How To Use Macbook Air 2021

By | 03/11/2022

7 essential tips for your new MacBook Air

MacBook Air on a desk

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Whether you’re switching on a new MacBook Air M1 for the first fourth dimension or setting upward a well-used MacBook after a much-needed reset, there are some important things yous should do up forepart to become the almost out of it.

This article will outline some of the most important things you should do when setting up your new MacBook Air, as well equally some commonly overlooked features you can use to go your MacBook working merely the way y’all like it.

The MacBook Air is one of the best MacBooks you tin can buy, and these are our best tips for first-time setup.

1. Complete Setup Assistant and restore your files — or beginning fresh

If you lot’re setting up a make-new MacBook Air, good news: the macOS Setup Banana makes it a cakewalk, giving yous simple on-screen prompts that guide you lot through the procedure. You’ll make some important choices well-nigh things like your location and language, and and then you’ll exist prompted to connect to a Wi-Fi network and sign in with your Apple ID. If you don’t take an Apple tree ID this is the time to create one, and the Setup Assistant will walk you through that process, too.

The best part of setting up a MacBook Air is starting with a fresh copy of macOS, so enjoy that prissy clean desktop while it lasts.

(Epitome credit: Hereafter)

If yous’re setting things up once more after resetting your MacBook, Setup Assistant will requite you the selection of restoring your old data and settings to your Air, either from a Fourth dimension Machine backup or from another Mac via Apple tree’southward Migration Assistant. If you want the data and settings imported to your new MacBook Air, this is the easiest and best fourth dimension to do so, and Apple’s software should brand the process pretty straightforward.

Of course, if you’re using ane of the best deject backup services like iDrive or Backblaze to back up your data off-site, you’ll have to wait until after you’ve finished running through Setup Assistant and connecting to the Internet to admission those services and restore your former data.

two. Check for updates

We live in a digital world of always-online services, and that means well-nigh software is regularly updated to patch security holes, add together new features, and (commonly) improve your experience as a user.

If you’re setting up a MacBook Air, the best time to bank check for updates is right after you’ve completed the Setup Banana and connected your laptop to the Internet. This volition ensure you’re running the latest edition of macOS, and also verify that all your installed apps are up-to-date.

Launching Software Update should be one of the first things you do on a new MacBook Air. If there are whatever updates bachelor, hit the Update Now button to install them.

(Prototype credit: Future)

Luckily, macOS makes checking for updates a straightforward process. Simply click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your MacBook Air’south screen and navigate to
Organisation Preferences > Software Update.

The Software Update menu will tell yous if you have whatever outstanding macOS updates to install. If you practice, simply click the
Update Now
button to brainstorm the installation procedure. You lot tin tell macOS to automatically check for updates and install them from hither on out past checking the
Automatically continue my Mac up to appointment
checkbox at the lesser of the menu.

3. Customize your screen to adapt your tastes

Your MacBook Air defaults to a standard screen scale and brightness setting which may non be ideal for your needs, and then it’southward a good idea to customize your screen early in the setup procedure.

To do that, you accept to open up the Displays menu within the Organization Preferences menu. Click the Apple button in the elevation-left corner again, then navigate to
Organization Preferences > Displays.

Changing your MacBook Air’s display to a Scaled resolution can go far more comfortable to use, especially if you have a hard time reading modest text.

(Image credit: Future)

You should see that your Resolution is set to
Default for Brandish, which is good but not ever ideal, particularly if you lot have a hard fourth dimension reading small print. If y’all set your Resolution to
Scaled, you tin choose unlike scaling settings which either make details (similar text) announced larger, or brand them appear smaller then you tin see more on screen. Play effectually with this setting to see what looks best to your optics, then select whatever choice feels right.

There are some other options you can employ in this menu to customize how your MacBook Air’s display looks. Y’all can manually adjust the brightness up or down past sliding the Brightness bar appropriately, and you can disable the
Automatically suit brightness
characteristic past unchecking its checkbox if you lot don’t want macOS futzing with screen brightness in response to ambience lighting.

Yous can likewise click the
Nighttime Shift
push in the lower-right corner of the Displays carte du jour to customize the feature for your Air. Night Shift automatically changes the colors on your brandish to warmer tones after dark, which may assistance you sleep meliorate if you programme to practice some late-night computing by cutting down on how much blue light your eyes receive before bed. You lot can use the tools in the Night Shift menu to configure whether it’s on or off and what schedule it runs on, plus y’all can slide a slider back and forth between more and less warm to set your preference and preview what information technology will look like.

4. Gear up Touch ID

Ever since 2018 the MacBook Air has had a Touch ID sensor congenital into the keyboard, and it allows you — and only you, unless you configure information technology otherwise — to log into your Mac with the tap of a finger.

While you only demand to annals a single fingerprint to use Affect ID, yous tin make life easier on yourself by registering the prints of multiple fingers. To do and so, click the Apple tree button in the summit-left corner of your desktop and navigate to
System Preferences > Touch ID. Then, click the
Add Fingerprint
button to add more than fingerprints to your Mac’southward Touch ID database. You tin can register 3 fingerprints per business relationship, upwardly to v full.

If you happen to use an Apple Watch, information technology’s also a skilful thought to enable it every bit a hands-gratis tool for unlocking your MacBook. To practice so, striking the Apple tree push once more and navigate to
System Preferences > Security & Privacy.
Turn on
Use your Apple Watch to unlock apps and your Mac, and yous should be adept to go!

five. Get your Trackpad simply the way you similar it

The Trackpad on your MacBook may seem simple, just that unassuming silvery slate is governed past a slew of settings you lot tin can accommodate to make scrolling and tapping feel simply the way you like it.

Click the Apple push in the tiptop-left corner of the screen and navigate to
System Preferences > Trackpad. There are a lot of options to play with here, so take some fourth dimension to watch the built-in demo videos and get a sense of how the Trackpad tin be configured.

macOS Monterey Trackpad settings menu

Try flipping some of the settings in the Trackpad menu on and off to see which ones you adopt. Who knows, you might not exist a Natural scroller!

(Image credit: Future)

If y’all’re a long-time Mac user (similar Tom’south Guide senior editor and MacBook Air aficionado Henry T. Casey) you probably want to disable Natural Scrolling, which causes whatever you’re scrolling through to move in the same management your fingers are moving. To do so, tap Scroll & Zoom and turn off Scroll direction: Natural. Play around with using the Trackpad both ways, and see which you actually prefer.

Another mutual setting people like to tweak is how fast the cursor moves when you slide your finger across the Trackpad. To get it just the way you like it, open up the Point & Click section of the Trackpad menu and try sliding the Tracking speed needle to speed up or wearisome down your pointer.

6. Get into Hot Corners

There’s a neat feature called Hot Corners built into macOS that lets yous access shortcuts to common tasks past sliding your cursor into a corner of the screen. By default, only one Hot Corner is enabled: the Quick Annotation shortcut, which lets you quickly open up a new notation in the Notes app by sliding your cursor into the lower-right corner of the screen and clicking the icon that pops upwardly.

Hot Corners is a power user feature that volition assistance you lot exist more productive with macOS.

(Image credit: Future)

But you can change what shortcut pops up, or add Hot Corners shortcuts to the other corners of your screen, past opening the Apple tree menu and navigating to
Arrangement Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver.
You might recall this desktop-based feature would be in the Desktop menu, only you really need to open the
Screen Saver
section and click the
Hot Corners…
push in the bottom-correct corner of the carte du jour.

From at that place you tin choose what happens when you slide your pointer into each of the four corners of your display. Information technology’s a adept idea to add
Mission Control
to one Hot Corner so you tin can speedily see everything you have open, and
might exist some other if yous regularly access files on your desktop.

7. Fine-tune Finder

You lot’ll probably exist using the Finder tool quite a scrap on your new MacBook Air, so spending some time customizing it to your liking is an investment that pays off.

Open Finder and click the
menu in the top-left corner, and then open up the
menu. Here’south y’all’ll notice a smorgasbord of options for what files you see and how when using Finder.

Some things are hidden by default which you may desire to see. For starters, under the
Full general
tab you’ll probably want to check the box next to
Hard disks
so that your hard drive shows up on your desktop. This makes information technology a bit more convenient to admission.

macos monterey Finder Preferences menu

The Finder Preferences menu gives you lots of command over how you interact with files on your MacBook AIr.

(Image credit: Future)

Under the Sidebar tab yous’ll probably desire to change what files and folders appear in the Finder sidebar past default. We recommend enabling Pictures, Music, and Movies if you plan to exist opening those types of files a lot.

Y’all might too want to add your MacBook Air every bit a location, since that lets you click on it in the Finder sidebar to quickly run into your laptop’s hard drive, all drives y’all accept plugged in, plus all drives connected to the aforementioned network.

Finally, consider opening the
tab and checking the box next to
Remove items from the Trash after 30 days. Afterward all, who likes remembering to have to take out the trash?

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets similar Game Developer, Black Chapeau, and PC Earth magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.