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7 Genius Mac Tips and Tricks All Moms Need to Know

Photograph by Twenty20

Like most women of my generation, I can remember the first time a computer was brought into my home. I was in junior high, and that desktop computer was set up in the guest room, meant to be shared equally amongst the members of my family. It was a Dell, and for the next two decades, I remained loyal to the brand; mostly because it was all I knew.

The problem was that as I entered adulthood and switched from a desktop to a laptop, I faced the annoying issue of needing to replace my PC every two years or so. My last PC purchase started getting bogged down with issues just two months after I bought it, which was when I knew that the next time around, I was finally going to make the plunge—I was going to convert to Mac.

I had held off for longer than I probably should have, mostly because I don't tend to consider myself especially tech-savvy, and I was afraid of the inevitable transition. But when I finally had that Mac in my hands, it really only took about two weeks for me to get comfortable with it.

But two years later, and I am still learning new things every day, often trying to figure out the shortcuts for things I used to do on my PC. For instance:

Command + Shift + 3 = Screenshot


Option + Command + Esc = The Equivalent of Ctrl + Alt + Del for a PC


FN + Delete = Deletes the character in front of your cursor (as a writer, I use this one all the time—it's one of the first shortcuts I went out in search of when I realized the delete button didn't function in the same way on my Mac as it did on my PC. This shortcut gives that delete button the forward deleting capability you might be looking for.)

But recently I started wondering, what other Mac tricks exist that I may not yet know about and that other moms might want to learn, too? So, I reached out to John Massie, a 14-year tech professional (and a self-proclaimed Mac junkie) for his insight.

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Searching for an app or old photo?

Try Command + Spacebar

This shortcut launches the "Spotlight Search," which can pretty quickly and easily bring you to just about anything you're looking for on your computer.

Bonus: You can also use it to do some basic conversions (including currency) and math!

Want to widen that search?

Try Option + Command + Spacebar

This will open up the full Spotlight Search menu, which will allow you to use filters in your search.

Hide the Porn (Just kidding … maybe)

Say you're looking at something on your computer you wouldn't want your kids to see. We'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume birthday presents (or, you know … something slightly more naughty). What do you do if one of your children then suddenly runs up behind you and jumps into your lap, demanding a turn on your computer?

Command + H

Seriously, this is your go-to savior in the world of Internet surfing as a mom. It will hide whatever you're looking at, not to be found again until you go back in search of it. Promise.

Explore "hot corners"

Say you want to walk away from your computer, but you want to make sure it's secure without putting it into sleep mode or shutting it down. "Hot Corners" is the trick for you. When this is enabled, you can simply move your cursor to the right hand side of your screen to prompt a password the next time you try to access it.

To turn this feature on, click on your Apple menu on the top left-hand side of your screen, then go to System Preferences, Desktop and Screen Saver, the Screen Saver tab, and finally: Hot Corners.

There are a few other items you can trigger there, so don't be afraid to explore!

Wondering about the right click?

Try Control + Clicking Your Trackpad

PC users are awfully fond of their right click menu, and for good reason—that thing is helpful! But you can pull up the same menu on your Mac with this shortcut. Or, you can go into your system preferences, click on mouse settings, and enable two other right click options. On my current system, I can simply click on the right hand side of my trackpad for the same old user experience.

Speaking of that trackpad ...

Transitioning to the trackpad can take some time for PC converts. Here are a few things you should know about what that trackpad can accomplish:

· Try placing two fingers on your trackpad to scroll up or down a webpage or document.

· Return to your previous page by swiping two fingers across the trackpad from left to right.

· Use two fingers to pinch and zoom (just like you would on your iPhone) to get a closer look at anything on your screen.

· If you're in full screen mode and want to get back to your desktop, just swipe with three fingers.

Make your own shortcuts

Yep, that's right—if none of these shortcuts suit your needs, or the keys don't seem all that intuitive to you, you can make your own.

Click your Apple menu, then go to system preferences, the keyboard icon and "shortcuts."

You'll see a list of shortcuts there. A quick double click on the current shortcut will allow you to change things up—not to mention, explore the possibilities before you.

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Haven't made the switch yet?

As someone who is on her computer eight to 10 hours a day, I can honestly say that the switch to a Mac was one of the best moves I've ever made (Apple had nothing to do with this post). John agrees, explaining that he often encourages people to switch because of Apple customer service, the life and longevity of Apple devices, the included applications, the mobile productivity, and the improved ability to create. Plus, he told me the systems themselves are simply more intuitive—he gets far fewer user questions from Mac users than PC loyalists.

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