Mac for Beginners

I have been using a PC for the best part of 20 years of my life. Recently I decided to make a move to Mac. If you’re new to the Apple iOS environment, this might help you find your way.

Whether it’s an iMac, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or Mac Pro, there are just certain things you need to do before you can unleash the full potential of your shiny new piece of Apple hardware. The nice thing about a Mac, is that all the basics are pre-installed but you do, however, need to regularly update the software to unleash its full potential (and to sometimes solve some issues).


Updating your Mac’s software

This can be accessed from the Apple icon in the top left hand corner of your screen, click it, and select  “software update” – it will then search for any available updates. This will look the same as the updater screen you might have come across using these keyboards


From there you can choose all the items you’d like to update (no need to download items for applications you won’t use, or just download everything, just in case you might need it someday). And once all your software is up to date, you can start playing with your new toy.

Apps and the Mac App store

Mac_App_Store_logoInstead of programmes, Mac users always refer to applications. This is the same as a Windows programme, although the files do differ.

Macs use a .dmg or .pkg file to install anything, whereas Windows uses .exe – keep an eye out when downloading applications (like web browsers) that you download the correct version. Most websites are however smart enough to figure out you’re using a Mac, and will redirect you to the correct download.


Your Mac has access to its own app store. Here you can download a great selection of extra apps for your device. From games, to productivity apps, to new operating systems! All you need is your current iTunes account details to log in, and you can purchase apps, or grab some free ones. 

Mac Apps are slightly more expensive than iPhone or iPad apps, because ultimately it’s like buying packaged software in a store. Only difference is that you can download it from the online store, instead of hoarding a gazillion boxes.

Where is the delete key?

By now you also would have noticed that there’s no delete button on your Mac. Nor a page up, page down, home, or insert…  And unless you have one of This handy site, then chances are you have a few new shortcuts to get used to on your Mac. 


The Apple key (⌘) is basically the replacement for the control key that you might be used to. Also, the function keys (F1, etc.) also have new functions on a Mac… 

Here are some basic shortcuts to get you started:

  • ⌘R = refresh
  • ⌘C, ⌘V, ⌘X = copy, paste and cut
  • ⌘Q = quits an application
  • ⌘S = save
  • ⌘-backspace = delete 

This handy site has all the shortcuts you would want to know, and that could be useful. There’s some really great reviews of Mac software here, and here. Head on over, and fully deck out your mac with the coolest stuff as you get to know your new best friend. 

About the author  ⁄ Louisa Erasmus

Louisa Erasmus

Louisa is imported from the platteland, and is currently working in the big city. Passionate about red wine, sushi, shoes, coffee, chocolate and pink (yes, the colour), she juggles a corporate life with creative doings, yet also thinks of herself somewhat of a gamer after hours. Likes include reading, cooking up storms, all sorts of gadgets, and games - anything from Scrabble to tickling bad guys with axes and swords! She goes nowhere without her iDevice(s) and lipgloss.

One Comment

  • Reply
    September 24, 2011

    thank you for this detailed post, i found the delete key after reading your post. i like mac so much. thank you.

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