The benefits of switching over to Mac OS from Windows are a highly polarising topic among tech geeks. They are certainly both capable platforms and have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Owing to its popularity, most people are initially exposed to Windows as they begin computing. Naturally, people get accustomed to the intricacies of Windows from using it over an extended period of time.
Therefore, it can be difficult or even frustrating to switch over to Mac as Mac OS does things a bit differently than Windows and it can be difficult to figure out how to navigate a new OS right off the bat and use your new Mac device to its full potential.
One of the more significant strengths of the Mac ecosystem is the amount of software optimization Apple strives to achieve in close coordination with software companies. This makes troubleshooting easier and your computing experience smoother. Although this comes at the cost of reduced software tinkering at the user’s end.
This list shall help you understand some of the basic differences between Windows and Mac OS and help you navigate the latter better.
- The Desktop:
The desktop is the screen a Windows PC boots too, with the taskbar at the bottom. The start menu is present at the left-hand corner of the taskbar providing access to all the applications in your system as well as the options to turn off, restart or put your system to sleep. The right-hand corner contains your clock, calendar, and access to essential settings such as your volume and internet access.
In a Mac, there is no taskbar nor a start menu. The bottom of the screen houses the “Dock” which enables you to add all your desired applications and launch them. The Apple logo at the top left-hand corner of your screen provides access to system preferences and the options to turn off or hibernate your PC. Access to internet settings, clock etc. can be found at the top-right.
- File Explorer:
The file explorer in Windows allows you access to all your drives and by extension all your folders and files stored in them.
The Mac equivalent would be the “Finder” located in your Dock. You can change app preferences by clicking the app name at the top of your screen while it is open.
- Closing and uninstalling applications:
To close or minimise an application, Windows has the requisite buttons at the top-right corner of the concerned application window. In macOS however, the buttons are at the top left-hand corner. Another instance of something located exactly opposite across the two operating systems are the desktop icons. Windows has them on the left, MacOS on the right.
In Windows, an installer for an application can be downloaded from your browser – The file extension being .exe. For a mac that would be .dmg. Apps can also be installed on a mac via the app store. Popular file extensions such as .jpg or .pdf are supported in a Mac as well. You should have no trouble accessing your pictures and documents in your Mac after you move them from your windows machine.
To uninstall an application on Windows you can:
- Manually access the application directory on your drive and execute the uninstall file.
- Use the “Uninstall a Program” app
- Access all your apps via Settings -> Apps -> Select desired application -> Uninstall
In a Mac all you need to do is open the Finder -> Select the applications tab on the left -> select the app you wish to uninstall -> Drag it to the bin in your Dock or right click on the app and select “Move to bin”
- The Command button:
We are all familiar with various keyboard shortcuts on Windows using the Control button on windows. These include Ctrl+X for Cut, Ctrl+V to Paste, Ctrl+Tab to switch applications and so on.
In a Mac device, you get the Command button instead. You can perform similar actions simply by substituting Command instead of Control. To switch between open apps, use Command+Tab or select your desired app in the Dock.
- Right clicking:
Another fundamental feature of Windows is the use of the right-click on your mouse to access additional options related to an application or a file. This however is absent on a Mac device. The Mac mouse has only one button while MacBooks come with a trackpad devoid of buttons.
To enable this on a Mac, you need to open system preferences -> Trackpad/Mouse -> enable Secondary Click.
In the case of a trackpad, you need to tap with two fingers to register a secondary click and click the right side of your button area on a Mac Mouse to do the same.
There will be a short clip played beside these options demonstrating how to perform them should you have any difficulty.
- Drivers and Software Updates:
Windows systems require drivers to allow the OS to recognize and utilise your hardware as these are not manufactured by Microsoft themselves. A Mac however doesn’t need them as all hardware used in a mac device is specifically manufactured to Apple specifications ensuring complete compatibility. This is one of the main reasons why Mac OS experiences fewer software bugs and incompatibility issues. Software updates are crucial for maintaining optimal performance and can be manually initiated from the System Preferences app.
- The sleep mode:
Instead of shutting down your Mac after being done with your work, opt to put it to sleep which enables you to resume work much quicker. Rebooting uses a lot of system resources and clears your RAM – something that is unnecessary as Mac OS is excellent in managing system resources. Mac OS performs maintenance tasks and creates backup as you put it to sleep before entering the extremely low power consuming hibernation mode. MacBook lithium-ion batteries also benefit from a slow discharge when you put them to sleep, prolonging battery life.
While it is true to a fair extent that a Mac is less prone to malware infections than a Windows system due to thorough scrutiny by Apple for security vulnerabilities in their apps, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you complete protection. Bitdefender offers the best Mac antivirus software as it protects your system in real-time by preventing access to potentially malicious websites, identifying spam mail, and scanning email attachments for malware. Bitdefender database provides frequent updates to virus signatures making sure you are safe from the newest threats.
In addition, features such as Parental controls, VPN and SafePay, provide enhanced privacy to your digital footprint, reducing the chances of future attacks.
Not a main point of concern for everyone but should you enjoy gaming, Mac Gaming libraries are abysmally low in content at the moment and things will remain as such for the near foreseeable future. If gaming is high on your priority list, stick to a Windows PC or get a console instead.
All in all, it’ll be an interesting transition for you. There would be some frustrations and there would also be surprising revelations that could make you think you should have done this earlier.