Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding applications, part of Computer Literacy for Mac.
- Applications are the programs your computer runs and in which you'll spend most of your time when you're on your computer. Generally an application is any piece of software used to accomplish a task, whether that task is writing a paper, composing music, printing a digital photo, playing a video game, browsing the web, or checking your email. There are countless applications for countless purposes. Some applications come preinstalled on your Mac, like the web browser Safari, the music management software iTunes, or the Calendar app for keeping track of your schedule.
You acquire other applications either by purchasing them on an installation disk at a traditional store, or more and more these days you can buy and download applications over the web from software companies websites or through the Mac app store. Once you've purchased your applications from a store or downloaded them over the internet you'll follow instructions to install the software on your Mac. Unless you choose to install your applications in a different location for some reason, the applications you install should all end up in your Applications folder by default. Which you can get to by choosing the Go menu from the Finder and selecting Applications.
Notice you can also press shift + cmd + a. So you can see I have quite a few applications installed on my Mac. To run an application just double-click its icon. For example, I'll open up iTunes. So iTunes is now running. I can tell it's running because I can see it's name in the upper left-hand corner of the menu bar. It's icon has also appeared in my dock and I see this little dot under it's icon. On Macs all running applications appear in the dock making it easy for you to switch among the different applications. So I could switch over to TextEdit to bring that to the front. Notice it says TextEdit up here now. I could switch over to Safari and it says Safari there now.
So while you can have multiple applications running simultaneously, in order to actively use any particular application it has to be the front most, or active application. When you click an application's icon you bring it to the front of all the other applications and when you see its name in the menu bar you know it's the active application. For the most part Mac OS X is very good at managing multiple applications at once, but if you're done working in a particular application you might just want to quit it, so it's no longer running and taking up any attention from your computer. In just about all applications, you can click the application's name and chose Quit or press cmd + q.
Now many Apple applications, like Safari and TextEdit will automatically quit if you close all of their active windows. So for example, notice TextEdit is running, I can see it's icon here in the dock and there's a dot underneath it telling me that it's running. If I close this window it's still the front most application, but now if I click the iTunes window notice that the TextEdit application has automatically quit on its own. So some applications will quit when you close all their active windows, others will continue to run until you actually choose quit from their menu.
Now if you do find you use some applications more than others, and that's gonna be the case for anyone, it's convenient to add the applications icons to your dock. That way you'll have quick access so you don't have to open the Applications folder every time you want to run a program. So for example, if I did want to keep TextEdit in my dock I could go back to my Applications folder, find TextEdit, and just drag it anywhere to the left side of this dividing line here in the dock. As I pointed out in a previous chapter, applications go to the left of this line and folders go to the right. So if I drag TextEdit down into there notice icons start making room so I can place this where ever I like.
And when I release my mouse it's been added to the dock. So now whenever I want to run this application I just click its icon, which immediately launches it and I can start using the application as soon as it completely starts up. Now when I close this window and leave TextEdit, you can see the dot disappears underneath it, telling me it's quit, but it's icon is still here so I can quickly start it up. Now iTunes was not in my dock when I started it up and it's currently running. If you want to add an application to your dock while it's running, simply move it. Just the act of moving the icon to another place adds it to your dock.
So if I Quit iTunes, notice its icon stays there so I no longer have to go into my Applications folder to open it each time. Now I also suggest adding your entire Applications folder to the dock as well. To do so with the Application folder already open like it is here, just click on the little icon at the top of the window. The trick here is to hold down your mouse button without moving the mouse for just the split second you need until you see the folder icon turn dark. Then you can drag the icon, in this case to the right side of the dock. Notice nothing happens if I drag it to the left, but if I drag it to the right it makes room.
So now I'll close the Application window and now when I click on the folder down here in the dock I have immediate access to all of my applications. And this way I don't have to go hunting down my Applications folder every time I want to open an application. Now I do wanna show you how to customize these icons as well because notice this is the Home folder that I added previously, but it currently has the A icon which might confuse me into thinking this is the Applications folder. But that's just showing me the contents of this folder, the first of which is Applications. So combining some of the techniques we've looked at already, I'm gonna right-click on that folder to bring up some options here.
I'm gonna choose to Display this Home folder as a Folder, rather than a Stack and notice that gives me the default icon for the folder. So that makes it a little bit more easier to identify what this folder actually is. If I right-click on it again I can choose how the contents are displayed. I can choose Fan, which looks like that. I'll right-click again. I can choose Grid, which is what we saw by default. Or I could right-click again and choose List, which looks like that. And that gives me sort of a hierarchy of folders I can browse through.
And I can do the same thing with the Applications folder. I'll right-click and change that to a Folder appearance. And because I have a lot of applications, maybe I want to turn this into a List. So now when I click it I can easily scroll through all my applications this way. Alright, so there's your (mumbling) on what applications are, where to find them, and a couple of tips for being more efficient when comes to locating and running your applications.
Note: This course was recorded on Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. To upgrade to Yosemite before you begin, watch "Installing and running Mac OS X 10.10 for the first time."
- Working with a laptop versus a desktop computer
- Understanding the five traits almost all applications share in Mac OS X
- Printing on a Mac computer
- Setting up a scanner
- Connecting to the Internet
- Sending and receiving email
- Searching the Internet
- Importing and editing images from a digital camera
- Sharing files