Mastering macOS: All You Need To Know in 2024

A bird's eye view of a macbook, a decorative stone and a plant. A header over the touchpad says 'Ultimate macOS Guide 2024' and an AirBeamTV logo in the bottom left corner

The Ultimate macOS Guide in 2024: Boost Productivity and Master Your Mac

Your macOS based MacBook is a powerful machine and you’re probably only using a fraction of its capabilities. Let AirBeamTV experts help you make your life easier with this ultimate macOS guide!

Uncover the secrets to maximizing your Mac’s power, boosting productivity, and overcoming common challenges. From hidden features to expert tips, we’ve got you covered. Get ready to conquer macOS and unleash the true potential of your laptop. Dive in and transform the way you use your Mac!

Interested in more macOS guides? Check out this article on how to mirror iPhone to Mac or another one on how to allow screen record ing on Mac with Ventura or Monterey OS. If you’re interested in Mac apps, see this guide on how to redeem a promo code in Mac App Store. Learn how to mirror iPhone to Mac here!

a bird's eye view of a macbook, a decorative stone and a plant

What Does macOS mean?

MacOS stands for Mac Operating System. It has been developed by Apple Inc. specifically for their Macintosh line of computers. It serves as the software foundation that allows you to interact with your Mac devices and run various applications.

It is the primary operating system developed by Apple Inc. for its Macintosh line of computers. Initially introduced in 2001 as MacOS X, it has undergone several iterations and rebranding, with the name changing to OS X in 2012 and later to macOS in 2016.

A Macbook with the screen almost closed

List of macOS Versions

Here are all of the macOS versions, from the most recent to the oldest and their release dates:

  1. macOS Ventura (13.x) -October 24, 2022
  2. macOS Monterey (12.x) – October 26, 2021
  3. macOS Big Sur (11.x) – November 12, 2020
  4. macOS Catalina (10.15.x) – October 7, 2019
  5. macOS Mojave (10.14.x) – September 24, 2018
  6. macOS High Sierra (10.13.x) – September 25, 2017
  7. macOS Sierra (10.12.x) – September 20, 2016
  8. OS X El Capitan (10.11.x) – September 30, 2015
  9. OS X Yosemite (10.10.x) – October 16, 2014
  10. OS X Mavericks (10.9.x) – October 22, 2013
  11. OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.x) – July 25, 2012
  12. macOS X Lion (10.7x) – July 20, 2011
  13. macOS X Snow Leopard (10.6x) – August 28, 2009
  14. macOS X Leopard (10.5x) – October 26, 2007
  15. macOS X Tiger (10.4x) – April 29, 2005
  16. macOS X Panther (10.3x) – October 24, 2003
  17. macOS X Jaguar (10.2x) – August 24, 2002
  18. macOS X Puma (10.1x) – September 25, 2001
  19. macOS X Cheetah (10.0x) – March 24, 2001
  20. macOS X Kodiak (Public Beta) – September 13, 2000
  21. Mac OS Developer Preview – March 16, 1999
  22. Mac OS Server 1.0 – March 16, 1999
three women in a meeting room, sitting by a table. One of them has a Macbook in front of her. There's a TV hanging on a wall

What Does macOS do?

The primary functions of macOS include:

  1. User Interface: macOS provides a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows you to interact with your Mac computers. It includes a desktop environment, taskbar (known as the Dock), menu bar, and various windows and controls for navigating and managing files and applications.
  2. Application Management: macOS enables you to install and run a wide range of applications on your Mac. It supports both Apple’s built-in applications, such as Safari (web browser), Mail (email client), Pages (word processor), and Photos (image organizer), as well as third-party applications available from the Mac App Store (such as AirBeamTV Mac screen mirroring apps!) or other sources.
  3. File System: macOS includes a hierarchical file system that organizes files and folders on the Mac’s storage drive. It provides tools like Finder, which allows you to navigate, search, and manage files and folders efficiently.
  4. Multitasking: macOS allows you to run multiple applications simultaneously, supporting multitasking. You can switch between applications, open multiple windows, and perform tasks concurrently, making your work more efficient.
  5. Internet Connectivity: macOS provides built-in networking capabilities, allowing you to connect to the internet through wired or wireless connections. It supports various network protocols and offers a web browser (Safari) and other network-related tools for browsing the internet, accessing online services, and communicating with other devices on the network.
  6. Security and Privacy: If you know anything about Apple, it’s that they take security seriously. macOS incorporates built-in security measures that protect your data and privacy. It includes features like Gatekeeper, which verifies the authenticity of applications, and FileVault, which encrypts the data on the Mac’s storage drive. macOS also provides regular security updates to address vulnerabilities and ensure the system’s integrity.
  7. Hardware Integration: As an operating system developed by Apple, macOS is tightly integrated with Mac hardware, taking advantage of specific features and functionalities. This integration allows for seamless interaction with Mac-specific hardware components, such as the trackpad, keyboard, Retina display, Touch Bar (on certain models), and other hardware peripherals.

These are just some of the core functions and capabilities of macOS. The operating system continually evolves, introducing new features, enhancements, and compatibility with the latest hardware and technologies to provide a robust and user-friendly computing experience for Mac users.

a white apple logo on a grey metallic surface

What is macOS Monterey?

MacOS Monterey has been released to the public on October 25 2021. It is the successor to macOS Big Sur and is named after the coastal region of Monterey in California.

MacOS Monterey is not the latest macOS version. That title belongs to MacOS Ventura. On June 5 2023 Apple announced MacOS Sonoma. It has been released on September 26 2023.

MacOS Monterey introduced several new features, enhancements, and improvements to the macOS ecosystem. Some of the notable features include:

  1. Universal Control: With Universal Control, you can seamlessly work across multiple Apple devices, such as Mac, iPad, and even iMac with a connected MacBook. It allows you to use a single keyboard and mouse/trackpad to control and move between devices as if they were one cohesive system.
  2. Focus: The Focus feature helps you minimize distractions and stay focused on specific tasks. You can create different focus modes, such as Work, Personal, or Do Not Disturb, which customize notifications, widgets, and app availability to match your current context and minimize interruptions.
  3. FaceTime Enhancements: FaceTime receives significant improvements in macOS Monterey. It introduces spatial audio for more immersive sound during FaceTime calls, a new Grid View for better visibility of participants, and the ability to share FaceTime links, allowing non-Apple users to join FaceTime calls via web browsers.
  4. Safari Redesign: Safari in macOS Monterey brings a refreshed design with a streamlined and compact tab bar, allowing more space for content. It also introduces Tab Groups, which enable you to organize and save groups of tabs for easy access and management.
  5. Live Text and Visual Look Up: macOS Monterey enhances the capabilities of the Photos app with Live Text, which allows you to select and interact with text within images. Additionally, Visual Look Up enables you to get more information about objects, landmarks, or even artwork by simply hovering over them.
  6. AirPlay to Mac: macOS Monterey enables you to wirelessly stream content from your iPhone & iPad, or Mac directly to your Mac screen through AirPlay. This feature expands the flexibility of media playback and content sharing within the Apple ecosystem.
  7. Privacy Enhancements: Privacy continues to be a priority in macOS Monterey. It introduces features like Mail Privacy Protection, which hides your IP address and prevents senders from knowing when an email has been opened. It also provides more transparency and control over the data apps collect with the App Privacy Report.
A MacBook with the macOS Monterey logo on the screen. A mug and apencil cup on the desk

Hidden Mac Features

Want to improve your productivity and make working with your MacBook easier than ever? There are many secret features that you can take advantage of to achieve that!

  1. Hot Corners: Hot Corners is a hidden feature that allows you to assign specific actions when you move your cursor to a corner of your screen. For example, you can set a corner to instantly activate the screensaver, show the desktop, launch Mission Control, or put your display to sleep. This feature provides quick access to commonly used functions, saving you time and simplifying your workflow.
  2. Quick Look: Quick Look lets you preview files and documents without opening them fully. Simply select a file and press the spacebar or use a three-finger tap on the trackpad to activate Quick Look. It supports a wide range of file types, including images, PDFs, videos, and more. This feature is particularly useful when you want to get a quick preview of a file’s content without launching a separate application.
  3. Split View: Split View allows you to work with two applications side by side in a split-screen mode. To activate Split View, click and hold the green maximize button on any window, and then drag it to the left or right side of the screen. This feature is ideal for multitasking and comparing information between two apps, such as writing an email while referencing a web page or working with two documents simultaneously.
  4. Markup Tools: Markup Tools enable you to annotate and edit images and PDFs directly within the Preview app. With a variety of tools at your disposal, including shapes, text, highlighting, and signature, you can easily mark up and modify documents without the need for additional software. This feature is a convenient way to add comments, highlight important sections, or sign documents digitally, saving you time and simplifying your document editing process.
  5. Siri Shortcuts: Siri Shortcuts allows you to automate tasks and create custom voice commands to perform specific actions on your Mac. By using the Shortcuts app, you can create personalized workflows that combine multiple steps into a single voice command or keyboard shortcut. This feature enhances productivity by streamlining repetitive tasks and providing hands-free control over various functions on your Mac.
  6. Text Substitution: Text Substitution is a handy feature that allows you to create custom shortcuts for frequently used phrases or words. For instance, you can set a shortcut like “omw” to automatically expand to “On my way!” whenever you type it. This feature saves you time and keystrokes, especially for long or complex phrases that you commonly use. It’s a useful tool for streamlining your typing and boosting overall efficiency.

A man is sitting my a large table with a MacBook and a microphone next to him. There's a large Smart tV on the table next to him as well as a plant

How much space does the macOS Monterey take up?

The amount of space macOS Monterey takes up on your Mac will vary depending on the specific model and configuration of your device. However, as a general guideline, macOS Monterey typically requires around 13-15 GB of free storage space for installation.

Keep in mind that this is just the initial space required for installation, and the overall storage usage may increase as you install additional applications or updates. To ensure a smooth installation process, make sure you have sufficient free space on your Mac’s storage drive before upgrading to macOS Monterey.

Mac Security Best Practices

an apple macOS device stating on a wooden desk with a city background view

With the increasing prevalence of cybersecurity threats, ensuring the security of macOS devices is paramount. In 2024, macOS offers robust built-in security features and adopting best practices is crucial to protect personal data and maintain privacy. By following security best practices, you can mitigate the risk of data breaches and unauthorized access to their macOS devices.

Firewall

A fundamental step in securing macOS is to enable the built-in firewall. The firewall acts as a barrier between the device and potential threats, monitoring incoming and outgoing network connections. Enabling the firewall provides an additional layer of protection against unauthorized access and helps prevent malicious activities.

Strong password

Using strong passwords and implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) is another essential security practice. Strong passwords should be unique, complex, and not easily guessable. Additionally, enabling 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of authentication, such as a verification code or biometric authentication, to access sensitive information.

Software patches

Staying up to date with software patches and updates is vital to maintaining a secure macOS environment. Apple regularly releases security updates to address vulnerabilities and improve system security. It is crucial to install these updates promptly to ensure the latest security patches are in place.

Native security tools

MacOS provides native security tools that you should leverage. Gatekeeper, for example, verifies the authenticity and integrity of applications before allowing them to run, preventing the execution of potentially malicious software. FileVault offers full-disk encryption, ensuring that the data on the device’s storage is protected even if the device is lost or stolen.

Familiarizing oneself with these tools and enabling them can significantly enhance the security of macOS devices.

Browsing the Internet

Lastly, practicing safe browsing habits and exercising caution when downloading files or clicking on links can prevent falling victim to phishing attacks or downloading malware. you should be mindful of suspicious websites, email attachments, and software downloads from untrusted sources.

By adopting these security best practices, you can minimize the risk of security breaches, safeguard their data, and enjoy a more secure computing experience on macOS.

How to activate screen mirroring on macOS?

an Apple Mac standing on a white desk with a keyboard and mouse in front of it

AirBeamTV offers a range of mirror apps for macOS, allowing you to mirror your Mac’s screen to various devices, such as Smart TVs, Chromecast, Roku, and more. Some popular mirror apps from AirBeamTV include:

  1. Mirror for Samsung TV: Allows you to mirror your Mac’s screen to Samsung Smart TVs.
  2. Mirror for LG TV: Enables screen mirroring from your Mac to LG Smart TVs.
  3. Mirror for Roku: Lets you mirror your Mac’s screen to Roku devices.
  4. Mirror for Chromecast: Allows screen mirroring from your Mac to Chromecast devices.

To use these mirror apps, you need to install them from the Mac App Store and follow the respective app’s instructions for screen mirroring. Each app provides its own specific features and compatibility with different devices.

Want to know more about this? Discover this article where our experts explain how screen mirroring works.

How do I cast from my Mac to my Android TV?

To cast from your Mac to your Android TV, you can use the AirBeamTV app called “Mirror for Android TV.” This app allows you to mirror your Mac’s screen to your Android TV wirelessly. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. On your Mac, visit the AirBeamTV website (airbeam.tv) and download the “Mirror for Android TV” app.
  2. Install the app on your Mac by following the on-screen instructions.
  3. Make sure your Mac and Android TV are connected to the same Wi-Fi network.
  4. Launch the “Mirror for Android TV” app on your Mac.
  5. On your Android TV, go to the Google Play Store and search for the “Mirror Receiver for Android TV” app by AirBeamTV.
  6. Install and launch the “Mirror Receiver for Android TV” app on your Android TV.
  7. On your Mac, the “Mirror for Android TV” app will detect available Android TV devices on the same network. Select your Android TV from the list.
  8. Once connected, your Mac’s screen will be mirrored on your Android TV.

With “Mirror for Android TV” by AirBeamTV, you can enjoy seamless screen mirroring from your Mac to your Android TV. The app offers a free trial, allowing you to test its functionality and compatibility with your setup before making a purchase. Take advantage of the free trial today and experience the convenience of casting your Mac’s screen to your Android TV effortlessly.

How to Reinstall macOS?

  1. Backup Your Important Files: Before reinstalling macOS, it’s crucial to back up any important files and data on your Mac. This can be done by copying them to an external hard drive, USB flash drive, or using cloud storage services like iCloud or Google Drive.
  2. Internet Connection: Make sure you have a stable internet connection as you’ll need to download macOS during the reinstallation process.
  3. Restart Your Mac: Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and choose “Restart.” Alternatively, you can press and hold the power button until your Mac turns off and then press it again to start it up.
  4. Access Recovery Mode: After restarting your Mac, immediately press and hold the Command (⌘) and R keys simultaneously until you see the Apple logo or a spinning globe. This will boot your Mac into Recovery Mode.
  5. Choose Reinstall macOS: In the macOS Utilities window, select “Reinstall macOS” and click “Continue.” This will start the reinstallation process.
  6. Select Disk and Follow Instructions: Choose your Mac’s startup disk from the list shown (usually named “Macintosh HD”) and click “Install.” Follow the on-screen instructions to proceed with the reinstallation. Note that this process may take some time.
  7. Set Up macOS: Once the reinstallation is complete, your Mac will restart. You’ll be guided through the initial setup process, including selecting your country, creating a user account, and setting up preferences like language and keyboard layout. Follow the prompts and fill in the necessary information.
  8. Restore Your Files: After completing the initial setup, you can restore your files from the backup you created in step 1. Connect your external hard drive or access your cloud storage and copy the files back to your Mac.

How to update macOS in 5 simple steps?

Updating macOS is important to ensure your computer has the latest features, bug fixes, and security patches. Here are five simple steps to update macOS:

  1. Check for Updates: Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.” In the System Preferences window, click on “Software Update.” This will check for available updates for your macOS.
  2. Download Updates: If updates are available, click on the “Update Now” button to download them. Make sure you have a stable internet connection as the update files can be quite large. You may be prompted to enter your administrator password to authorize the download.
  3. Install Updates: Once the update files are downloaded, a window will appear with the available updates. Click on the “Install” button to start the installation process. Your Mac may need to restart during the installation, so save any unsaved work before proceeding.
  4. Wait for Installation: The installation process may take some time, depending on the size of the update. Your Mac will display a progress bar to show the status of the installation. It’s important not to interrupt the process or turn off your Mac during this time.
  5. Restart and Verify: After the installation is complete, your Mac will restart automatically. Once it restarts, go back to the “System Preferences” and click on “Software Update” to ensure there are no remaining updates. If there are, repeat steps 2-4 to install any additional updates.

That’s it! Your macOS is now up to date with the latest updates from Apple. It’s a good practice to regularly check for updates and install them to keep your Mac secure and running smoothly.

How To View Hidden Files In MacOS

Hidden files are tucked away from plain sight to prevent accidental modifications, but we know you’re eager to explore. So, let’s dive in. To reveal these secret files on your macOS, simply open the Finder and head over to the “Go” menu at the top of your screen. While holding the “Option” key, you’ll notice a new entry called “Library” appearing in the dropdown list. Click on it, and voila!

You’ve gained access to the treasure trove of hidden files that lie within. However, remember to tread carefully as these files are essential for your Mac’s functionality!

How To Move Files In MacOS

To move files in macOS, locate the desired file or folder and click on it once to select it. Now, you have a couple of options. The first method is the good old-fashioned way: click and drag the file to its new destination. Feel the power as you effortlessly glide the file across your screen.

Another method involves right-clicking on the file and selecting the “Move To” option from the context menu. A list of suggested locations will appear, or you can choose “Other” to navigate to a specific folder. It’s like a teleportation device for your files!

Alternatively, you can use keyboard shortcuts like Command+C to copy and Command+V to paste the file into the desired location. The choice is yours! With these simple techniques at your disposal, you’ll become a file-moving maestro in no time.

Happy organizing, and may your files always find their perfect spot!

How to check macOS version?

  1. Click on the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen. This will open a drop-down menu.
  2. From the drop-down menu, click on “About This Mac.” A window will appear with information about your Mac.
  3. In the “About This Mac” window, you will see an overview of your Mac, including the macOS version. The version number will be displayed under the macOS name.For example, it might say “macOS Big Sur” or “macOS Monterey” followed by the version number like “Version 11.6” or “Version 12.0.1.”
  4. If you want more detailed information about the macOS version, you can click on the “System Report” button. This will open the System Information app, where you can find additional details about your Mac’s hardware and software configuration.

How To Get Older Versions of MacOS

If you’re longing to revisit the digital landscapes of the past, we’ve got just the instructions to transport you there. Now, to acquire older versions of macOS, you’ll need to rely on a reliable source.

Start by visiting the official Apple website or your trusted developer resources, where you can find historical macOS releases. Once you’ve identified the version you desire, search for its specific page or support documentation. There, you’ll often find download links for the older macOS version you seek. However, be aware that Apple tends to prioritize the latest versions, so you might need to dig a bit deeper.

Additionally, it’s crucial to ensure compatibility with your Mac’s hardware before proceeding with the download. Remember, tinkering with older operating systems can be an exciting journey, but it’s essential to exercise caution and back up your important data before proceeding.

So, dust off those nostalgic memories, embark on a journey to the past, and immerse yourself in the earlier macOS versions that helped shape the present. Enjoy your time-traveling adventures!

How to boot macOS from USB

First of all, let’s explain why would you boot macOS form USB:

  1. Installation or Upgrade: Booting macOS from a USB drive allows for a fresh installation or upgrade of the operating system. Whether you’re setting up a new Mac or want to update your existing macOS version, booting from a USB drive provides a convenient and straightforward method to initiate the installation process.
  2. System Recovery and Troubleshooting: In the event of system issues, booting from a USB drive with a system recovery image can be a lifesaver. It allows you to access recovery tools and utilities to diagnose and repair problems. Whether you’re dealing with startup errors, disk corruption, or other software glitches, booting from a USB drive offers a dedicated environment for troubleshooting and resolving issues.
  3. Portable macOS Environment: Booting macOS from a USB drive offers the ability to carry your own personalized macOS environment wherever you go. It enables you to use your preferred settings, applications, and configurations on any Mac, without making permanent changes to the host machine. This is particularly useful for professionals, developers, or students who work on multiple Macs and want a consistent experience across different devices.

By booting macOS from a USB drive, you gain flexibility, convenience, and a powerful troubleshooting tool that empowers you to perform installations, recover systems, and have your customized macOS environment on the go.

Booting up macOS from USB: The Method

To boot macOS from a USB drive, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have a bootable USB drive with either a macOS installer or a system recovery image.
  2. Connect the USB drive to your Mac and restart it.
  3. During the restart, press and hold the “Option” key until a list of available startup disks appears.
  4. Look for the USB drive’s name, which typically displays as “Install macOS” or “Recovery.”
  5. Click on it to select it as the startup disk. Now, your Mac will boot from the USB drive instead of the internal storage.
  6. Once the boot process completes, you can proceed with tasks like installing a fresh macOS copy or performing system repairs. Remember to keep the USB drive connected until you’ve finished the necessary actions.
  7. Booting macOS from a USB provides flexibility and troubleshooting options, empowering you to address various software-related challenges.

Is macOS cheaper than Windows?

Comparing the cost of macOS and Windows can be subjective and dependent on various factors. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Hardware Cost: macOS is designed to run on Apple’s proprietary hardware, such as MacBooks and iMacs, which are typically more expensive than Windows-based PCs. Apple’s hardware is known for its premium build quality and performance, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
  2. Software Cost: macOS is included with the purchase of a Mac, so you don’t have to pay separately for the operating system itself. In contrast, Windows licenses are often sold separately when purchasing a Windows PC.
  3. Application Availability: Some software applications may have different pricing structures or availability depending on the operating system. While many popular applications are available for both macOS and Windows, there may be some variations in pricing and licensing models.
  4. Long-term Costs: When considering the overall cost, it’s important to factor in factors like software updates, maintenance, and support. Apple tends to provide regular updates to macOS for free, whereas some versions of Windows may require paid upgrades.

Conclusion

MacOS is a powerful operating system that offers a wide range of features and capabilities to enhance the user experience. From its sleek and intuitive interface to its robust security measures, macOS has proven to be a favorite among individuals and professionals alike.

The seamless integration with Apple’s ecosystem, including iCloud and Continuity, ensures a seamless experience across devices. Additionally, macOS boasts an extensive suite of productivity apps and creative tools, empowering you to unleash your creativity and boost your efficiency.

With regular updates and improvements, macOS continues to evolve, delivering enhanced performance, advanced privacy features, and cutting-edge technologies.

Whether you’re a creative professional, a business user, or an everyday Mac enthusiast, macOS provides a solid foundation for all your computing needs. So, dive into the world of macOS and discover a world of possibilities at your fingertips.

Discover More:

Mirror iPhone to Mac in 5 Simple Steps

How to Your Record Screen on Mac