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macOS Big Sur For Dummies

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-11-10
  • Publisher: For Dummies

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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


Your "get-started" guide to the world of macOS Big Sur

Wherever you like to Mac—at home in front of your trusty iMac or over a coffee with your portable MacBook Air—macOS provides you with the seamless, efficient, and reliable user experience that makes these devices so famously a pleasure to use. macOS Big Sur For Dummies is here to heighten the experience for new users and upgraders alike by providing the very latest on the ways macOS Big Sur can enhance how you work and play.

Written in a no-jargon style by Bob LeVitus—the Houston Chronicle’s much-loved "Dr. Mac" since 1996—this guide starts with the basics, like getting set up, and explains more advanced uses, like making music and movies, exploring the expanding universe of apps and giving tips on how to save time and enhance productivity along the way. With this book, you'll learn to

  • Set up and connect your Mac
  • Get friendly with Siri
  • Enhance your world with apps
  • Work better and faster

Use the comprehensive capabilities of macOS Big Sur to do anything and everything you would like to do—and do it even better. For beginners and experts alike, macOS Big Sur For Dummies is the best way to step into the magical world of getting things done with Mac.

Author Biography

Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus has written the "Dr. Mac" column for the Houston Chronicle since 1996. A devoted Mac enthusiast, he has written or cowritten a long list of how-to books about macOS, iPhone, iPad, Office for the Mac, and GarageBand. He's also a regular contributor to various tech publications.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: macOS Basics 5

Chapter 1: macOS Big Sur 101 (Prerequisites: None) 7

Gnawing to the Core of macOS 8

A Safety Net for the Absolute Beginner (or Any User) 10

Turning the dang thing on 10

What you should see on startup 11

Shutting down properly 15

A few things you should definitely not do with your Mac 16

Point-and-click 101 17

Not Just a Beatles Movie: Help and the Help Menu 19

Chapter 2: Desktop and Windows and Menus (Oh My!) 23

Touring Finder and Its Desktop 24

Anatomy of a Window 25

Top o’ the window to ya! 27

A scroll new world 29

(Hyper)active windows 30

Dialog Dealie-Boppers 32

Working with Windows 34

Opening and closing windows 34

Resizing windows and window panes 35

Moving windows 35

Shuffling windows 36

Menu Basics 38

The ever-changing menu bar 38

Contextual (shortcut) menus: They’re sooo contextual! 39

Recognizing disabled options 41

Navigating submenus 41

Under the Apple menu tree 42

Using keyboard shortcut commands 44

Chapter 3: What’s Up, Dock? 45

A Quick Introduction to Your Dock 46

The default icons of the dock 47

Trash talkin’ 48

Opening application menus on the dock 51

Reading dock icon body language 53

Opening files from the dock 54

Customizing Your Dock 54

Adding dock icons 54

Removing an icon from the dock 57

Resizing the dock 58

What should you put on your dock? 58

Setting your dock preferences 60

Chapter 4: Getting to Know Finder and Its Desktop 65

Introducing Finder and Its Minions: The Desktop and Icons 66

Introducing the desktop 66

Bellying up to the toolbar 68

Figuring out what an icon is 71

Identifying your Finder icons in the wild 72

Aliases Are Awesome! 73

Creating aliases 74

Deleting aliases 75

Hunting down an alias’s parent 75

The View(s) from a Window 76

Moving through folders fast in Column view 76

Perusing in Icon view 78

Listless? Try touring folders in List view 78

Hangin’ in the Gallery (view) 80

What’s next on the (View) menu? 81

Finder on the Menu 83

The actual Finder menu 83

Like a road map: The current folder’s pop-up menu 86

Going places with the Go menu 86

Customizing Finder Windows 89

Adding folders to the sidebar 89

Setting Finder preferences 90

Digging for Icon Data in the Info Window 93

Chapter 5: Delving Even Deeper into Big Sur’s Desktop and Finder 97

Cleaning Up Your Desktop Automatically with Stacks 97

Managing your Stacks 100

Quick Actions: Now Playing All Over Big Sur 101

Getting the most out of Markup 101

Trimming video without launching an app 104

Do It Quicker with Finder Quick Actions 105

Creating PDFs without launching an app 105

Creating custom Finder Quick Actions 106

Four More Cool Big Sur Tricks 107

Shooting screens 107

Dynamic desktop images 109

Recently used apps in the dock 109

Mentions of Gallery view 110

Part 2: How Stuff Works 111

Chapter 6: Having It Your Way 113

Introducing System Preferences 113

The Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences Pane 116

The Desktop tab 117

The Screen Saver tab 118

The General System Preferences Pane 119

Adjusting the Keyboard, Mouse, Trackpad, and Other Hardware 122

The Keyboard System Preferences pane 122

The Mouse System Preferences pane 128

The Bluetooth System Preferences pane 129

The Trackpad System Preferences pane 129

The Sound System Preferences Pane 131

Changing sound effects 132

Choosing output and input options 132

Chapter 7: Opening and Saving Files 133

A Quick Primer on Finding Files 134

Understanding the macOS Folder Structure 134

Understanding nested folders 136

From the top: The Computer folder 137

Peeking into the Applications folder 138

Visiting the Library folders 138

Let it be: The System folder 139

There’s no place like Home 140

Your personal library card 141

Saving Your Document Before It’s Too Late 143

Stepping through a basic save 145

Save As versus Duplicate: Different names for the same result 151

Open, Sez Me 153

With drag-and-drop 154

With a Quick Look 155

When your Mac can’t open a file 155

With the application of your choice 156

Chapter 8: File and Folder Management Made Easy 159

Organizing Your Stuff in Folders 159

Files versus folders 160

Organizing your stuff with subfolders 160

Creating new folders 163

Navigating with spring-loaded folders 163

Smart folders 164

Shuffling Files and Folders 167

Moving files and folders 167

Selecting multiple icons 169

Playing the icon name game: Renaming icons 170

Renaming multiple icons at once 171

Compressing files 171

Getting rid of icons 172

The Incredible iCloud Drive 172

Chapter 9: Comprehending the macOS Clipboard 175

Introducing the Clipboard 175

Copying Files and Folders 177

Pasting from the Clipboard 179

Big Sur’s Universal Clipboard 179

Part 3: Getting Things Done 181

Chapter 10: Five Terrific Time-Saving Tools 183

With a Quick Look 184

Share and share alike with the Share menu 185

Slide into Slideshow (full-screen) mode 186

Spotlight on Finding Files and Folders Faster 187

Using the Find command 187

Using the Spotlight menu and its keyboard shortcut 190

Blast Off with Mission Control 191

The Mission Control pane: It’s painless 191

Hot corners are hot stuff! 194

Mission Control’s Spaces from 30,000 feet (an overview) 194

Getting around in space(s) 197

Taking Control of Essential Settings 198

Launchpad: The Place for Applications 200

Chapter 11: Organizing Your Life 203

Keeping Track with Calendar 204

Navigating Calendar views 204

Creating calendars 205

Deleting a calendar 206

Creating and managing events 207

Reminders: Protection Against Forgetting 210

Getting started with Reminders 210

To do or not to do: Setting reminders 211

Sharing lists and assigning reminders 213

Everything You Need to Know about Notification Center 213

Tweaking Notification settings 214

Widget management 101 216

Using Notification Center 217

Use Notes for Making Notes 218

Tracking Productivity with Screen Time 221

Chapter 12: Are You Siri-ous? 223

What Siri Can Do for You 224

Working with Siri 226

Making Siri Your Own 226

Chapter 13: Maps Are Where It’s At 229

Finding Your Current Location with Maps 229

Finding a Person, Place, or Thing 230

Views, Zooms, and Pans 231

Maps and Contacts 233

Time-saving Map Tools: Favorites, Guides, and Recents 234

Favorites 234

Guides 235

Recents 235

Smart Map Tricks 236

Get route maps and driving directions 236

Get walking directions 237

Get directions for public transportation 237

Get traffic info in real time 238

Flyovers and look arounds 238

Do more on the Info sheet 240

Chapter 14: Apps Born in iOS 241

Taking Stock of the Market with Stocks 241

Adding and deleting stocks, funds, and indexes 243

Details, details, details 244

Charting a course 244

Read All about It in News 245

What are your interests? 246

How News works 247

Managing your news 247

Recording Memos with Voice Memos 248

Recording a voice memo 248

Listening to a voice memo 249

Naming a voice memo 249

Trimming a voice memo 250

Controlling Lights, Locks, and More with Home 251

Part 4: Getting Along with Others 253

Chapter 15: (Inter)Networking 255

Getting Connected to the Internet 256

Your Internet service provider and you 257

Plugging in your Internet-connection settings 258

Browsing the Web with Safari 259

Owning your toolbar 261

Using the Safari sidebar 263

Searching with Google 267

Protect yourself from malice (and ads) 269

Checking out Help Center 270

Audio and Video Calls with FaceTime 270

Chapter 16: Dealing with People 273

Collecting Your Contacts 273

Adding contacts 274

Importing contacts from other programs 276

Creating a basic group 276

Setting up a smart group (based on contact criteria) 277

Deleting a group or smart group 279

Sync + Contacts = your contacts everywhere 279

Chapter 17: Communicating with Mail and Messages 281

Sending and Receiving Email with Mail 281

Setting up Mail 282

A quick overview of the toolbar 283

Composing a new message 284

Sending email from the Contacts app 286

Checking your mail 288

Dealing with spam 289

Mailboxes smart and plain 289

Changing your preferences 292

Sign here, please 293

Mail rules rule 294

Take a (Quick) look and (Slide) show me some photos 296

Markup and Mail Drop 297

Communicating with Messages 299

Chit-chatting with Messages 300

Chapter 18: Sharing Your Mac and Liking It 303

Introducing Networks and File Sharing 304

Portrait of home office networking 305

Three ways to build a network 307

Setting Up File Sharing 309

Access and Permissions: Who Can Do What 311

Users and groups and guests 311

Creating users 312

macOS knows best: Folders shared by default 317

Sharing a folder or disk by setting permissions 318

Useful settings for permissions 322

Unsharing a folder 324

Connecting to a Shared Disk or Folder on a Remote Mac 325

Changing Your Password 328

Changing your account password on your Mac 329

Changing the password of any account but your own on your Mac 329

More Types of Sharing 330

Sharing a screen 330

Sharing the Internet 331

And yet more ways to share 332

Part 5: Getting Creative 333

Chapter 19: The Musical Mac 335

Apple Music and iTunes Match Rock! 336

Introducing Music (the App Formerly Known as iTunes) 337

Working with Media 340

Adding songs 341

Listening to Radio 343

All about Playlists 344

Creating a regular playlist 344

Filtering your library 346

Working with smart playlists 347

Burning a playlist to CD 348

Looking at the Genius playlist 348

Chapter 20: The Multimedia Mac 351

Playing Movies and Music in QuickTime Player 351

Watching TV 353

Using the Books App 354

Buying an e-book or audiobook 355

Shopping for e-books without Apple 357

Reading an e-book 358

Finding and Listening to Podcasts with the Podcasts App 360

You’re the Star with Photo Booth 361

Viewing and Converting Images and PDFs in Preview 363

Importing Media from a Camera or Camcorder 365

Chapter 21: Words and Letters 369

Processing Words with TextEdit 370

Creating and composing a document 370

Working with text 371

Adding graphics to documents 374

Font Mania 375

Types of fonts 376

Managing your fonts with Font Book 376

Chapter 22: Publish or Perish: The Fail-Safe Guide to Printing 379

Before Diving In 380

Ready: Connecting and Adding Your Printer 380

Connecting your printer 381

Setting up a printer for the first time 381

One last thing: Printer sharing 383

Set: Setting Up Your Document with Page Setup 384

Print: Printing with the Print Sheet 386

Printing a document 386

Choosing among different printers 387

Choosing custom settings 387

Saving custom settings 390

Preview and PDF Options 390

Part 6: Care and Feeding 393

Chapter 23: Features for the Way You Work 395

Finally, a Dark Mode 396

App Shopping, Improved 397

Using Your iPhone as Your Mac’s Camera or Scanner 399

Talking and Listening to Your Mac 402

Keyboard System Preferences pane: You talk and your Mac types 402

Commanding your Mac by voice 404

Listening to your Mac read for you 406

Automatic Automation 409

Script Editor app: Write and edit AppleScripts 409

Automator app: Automate almost anything 410

A Few More Useful Goodies 413

Accessibility System Preferences pane: Make your Mac more accessible 413

Battery and Energy Saver System Preferences panes: For energy conservation and sleep 415

Bluetooth System Preferences pane: Where Bluetooth lives 416

Ink System Preferences pane: Visible to pen-input tablet users only 417

Automatic Login in the Users & Groups System Preferences pane: Don’t bother with the login screen 417

Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac 418

Boot Camp Assistant app: Run Windows on your Mac really 418

AirPlay Mirroring 419

Handoff 420

Chapter 24: Safety First: Backups and Other Security Issues 421

Backing Up is (Not) Hard to Do 422

Backing up with Big Sur’s excellent Time Machine 422

Backing up by using the manual, brute-force method 426

Backing up by using commercial backup software 427

Why You Need Two Sets of Backups 428

Non-Backup Security Concerns 429

About viruses and other malware 429

Firewall: Yea or nay? 431

Install recommended software updates 433

Protecting Your Data from Prying Eyes 434

Blocking or limiting connections 434

Locking down files with FileVault 434

Setting other options for security 435

Chapter 25: Utility Chest 439

In the Applications and Utilities Folders 439

Calculator 439

Activity Monitor 441

Disk Utility 442

Grapher 447

Keychain Access 447

Migration Assistant 449

System Information 450

Terminal 450

Capturing Your Screen 451

Big Sur screen-shooting 101 452

Big Sur screen-shooting options 453

Big Sur screen recording 454

Chapter 26: Troubleshooting macOS 457

About Startup Disks and Booting 457

Finding or creating a startup disk 458

They call it a prohibitory sign for a reason 458

Recovering with Recovery HD 460

Step 1: Run First Aid 460

Step 2: Safe boot into Safe mode 461

Step 3: Zapping the PRAM/NVRAM 462

Step 4: Reinstalling macOS 463

Step 5: Things to try before taking your Mac in for repair 463

If Your Mac Crashes at Startup 464

Optimizing Storage 465

Part 7: The Part of Tens 467

Chapter 27: Ten Ways to Speed Up Your Mac Experience 469

Use Those Keyboard Shortcuts 470

Improve Your Typing Skills 471

Change Your Resolution 471

Purchase a Faster Mac 473

Add RAM 473

Add a Second Display 474

Use Your iPad as a Second Display 474

Upgrade to a Solid-State Drive (SSD) 475

Get More Storage 476

Subscribe to My Free Newsletter 477

Chapter 28: Ten Great Websites for Mac Freaks 479

The Mac Observer 480

Macworld 480

TidBITS 480

iMore 481

AppleWorld.Today 481

The Wirecutter 481

Apple Support 482

Other World Computing 482

dealmac/dealnews 483

Working Smarter for Mac Users 483

Index 485

Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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