Mac has got a lot to offer, but we often fail to use it to its optimum. That’s because we don’t tweak enough the Mac OS X to suit our requirement. If you are one such Mac user who wishes to get the maximum out of the machine, you should change 17 Settings mentioned in this post.
These Settings include almost every aspect of the Mac. Depending on your requirement, you can change things that suits your preference. I’ll leave that on you to decide which Settings you should tweak; let’s head over to the main course.
17 Mac Settings You Should Change Right Away
- Setup a Hot Corner on Mac
- Change Finder Settings on Mac
- Add Icon to Mac Menu Bar
- Add Tags to Organize Files/Folders on Mac
- Setup Night Shift, Dark Mode, and Dynamic Desktop on Mac
- Fingers gestures on Mac
- Enable Type to Siri on Mac
- Customize Touch Bar
- Quickly Lock your Macbook
- Stop Automatic App Updates on Mac
- Download Apps from Unidentified Developers on Mac
- Show Website Favicons in Safari for Mac
- Stop autoplay videos in Safari on Mac
- Save Desktop and Documents Folder to iCloud Drive
- Unlock Mac with Apple Watch
- Disable Location Services on Mac
- Customize Spotlight results on Mac
#1. Hot Corners on macOS
To briefly explain, four corners of your Mac screen can be used for quick actions. You need to take mouse cursor in the respective edge of the screen for quick access to certain things.
Let’s see how to use it:
Head over to System Preferences → Desktop & Screen Saver → Now click on Screen Saver tab and then click on Hot Corner button at the bottom-right.
On the next screen, beside corner option, there’s a drop-down list of available choices. Select the one you use the most and set up other corners similarly.
Just to let you know, I have set Launchpad on the top-right corner, Notifications on the bottom-right, Desktop on the bottom-left, and Dashboard on the top-left corner of my display. These four things are used frequently on my Mac, and Hot Corners makes it quicker to access.
#2. Finder Settings
The second most handy setting is of the Finder app. You may have noticed that when you open Finder, it opens the Recent folder by default. Let’s change the folder to something else, the folder that you use the most.
Open the Finder app, and go to Finder Preferences → Click on the General tab.
This one is my favorite setting. I have changed the Recent option in “New Finder window show” to the Downloads folder. Because this is the folder I use the most. You should change it to whatever folder you check frequently.
Now click on Sidebar tab.
Here you can customize what all things you wish to see in Finder’s sidebar. Make sure you keep only folders or drives that you frequently use. This will make your Finder app clutter free and also get you to your destination quickly.
If you wish to do advanced configuration, click on the Advanced tab.
Here you can customize different options like seeing filename extensions, emptying trash after 30 days, and some other handy things. Just play around it and make changes wherever required.
The menu bar on the Mac offers quick access to most of the frequently used features like date and time, Bluetooth, Volume control, and many other nifty things. If you are missing any of the icons on the menu bar, it is pretty easy to get it.
Head over to System Preferences → Sound → and check the box that says “Show volume in menu bar.” Repeat the steps for Bluetooth, and Date and Time.
Another little setting you should be doing is to show the battery percentage. To do so, click on the battery icon on the menu bar and then click on Show Percentage.
Apart from adding icons, you can also arrange them in a particular order.
To do so, Press and hold the Command key on the keyboard and move your cursor over the menu bar. While holding the command key, click and move the icon in the desired order.
If you drag and drop the icon from the menu bar to the desktop, it will be removed.
Tags are one of the handy ways to organize your files and folders. It allows you to access files and folder that you are looking for quickly. By default, the tag categories on Mac is defined by different colors, which becomes hard to remember. Thankfully, you can name these tags the way you want. To do so,
Open the Finder app → head over to Finder Preferences → and select Tags.
You can see that tags are named colors. Select the tag and hit Enter on the keyboard to rename. Now start typing whatever you wish to call.
The tagging feature is not limited to just renaming. You can also create or delete tags.
To do so, click the “+” in the Finder preferences → tag, to add a new tag. While selecting a tag and clicking “-” will remove any existing tag.
Head over to Finder and check new changes in your file system.
#5. Setup Night Shift, Dark Mode, and Dynamic Desktop
Blue light from the display can put a lot of stress on your eyes, especially when working at nights with room lights turned off. Fortunately, Mac has a Night Shift option, which is different from the Dark theme. Let’s see how to set it up.
Head over to System Preferences → Displays → Night Shift.
Here you can either manually turn on the feature or schedule it. Also, you can customize warmness of the screen depending on your preference.
Apart from this, macOS also has different themes like Dark, Light, and Dynamic. I prefer the dark theme on most of my devices and Mac is no different. In fact, the Mac comes with some additional tweaks, and that’s precisely I will show you today.
Head over to the System Preferences → Desktop & Screen Saver. And on the Desktop tab, you can select from Dynamic, Light, and Dark themes.
Dynamic will change the desktop picture throughout the day. While the light option uses bright wallpapers, and dark option displays night theme wallpapers.
Apart from these two, there’s one more theme related setting you should know. It is the popular dark mode. To use it,
Go to System Preferences → General → and choose Dark from Appearances to use the Dark theme.
You can also choose Auto and after that it will automatically switch between Light and Dark depending on time of the day.
#6. Fingers gestures
I have multiple windows open on my Mac, and sometimes I resize them to fit my needs. But there are times when I need to drag the window so that I get more space for other applications. Instead of the traditional way of clicking and dragging the Window, Mac offers a natural gesture-based process to move the application window.
To enable it, go to System Preferences → Accessibility → Pointer Control.
Now click on Trackpad Options and check the box beside Enable Dragging. From the drop-down menu beside it, select three finger drag. Click Ok.
Now head over to any window and use three fingers on the trackpad to move it anywhere you like.
#7. Siri Settings
Siri is a very helpful assistant, but what if you are at a place where talking to Siri is not possible, but at the same time you want to ask her to get a task done. Not a problem, type to her.
Go to System Preferences → Accessibility → Siri and check the box near Type to Siri. That’s it. From now on, whenever you call Siri, it will come with a text box where you can type your query.
Note: After this you won’t be able to give voice commands to Siri as long as Type to Siri is ON. I wish Apple learns from Google Assistant and allows both type and voice inputs easily.
#8. Customize Touch Bar
The new MacBook Pro is introduced with a Touch Bar and by all means, it is just great. On top of that, customizing it to suit personal requirement is also super easy. Let’s see how to add new items to the Touch bar and even customize it.
Head over to System Preferences → Keyboard → Customize Control Strip…
You’ll see many icons that can be added to Touch Bar. To add it, click and drag it to the bottom of the screen. It will be added on the Touch Bar.
Furthermore, you can also arrange these icons on the Touch Bar itself. Touch and hold the icon you wish to rearrange and then drag it to the position where you want to place it.
Last but not least, to remove the icon from Touch Bar, touch and hold the icon and then drag it to the left of the Touch Bar and then tap on Done.
That was simple. Now let’s check out other settings.
#9. Quickly Lock your Macbook
If you happen to leave your Mac open on your desk frequently, this is the setting you should do right away, so that no one can access it while you are away.
Go To System Preferences → Desktop & Screensavers → Select Screen Saver tab and select 1 minute at the bottom-left drop-down menu, next to Start After.
This will start the screensaver in case of inactivity for a minute. At the same time, it will lock your Mac.
After that, next on the list is App updates. Let’s see that in detail.
#10. App Updates
One of the most irritating things is the automatic App update. It is needed for some essential apps but not for all. I prefer to update apps manually that I want. If you share the same thought, follow these steps to stop automatic app updates.
Launch App Store → Select App Store Preferences → uncheck first two options to disable Automatic App Update.
Now let’s check out a few other settings for Apps that you should do.
#11. Download Apps from identified developers
The Mac App Store has almost all the apps that we may need. But many awesome apps do not make it to the App Store, but you can download and install them right away.
To do that, go to System Preferences → Security and Privacy → General → Click the lock icon at the bottom left and enter the password.
Now, select “App Store and identified developers” under “Allow apps download from.”
Pro Tip: If you would like to install, open and use apps downloaded from anywhere (unidentified developer too), follow this guide.
Doing this will allow you to install apps from identified developers. Next is enhancing the internet experience while using Safari; let’s check it out.
#12. Show website Favicons in Safari
I am pretty sure everyone mostly uses Google Chrome on their Mac, but there is a large group of people that prefer to use Safari as their default browser. By default, Safari doesn’t show website favicon on the tab window. This may not be a critical thing for most, but if you happen to open a plethora of tabs, finding the one using favicon is helpful.
To enable this, open Safari → Select Safari Preferences → then select Tabs → and check the box beside “Show website icon in tabs.”
Up next is one more setting in Safari to make your web surfing experience a little better.
#13. Stop AutoPlay Videos on Safari
Some websites have background sound, while some intrusive sites have integrated their YouTube video as a pop-up. The most irritating thing is that they autoplay as soon as the website load. Thankfully, Safari has an option to disable it, let’s see how to do it.
Go back to Safari Preferences → Select Websites → Select Auto-Play → and select Never Auto-Play from the drop-down list.
After making your internet experience better, let’s check how to secure your important files using iCloud.
#14. Backup Folders on iCloud
Cloud Storage is of utmost priority for saving essential files and folders. Google Drive does a great job by allowing you to select only folders that you wish to sync in real time. While iCloud also supports it, but in a limited way.
You cannot specify folders to sync. Instead, there’s an option to sync Desktop & documents. That means any folder on Desktop or Documents folder will synchronize in real time.
To enable it, go to System Preferences → Apple ID → iCloud → check the box beside iCloud drive and then click Options.
Now check the box beside Desktop and Documents Folders.
That’s it. All your files and folders on Desktop and Documents will sync with the iCloud drive as and when you make any changes.
#15. Unlock Mac with Apple Watch
This particular setting is for users having Mac as well as Apple Watch. macOS has introduced a convenient feature to unlock your Mac with Apple Watch. Once you set up, there is no need to enter the password to open the Mac. You simply need to sit to start work with your Apple Watch and it will unlock the Mac for you. Let’s see how to use it:
Like all other settings, go to System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Make sure you are on the General tab → and tick the box beside Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.
Initial setup may take a minute or two; after that, you can lock your Mac and check.
#16. Location Privacy Setting on Mac
As we are already in the Security and Privacy settings, let’s do one more thing here. It is about your location privacy. Don’t allow apps to track your location unnecessarily unless it is entirely inevitable to do so.
With Mac, you can select which all apps can access your location.
Under Security & Privacy → Click the lock icon → Enter password → click Privacy tab → Location Services → and uncheck all the apps that you wish shouldn’t access your location.
Apart from privacy, this also helps you save some battery while you are on the go. And yes, don’t exit the System Preferences yet. We have one last thing to do here.
#17. Customize Spotlight Search Location on Mac
One last setting up my sleeves is to choose where Spotlight search on Mac. Head over to Spotlight option in System Preferences and select locations where you want the Spotlight to search for your queries.
That’s all Folks! These are some of the settings that I use on my Mac, and they have helped me. I also use Sidecar and Screen Time. You can turn on Screen Time from System Preferences → Screen Time → and click on Turn On…. After that you can play with the options there. The basic concept is similar to Screen time on iPhone and iPad. Let me know if these have helped you. Or if I have missed any awesome customization, shout it out in the comments.
Hands-on Video: Mac Settings You Should Change Right Now!
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Which Mac Settings you find most helpful from the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.