MacBook Pro Tips

Set up

The first time your MacBook Pro starts up, Setup Assistant walks you through the simple steps needed to begin using your new Mac. If you want to transfer your data from another computer, see Migrate your data for details.

A screen with Setup Assistant open to the Welcome screen.

Be sure to connect to Wi-Fi, turn on Bluetooth® wireless technology, get an Apple ID, then sign in to iCloud. Activate Siri during setup, if you want. If your MacBook Pro has the Touch Bar, you can also set up Touch ID and Apple Pay.

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 Pro. 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. For more about iCloud, see Access your content anywhere with iCloud.

Important: Be sure to use the same Apple ID for iCloud on all your devices.

Set up Siri. You can enable Siri on your MacBook Pro when prompted during setup. To learn how to turn on Siri later and for information about using Siri on your Mac, see Siri.

Set up Touch ID. If your MacBook Pro has the Touch Bar and Touch ID, you can add a fingerprint to Touch ID during setup. To set up Touch ID later or to add additional fingerprints, click the System Preferences icon  in the Dock, or choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click Touch ID. To add a fingerprint, click the add icon and follow the onscreen instructions. You can add up to three fingerprints per user account (you can add up to five fingerprints total to your MacBook Pro).

The Touch ID preferences window with options for adding a fingerprint and using Touch ID to unlock your Mac, use Apple Pay, and buy from the iTunes, App Store, and iBooks Store.

You can also set options for how you want to use Touch ID on your MacBook Pro: to unlock your Mac instead of entering your password, to use Apple Pay (see Apple Pay), or to purchase items on the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

Tip: If two or more users use the same MacBook Pro, each one can add a fingerprint to Touch ID to quickly unlock, authenticate, and log in to the MacBook Pro. Your MacBook Pro can store a total of five fingerprints.

For more information about Touch ID, see the Apple Support article Use Touch ID on your MacBook Pro.

Set up Apple Pay. If you have a MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar, you can set up Apple Pay for one user account on your MacBook Pro during setup. Other users can still pay with Apple Pay, but they must complete the purchase using their iPhone or Apple Watch that’s been set up for Apple Pay (see Apple Pay for more details). Follow the onscreen prompts to add and verify your card. If you already use a card for iTunes purchases, you might be prompted to verify this card first.

To set up Apple Pay or add additional cards later, click the System Preferences icon  in the Dock, or choose Apple menu > System Preferences. Then click Wallet & Apple Pay and follow the onscreen prompts to set up Apple Pay.

Note: The card issuer determines whether your card is eligible to use with Apple Pay, and may ask you to provide additional information to complete the verification process. Many credit and debit cards can be used with Apple Pay. For information about Apple Pay availability and current credit card issuers, see the Apple Support article Apple Pay Participating Banks.

The desktop

The first thing you see on your MacBook Pro is the desktop, where you can quickly open apps, search for anything on your MacBook Pro and the web, organize your files, and more.

A MacBook Pro screen calling out the Apple menu, desktop, Help menu, Finder window, menu bar, Wi-Fi status icon, Ask Siri icon, Finder icon, System Preferences icon, and the Dock.

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.

Startup Key Combinations

Startup key combinations are invoked immediately following the startup chime, and before the grey Apple logo appears in the middle of the screen, when you power-on your Mac.

The object of these key combinations is to perform different functions, many of which are useful in the maintenance of Macs. The key combinations listed in this tutorial are specifically for use with Macs with Intel processors.

Tip: If you have a Windows keyboard, you can usually use the Windows key as the substitute for the Command key on the Mac keyboard.

Tip: If you are having difficulty invoking startup key combinations, ensure that you press and hold the keys immediately after the startup chime. Alternatively, use a wired keyboard where possible, to rule out any issues possible with Bluetooth keyboards.

c

Pressing the C key immediately after the startup chime will enable the option to boot from a range of media such as a bootable CD, bootable DVD or a bootable USB drive. This might include OS X install media (up to OS X 10.7 Lion) or USB install drives that you have created for other versions of OS X.

D

Pressing the D key immediately after the startup chime will boot your Mac into a suite of diagnostic utilities that enable you to test the hardware of your Mac. This is a useful way to rule out any hardware issues when trying to diagnose a possible problem with your Mac (which is why you may not have heard of it and, no doubt, have never used it!)

Tip: Remember D for Diagnostics.

Cmd-Opt-PR

This one is a bit of a finger-twister and, unless you are more dextrous than I, you’ll need both hands. The PRAM, on PowerPC Macs, or NVRAM, as it is on Intel Macs, is the non-volatile (random access) memory that stores various information about your Mac. This information includes:

  • speaker volume
  • screen resolution
  • startup disk selection
  • recent kernel panic information, if any

Resetting the NVRAM, on Intel Macs, may be one way of solving an issue related to the above areas.

When you invoke the Command-Option-P-R keyboard combination, keep the keys held down immediately after the first startup chime and release them upon hearing the second startup chime.

Option

Pressing the Option key immediately after the startup chime will show you the available startup volumes.

A startup volume is a hard drive, USB drive, CD or DVD that contains a usable operating system from which the Mac can be booted.

This is particularly useful if you have your hard drive partitioned with two (or more) operating systems from which you wish to boot your Mac. Or, in the case of maintenance and recovery, when you need to boot from an external drive.

f12

Pressing the Eject or F12 keys immediately after the startup chime will eject any removable media, such as an optical disc.

This is a useful option on those occasions when you just don’t seem to be able to get OS X to eject a DVD from the SuperDrive.

That said, the reliance on optical media is diminishing now that modern Macs are supplied without a SuperDrive.

N

Pressing the N key immediately after the startup chime will allow you to boot the Mac from a compatible network server. This option is most likely to be used by businesses with a network of Macs.

T

Pressing the T key immediately after the startup chime will allow another Mac with a FireWire port (the target Mac) to be used as an external hard drive connected to another Mac (the host).

Target Disk Mode is useful for accessing the contents of a Mac which cannot be booted from its own hard drive.

Shift

Pressing the Shift key immediately after the startup chime will start up your Mac in a way that performs particular checks and prevents certain software from automatically loading or opening.

This is particularly useful if any maintenance is required on your Mac and can be used to resolve or isolate certain problems that exist on the internal hard drive (startup volume).

Command-V

Pressing the Command-V keys immediately after the startup chime will start up your Mac in verbose mode. Verbose mode is typically used for troubleshooting; it shows what is happening during system startup.

It is possible to start in verbose mode every time you start your Mac, by opening Terminal and entering the following command:

sudo nvram boot-args="-v&"

To disable verbose mode booting, enter:

sudo nvram boot-args=

If you just want to boot into verbose mode on an ad-hoc basis simply hold the Command-V keys.

Command-S

Pressing the Command-S keys immediately after the startup chime will start up your Mac in single-user mode.

Single-user mode is a mode in which a multiuser OS X operating system boots into a single superuser for the purposes of maintenance.

Option-N

Pressing the Option-N keys immediately after the startup chime will start up your Mac from a NetBoot server using the default boot image. This is of most use to businesses with a network of Macs.

Command-R

Pressing the Command-R keys immediately after the startup chime will start up from the OS X Recovery System.

The OS X Recovery System is available with all Macs that originally shipped with OS X 10.7 Lion onwards. That said, the following Macs may require the download and installation of updated EFI Firmware for these computers to use the OS X Internet Recovery feature:

  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2011)
  • MacBook Pro (17-inch, Early 2011)
  • iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2011)
  • iMac (27-inch, Mid 2011)
  • MacBook (13-inch, Mid 2010)
  • MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2010)
  • Mac mini (Mid 2010)
  • MacBook Pro (15-inch and 17-inch, Mid 2010)
  • iMac (21.5-inch and 27-inch, Mid 2010)
  • MacBook Air (11-inch and 13-inch, Late 2010)

The OS X Internet Recovery System allows you to start your Mac directly from Apple’s servers. Starting up in this way performs a quick test of your Mac’s memory and hard drive to check for hardware issues. OS X Internet Recovery can download and start from a Recovery System image before you are offered the same utilities and options as a local Recovery System.

MacBook Pro built-in keyboard mapping in Windows

MacBook built-in keyboards are similar to MacBook Pro built-in keyboards, but there are some differences (such as Keyboard Illumination keys, which are not on a MacBook keyboard). However, the majority of this article applies to MacBook keyboards as well.

MacBook Pro keyboard all keys
Sample MacBook Pro built-in keyboard

Key mappings for Microsoft Windows features 

Below is a chart of keyboard functions specific to Microsoft Windows, and equivalent key combinations as they are mapped to Apple keyboards by the Apple Keyboard Support driver.
 
PC keyboard all keys

Function PC keyboard MacBook Pro built-in keyboard

Print Screen PC Print Screen key Mac fn (function) keyMac Shift keyMac F11 key
Print active window Mac fn (function) keyMac Shift keyMac Option keyMac F11 key
Scroll Lock PC Scroll Lock key  Mac fn (function) keyMac Shift keyMac F12 key
Pause/Break PC Pause key  —
Backspace delete PC Backspace key  Mac delete key
Insert PC Insert key  —
Number lock PC numlock key Mac fn (function) keyMac F6 num lock key
Alt (Option) PC Alt key  Mac Option key
Enter PC Enter key Mac Return key 
AltGr / Alt GR PC Alt key

(Right Alt key)

 Mac Option keyMac Control key
Forward delete PC forward delete key  Mac fn (function) keyMac delete key
Applications PC applications key
Windows logo (Start menu) PC period delete keypad key Mac Command key 
Key mappings for Boot Camp features
Some keys are only available on a keyboard designed for Apple computers. They are either named differently or simply not available on a Windows-compatible keyboard.

Your Apple keyboard provides certain keys that are not available on Windows/PC keyboards.

MacBook keyboard all keys shown and certain ones highlighted

Function PC keyboard MacBook Pro built-in keyboard
Brightness down Mac F1 key 
Brightness up  Mac F2 key
Volume down  Mac F4 key
Volume up  Mac F5 key
Mute  Mac F3 key
Media eject  Mac eject key
Media eject secondary optical drive Mac Option key Mac eject key
Delete  Mac delete key
Fn (Function)  Mac fn (function) key
Display Mode Toggle  Mac F7 key
Keyboard Illumination Toggle (MacBook Pro)  Mac F6 key
Decrease Keyboard Illumination  Mac F9 key
Increase Keyboard Illumination  Mac F10 key

Numeric keypad mappings
Apple external and built-in keyboards provide the same functionality as Microsoft-compatible numeric keypads.

To enable numerical input, press Num Lock on a PC keyboard, or Fn-Numlock on the MacBook Pro keyboard.

The chart below shows equivalent keystrokes.

Function PC keyboard MacBook Pro built-in keyboard
Page Up PC 2 keypad Mac fn (function) keyMac Page Up key

(Numlock off)

Page Down PC 3 keypad Mac fn (function) keyMac Page Down key

(Numlock off)

Insert PC zero keypad  —
Decimal Point PC period delete keypad Mac decimal point key

(Numlock off)

Delete PC period delete keypad Mac fn (function) keyMac decimal point key

(Numlock off)

Up arrow PC 8 keypad  Mac page up key

(Numlock off)

Down arrow PC 2 keypad  Mac page down key

(Numlock off)

Left arrow PC 4 keypad  Mac left arrow key

(Numlock off)

Right arrow PC 6 keypad Mac right arrow key

(Numlock off)

Home PC Home keypad Mac fn (function) keyMac left arrow key

(Numlock off)

Additional Information
If you disable the Apple Keyboard Support driver in Windows, Windows will not recognize extended Function keys, nor the (Fn) key.

Important: Apple does not provide technical phone support for installing, using, or recovering Microsoft Windows. Support is available for using Boot Camp Setup Assistant, as well as installing or restoring Boot Camp software while booted into Windows. Support articles and discussions may also be available on Apple’s support website.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Startup:
Press X during startup – Force Mac OS X startup
Press Option-Command-Shift-Delete during startup – Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)
Press C during startup – Start up from a CD that has a system folder
Press N during startup – Attempt to start up from a compatible network server (NetBoot)
Press T during startup – Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode
Press Shift during startup – Start up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items and non-essential kernel extension files (Mac OS X 10.2 and later)
Press Command-V during startup – Start up in Verbose mode.
Press Command-S during startup – Start up in Single-User mode

Finder window:
Command-W – Close Window
Option-Command-W – Close all Windows
Command-Right Arrow – Expand folder (list view)
Option-Command-Right Arrow – Expand folder and nested subfolders (list view)
Command-Left Arrow – Collapse Folder (list view)
Option-Command-Up Arrow – Open parent folder and close current window

Menu commands:
Shift-Command-Q (Apple Menu) – Log out
Shift-Option-Command-Q (Apple Menu) – Log out immediately
Shift-Command-Delete (Finder Menu) – Empty Trash
Option-Shift-Command-Delete (Finder Menu) – Empty Trash without dialog
Command-H (Finder Menu) – Hide Finder
Option-Command-H (Finder Menu) – Hide Others
Command-N (File Menu) – New Finder window
Shift-Command-N (File Menu) – New Folder
Command-O (File Menu) – Open
Command-S (File Menu) – Save
Shift-Command-S (File Menu) – Save as
Command-P (File Menu) – Print
Command-W (File Menu) – Close Window
Option-Command-W (File Menu) – Close all Windows
Command-I (File Menu) – Get Info
Option-Command-I (File Menu) – Show Attributes Inspector
Command-D (File Menu) – Duplicate
Command-L (File Menu) – Make Alias
Command-R (File Menu) – Show original
Command-T (File Menu) – Add to Favorites (Mac OS X 10.2.8 or earlier), Add to Sidebar (Mac OS X 10.3 or later—use Shift-Command-T for Add to Favorites)
Command-Delete (File Menu) – Move to Trash
Command-E (File Menu) – Eject
Command-F (File Menu) – Find
Command-Z (Edit Menu) – Undo
Command-X (Edit Menu) – Cut
Command-C (Edit Menu) – Copy
Command-V (Edit Menu) – Paste
Command-A (Edit Menu) – Select All
Command-1 (View Menu) – View as Icons
Command-2 (View Menu) – View as List
Command-3 (View Menu) – View as Columns
Command-B (View Menu) – Hide Toolbar
Command-J (View Menu) – Show View Options
Command – [ (Go Menu) – Back
Command – ] (Go Menu) – Forward
Shift-Command-C (Go Menu) – Computer
Shift-Command-H (Go Menu) – Home
Shift-Command-I (Go Menu) – iDisk
Shift-Command-A (Go Menu) – Applications
Shift-Command-F (Go Menu) – Favorites
Shift-Command-G (Go Menu) – Goto Folder
Command-K (Go Menu) – Connect to Server
Command-M (Window Menu) – Minimize Window
Option-Command-M (Window Menu) – Minimize All Windows
Command-? (Help Menu) – Open Mac Help
Command-Space – Open Spotlight (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
Command-esc (Front Row) – Activates Front Row for certain Apple computers

 

Universal Access and VoiceOver:
Option-Command-8 – Turn on Zoom
Option-Command-+ (plus) – Zoom in
Option-Command– (minus) – Zoom out
Control-Option-Command-8 – Switch to White on Black
Control-F1 – Turn on Full Keyboard Access

When Full Keyboard Access is turned on, you can use the key combinations listed in the table below from the Finder:
Control-F2 (Full Keyboard Access) – Highlight Menu
Control-F3 (Full Keyboard Access) – Highlight Dock
Control-F4 (Full Keyboard Access) – Highlight Window (active) or next window behind it
Control-F5 (Full Keyboard Access) – Highlight Toolbar
Control-F6 (Full Keyboard Access) – Highlight Utility window (palette)
Command-F5 or fn-Command-F5 – Turn VoiceOver on or off (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
Control-Option-F8 or fn-Control-Option-F8 – Open VoiceOver Utility (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
Control-Option-F7 or fn-Control-option-F7 – Display VoiceOver menu (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
Control-Option-; or fn-Control-option-; – Enable/disable VoiceOver Control-Option lock (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)

The Universal Access preference pane allows you to turn on Mouse Keys. When Mouse Keys is on, you can use the numeric keypad to move the mouse. If your computer doesn’t have a numeric keypad, use the Fn (function) key.

 

Mouse Keys:
8 – Move Up
2 – Move Down
4 – Move Left
6 – Move Right
1, 3, 7, and 9 – Move Diagonally
5 – Press Mouse Button
0 – Hold Mouse Button
. (period on keypad) – Release Mouse Button (use after pressing 0)

 

Other Commands:
Option-Command-D – Show/Hide Dock
Command-Tab – Switch application
tab – Highlight next item
Command-Up Arrow – Move up one directory
Command-Down Arrow – Move down one directory
Page Up or Control-Up Arrow – Move up one page
Page Down or Control-Down Arrow – Move down one page
Option-Drag – Copy to new location
Option-Command-Drag – Make alias in new location
Command-Drag – Move to new location without copying
Shift-Command-C – Show Colors palette in application
Command-T – Show Font palette in application
Command-Shift-3 – Take a picture of the screen
Command-Shift-4 – Take a picture of the selection
Command-Shift-4, then press Control while selecting – Take a picture of the screen, place in Clipboard
Command-Shift-4, then Spacebar – Take a picture of the selected window
Option-Command-esc – Force Quit
Control-Eject – Restart, Sleep, Shutdown dialog box
Control-Command-Eject – Quit all applications and restart
Option-Command-Eject or Option-Command-Power – Sleep
Command-click window toolbar button (upper right corner) – Cycle through available views for the window’s toolbar (dependant on the nature of the Finder or application window)
Command-` – Cycle through windows in application or Finder (if more than one window is open)
Function-Delete – (portables only–PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro) Forward Delete – (delete the character to the right of your cursor)