There are a number of utility and features that are unique to Mac OS X. In this video, you’ll learn about Mission Control, Keychain, Spotlight, iCloud, and more.
The Mac OS operating system has a number of usability features that are very unique to Mac OS. So in this video, I’ll take you through some of the more interesting Mac OS features.
If you’re like me, then you’re running a lot of different applications at one time on a single desktop. In Mac OS, you have a way to arrange and view these in different ways. One way is through using a utility called Mission Control, where you can see everything that’s running at a glance. You can either press a hot key or click a button that’s in your dock, and then all of your applications suddenly spread out so you can see everything that you’re working on. And then you can easily find the application you’d like, click on that, and it will zoom back into that single app.
You can also have multiple desktops running simultaneously. It’s another capability of Mission Control called Spaces. You’ll see all of your spaces listed at the top, and you can easily switch between the spaces and then switch between the applications that are running in that space.
When I’m on my desktop, I can go down to the Mission Control option on my dock, and you can see it expands out all the applications I currently have running in this desktop. And you can see I have multiple desktops, as well, so I could move back and forth, depending on exactly how I’d like to use my operating system. When I want to choose an app, I simply click on that application. It expands up, and I can always go back to mission control to move to another application.
The Keychain is built into Mac OS as a way to store certificates, passwords, notes, or anything else that needs to be secure. It’s integrated into the operating system, and you can get access to this from the Utilities folder under the Keychain Access utility. This utility will store not just certificates, but it will encrypt your passwords, it will encrypt any notes that you’d like to keep secure, and it uses 3DES as the encryption type. You need to remember your login password because that’s the key that’s used to be able to encrypt all of these. If you lose your password, you’ll no longer have access to these secure items.
Most operating systems have a way to search for anything you might need, and in Mac OS that method is called Spotlight. This will find files. It will find applications. It’ll hunt images. It’ll go out to the web and find information. All you have to do is click the magnifying glass that’s in the upper right of the screen, or you can press Command-Space to bring up the dialogue, and then you can start typing. And it’s going to find everything that’s associated with what you’ve typed in.
You can customize exactly what Spotlight is looking for by going to your System Preferences under Spotlight. And from here you can enable or disable certain categories to search for, or you can change where these categories show up in the search results.
Apple’s iCloud is a cloud-based service that integrates all of your operating systems together and all of the data within those operating systems, so your Mac operating system, your iOS mobile devices can all connect to the same iCloud and be able to share across those systems. So when you add a contact in one device that contact shows up in all of your devices, as well. ICloud is a very easy way to back up all of your iOS devices. So your mobile phones that are running iOS can store everything in the iCloud. That way, if you lose your phone, or you replace your mobile device, you can easily restore everything back to the way it was.
iCloud is also built into the Mac OS operating system, and it’s able to store similar things to what you might find on your mobile device. It’s able to synchronize photos, and mailing contacts, and calendars, and you can even store individual files in the iCloud drive.
Mac OS also integrates the trackpad capabilities you might have on a laptop, or you might have an external trackpad on your desktop. This is one where you can configure when you’re using one finger or two fingers or three fingers, and then you can specify what happens when you swipe, when you pinch, or when you might click. And you can enable or disable any of these capabilities so you can really determine how your operating system responds when you touch the trackpad.
In the Windows operating system, we’re able to change and manipulate files in the Windows Explorer. In Mac OS, we do similar things in the Finder. This allows us to launch applications, to delete files, to move files, to be able to rename the files that are existing there. This also integrates into our file servers or remote devices so that everything shows up in one single place and we’re able to move things around very easily.
It’s becoming more and more common these days that our mobile devices and even our desktop computers no longer have optical drives inside of them, so we may want to be able to share a drive that’s on another computer. In Mac OS I’m able to do this with the utility called Remote Disk. This allows me to set up sharing of an optical drive on one device, and then be able to access that optical drive from elsewhere. This works primarily with data CDs. It will not work with audio CDs or video DVDs.
You set up this optical drive sharing in System Preferences under the Sharing options, and you’ll see in your Finder all of the devices that have an optical drive available to share. There’s also a Windows version of the sharing utility that you can put on a Windows device that has an optical drive, and then you can share the optical drive that’s on that Windows system.
At the bottom of your Mac OS desktop, you’ll find the Dock. This is a very easy way to find the most commonly used applications that you like to run and quickly click them to launch them. If you want to look very closely underneath the applications, everything that has a dot underneath is an application that’s currently running, so it makes it easy to find which ones may be active and which ones you may need to start.
You can also keep folders in this Dock, so you can launch files that you might use very often. And you can, of course, change where this Dock appears on the screen. Maybe you like it on the side of the screen instead of the bottom. And you can also make it so that it will automatically disappear if you’re not currently accessing the Dock.
If you’re someone who uses the Apple hardware and uses Mac OS, but you also want to be able to use Windows, you might want to take advantage of a capability that’s part of Mac OS called Boot Camp. This allows you to dual-boot into Windows or into Mac OS. This means that you’re now running a native Windows installation on your Apple hardware. This is not virtualization. You actually install the Windows operating system to run in a dual-boot mode. This, of course, requires device drivers from Apple so that the Windows operating system can properly interface with the Apple hardware. Everything is then going to be managed through this Boot Camp assistant. You can build partitions, install Windows 7, and then switch easily back and forth by using these Boot Camp utilities.