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7 Powerful macOS Features Youre MOST LIKELY NOT Using

A 2021 MacBook Pro (14-inch) laptop.
Justin Duino / How-To Geek

It pays to learn how exactly to use a few of your Macs better features, even though they seem intimidating and complex initially. This assists you identify and fix problems, automate repetitive tasks, and increase long-winded workflows.


Text-based input utilizing a command prompt won’t feel as user-friendly as your Macs graphical interface (GUI), but that doesnt mean you need to avoid it altogether. You may use the Terminal app (found under Applications > Utilities) to accomplish almost everything on your own Mac, from basic file operations to blacklisting websites or changing system preferences that there is absolutely no toggle.

Weve come up with a listing of 16 Terminal commands that each Mac user ought to know, which include all of the basics like navigating the file system, using flags (which modify how commands behave), and running commands as root (or super user). Additionally, there are tricks that you could perform utilizing the Terminal, like adding blank spaces to the dock or hiding files.

Use Terminal to remove file from quarantine

Another top tip that may make enough time you may spend with the Terminal easier may be the capability to drag and drop folders and files straight into the window. This fills in the road to the folder, which eliminates the chance of a blunder linked to a typo when executing a command. That is especially useful when whitelisting apps which have been quarantined.


Automator is really a powerful, visual tool for automating repetitive tasks and creating shortcuts you may use again and again. Probably the most useful Automator features may be the capability to add automations to your Macs Quick Actions right-click context menu.

They are context-aware, if you create an automation that only pertains to image files it’ll only arrive when youve selected a graphic file. We utilize this extensively to batch resize images to preset sizes, ready for publishing on How-To Geek. You might create Automations to upload files to a destination of one’s choice, install an APP file to the Applications folder, or install font files to your font library.

Creating a Quick Action in Automator for Mac

Have a look at our guide to getting started off with Automator, which youll find in your Macs Applications > Utilities folder.


The Shortcutsapp is really a bit like Automator for the reason that it could be used to perform powerful workflows and automations which are built utilizing a drag-and-drop interface. Shortcuts isnt as powerful as Automator when it comes to raw utility, however the app is really a bit better to use and the outcomes could be easily distributed to other users.

Weve got a listing of eight handy Shortcuts for Mac that you could install in several clicks, plus five more created for office productivity. It is possible to create your personal utilizing the Shortcuts app in your Applications folder using native macOS and compatible third-party apps. These could betriggered from your own Macs menu bar or using Siri.

Shortcuts on macOS Monterey.

Shortcuts sync via iCloud and may also be utilized on iPhone and iPad (that is where in fact the app initially launched).

Activity Monitor

Activity Monitor may be the Mac exact carbon copy of the Windows Task Manager, showing you what is running on your own Mac at any moment. Understanding this tool will help you identify and kill unresponsive appsand spot apps which are consuming probably the most energy along with other resources.

macOS Activity Monitor

Most of the processes you spot listed below are system services likekernel_task, cloudd, and mdworker, which shouldnt necessarily be tampered with. There are some tricks to identifying non-system processes which can be safely quit. You may also use Activity Monitor to check on whether you’re owning a native Apple Silicon app or legacy Intel app via Rosetta 2.

Among well known Activity Monitor tips would be to keep carefully the application in your dock and utilize it to show CPU, memory, or network usage.

RELATED: How exactly to Monitor CPU Usage on your own Mac’s Dock

Script Editor (AppleScript)

AppleScript ‘s been around since 1993, and its own obtaining a bit long in the tooth now. Youd be forgiven for not bothering with this particular one because the advent of newer tools like Automator and Shortcuts, but you may still find some instances where it really is useful. Needless to say, youll should try to learn how exactly to use AppleScript first (its a language, in the end).

You can certainly do this using either Apples developer documentationor perhaps a more user-friendly resource like this guide on Mac OS X Automation orMacworlds AppleScript tutorial. You may use AppleScript to automate tasks in the same way to Automator, then launch scripts either as applications or utilizing the menu bar.

Run DOSBox with custom .conf file using AppleScript

We recently used a script to start out DOSBox and have for a custom configuration file, which in turn appends the flag for that configuration to the executable to quickly configure and launch a Windows 98 environment.

Disk Utility

Disk Utility is really a useful tool if you are using external drives or are experiencing problems linked to storage. You may use this tool to format drives and partitions utilizing the Erase function, create new volumes on compatible file systems, and also see all the disk images and extra volumes which are currently linked to your Mac.

There also exist better functions, just like the capability to create an encrypted disk image from the folder or existing volume (under File > New Image), configure a RAID array (under File > RAID Assistant), or restore volumes from backup images youve already created. You may also utilize the MEDICAL operation on any connected drive to check on for (and fix) errors.

Run First Aid in Disk Utility on macOS

In most cases, you dont have to be worried about Disk Utility and soon you encounter disk problems or have to perform operations like partitioning. You ought to be careful when erasing or creating new partitions to make sure that you arent losing valuable data that isnt supported.


Spotlight can be your Macs built-in internet search engine which can be quickly triggered using Command+Spacebar. Spotlightcan achieve this much that youd be forgiven for passing up on a few of the better functions.Youre probably using Spotlight to get files and folders, but do you realize you may get better results in the event that youuse natural language to narrow the field?

Launch any Mac app or System Preferences (System Settings) pane by just typing its name into Spotlight. It is possible to perform quick sums there in the search field, or convert units including distance, temperature, and currency. You may also obtain the weather forecast by typing weather in in to the search field.

Weeather in Spotlight for Mac

Once youve found something you may use keyboard shortcuts like Command+Enter to open the destination in finder, Command+i to launch the Get Info window for an entry, and Command+C to copy the effect right to your clipboard.

Many of these tricks also use Spotlight for iPhone and iPad. Mastering Spotlight can drastically increase the time it requires to accomplish everyday things such as launch apps and open folders.


Homebrew isnt incorporated with macOS, so itstechnically not just a macOS feature but by enough time youve used it several times, it will feel just like an important tool. Homebrew enables you to install software on your own Mac utilizing the sort of package manager commonly entirely on Linux.

Set it up by running the next command in Terminal:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

After that you can seek out packages utilizing the brew cask search command, and install any you discover using brew cask install . Homebrew may also keep this software updated for you personally with the brew cask upgrade command.

Read more about Homebrew for Mac and how exactly to utilize it, then browse the full set of commands.

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