podcast automatically.
  4. Click the ellipsis (…) for additional options.
The image below shows all these things for the Mac Geek Gab audio podcast from The Mac Observer. For more information on most podcasts, just click the little more link (below the Subscribe button). Subscribing to a podcast is a cool deal. You can configure how often the Podcast app checks for new episodes (hourly, daily, weekly, or manually), what to do when new episodes become available (download the most recent one, download all episodes, or do nothing), and how many episodes to keep in your library (all, all unplayed, or a specific number between 2 and 10). To specify these settings, click a podcast you’ve subscribed to in your library, click the ellipsis (…), and choose Settings from the shortcut menu. When you start listening to a subscribed podcast on your Mac in the Podcast app and switch to an iDevice, such as your iPhone, and the podcast will pick up where it left off on your Mac. Or at least that’s what’s supposed to happen — and it usually does.

Catalina Articles

Enable Dark Mode to Adjust Your Mac’s Brightness

The folks at Apple want to make your life easier. That includes multiple ways to adjust your Mac’s brightness with Dark mode. Have you ever thought that the white background in most windows on your Mac was far too bright? Have you ever fiddled with brightness hoping to take it down a notch? Some Mac users go to extreme lengths to see their screen better. You can go far as changing the background color of Finder windows to a dark shade of gray (View →Show View Options), even though it works only on windows using icon view. In mac OS Catalina, such machinations are a thing of the past. Now it’s easy to reduce your screen's brightness by enabling Dark mode. As you can see below (top), Dark mode affects the appearance of windows, buttons, menus, and other interface elements. To choose Dark (or Light) mode, open System Preferences and click General. The first item you see — Appearance — is where you pick your mode.

If you are one of those Mac user’s who like to automate things that work well, try out macOS Catalina’s new Auto mode feature. Catalina’s Auto mode, which switches between dark and light automatically based on the time of day. Check out these other new macOS Catalina features.

Try changing the accent and highlight colors while in Dark mode — they look slightly different than in Light mode.

And that’s all there is to Dark mode. Try using it for a while. Many Mac users didn’t use it much in Mojave (too much trouble to switch back and forth); in Catalina, the new Auto mode makes using this feature much easier. Want to check out other handy Mac hacks? Check out this article to learn how you can speed up your Mac experience.