Setting Up Your New Mac
Powering up a new Mac for the first time may make you feel like you’re entering the United Nations. After the Apple logo disappears, a lengthy interrogation process commences. Here is the (more or less) step-by-step process for you:
Choose your language.
You’re kindly instructed to pledge allegiance to a particular language. In fact, Apple welcomes you in more than 30 languages, with greetings like Welkom, Tevetuloa, Vitejte, Bem-vindo, Deutsch als Standardsprache verwenden, and Gebruik Nederlands als hoofdtaal.
As you move up or down the list, you may hear an audible voice explaining how to set up your Mac. “To use English as the main language, press the Return key” is what most people will hear initially, because English is the top choice in the list. But as you highlight alternative options, you’ll hear instructions in other languages.
In fact, you have the option throughout the process to take advantage of VoiceOver, the Mac’s built-in screen reader. Press cmd+F5 to turn it on here (or later on to turn it on).
Make your selection by pressing Return or by clicking with the mouse.
Tell your nosy computer your country or region.
If you choose English, the countries shown include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. You can select the Show All check box to display dozens of other countries. Click Continue to move on. Select the Show All check box to see all the possible country options.
Select a keyboard layout.
U.S. and Canadian English are the choices if you stuck with the English language. Again, you can choose Show All for additional choices.
As the cross-examination goes on select any available Wi-Fi, or wireless Internet, service to use.
You may have to enter a network password. If you don’t connect to the Internet wirelessly or for the moment lack an Internet connection, click the Other Network Options button (a circle with right- and left-pointing arrows). That’s where you can choose a wired Ethernet connection, assuming that your Mac is so equipped. Or you can indicate that you don’t have an available Internet connection.
Transfer your user settings or data to your new Mac. If you don’t have such data or don’t want to transfer it right now, skip to Step 6.
You’re presented the option to transfer network settings, user accounts, documents, applications, files, e-mail, and various preferences from another computer to this one. The process once typically involved connecting a FireWire cable. But you have other options, including the speedy Thunderbolt connector that’s now standard on new Macs.
With the introduction a few years ago of the MacBook Air notebook, Apple upgraded its software so that you could migrate from another Mac wirelessly over a computer network. The reason: Air models and most Macs introduced since then lack the FireWire option.
Also, you can migrate from another Mac volume by using OS X’s Time Machine feature.
If this is your maiden voyage on the SS Macintosh, the previous choices are unimportant. Instead, select the Not Now option and click Continue.
Don’t worry; you can always transfer settings later by using the Mac’s Migration Assistant.
As the interrogation drill continues, decide whether to enable Location Services.
Through the wonders of technology, the Mac can determine your approximate location, which can help you find nearby places to eat or shop, or assist you in getting from one place to another.
Location Services works with a variety of apps, or programs, including Twitter, Reminders, and Safari. You have lots of reasons why enabling the feature can be a good thing. Heck, Apple can even choose your time zone based on the current location of your machine.
If knowing your location wigs you out from a privacy perspective, Apple understands and gives you the chance to opt out. But if you’re okay with the concept, select the Enable Location Services on This Mac check box and click Continue.
Provide your Apple ID.
Your Apple ID is the credential that lets you buy songs, books, and videos in the iTunes Store, download apps in the Mac App Store, use iCloud, and more. You can use different Apple IDs for each of these features. Chances are that you already have an Apple ID if you own an iPhone or iPad.
If you don’t have an Apple ID yet, creating one is free and easy. Apple does ask for your birthday and the year that you were born, which it says it will use to retrieve your password if you ever forget it.
Type your first and last name, and choose the e-mail address that you want to use for your Apple ID — either a current address or a new free iCloud address. In choosing a new Apple ID, enter a password and choose a security question to help you retrieve that password later — perhaps the first record album you ever owned or the first celebrity you ever met.
Read through the legalese.
Before your setup is complete, you can read the terms and conditions required to use your Mac and all matters of legalese pertaining to OS X, iCloud, Game Center, Privacy, and more. You just knew the attorneys had to get their two cents in somewhere, right?
Set up your iCloud account.
Assuming that you said yes to an existing iCloud account, the Mac provides the option to update your contacts, calendars, reminders, and bookmarks. You can also check off the e-mail addresses at which others can contact you via Messages (chat and instant messaging) and FaceTime (video calling).
You also get to turn on a feature in iCloud called Find My Mac, which is a way for you to find a computer you may have inadvertently left in a taxi or that — heaven forbid — was stolen. (You have to turn on Location Services for Find My Mac to function.).