How to Set Up Your First Mac Laptop

So, you’ve just got your hands on your first Mac! Congratulations, and welcome to the better side of computing. While Macs may only have a 9.54 percent market share, those who use them know that they are incredible machines.

Yet if you’re setting up a MacBook for the first time, there are a few things that you need to know. These machines are pretty different from any Windows ones that you may have used before, and the setup is very different, too.

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at how laptop setup works on Mac, so you can start using your laptop to its fullest extent as soon as possible! 

Are you ready to learn more? Then keep reading.

1. How to Prepare for Setting Up Your First Mac

Before we get started, you should ensure that you have everything that you’ll need to set up your Mac. Most importantly, you’ll need to have your AppleID login details ready to go, as well as your wifi password.

If you don’t have an AppleID yet, don’t worry: you can make one during setup.

You’ll need the AppleID because Apple is all about creating an ecosystem. If you have passwords saved on your iPhone or iPad, Keychain will make sure that those passwords are also available on your Mac. You can also backup files to your iCloud, which means they’ll be available across all devices.

2. Starting the Initial Setup

The setup process is really quite simple. Apple’s setup wizard will walk you through a few basic questions, such as your keyboard layout, connecting to your wifi network, choosing your country, etc.

If you’re moving across from an older Mac, you’ll be able to import your settings and other data with the Migration Assistant. Presuming you don’t though, you can skip this step. If you need to do it later, you can.

3. Setting Up iCloud

Once you’ve got through the initial setup, it’s time to set up iCloud. This is Apple’s equivalent of Google Drive or Dropbox and comes in very useful. You get some storage for free which makes it easy to backup essential files.

It also syncs your calendars and messages across all of your devices, so it’s recommended that you set it up.

As part of the iCloud setup, you’ll need to set up your messages and Facetime, which is very easy, especially if you have another Apple device.

We would also very much recommend that you turn on Find My Mac. This software lets you track your new Mac’s location, so if it’s ever lost or stolen, you’ll be able to track it down far more easily.

4. Make a User Account

Next up, you need to make a user account for your Mac. This is like creating a user on Windows.

To make a user account, you’ll need to type in a username and a password. Choose a good, memorable password that makes use of capitals and numbers, at least. 

5. You’re Now Ready to Use Your Mac

Now that you’ve got all the initial setup over and done with, you can start using your Mac. However, this article isn’t over, as there are some great tweaks that you can make to your Mac that will make it even better to use.

Let’s take a look at what you should do to make your Mac experience even better.

Check for Software Updates

Software updates are an essential part of modern life. They close security holes that can otherwise cause serious issues, even on a Mac (as Macs can still get viruses). To check for software updates, you need to open up the App Store.

From here, all you need to do is click on the updates tab at the top of the screen, and your Mac will automatically check for updates to any software that you have installed.

Install Any Software You Need

For most programs, you can search for them on the App Store and install them this way. However, for certain apps, you may need to do it the old-fashioned way by going to the app’s website and downloading the Mac installer.

If you do it this way, all you need to do is download the file and then run it: it’s as simple as can be.

Learn Some Keyboard Shortcuts

Knowing keyboard shortcuts can really boost your productivity. Read more and learn some handy shortcuts:

  • Command + C is copy and Command + V is paste
  • Command + W closes your current window
  • Command + , opens up the settings for the program you’re in
  • Command + M minimizes your program

Make the Mac Show Battery Percentage

No one wants to have to suddenly dash for their charger. While Macs have great battery life, they’re not infinite and knowing the exact battery percentage that’s left can be very helpful.

To make the Mac show you the exact remaining battery percentage, click on the battery icon in the menu bar and then hit “show battery percentage.” Now you’ll always know exactly how much is left.

Set Up Another Browser

You may wish to keep using Safari if you have other Apple devices, but if you don’t, using it can be a chore. If you’d rather use Chrome, Firefox, or another browser, then you’ll first need to install it, then head to System Preferences.

From here, scroll to “default web browser” and pick which browser you want to use.

Enjoy Your New Mac!

We hope that you now feel more confident about using your first Mac. Finally, we advise you to protect your new laptop. For example, a pink laptop bag protects your computer and looks fashionable. 

Now get started, and learn how much fun computing can be on a Mac!

For more helpful articles like this, check out the rest of our blog!

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