Before diving into macOS, it's important to know what an operating system is and how you interact with it. Using some simple analogies, this video will help you understand the main functions in macOS, including file storage and managing applications.
- [Instructor] macOS Sierra is an operating system. An Operating system is the core software on your computer. It's the platform or foundation that supports every operation on your computer. It defines the interface on your system, and in a way, you can think of it as the personality on your computer. As operating systems, Windows, Linus, and macOS, all do basically the same things, but it's the interface, design, and layout of the controls in these operating systems that make them feel completely different from each other.
So even though we are talking about macOS in this course, I wanna start by setting up some core analogies that will help you understand how operating systems work in general. Of course we will be talking about specific features in macOS as we go. When computers were first invented, a lot of software and interface elements were developed to simulate real-world objects. Think of something like Microsoft Word, which is basically an application that was originally created to do the work that you might do with a typewriter.
Whether you're totally uncomfortable with computers or you're an old pro, I found that it is really helpful to take a moment to acknowledge how some of the aspects of your computer were designed to simulate real-world objects. Once you understand these analogies, I think you'll be much more comfortable with macOS. So let's start by thinking about your computer as if it were your office. And in my office, the place where I usually start is at my desk. Looking at the surface of my desk, I have a few things that I always need right at arm's reach, my telephone, my pencil jar, my stapler, and probably some documents that I know I'll be working with today.
The analogy to your computer here is pretty clear. The first thing that you see on your computer is your desktop. That's the empty screen that is underneath everything else on your computer, and it's the only thing you see when you don't have any windows open. Like your real-world desktop, I recommend you keep just a few things that you need quick access to on the desktop of your computer, maybe a few files that you recently downloaded, maybe a folder that you use everyday, a shortcut to your hard drive is nice.
But I want to caution you against dropping everything that you need directly on your desktop. Just like your real-world desktop, it's very easy for your computer's desktop to get painfully messy and cluttered to the point where you can't find anything. Besides, there's a much better system in place to take care of all that clutter. And once you make the decision to use it, you can keep things organized very easily. So what is that system we use to keep our files organized? Well, that's our next analogy. Here in my office, if I get too many files and documents sitting on my desk, eventually, I'm going to want to file away the documents that I'm not using right now.
So, I file those things away in my filing cabinet. Every single document that's important to me can be stored in this filing cabinet. And I can set up a logical order, so that any of those documents can be found quickly. So, where is the filing cabinet on your Mac. Well, that's a system known as Finder. Finder is the gateway to your hard drive. This is where you to get access to your files and folders. Even if you have five hard drive connected to your computer, you always get to them using Finder.
You can think of finder like an application, like Microsoft Word or iTunes, but it's different from any other application because it's always running, and it's the mechanism that you use to browse all of your other files and folders, and even other applications. So let's take a moment to look at how you get to Finder on your computer. Now down here at the bottom of my screen, you'll see the Dock, and of course this is something we'll be talking a lot more about as we go through the course. And one way to get to Finder is to go to the icon for Finder here on the Dock.
Click on that, and it opens up a Finder window. So in this window, you can navigate through all the files and folders on your hard drive. Now I'm gonna close this for now just by hitting the red button up in the top left corner, because I wanna see another way of getting to it. And that would be to double click on the hard drive icon on your desktop. So if I just double click on this, you get to a Finder window that way. So like I said, you can browse through different files and folders on your computer. So for example, I might go to my documents folder, which I have a shortcut to that right here on the side bar on the left, and you can see I already have some folders in my documents.
From here, I could go into a subfolder inside of my documents, and then navigate through the files there. So this is just a quick glimpse at Finder. We're gonna have an entire chapter dedicate to Finder a little bit later in this course. The third and final analogy that I wanna set up is something that we'll refer to as Mission Control. To understand Mission Control, I want you to imagine that you're in charge of a large business, and you have lots of different departments and lots of employees. You need to communicate with all of your employees or contractors or all of the people that you work with.
As you're working with macOS, I want you to think of each of the applications installed on your computer as your employees. An application is a program that runs on your computer, things like iTunes, which is the program that you might use to listen to music or watch TV shows, or Safari, which is a program that you might use to browse the internet, or Microsoft Word, the program that you might use to write documents. Each of these applications is like an employee that works for you, and you have to oversee each of these employees.
You need a way to interface with them, and you need a method for helping them communicate with each other. In macOS, you have a few tools that work together to help you do this. These are the Dock, which we saw a little bit a moment ago, Launchpad, which is a tool that you can use to access all of the applications on your computer, and Mission Control, which is a tool that you can use to navigate between your applications that are currently running. Now, Mission Control is an actual feature in macOS, and I think its name really communicates philosophically what we're talking about here.
Interfacing with the applications on your computer and being able to easily switch between them is what Mission Control is all about. So let's take a quick look at these three tools. So here on my computer, we saw a little bit of the Dock before. If you want to launch an application, just go down to the icon in the Dock, click on that icon, and it will launch that application. So I've just launched Safari, which is a program for browsing the internet. Maybe I also want to launch the calendar application, so I can click on that icon, and that application will launch.
Now you should notice that the Dock does not have all of your applications, and that's where Launchpad comes in. Now by default, Launchpad is also an icon on your dock. That's it right here. And if you click on that, you can see that that gives you a list of every single application that's installed on your computer. And from here, I could go through here, and I could launch any of these applications. So for example, if I wanted the address book application, I can just click on that, and that application would launch from there. Now Mission Control is what you use when you've got a lot of applications running and you have to easily navigate between them.
So I can do things like tile out all of these windows, then I can click on the one that I want to focus on, and that comes to the front. Now of course, we'll work with Mission Control much more later in this course. So that sets up the Dock, Launchpad, and Mission Control, which also finishes off the analogies that I want you to keep in mind as we go through this course. You'll get plenty of opportunity to spend some time with each of these. For now, keep these basic analogies in mind, and I think you'll be in good shape to get started. For the rest of this chapter, we'll talk about getting your Mac setup.
Then in the next few chapters, we'll dive deeper individually into the desktop, Finder, and Mission Control.
- Setting up an Apple ID or iCloud account
- Browsing folders with Finder
- Creating, copying, moving, and renaming files and folders
- Organizing your desktop
- Using Siri on the desktop
- Launching and quitting applications from the Dock
- Saving and searching
- Browsing the web with Safari
- Working with Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
- Communicating with iMessage, Messages, and FaceTime
- Using iTunes, QuickTime, Photos, Maps, and other bundled apps
- Installing applications from the App Store
- Sharing over a network
- Backing up and restoring files