I just started a new job (as a postdoc in computational neuroimaging) and there I got an iMac. I never used MacOS before, my operating systems of choice have been Linux (whenever possible) or Windows (when required) for many years. So if you’re in a similar situation and want to get started with MacOS quickly, here are some tipps:
What’s maybe most confusing is input/output. The mouse and keyboard are really weird in the beginning, but they also have some cool features and you can adapt them to your needs:
- keyboard shortcuts like CTRL + C for copy don’t work: you have to press the Apple key instead of CTRL
- right-clicking with the mouse performs a left-click (i.e., does not open the context menu): right-click is disabled by default. Don’t ask me why. But you can easily enable it in the system settings (click Apple, then System Preferences, Mouse).
- In some apps (like Firefox), right-clicking still does not work: Hold the CTRL key and left-click instead, this seems to work always.
- there is no mouse scroll wheel (and scroll bars do not exist): you can just scroll on the mouse, even if there is no wheel. The mouse has touch support. Check more touch gestures in the mouse system settings! EDIT: After a few weeks, I found the Apple Magic Mouse too annoying, I replaced it with a standard mouse with 5 buttons and a scroll wheel.
- I use an English keyboard but sometimes need to type German umlauts: checkout this keyboard layout: http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/USGermanKeyboard
Another confusing thing is accessing software and the file system:
- How to see all installed software: from the bottom quick-start bar, open Finder. This tool is a combination of Explorer and the start menu. Click Applications to find all installed apps. You can drag the ones you use often to the lower bar from here.
- How to access a terminal: in Finder, under Applications, search for Terminal. Hint: you can download better ones from the internet, maybe try iTerm2.
- How to access the whole hard disk (not only the Documents folder displayed in the Finder app):
- First: configure Finder to display a link to the hard drive on the desktop (Finder > preferences > General).
- Second: Open that link, navigate in the file system tree, and drag any directory you want to show up in Finder (e.g., your home directory under /Users/) into the list of directories in Finder.
- I need to open my .bashrc or another dot file. But they do not show up in the File open menu of applications: you can press the following keys in the open window to make dot files appear: CMD (=WINDOWS KEY if you use a non-Mac keyboard) + SHIFT + .
- just to be sure: you have to press 3 keys, the last one is the dot key.
- Installing standard Linux tools or ‘Where is the package manager?’:
- Install the homebrew tool, you can then install most software you need with brew install packagename
Hope this helps somebody.