11 Mac tips and tricks you need to know

When you get a shiny new laptop you can be overwhelmed by how much it can do, right? Even if it’s not new there are probably so many things that your machine can do that you just don’t use. Check out these 11 tips, hacks and tricks that you might not know you can do with your Mac - you might surprise yourself with your insane tech skills.

1. Microsoft Office runs on a Mac

Did you know that there’s a native version of Microsoft Office for the Mac? This means you can run the full versions of PowerPoint, Word and Excel directly on your Mac. In addition to that, every Mac comes with Keynote, Pages & Numbers for free - which let you open, edit and save Office files. So you are always covered, whatever programme your group work is created on. No more group project dramas.

2. iCloud Drive lets you store anything and see it anywhere

iCloud securely stores all your photos, videos, docs, music, apps and more - and keeps them updated across all your Apple devices. This means you can access your files no matter what Apple device you have or where you are. Amazing!

3. Photos stores and syncs your photos across all your devices

You can take a photo on an iPhone or iPad and it will be automatically be available on your Mac using iCloud Photo Library. And if that weren’t enough, any changes you make to any of the images will be kept up to date on all your devices. So you can take a photo on your iPhone, add a filter to it on your iPad and then use it in a presentation on your Mac! You’re just a technology star, what can you say?

4. Make a phone call from your Mac

You can make and answer calls directly from your Mac if you have an iPhone. If you are logged into the same Apple ID on both devices, they are able to speak to each other and you can route calls on your Mac via your iPhone. Open FaceTime and choose the Audio tab, search for the person you want to call and click on the handset icon. Perfect if you’ve left your phone at home and you’re in the library all day.

5. Share your internet connection with Personal Hotspot

If you have an iPhone you can quickly and easily let your Mac share the internet connection. On the iPhone go to Settings > Personal Hotspot and turn it on. Then on your Mac select the Wi-Fi icon in the status bar and you’ll see your iPhone there as a connection. Just make sure that you’ve got unlimited data on your phone tariff!

6. Email large attachments

Using the Mail app on your Mac lets you send large attachments without issues. You can send files up to 5GB in size. While it looks like you are sending the file directly what actually happens is the file is uploaded to iCloud and a link is shared with your recipient. This is a great way to share large presentations or files with friends and course mates.

7. Perform quick maths and conversions with Spotlight

In the top right corner of the screen on a Mac is a magnifying glass icon - this is Spotlight. It’s an amazing tool for searching and finding anything on your Mac. But it has hidden powers including doing quick sums and unit conversions. Open spotlight and type an equation (400*12/4) to see the answer. Or ask for a unit or currency conversion (60kg in lb or £100 in USD) to see the equivalent.

8. Share with friends

If you want to share content - photos, videos, links, locations, and more - with someone it’s easy with macOS. Click on the share icon (a box with an arrow coming out of it) and you will get options for email, Messages, AirDrop and others. If you have signed into Twitter or Facebook those options will appear there as well. This allows you to share content between Apple devices - using AirDrop - or share with the world using social media, Mail or Messages.

9. Free up space

If you are running out of space on your Mac then you have some help. Click on the Apple logo in the top right and choose About This Mac > Storage > Manage. Here you can see which areas are using the most space but also get recommendations on how to get some space back. You can choose to store files in iCloud, optimise your iTunes content, empty trash automatically and remove unused files. Storage is the bane of our lives, right?

10. Preview your files

If you want to see the contents of your file but don’t want to open it entirely, you can take a Quick Look inside. Select any file and tap the spacebar to get a Preview of the file. And it’s not just the first page - you can scroll through the document too. And it works on all kinds of documents including photos, videos, music, PDFs and more.

11. Free stuff

With every Mac you get a collection of powerful apps. They’re the same apps you use on your iPhone or iPad, so they’ll feel instantly familiar. They all work with iCloud, so your schedule, contacts, and notes are always up to date everywhere. Apps for creativity (Photos, iMovie & GarageBand), productivity (Keynote, Pages & Numbers), Communication (Mail, Messages & FaceTime), Organisation (Calendar, Contacts & Notes), Internet (Safari, Maps & Spotlight) and media (iTunes, App Store and iBooks).

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