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How To Set Up The System Preferences On Your Mac

Author: WC.Bear
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Everyone needs a Mac 101 when they have decided to switch over to the Mac OS. If you are a new Mac user (and formerly a Windows user), this guide will serve you well. Here are some useful tips to get you started on setting up your Mac system preferences:

Mac System Preferences – Setting the Language and Region

mac system preferencesFor this setting, you can add or remove languages from your list of preferred languages. The primary language will usually be the first on the list and it will be used for localizations. If you want to change the language your Mac utilizes, start by clicking Language & Region in System Preferences. Next, you can either drag a language to the top of your “Preferred Languages” list or click the Add Button (+). If you chose to click the Add Button, you will be prompted to select a language in the next dialog. Once selected, select Use [Language] to move it to the top of your list of preferred languages.

mac system preferencesWhen you set the region on your Mac, it is independent of the language you have selected. For instance, you can select the United States or Canada as the region, and French as the language. To select your preferred region, click Language & Region first in System Preferences, and then pick a geographic region as shown in the pop-up menu.

mac system preferencesYou can then click Advanced to customize the formats. Proceed to choose the language to use for showing numbers, times, and dates as well as set the formats for measurements, currency, and numbers in the General Pane.

Mac System Preferences – Adjusting the Display and Color

mac system preferencesDo note that the procedure will differ according to the type of screen you might have connected to your Mac. To change the resolution of your built-in display, open System Preferences and click Displays. If the current Resolution is set to Default for Display, select Scaled. If you want to create more space on your screen to see more things at once, select size 1920×1080 located below. You can also adjust the brighness of your screen as shown below.mac system preferences


mac system preferencesIf OS X Yosemite is installed on your Mac, you can use Display preferences to switch between different color profiles which include Cinema RGB, Apple RGB and Adobe RGB profiles. To access the color profile setting, choose Apple Menu > System Preferences before clicking on Display > Color. After that, select a profile from the list that’s on the left. If you want to assign color profiles to more than one display, the color pane on each display allows you to do so.

Mac System Preferences – Changing Sound Settings

mac system preferencesIf you want to select which microphone to use, control your Mac’s volume, or select which alert sounds to play, open your System Preferences window and select the Sound Icon.

mac system preferencesThe Sound Effects tab will be the option used to change your alert sounds. Next, the Alert Volume slider allows you to change the overall volume of your Mac. Sliding it to the left will lower the volume, and the volume will be increased when you move the slider to the right. Alternatively, you can click Mute if you want your Mac to run silently instead.

Mac System Preferences – Clock, Date, Time and Time Zone

mac system preferencesThere is a little built-in digital clock for every Mac, but not everyone knows that it’s customizable, which also can be hidden or taken off the menu bar completely. Simply click the Apple menu and then select System Preferences. Then click Date & Time and the Clock tab. Here, you can play around with settings until you are satisfied.

mac system preferences

Setting the date, time and time zone on your Mac involves a very straightforward process. Choose set date and time automatically, and click Time Zone and select the Set time zone automatically using current location. There you go!


Mac System Preferences – Adding Printers

mac system preferencesBefore you connect your printer, you will have to ensure that you have run a software update check for the printer. Turn its power on and ensure there is no paper jam, and there is enough ink. Open Printers and Scanners in Systems Preferences and simply click on the + button to allow the computer to connect to the printer connected by USB cable or to search for wireless printers nearby.

mac system preferences

mac system preferences


Mac System Preferences – Enabling Sharing

mac system preferencesSelect System Preferences from your Apple menu, and then click on the Sharing icon. Next, enter a name that can be easily recognized in the Computer Name field. This name is what will show when other computers try to find your computer when using Airdrop. mac system preferencesNow you can share files with other computers nearby and they can share with you. Finally, tick any checkboxes you want to activate. After the sharing function has been enabled, you can start sharing any time.

Mac System Preferences – Creating Users and Groups

mac system preferencesThese settings ensure each person who uses the Mac can personalize their preferences without affecting others. Users & Groups, for OS X Yosemite, can be accessed from System Preferences and you must click the Lock Icon to unlock it. You will need to enter your admin name and password before being able to add more users.

mac system preferencesNext, you can proceed to New Account type which includes Administrator (that’s you), Standard, Managed With Parental Controls,  and Sharing Only users. When the user type has been chosen, a full name and account name (can be the same) and password is needed. When the fields have been filled up, you can click Create User. To create a group, simply repeat the same steps above and select Group as the user type.


Mac System Preferences – Setting Up iCloud

mac system preferencesFirst, you will have to ensure that your Mac is running on the latest version of OS X. You should access the Software Update section from the Apple menu to see if there’s an available update.mac system preferences

Next, you must turn on your iCloud and select which services you would like to enable. By the way, you can create a @iCloud.com email account if you don’t have one yet and it is ad-free! Remember to turn on your photo stream in iPhoto or Aperture and enable automatic updates in your iTunes client. Finally, turn on iCloud for the rest of your devices to get the most out of the service.

Mac System Preferences – Setting Up Dictation & Speech

mac system preferencesIf you want your Mac to alert you when an activity occurs or read text to you, you should set up the Dictation & Speech function. Simply select Dictation & Speech in System Preferences. Next, select On in the Dictation tab. You might also want to check the Enhanced Dictation box if you want to be able to dictate without an Internet connection. Finally, select the preferred language to dictate in and click OK.

mac system preferences

There is also a text to speech feature where you can change the voice from the dropdown menu.

mac system preferences

Here are some of the easy ways to set your Mac system preferences. You won’t need to bother with the settings anymore unless you decide to install a fresh copy of the Mac OS!

Read the rest of the Mac Article series here:

Get to Know the Pre-Installed Programs on Your Mac

How to Sync Your Mac With Your iPhone or iPad

How to Handle Your Photos on a Mac

How To Keep Your Mac Secure & Updated

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