A number of usability and management features are included with macOS. In this video, you’ll learn about Mission Control, Keychain, Spotlight, iCloud, Gestures, and more.
MacOS includes a feature called mission control that allows you to spread out all of the windows that you have open on your desktop and makes it so that you can easily find what you might be looking for. You can also create multiple desktops inside of mission control. We call these multiple desktops spaces, and you can create as many spaces as you’d like to keep things organized on your desktop. To launch mission control, you can swipe upward with three fingers if you have a touch pad, or you use the control up arrow.
Let’s start mission control on my macOS system. I’ve got my presentation up right now, but if I do control, up arrow, you can see all of the other Windows that were behind the scenes. And now, I can click on any one of these to make it the primary window on my screen. At the very top of mission control are the spaces. There’s a desktop one and a desktop two that’s currently configured, but I can add additional desktops and move these applications from one desktop to another.
MacOS also includes password management using the keychain utility. This keeps your passwords, your notes, certificates, and anything else that you need to keep private for authentication. With the integration into macOS, you could be using a separate application that can access your keychain with your permission. This makes it very easy to provide authentication for third party apps. Everything inside of keychain is encrypted. That way if somebody does gain access to your system, they won’t be able to pull out a list of all of your passwords.
The decryption key for your keychain is associated with your login. So once you log in, you can view everything in keychain, but once you log out, everything remains encrypted. If you’ve ever had to search through an operating system to find one particular file, then you know how frustrating that process can be. In macOS, there’s a built in search engine called spotlight. spotlight not only allows you to find the files you’re looking for but to find information within the files.
To access spotlight, you can click the magnifying glass on your Mac OS menu bar or use the hot key command-space. Once you start spotlight, you can add a search term, and it will find that search term in any part of your system, or even on the internet or App Store. If you’d like to customize exactly what’s indexed for Spotlight, you can go under your System preferences under spotlight and customize any of those categories.
iCloud is Apple’s cloud-based service that allows you to synchronize across multiple operating systems and multiple Apple devices. If you’re running macOS, iOS, or iPadOS, you can use iCloud to keep all of those systems synchronized. This includes your calendar entries, any of the photos that you’ve collected, documents that you’re storing, and anything else that you would like to keep identical across all of these different systems. iCloud also includes a great backup system. So all of your photos, your mail, your contacts, and anything else on your device is backed up into the iCloud database.
If your system is lost or damaged, you can purchase a new system, log back into iCloud, and all of this information is downloaded from iCloud and restored on your new system. iCloud also includes a file sharing feature that you integrate across all of your different operating systems, and it effectively takes the place of a third-party file sharing system, such as Dropbox or Box.com. If you use a trackpad with your system, you may have some additional features available in the form of gestures.
Gestures allow you to use different fingers and different motions to perform actions within the operating system. For example, if you would like to start mission control, you can swipe up using three fingers, and mission control will launch. With gestures, you can swipe between pages, look at the notification center, quickly view the desktop, or perform many different features within the operating system. These are also customizable so you can create a gesture to do exactly what you would like to do in the operating system.
You can find this customization under system preferences and trackpad. The central file management tool in macOS is called finder. If you use Windows, this is very similar to the file explorer that you would have inside of Windows 10 or Windows 11. Inside of finder, you could launch applications, modify file names, or manage any part of the file system. This finder also integrates with other services that may be available on your local network. So if somebody has enabled screen sharing, you’ll see their device pop up on the left menu inside of finder.
It’s becoming more difficult these days to find a system with an integrated optical drive, but if you do have one system on your network with an optical drive, you can enable that drive to be shared by anybody else on the network, using the remote disk feature. This is designed for the sharing of data files that would be stored on a CD-ROM or a DVD-ROM. it’s not designed to provide audio CD or video DVD sharing.
You would set up access to this remote disk inside of the system preferences, under the sharing option. And there’s a checkbox for DVD or CD sharing. Once you enable this feature, anyone on the network will see this CD-ROM or DVD-ROM in their finder, and they’ll be able to connect and use the files that are located on that optical drive. macOS includes a dock at the bottom of the screen that allows you to quickly access certain applications.
This dock is customizable so you can add or remove applications from this list, depending on the apps that you use the most. If an application is running, you’ll see a small underneath the app so you can easily see what applications may already be up and running. You can also put folders into the dock. So if there’s a folder where you’re storing or accessing a large set of files for a project, you can easily access those directly from the dock. Although the dock is by default at the bottom of the screen, you can put it on the left or right and change some of the features of the dock inside of system preferences and dock and menu bar.
If you need to managed disks, partitions, or system images, you can do that through disk utility. Disk utility includes a number of features not only to modify the disk layout, but to also provide first aid and other troubleshooting from inside of the disk utility itself. This also allows you to manage images. So if you need to create an image or restore from an image, you can do all of that from within disk utility, as well. For full disk encryption in macOSm you’ll want to use FileVault.
FileVault will secure everything that’s on your disk by encrypting all of the data on your storage device. The only way to gain access to this information that’s been encrypted on this drive is to use your login credentials or your iCloud authentication. If someone does gain access to your storage drive, they wouldn’t be able to see any of your private information, or anything about your operating system, because all of the data has been encrypted. To turn FileVault on or off or make changes to the configuration, you can visit security and privacy under the system preferences and choose the option for FileVault.
Although you can make most configuration changes from the graphical front end of macOS, there may be times when you need a command line. And in macOS, you can use the built in terminal to get access to the command line of the operating system. From here, you can launch applications, configure files, and make any changes to the operating system all at the command line. And as with any operating system, there may be times when an application you’re using in macOS suddenly becomes unresponsive.
In those cases, the only way to close that application is through a force quit. You can access force quit by using command, option, escape on your keyboard, and it will bring up this view of all of the applications running on your system, where you can select the application and choose force quit. You can also do this from the dock by right mouse clicking on the icon of the application you’d like to stop while you’re holding the option key. And you’ll have the option available to force quit.
This is an easy way to close a problematic application without having to reboot your entire system just to regain access to the desktop.