Here’s a list of the top 10 ways to customize your Mac. Before you begin customizing, make sure that you are updated to the latest version of MacOS.

  1. Split-Screen: If you need 2 windows open at the same time (e.g. when you are writing a research paper, etc.), make sure they are two separate windows first (i.e. if they are both on a web browser, just open the second tab in another window), then press and hold down the green maximize button on the top left. Two vertical rectangles should appear; keep holding the window and drag to one of the rectangles, release the mouse click and choose the window that you want to be open on the other rectangle.

    SplitScreen.png
    Split-screen
  2. Overlaying YouTube videos: My friend Cary here likes to listen to or watch YouTube videos while he does his work. Sometimes, instead of using split-screen as mentioned above, it is simpler and more efficient to use Picture-in-Picture mode. To enable this, go to whatever video you want to watch, then right click twice, the first should show a YouTube right click and the second should show a regular right click menu. Then choose “Enable Picture-in-Picture Mode”. And there you go!
  3. Customizing the Menu Bar (bar on top): There’s this awesome piece of software called Bartender that allows you to customize the menu bar. (macbartender.com/)

    Bartender.png
    Bartender
  4. AdBlockPlus: If ads are annoying, there are extensions in both the Safari and Chrome extension stores. Use these to block ads (however remember to allow ads on websites that require ads to be shown or if you want to support the website/content creator).
  5. Handoff: Do you have an iPhone/iPad/iPod/iDevice? Handoff allows you to seamlessly move from texting/emailing/writing/browsing the internet/etc. from your iPhone to your Mac and vice versa. For example, web pages on Safari on your iPhone will also appear on your Mac if you want to switch. To enable this, go to system preferences on your iDevice’s Settings, then tap Handoff and enable the option.

    handoff
    Bottom right corner shows Safari from iPhone
  6. Audible Volume Clicks: Currently, if you are on the newest version of MacOS, changing volume does not trigger an audible ‘click’ sound to show the loudness of your volume setting. This feature was automatically enabled in previous versions of MacOS. If you want it back, open System Preferences, click on Sound, then Sounds Effect, and re enable the option “Play feedback when volume is changed”.
  7. Spotlight: Although this feature has been present for quite sometime, I feel like Spotlight is overlooked. The quickest and most efficient way to open an application, search up a homework document, look-up a word, etc. if through using the Spotlight search feature. Press Command + Space to activate Spotlight; a bar should appear on your screen and you can then type whatever you want to search definitions, etc.

    spotlight
    Spotlight
  8. Defining Words: Reading through a long Wikipedia page, or an encyclopedia, you are bound to encounter words that you’ve never heard of. To quickly lookup a definition of these words without using spotlight or Google, hover the mouse over the word and press down hard, or use a three-finger tap on other MacBooks and a definition will appear. (Note: If these settings aren’t enabled, go to System Preferences, click on Trackpad and either enable “Force Click and haptic feedback” or find another option that has the description to lookup a word and choose the desired activation method (e.g. three finger tap, etc.)

    lookup
    Defining words
  9. Monitoring your Mac: iStat Menus is a good application for those who want to monitor the temperatures, CPU usage, battery life remaining (Apple has removed the estimated battery life remaining on the most recently updated version of MacOS), network usage, etc.istatmenus
  10. Disable Mouse Acceleration: Better for gaming or if you prefer the mouse movement on the computer to be precise (i.e. one specified movement of trackpad = one specified movement on computer screen no matter the speed of trackpad movement). Open Terminal and paste this command : “defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1” (without quotation marks). Restart computer to take effect. If you want to revert back to normal, just change the tracking speed to any value in system preferences.

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