Apple specifically designs its products to “just work.” When it comes to its computers, that means that macOS is an incredibly intuitive and easy-to-use platform out of the box. But there are still a few default macOS settings you should change (besides display settings, which we've previously covered). From tweaking the Finder to making Siri more useful in quiet environments, continue reading to learn about seven quick settings you should change on your Mac right away.
Tweak Your Finder Settings
Finder is the app you’ll use to organize and access all of the files, data and other content on your Mac. It’s pretty simple to use, but there are a variety of settings you should tweak to your liking.
For example, Finder automatically opens the Recents folder by default. You can change that in Finder > Preferences > General.
The New Finder Window show setting can be set to Downloads, Documents, Desktop or other folders — just select the one you use the most.
It might also be worth adding new destinations to the Finder Sidebar. This is under Finder Preferences, too. Just select the Sidebar tab and pick the favorites you’d like the file management system to display.
Enable Hot Corners
Hot Corners are quick shortcuts attached to each corner of your Mac’s display. It’s more useful than it sounds — you can start or disable a screen saver, launch Mission Control, or put the display to sleep very quickly with Hot Corners.
All you need to do is hover your cursor over one of the corners of the display to activate that shortcut. You can set up Hot Corners by going to System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners. There’s are four separate shortcuts you can enable, one for each corner of the display.
Accidental triggers can be annoying. So, try holding down the Command or Option key when selecting an option from the Hot Corner dropdown menus. This will add a modifier key — meaning you’ll need to hold this key down and hover your cursor over a Hot Corner to activate it.
Add and Rearrange Menu Bar Toggles
The macOS menu bar is a handy way to quickly access various native features and third-party apps from basically anywhere in macOS. But, by default, the menu bar is pretty sparse. Luckily, you can change that pretty easily.
For one, click on the battery icon and select Show Percentage.
Want a volume indicator in the menu bar? Go to System Preferences > Sound and check the box next to Show volume in menu bar. You can do the same for Bluetooth.
Also, if you aren’t happy with how the menu bar icons are arranged, you can change that, too. Just hold down Command and drag the menu bar icons into whichever order you’d like.
Customize the Touch Bar
We won’t spend any time debating whether the Touch Bar is useful or a gimmick. The bottom line is that you probably want to make use of the Touch Bar if you have a Mac device equipped with one.
You can actually tweak the Touch Bar more to your liking by going to System Preferences > Keyboards > Customize Touch Bar. Swap out any of the default controls for more useful ones — having a toggle for Night Shift or Do Not Disturb are good options.
Additionally, you can tweak the Touch Bar’s behavior in different apps, too. In the same Keyboards preferences menu, click on the dropdown menu next to Touch Bar shows.
Get the Dashboard Back
The macOS Dashboard, basically a separate desktop with its own set of widgets, has been contentious since its introduction in OS X Tiger. Some people love it and some people hate it. But Apple itself has seemingly chosen a side as of macOS Mojave.
In the latest version of macOS, the Dashboard is gone. But if you’re a fan of the feature, don’t worry. Apple hasn’t removed the Dashboard. Instead, it’s just disabled by default.
You can turn it back on by going to System Preferences > Mission Control. Under the Dashboard dropdown menu, you can select two options. As Overlay is the classic method, while As Space treats the Dashboard as a separate desktop.
Many Mac users prefer Google Chrome over Safari. (If you’re one of them, you can select Chrome as the default browser in System Preferences > General.) But there are actually several settings hidden within Safari that make it a much more attractive option.
Do you hate those auto-playing videos spread across various websites? We do, too. Luckily, you can have Safari put an end to them by going to Safari > Preferences > Websites > Auto-Play. In the dropdown menu in the bottom-right, select Never Auto-Play.
Safari also supports website favicons, though it’s typically off by default. You can enable it by going to Safari > Preferences > Tabs and hitting the box next to Show website icons in tabs.
Type to Siri
Originally an iOS exclusive feature, Apple’s famed digital assistant has been around on the Mac platform for at least a couple of years. Newer Macs even have always-on Hey Siri. But Siri on the Mac may come with a downside for some creatives and professionals: noise.
If you work in a quiet environment but you still want to use Siri, it’s probably a good idea to mute the digital assistant. Just go to System Preferences > Siri. Make sure the box next to Voice Feedback is unchecked.
On a similar note, you can also enable Type to Siri, which will allow you to type your commands to the digital assistant instead of speaking them. This is an accessibility setting in System Preferences > Accessibility > Siri.