Back to Basics: 10 Apple Computer Skills You Have to Know

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In 2021, computer skills are a must for everyone. Learning how to use your MacBook can make your life substantially easier. That’s why we’re going back to basics to help you develop your computer literacy.

Many tasks on your MacBook are super easy once you know how to do them! Learning new computer skills doesn’t have to be tricky. Here are 10 computer basics to help you navigate your Apple computer.

  1. Converting a PDF to Word

Apple computers use a Pages app for word processing. If you’re new to your MacBook, you may be more accustomed to Microsoft Word. When you’re sending documents back and forth from a work PC or you need to convert your resume to a Word document, figuring out how can be stressful.

One of the best ways to maintain your document’s formatting is to convert a Pages doc to a PDF. From there, you can easily convert your document from PDF to Word. Here’s a simple guide on how to convert pdf to Word on Mac.

  1. Connecting to a Wireless Network

When you’re working from a coffee shop or somewhere outside your home, you need to connect to a wireless network—or WiFi—to access the internet. In the upper right-hand corner of your Apple computer, you’ll see a WiFi icon that looks like a signal emanating up. Click on that icon and click the slider next to the word WiFi to connect to a network.

Next, you’ll see a dropdown of available networks. Click on the network you would like to join and enter a password, if necessary. Once the WiFi icon stops flashing, you’re ready to connect to the internet!

  1. Setting Up a Printer

You may want to set up your printer to connect to your Apple computer automatically. To get started, click on the apple on the top left-hand corner and open System Preferences from the dropdown. Then, click on Printers & Scanners and find a small + signal to add a new printer.

Your MacBook will walk you through a configuration tool to help you set up your new printer. In most cases, there’s no need to use the CD that came with your printer to download software. If your printer is compatible with your MacBook, your computer will find the software you need and prompt you to download it.

  1. Downloading and Using Apps
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Some programs you’ll want to use on your MacBook are available for download in the Apple App Store. To access the App Store, click the Launchpad tile on your computer’s bottom banner. You may need to bring your mouse to the bottom of your screen for the banner to appear.

Locate the blue icon that says App Store and click on it. From there, you can find games and programs to download to your computer. You can always see the apps that you’ve downloaded from the Launchpad page, though you may need to click to the second page or use the search bar to find the specific application you’re looking for.

  1. Joining a Video Meeting

As video conferences become more popular, it’s important to know how to join a video call. Use Google to search for the conferencing software you want to download, like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Download the software and create an account.

Once you have the software installed on your computer, you can open the program and copy the Room ID from your calendar event to enter a video meeting.

  1. Keeping Your Computer Safe

You may be used to running anti-virus checks after years of using a PC. However, Apple computers have built-in methods to protect you from viruses. When you download software from outside the App Store, you may get a pop-up warning you of the malware risk.

If you do get a virus, following these steps can help you get rid of harmful programs. If you think your computer has been infected, you can also create a new user profile, since most viruses on Macs are per user and not per device.

  1. Sharing Files With AirDrop

Sharing files with friends, family, and coworkers can make life a lot easier. Rather than attaching a document to an email, you can use a system like AirDrop to instantly share any file with someone nearby.

This built-in MacBook feature makes it easy to share a webpage, social media post, or almost anything else with another Apple user. Turn on your Bluetooth to find nearby AirDrop users, click the share button on whatever you’d like to share, and click on your friend or family member’s computer or phone to “drop” a picture, file, or page with them.

  1. Backing up Your Files
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Apple computers come with iCloud automatically. Saving your files to iCloud can keep your documents safe if your computer dies, your computer is getting fixed, or if you need to access your files from somewhere else. Set up your iCloud drive to automatically save new files to the cloud.

You can also set up regular backups from your System Preferences using the Time Machine app.

  1. Updating Your Computer

To keep your computer running well, you may need to update it from time to time. On an Apple computer, you’ll update your applications through the App Store and your operating system through the Software Update section in your System Preferences.

Many applications update automatically, but check the App Store frequently to see if updates are available. When a software update is ready, your MacBook will let you know with a notification in the upper right-hand corner. You can select to update your computer immediately, get a reminder later, or update your computer overnight.

  1. Closing a Frozen Program

Sometimes, applications on your Apple computer may freeze. However, you can’t press Control Alt Delete like you’re used to on a PC. To shut down an unresponsive program, press Command + Option + Esc to show your open programs and click the program to Force Quit.

You can also get to the Force Quit screen by clicking the apple icon in the top left-hand corner and choosing Force Quit from the dropdown menu.

Getting Back to Basics With Your MacBook

Even if you’re an experienced PC user, using an Apple computer for the first time can be a learning experience. That’s why it helps to get back to basics when it comes to your computer skills. Now that you know these 10 computer basics, you’re ready to use your MacBook like a pro!

Check out our other blog posts to learn new skills in investing, real estate, computer literacy, and more.

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