Take a tour
The 13-inch MacBook Air has the following features built in:
- MagSafe 2 power port: Charge your computer. If you accidentally trip over the power cord, it cleanly detaches.
- USB 3 ports: Transfer data, connect USB 2 and USB 3 devices, and more.
- 3.5 mm headphone jack: Plug in stereo headphones or a digital 5.1 surround-sound speaker system and experience high-quality sound while watching movies or listening to your favorite music.
- Dual microphones: Talk with friends or record audio.
- SDXC card slot: Transfer photos and videos from your digital camera.
- Thunderbolt 2 port: Transfer data at lightning-fast speeds, and connect a display such as the Apple Thunderbolt Display.
- FaceTime HD camera: Make FaceTime video calls or take pictures and video. If the light is glowing, the camera is on. For more information, see FaceTime.
- Power button: Press and hold for three seconds to turn your MacBook Air on or off, or press to put it to sleep.
- Multi-Touch trackpad: Use the Multi-Touch trackpad for precise pointer control. It supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities. For more about using gestures, see Trackpad.
The first time you turn on your MacBook Air, Setup Assistant walks you through the simple steps needed to start using your new Mac. If you want to transfer your data from another computer, see Migrate your data for details.
Be sure to connect to Wi-Fi, turn on Bluetooth® wireless technology, get an Apple ID, then sign in to iCloud. You can also activate Siri if you want. You can do these steps quickly and easily with Setup Assistant—but if you want to do them later, here’s how:
Connect to Wi-Fi. Click the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, then choose a Wi-Fi network and enter the password, if necessary.
Turn Wi-Fi on or off. Click the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, then choose Turn Wi-Fi On or Turn Wi-Fi Off.
Turn Bluetooth on or off. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, then choose Turn Bluetooth On or Turn Bluetooth Off.
Tip: If you don’t see the Wi-Fi status icon or Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, you can add them. For Wi-Fi, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Network. Click Wi-Fi in the list on the left, then select “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar.” For Bluetooth, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Bluetooth, then select “Show Bluetooth in menu bar.”
Get an Apple ID. Your Apple ID is the account you use for everything you do with Apple—including using the App Store, the iTunes Store, iCloud, iMessage, and more. Your Apple ID consists of an email address and a password. You need only one Apple ID to use any Apple service, on any device—whether it’s your computer, iOS device, or Apple Watch. It’s best to have your own Apple ID and not share it—create separate Apple IDs for each family member.
If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you can create one (it’s free). Go to the Apple ID account website.
Important: If you forget your Apple ID password, you don’t need to create a new Apple ID. Just click the Forgot link in the login window to retrieve your password.
Set up iCloud on your MacBook Air. With iCloud, you can store all of your content—documents, movies, music, photos, and more—in the cloud, and access it anywhere you go.
To set up iCloud, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click iCloud. In the window that appears, enter your Apple ID and password. Then select the features you want to use. To find out more, see Access your content anywhere with iCloud.
Important: Be sure to use the same Apple ID for iCloud on all your devices.
For information about setting up and using Siri on your MacBook Air, see Siri.
The first thing you see on your MacBook Air is the desktop, where you can quickly open apps, search for anything on your MacBook Air and the web, organize your files, and more.
Tip: Can’t find the pointer? To magnify it temporarily, move your finger rapidly back and forth on the trackpad. Or if you’re using a mouse, slide it back and forth quickly.
The Finder is an app that’s always open. Use the Finder to organize and locate your files.
Open a Finder window. Click the Finder icon in the Dock at the bottom of the screen.
The Dock, at the bottom of the screen, is a convenient place to keep the apps and documents you use frequently.
Open an app or file. Click its icon in the Dock.
Add an item to the Dock. Drag the item and drop it where you want it. Place apps to the left of the line in the Dock, and files or folders to the right.
Remove an item from the Dock. Drag it out of the Dock. The item isn’t removed from your MacBook Air—just from the Dock.
Tip: You can make the Dock larger or smaller, add or remove items, move it to the left or right side of the screen, or even set it to hide when you’re not using it. To change how the Dock looks, click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click Dock.
System Preferences is where you personalize your MacBook Air settings. For example, use Energy Saver preferences to change sleep settings. Or use Desktop & Screen Saver preferences to add a desktop picture or choose a screen saver.
Customize your MacBook Air. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click the type of preference you want to set.
Use the menus and icons along the top of the screen to open new windows, connect to a Wi-Fi network, check your Wi-Fi status , change the volume , check your battery charge , and more. The menu items change, depending on which app you’re using.
For more information about using Siri, see Siri.
Spotlight is an easy way to find anything on your MacBook Air, such as documents, contacts, calendar events, and email messages. Spotlight Suggestions offer info from Wikipedia articles, Bing search results, news, sports, weather, stocks, movies, and other sources.
When you search with Spotlight, the preview area on the right provides search results you can interact with—make a call, send an email message, play a song, get directions, even convert currencies. Spotlight can provide answers to math questions or define words, all on your desktop.
Search for anything. Click at the top right of the screen, then start typing.
Tip: Type Command–Space bar to show or hide the Spotlight search field.
Preview your results. Click a search result and view it in the preview on the right. Sometimes that’s all you need to do—click items or links directly in the preview. You can also double-click a result to open it.
Open an app. Type the app name in Spotlight, then press Return.
Turn off Spotlight Suggestions. If you want Spotlight to search only for items on your MacBook Air, you can turn off Spotlight Suggestions in Spotlight preferences. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, click Spotlight, then click to deselect Spotlight Suggestions. Make any other changes you want to the list of categories Spotlight searches.
Note: Not all features of Spotlight Suggestions are available in all languages or regions, and some features may vary by region.
Now you can talk to Siri on your MacBook Air, just as you do on your iOS devices and Apple Watch, and use your voice for many tasks. For example, you can find files, schedule meetings, change preferences, get answers, send messages, place calls, and add items to your calendar. Siri can give you directions (“How do I get home from here?”), information (“How high is Mount Whitney?”), perform basic tasks (“Create a new list called Groceries”), and much more.
Note: Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area.
Enable Siri. Click the Siri icon in the menu bar or in the Dock, then click Enable when prompted. Or click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, click Siri, then select Enable Siri. You can also set other options, such as Language.
Note: To use Siri, your MacBook Air must be connected to the Internet.
When you first open Siri on your Mac, you’ll see a list of suggestions about how to use Siri to save time and typing.
Speak to Siri. Click Siri in the menu bar or the Dock and start speaking. Or press and hold the Command key and the Space bar, and speak to Siri.
Find and open files. Ask Siri to find files and open them right from the Siri window. You can ask by file name, by tags, or by description. For example, “Search for files Ursula sent last week,” or “Open the spreadsheet I created last night.”
Drag and drop. Drag and drop images and locations from the Siri window into an email, text message, or document. You can also copy and paste text.
Save Siri results. Save results from sporting events, Reminders, Clock, Stocks, Notes, Finder, and general knowledge (Wikipedia, for example) to the Today view in Notifications. Click the plus sign in the top right of a Siri result to pin it to the Today View. To see it later, click the Notification Center icon , then click Today. If you’re checking a sports score, for example, results stay up to date.
Adjust the volume. Use the volume buttons on your MacBook Air to increase or decrease the volume while you’re interacting with Siri.
Change the voice. Click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, click Siri, then choose an option from the Siri Voice menu.
You’ll find suggestions for things you can ask Siri throughout this guide—they look like this:
Ask Siri. Say something like:
- “Open the Keynote presentation I was working on last night.”
- “What time is it in Paris?”
- “What kinds of things can I ask you?”
Use Notification Center to view details about your day (calendar, stocks, weather, and more) and catch up on notifications you might have missed (email, reminders, app notifications, and more).
Open Notification Center. Click the Notification Center icon at the top right of the screen. Tap Today to see what’s coming up or Notifications to review what’s come in.
Help for your MacBook Air and macOS apps is always available.
Get help. Click the Finder icon , then click the Help menu and choose Mac Help. Or type in the search field and choose a suggestion.
To learn more, see Mac Help.
Unlock your MacBook Air with Apple Watch
Use your authenticated Apple Watch to automatically unlock your sleeping MacBook Air when you’re within about three meters of your computer. Just wake your Mac and start using it—no need to enter a password. Auto Unlock uses strong encryption to provide secure communication between your Apple Watch and MacBook Air.
Note: Auto Unlock is a feature for Macs (mid-2013 and later) running macOS Sierra, and Apple Watch running watchOS 3.
Set up two-factor authentication for your Apple ID. Auto Unlock works when your Apple ID has two-factor authentication turned on. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud > Account Details, click Security, then select Set Up Two-Factor Authentication. For more information, see the Apple Support article Two-factor authentication for Apple ID.
Make sure “Disable automatic login” is also selected. (You won’t see this option if you’re using FileVault, but you can still use the Auto Unlock feature.)
Set up Auto Unlock. Sign in to iCloud with the same Apple ID on all your devices, then click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Click Security & Privacy, then select “Allow your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac.”
Note: Auto Unlock works only when your Apple Watch is authenticated with a passcode. You authenticate your Apple Watch each time you put it on, so no extra steps are required after you enter your passcode.
Skip the sign-in. Walk up to your sleeping MacBook Air wearing your authenticated Apple Watch on your wrist, and lift the cover or press a key to wake your Mac. Apple Watch unlocks your Mac so you can get right to work.
Quickly open apps
Your MacBook Air comes with apps for all the things you love to do—browse the web, check email, share photos, enjoy movies, and more.
Open an app. Click an app icon in the Dock, or click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and click the app you want. You can also search for an app using Spotlight, then open the app directly from your Spotlight search results.
Ask Siri. Say something like: “Open Calculator.”
Organize apps in Launchpad. Launchpad organizes your apps in a grid, similar to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Drag an app to a new location to rearrange apps. Drag an app onto another app to create a folder. Drag more apps to the new folder to add them. To remove an app from a folder, drag it out.
Get more apps. Click the App Store icon in the Dock and search for apps you want. Apps you download from the App Store appear automatically in Launchpad. To quickly get updates to apps and macOS, click Updates in the App Store.
Multitask on your desktop
The Tabs feature is available in most apps that support multiple windows, such as Pages, Numbers, Maps, and more. And while you’re browsing multiple tabs, you can watch a video using Picture in Picture.
Note: Picture in Picture is not available in all regions.
Browse content with tabs. Open multiple tabs in an app to compare content, for example—Numbers spreadsheets or Pages documents. Or copy and paste content from one tab to another. Tabs also work with third-party apps.
To set tab preferences, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Dock. Choose an option for “Prefer tabs when opening documents.”
Watch while you work. Click the Picture in Picture button in a Safari or iTunes video and drag it to any corner of your desktop. Your video stays put while you switch between apps and spaces.
The function keys on the keyboard provide shortcuts for common functions, such as increasing the volume or screen brightness.
- Power button: Press and hold for 3 seconds to turn your MacBook Air on or off. Press to put MacBook Air to sleep.
- Brightness keys (F1, F2): Press or to increase or decrease the brightness of the screen.
- Mission Control key (F3): Press to view what’s running on your MacBook Air, including all your spaces and open windows.
- Launchpad key (F4): Press to instantly see all the apps on your MacBook Air. Click an app to open it.
- Keyboard illumination keys (F5, F6): Press or to increase or decrease the brightness of the keyboard.
- Media keys (F7, F8, F9): Press to rewind, to play or pause, or to fast-forward a song, movie, or slideshow.
- Mute key (F10): Press to mute the sound from the built-in speakers or 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- Volume keys (F11, F12): Press or to increase or decrease the volume of sound from the built-in speakers or 3.5 mm headphone jack.
- Function (Fn) key: Each function key (on the top row) can also perform other functions—for example, the F12 key can open Dashboard. Hold down the Fn key while you press a function key to trigger the action associated with the key.
Set keyboard preferences. Use the Keyboard pane of System Preferences (choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click Keyboard, then click the buttons at the top to see the available options).
You can do a lot on your MacBook Air using simple trackpad gestures—scroll through webpages, zoom in on documents, rotate photos, and more.
Here are some common gestures:
|Click: Press anywhere on the trackpad. Or enable “Tap to click” in Trackpad preferences, and simply tap.|
|Secondary click (right click): Click with two fingers to open shortcut menus. If “Tap to click” is enabled, tap with two fingers.|
|Two-finger scroll: Slide two fingers up or down to scroll.|
|Pinch to zoom: Pinch your thumb and finger open or closed to zoom in or out of photos and webpages.|
|Swipe to navigate: Swipe left or right with two fingers to flip through webpages, documents, and more—like turning a page in a book.|
|Open Launchpad: Quickly open apps in Launchpad. Pinch closed with four or five fingers, then click an app to open it.|
|Swipe between apps: To switch from one full-screen app to another, swipe left or right with three or four fingers.|
Customize your gestures. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences or click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, then click Trackpad.
Learn more about each gesture and customize trackpad features in Trackpad preferences.
Charge the battery
The battery in your MacBook Air recharges whenever the MacBook Air is connected to power.
Charge the battery. Connect your MacBook Air to a power outlet using the included cable and 45W MagSafe 2 Power Adapter. The indicator light glows amber to indicate the battery is charging. The battery recharges more quickly when the computer is off or in sleep.
Check the battery’s charge. Look at the battery status icon at the right of the menu bar to see the battery level or charging status. Click the icon to show how much power you have left if you keep using your MacBook Air as you’re currently using it.
Conserve battery power. To extend battery life on a given charge, you can reduce the display brightness, close apps, and disconnect peripheral devices you’re not using. You can change your power settings in Energy Saver preferences (click the System Preferences icon in the Dock, then click Energy Saver). If your MacBook Air is in sleep when a device is connected to it, the device’s battery may drain.
For more information about the internal, rechargeable battery in your MacBook Air, and for conservation and performance tips, go to Apple Lithium-ion Batteries.
Use an external display
The Thunderbolt port on your MacBook Air supports video output. You can use an external display, a projector, or an HDTV with your MacBook Air.
|Apple Thunderbolt Display||Plug the display’s cable directly into the Thunderbolt 2 port on your MacBook Air.|
|Mini DisplayPort display||Plug the display’s cable directly into the Thunderbolt 2 port on your MacBook Air.|
|VGA display or projector||Use a Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter to connect the display to the Thunderbolt 2 port on your MacBook Air.|
|DVI display or projector||Use a Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter to connect the display to the Thunderbolt 2 port on your MacBook Air.|
|HDMI display or HDTV||Use an HDMI cable to connect the HDMI display or HDTV to the Thunderbolt 2 port on your MacBook Air.|
You can also mirror your MacBook Air screen on a VGA display, or on an HDMI display or TV in up to 1080p HD with AirPlay. See AirPlay for details.
Adapters and other accessories are sold separately at apple.com or your local Apple Store. Review the documentation or check with the manufacturer to make sure you choose the right adapter.