Windows to Mac
Are you brand new to using macOS? I used to be there too.
I used to be a Windows Power User (I also happen to be an IT professional), but I’ve recently seen the light…. I mean switched. And currently, I don’t regret switching.
While I love macOS currently, it was a learning curve for me to understand the DIFFERENCES in methodology between the two platforms.
- Windows to Mac
- Finder is “Your Files”
- Top Bar for Everything
- Transferring Files from your PC
- Keyboard Shortcuts: Switch “CTRL” with “CMD”
- Swiping Between Multiple Windows
- Understanding How to Install and Uninstall Programs
- App Store vs. Applications on the Web
- Reverse Your Scroll
- Search for Anything
- The Mac app version
- Closing - Scratching the Surface
- If you’d like to read about other MacOS articles, check these out!
In this article I’m tackling a lot of the things that I had to learn along the way when I got my first Mac. My goal is to save you time and make your transition experience that much easier.
Finder is “Your Files”
Let’s start here. The most important items on your computer are your files. Where are they on a Mac? There’s no “File Explorer”, instead it has been replaced with “Finder”.
Finder is going to be your go-to for all of your files. You’ll still find Documents, Pictures, Movies, and Desktop. But unlike Windows, you will also see your “Home” directory, which is the folder that holds all of your user files. It can also hold Public folders, Downloads, and Applications (that are only.
On your sidebar, you’ll also have AirDrop, iCloud, and Locations. You can also use “tags”, which you can assign to files by right-clicking and assigning a color.
Top Bar for Everything
Whenever you have an active window, you might be used to a Windows computer, that has info such as “File”, “Edit”, and “Window”. On macOS, this is the top bar of your device, and it changes with each active Window.
Clicking on the name of the application you are in often has extra settings. This is helpful for configuring apps to do exactly what you want them to.
Transferring Files from your PC
You might find it tedious to transfer files from your Windows PC. But the simplest way to do this is actually built right into macOS. All you need to do is Search for “Migration Assistant” on your computer to start migrating files.
Keyboard Shortcuts: Switch “CTRL” with “CMD”
On a Windows computer, you may be used to using “CTRL+C” for copying and “CTRL+V” for pasting. This is different on a Mac because the commands are “CMD+C” and “CMD+V” respectively.
It is your best bet to try switching commands you are used to from CTRL to CMD. For example, to “Select All”, use “CMD + A”.
If you ever forget keyboard shortcuts, just check out this website: https://www.danrodney.com/mac/
Swiping Between Multiple Windows
On a Windows computer, you might be used to clicking (or hovering) over the bottom taskbar and selecting the app you want to use. This isn’t exactly the same on a Mac.
You can right-click an app to see open Windows.
However, if you have minimized it, it goes to the bottom right of your launcher bar
If you want to see all of your open windows, open “Mission Control”, which is F3 on your keyboard, OR if you have a touchpad, swipe up with all 4 fingers.
Understanding How to Install and Uninstall Programs
On a Windows computer, you go to “Add/Remove Programs” and uninstall them. However, on a Mac, there is a different way.
All you do is open Finder → Hit Go on the Top Bar → Click Applications
Now just drag the program you want to delete into your Trash at the Bottom Right.
App Store vs. Applications on the Web
You can download a lot of programs from the Appstore (like you would on your iPhone). However, there are so many other programs you can install on the web. Just start with Google Chrome! All you need is to download .pkg files and you’ll be good to go.
Try starting with Chrome: https://www.google.com/chrome/
Reverse Your Scroll
Don’t like the “reversed” scrolling on a Mac? That’s easy, just download an app called “Scroll Reverser”.
Try it here: https://pilotmoon.com/scrollreverser/
Search for Anything
MacOS has a powerful search engine called “Spotlight”. Not only can it search for files, but it can also search for apps, websites, maps/directions, and more.
All you need to do is type “CMD + Spacebar” to bring it up. Check out Apple’s article about it: https://support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/search-with-spotlight-mchlp1008/mac
The Mac app version
There is Mac App for almost anything you are used to on a Windows Computer. Below is the most popular (this is not an exhaustive list):
- File explorer → Activity Monitor
- Microsoft Edge → Safari
- Settings/Control Panel → System Preferences
- Notepad → TextEdit
- Start Menu → Launchpad
- Word → Pages
- Excel → Sheets
- Powerpoint → Keynote
- Windows Movie Maker → iMovie
- Command Prompt → Terminal
Closing - Scratching the Surface
I would be lying if I said this is an all-encompassing list. However, it’s a great place to start if you’ve decided to make the jump to a Mac, or if you are considering the jump and just aren’t sure if you can learn it.
If you’d like to read about other MacOS articles, check these out!
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