Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Mavericks Edition (2014)

Introduction

What’s going on with the Mac these days?

Apple was the only computer company whose sales actually increased during the recession. The Mac’s market share has quadrupled since 2005—it’s now around 20 percent of computer sales in the U.S. And then there’s the most significant statistic of all: you, sitting there reading this book—because, obviously, you intend to switch to (or add on) a Mac.

What’s going on?

Maybe it’s the “halo effect”: the coolness of all those iPads and iPhones is rubbing off onto the rest of Apple’s product line. Maybe people have grown weary of boring beige and black boxes. Maybe it’s the convenience of the Apple Stores. Maybe potential switchers feel more confident to take the plunge, since more and more of life is moving online, where it makes no difference what kind of computer you have.

Or maybe people have just spent one Saturday too many dealing with viruses, worms, spyware, crapware, excessive startup processes, questionable firewalls, inefficient permissions, and all the other land mines strewn across the Windows world.

In any case, there’s never been a better time to make the switch. Mac OS X version 10.9 (nicknamed Mavericks) is gorgeous, easy to understand, and virus-free. Apple’s computers are in top form, too, complete with features like built-in hi-def video cameras, built-in Ethernet, illuminated keyboards, and two different kinds of wireless connections. If you’re talking laptops, the story is even better: Apple’s laptops generally cost less than similarly outfitted Windows laptops, and they weigh less, too. Plus, they look a lot cooler.

And then there’s that Intel processor that sizzles away inside today’s Macs. Yes, it lets you run Windows—and Windows programs—at blazing speed, right there on your Macintosh. (Hell really has frozen over.) Chapter 8 has the details.

That’s not to say, however, that switching to the Mac is all sunshine and bunnies. The Macintosh is a different machine, running a different operating system, and built by a company with a different philosophy—a fanatical control freak/perfectionist zeal. When it comes to their missions and ideals, Apple and Microsoft have about as much in common as a melon and a shoehorn.

In any case, you have three challenges before you. First, you’ll probably want to copy your Windows stuff over to the new Mac. Some of that is easy to transfer (photos, music, Microsoft Office documents), and some is trickier (email messages, address books, buddy lists).

Second, you have to assemble a suite of Macintosh programs that do what you’re used to doing in Windows. Most programs from Microsoft, Adobe, and other major players are available in nearly identical Mac and Windows formats. But, occasionally, it’s more difficult: Many programs are available only for Windows, and it takes some research (or Chapter 7 of this book) to help you find Macintosh replacements.

Finally, you have to learn OS X itself; after all, it came preinstalled on your new Mac. In some respects, it resembles the latest versions of Windows: There’s a taskbar-like thing, a Control Panel–like thing, and, of course, a Trash can. At the same time, hundreds of features you thought you knew have been removed, replaced, or relocated. (If you ever find yourself groping for an old favorite feature, see Appendix C, The “Where’d It Go?” Dictionary.)

NOTE

In OS X, the X is meant to be a Roman numeral, pronounced “ten.” Unfortunately, many people see “OS X” and say “Oh Ess Ex.” That’s a sure way to get funny looks in public.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION: ALL ABOUT “MAVERICKS”

Why is the operating system called Mavericks?

Most software companies develop their wares in secret, using code names for new products to throw outsiders off the scent. Apple’s code names for OS X and its descendants were named after big cats: OS X was Cheetah, 10.1 was Puma, 10.2 was Jaguar, 10.3 was Panther, 10.4 was Tiger, 10.5 was Leopard, 10.6 was Snow Leopard, 10.7 was Lion, and 10.8 was Mountain Lion.

(A mountain lion is actually the same thing as a cougar, which is the same thing as a puma. But let’s not quibble.)

Usually, the code name is dropped as soon as the product is complete, whereupon the marketing department gives it a new name. In OS X’s case, though, Apple thought its cat names were cool enough to retain for the finished product.

But then it pretty much ran out of species. What was left? Bobcat? Cougar? Ocelot?

So beginning with OS X 10.9, Apple’s naming system moved on—to famous places in California. Mavericks is a famous big-wave surfing spot in Northern California.

Now you know.

What OS X Gives You

These days, a key attraction of the Mac—at least as far as switchers are concerned—is security. Viruses and spyware are almost nonexistent on the Mac. (Even Microsoft Word macro viruses don’t run in OS X.) For many people, that’s a good enough reason to move to OS X right there.

NOTE

Apple no longer refers to its computer operating system as Mac OS X. Now it’s just “OS X,” without the “Mac.” Why? Apple says it’s to match up better with iOS, its operating system for the iPhone and iPad.

Along the same lines, Mail, Mac OS X’s built-in email program, deals surprisingly well with spam, the unsolicited junk email that’s become the scourge of the Internet.

If you ask average people why the Mac isn’t overrun by viruses and spyware, as Windows is, they’ll probably tell you, “Because the Mac’s market share is too small for the bad guys to write for.”

That may be true (although 80 million machines isn’t too shabby, as targets go). But there’s another reason, too: OS X is a relatively young operating system. It was created only in 2001, and with security in mind. (Contrast that with Windows, whose original versions were written before the Internet even existed.) OS X’s built-in firewall makes it virtually impossible for hackers to break into your Mac, and the system insists on getting your permission before anything gets installed. Nothing can slip in behind your back.

But freedom from gunkware and viruses is only one big-ticket item. Here are a few other joys of becoming a Mac fan:

§  Stability. Underneath the Mac’s shimmering, translucent desktop is Unix, the industrial strength, rock-solid OS that drives many a Web site and a university. It’s not new by any means; in fact, it’s decades old, and has been polished by generations of programmers. That’s precisely why former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his team chose it as the basis for the NeXT operating system, which Jobs worked on during his 12 years away from Apple and which Apple bought in 1997 to turn into Mac OS X.

§  No nagging. OS X isn’t copy-protected. It’s free, too. You can install it on as many Macs as your family owns. When you buy a new Mac, you’re never, ever asked to type in a code off a sticker. Nor must you “register,” “activate,” sign up for “.NET Passport,” or endure any other friendly suggestions unrelated to your work. And you won’t find any cheesy software demos from other companies clogging up your desktop when you buy a new Mac, either. In short, OS X leaves you alone.

§  Great software. OS X comes with several dozen useful programs, from Mail (for email) to a 3-D, voice-activated Chess program. The most famous programs, though, are the famous Apple “iApps”: iTunes for working with audio files, iMovie for editing video, iPhoto for managing your digital photos, GarageBand for creating and editing digital music, and so on. You also get Messages (a Yahoo-, AOL-, Jabber-, and Google Talk-compatible instant messaging program that also offers videoconferencing) and Calendar, a calendar program, plus iPaddish apps like Maps and iBooks.

§  Simpler everything. Most applications on the Mac show up as a single icon. All the support files are hidden away inside, where you don’t have to look at them. There’s no Add/Remove Programs program on the Macintosh; in general, you can remove a program from your Mac simply by dragging that one application icon to the Trash, without having to worry that you’re leaving scraps behind.

§  Desktop features. OS X offers a long list of useful desktop features that will be new to you, the Windows refugee.

For example, spring-loaded folders let you drag an icon into a folder within a folder within a folder with a single drag, without leaving a wake of open windows. An optional second line under an icon’s name tells you how many items are in a folder, what the dimensions of a graphic are, and so on. And there’s a useful column view, which lets you view the contents of many nested folders at a glance. (You can think of it as a horizontal version of Windows Explorer’s folder tree.)

When your screen gets cluttered with windows, you can temporarily hide all of them with a single keystroke. If you want to see all the windows on your screen without any of them overlapping, OS X’s Mission Control feature is your best friend (Launchpad).

A speedy, system-wide Find command called Spotlight is accessible from any program. It searches not only the names of your files and folders, but also the words inside your documents, and can even search your email, calendar, address book, Web bookmarks, and about 100 other kinds of data, all at once.

Finally, OS X offers the Dashboard (something like the widgets in Windows Vista and Windows 7). It lets you summon dozens of miniprograms—a calculator, weather forecaster, dictionary, and so on—with a single keystroke, and dismiss them just as easily. You can download thousands more of these so-called widgets from the Internet, making it even easier to find TV listings, Google search results, local movie showtimes, and more, no matter what program you’re using at the moment.

§  Advanced graphics. Mac programmers get excited about the set of advanced graphics technologies called Quartz (for two-dimensional graphics) and OpenGL (for three-dimensional graphics). For the rest of us, these technologies translate into a beautiful, translucent look for the desktop, smooth-looking (antialiased) onscreen lettering, and the ability to turn any document on the screen into an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file. And then there are the slick animations that permeate every aspect of OS X: the rotating-cube effect when you switch from one logged-in person to another, the “genie” effect when you minimize a window to the Dock, and so on.

§  Advanced networking. When it comes to hooking up your computer to others, including those on the Internet, few operating systems can touch OS X. It offers advanced features like multihoming, which lets your laptop switch automatically from its cable modem settings to its wireless or dial-up modem settings when you take it on the road.

If you’re not so much a switcher as an adder (you’re getting a Mac but keeping the PC around), you’ll be happy to hear that Macs and Windows PCs can “see” each other on a network automatically, too. As a result, you can open, copy, and work on files on both types of machines as though the religious war between Macs and PCs had never even existed.

§  Voice control, keyboard control. You can operate almost every aspect of every program entirely from the keyboard—or even by voice. These are terrific timesavers for efficiency freaks. In fact, the Mac can also read aloud any text in any program, including Web pages, email, your novel, you name it.

§  Full buzzword compliance. You can’t read an article about OS X without hearing certain technical buzzwords that were once exclusively the domain of computer engineers: preemptive multitasking, multithreading, symmetrical multiprocessing, dynamic memory allocation, and memory protection, for example.

What it all adds up to is that OS X is very stable, that a crashing program can’t crash the whole machine, that the Macintosh can exploit multiple processors, and that the Mac can easily do more than one thing at once—downloading files, playing music, and opening a program, for example—all simultaneously.

§  A command-line interface. In general, Apple has completely hidden from you every trace of the Unix operating system that lurks beneath OS X’s beautiful skin. For the benefit of programmers and other technically oriented fans, however, Apple left uncovered a tiny passageway into that far more complex realm: Terminal, a program in your Applications→Utilities folder.

If the idea of an all-text operating system gets you going, you can capitalize on the command-line interface of OS X by typing out commands in the Terminal window, which the Mac executes instantly and efficiently. Think DOS prompt, just faster and more useful. (Curious? There’s a free online PDF appendix to this book—called “Terminal Crash Course”—waiting for you. It’s on this book’s “Missing CD” at www.missingmanuals.com.)

What OS X Takes Away

Besides quirks like viruses, spyware, and the Start menu, there are some substantial things on a PC that you lose when you switch to the Mac:

§  Programs. Certain programs are still Windows-only. You can always search for replacements—using Chapter 7 of this book as a guide, for example—but you may end up having to pay for them. And, of course, there are a few programs—like some proprietary accounting and laboratory software, and lots of games—where the Windows versions are simply irreplaceable. For those, you have to keep a PC around or run Windows on your Mac (Chapter 8).

§  Peripherals. Most add-on devices nowadays work equally well on both Windows PCs and Macs. That includes printers, scanners, digital cameras (still- and video- varieties), and “multifunction” devices that incorporate several of those attributes into one machine.

Unfortunately, sometimes the Mac software for a gadget isn’t as full-featured as the Windows version. Sometimes some of the features on a multifunction printer/scanner aren’t available on the Mac. If you have a device made by an obscure manufacturer—especially if the device is more than a few years old—it may not work with your Mac at all.

Still, all hope is not lost. Chapter 9 can get you out of most hardware ruts you may find yourself in while making the Big Switch.

About This Book

Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual is divided into five parts, each containing several chapters:

§  Part One, covers the essentials of the Macintosh. It’s a crash course in everything you see onscreen when you turn on the machine: the Dock, Sidebar, icons, windows, menus, scroll bars, Trash, aliases,  menu, and so on.

§  Part Two, is dedicated to the actual process of hauling your software, settings, and even peripherals (like printers and monitors) across the chasm from the PC to the Mac. It covers both the easy parts (copying over your documents, pictures, and music files) and the harder ones (transferring your email, address books, buddy lists, and so on). It also covers the steps for running Windows on your Mac, which is an extremely attractive option.

§  Part Three, walks you through the process of setting up an Internet connection on your Mac. It also covers Apple’s Internet software suite: Mail, Contacts, Safari, and Messages.

NOTE

Much of Parts Two and Three is adapted from OS X Mavericks: The Missing Manual. That book is a fatter, more in-depth guide to OS X.

§  Part Four, deals with more advanced topics—and aims to turn you into a Macintosh power user. It teaches you how to set up private accounts for people who share a Mac, create a network for file sharing and screen sharing, navigate the System Preferences program (the Mac equivalent of the Windows Control Panel), use the Notification Center, and operate the 50 or so freebie bonus programs that come with OS X.

§  Part Five. At the end of the book, you’ll find four appendixes. The first two cover installation and troubleshooting. The third is the “Where’d It Go?” Dictionary—an essential reference for anyone who occasionally (or frequently) flounders to find some familiar control in the new, alien Macintosh environment. The last is a master keyboard-shortcut list for the entire Mac universe.

About→These→Arrows

Throughout this book—and throughout the Missing Manual series—you’ll find sentences like this one: “Open the System→Libraries→Fonts folder.” That’s shorthand for a much longer instruction that directs you to open three nested folders in sequence, like this: “On your hard drive, you’ll find a folder called System. Open that. Inside the System folder window is a folder called Libraries; double-click it to open it. Inside that folder is yet another one called Fonts. Double-click to open it, too.”

Similarly, this kind of arrow shorthand helps to simplify the business of choosing commands in menus, as shown in Figure 1.

In this book, arrow notations help to simplify folder and menu instructions. For example, “Choose →Dock→Position on Left” is a more compact way of saying, “From the menu, choose Dock; from the submenu that then appears, choose Position on Left,” as shown here.

Figure 1. In this book, arrow notations help to simplify folder and menu instructions. For example, “Choose →Dock→Position on Left” is a more compact way of saying, “From the  menu, choose Dock; from the submenu that then appears, choose Position on Left,” as shown here.

About MissingManuals.com

If you visit www.missingmanuals.com, click the “Missing CD” link, and then click the title of this book, you’ll find a neat, organized, chapter-by-chapter list of the shareware and freeware mentioned in this book. (As noted on the inside back cover, having the software online instead of on a CD saved you $5 on the cost of the book.)

The Web site also offers corrections and updates to the book (to see them, click the book’s title, and then click Errata). In fact, you’re encouraged to submit such corrections and updates yourself. In an effort to keep the book as up to date and accurate as possible, each time we print more copies, we’ll make any confirmed corrections you’ve suggested. We’ll also note such changes on the Web site, so that you can mark important corrections into your own copy of the book, if you like.

The Very Basics

To use this book, and indeed to use a Mac, you need to know a few basics. This book assumes you’re familiar with a few terms and concepts:

§  Clicking. This book gives you three kinds of instructions that require you to use the Mac’s mouse. To click means to point the arrow cursor at something on the screen and then—without moving the cursor—press and release the clicker button on the mouse (or your laptop trackpad). Todouble-click, of course, means to click twice in rapid succession, again without moving the cursor at all. And to drag means to move the cursor while holding down the button.

When you’re told to ⌘-click something, you click while pressing the ⌘ key (which is next to the space bar). Shift-clicking, Option-clicking, and Control-clicking work the same way—just click while pressing the corresponding keys.

§  Menus. The menus are the words at the top of your screen: , File, Edit, and so on. Click one to make a list of commands appear.

Some people click and release to open a menu and then, after reading the choices, click again on the one they want. Other people like to press the mouse button continuously after the initial click on the menu title, drag down the list to the desired command, and only then release the mouse button. Either method works fine.

§  Dialog boxes. See Figure 2 for a tour of the onscreen elements you’ll frequently be asked to use, like checkboxes, radio buttons, tabs, and so on.

Knowing what you’re doing on the Mac often requires knowing that things are called. Here are some of the most common onscreen elements. They include checkboxes (turn on as many as you like) and radio buttons (only one can be turned on in each grouping).Pressing Return is usually the same as clicking the default button—the lower-right button that almost always means “OK, I’m done here.”

Figure 2. Knowing what you’re doing on the Mac often requires knowing that things are called. Here are some of the most common onscreen elements. They include checkboxes (turn on as many as you like) and radio buttons (only one can be turned on in each grouping). Pressing Return is usually the same as clicking the default button—the lower-right button that almost always means “OK, I’m done here.”

§  Keyboard shortcuts. If you’re typing along in a burst of creative energy, it’s disruptive to have to grab the mouse to use a menu. That’s why many computer fans prefer to trigger menu commands by pressing certain combinations on the keyboard. For example, in word processors, you can press ⌘-B to produce a boldface word. When you read an instruction like “press ⌘-B,” start by pressing the ⌘ key, and then, while it’s down, type the letter B, and finally release both keys.

TIP

You know what’s really nice? The keystroke to open the Preferences dialog box in every Apple program—Mail, Safari, iMovie, iPhoto, TextEdit, Preview, and on and on—is always the same: ⌘-comma. Better yet, that standard is catching on with other software companies, too; Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint use the same keystroke, for example.

§  Icons. The colorful inch-tall pictures that appear in your various desktop folders are the graphic symbols that represent each program, disk, and document on your computer. If you click an icon one time, it darkens, indicating that you’ve just highlighted or selected it. Now you’re ready to manipulate it by using, for example, a menu command.

A few more tips on mastering the Mac keyboard appear in Chapter 1. Otherwise, if you’ve digested this much information, you have all the technical background you need to enjoy Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual.

The Mavericks Difference

If you could choose only one word to describe Apple’s overarching design goal in recent OS X versions, there’s no doubt about what it would be: iPad. That’s right. In this software, Apple has gone about as far as it could go in trying to turn the Mac into an iPad.

Two things made the iPad the fastest-selling electronic gadget in history. First, it’s so simple. No overlapping windows; every app runs full screen. No Save command; everything is autosaved. No files or folders. No menus. All your apps are in one place, the Home screen. To beginners, technophobes, and even old-timers, the iPad’s software represents a refreshing decluttering of the modern computer.

The second huge iPad sales point is that multitouch screen. You operate the whole thing by touching or dragging your fingers on the glass. For example, you cycle through screens by swiping. You zoom out on a map, photo, or Web page by pinching two fingers. You rotate a photo by twisting two fingers, and so on.

So Apple thought, if simplicity and touch gestures made the iPad a megahit, why can’t we do the same for the Mac?

And it set out to bring as many of the iPad’s features and as much of its personality to your Mac as possible. Today’s OS X features like Full Screen mode, Auto Save, and Launchpad are total iPad rip-offs; if Apple hadn’t stolen these features from itself, it would surely be suing for copyright infringement. In Mavericks, even the app names are the same as what’s on iOS: Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Game Center, Maps, iBooks, and so on.

Apple even brought the whole multitouch thing over to the Mac. No, you don’t touch the screen; you’d get screaming arm pain if you had to spend the day with your arm outstretched, manipulating tiny controls on a vertical surface three feet away. (The resulting ache actually has a name in the computer biz: gorilla arm.)

Instead, you use all those same iPad gestures and more, right on the surface of your laptop trackpad or (if you have Apple’s Magic Mouse) the top surface of the mouse.

All of OS X’s big-ticket features are intended to work together. For example, suppose you’re looking at a document in Full Screen view (feature #1). How are you supposed to switch to the next app? By swiping across the trackpad in the “next app” gesture (feature #2). Then you might pinch four fingers together (feature #3) to open Launchpad so you can open another program.

It’s a new way to work, for sure. And it’s optional. If it doesn’t float your boat, you can ignore all of it (Full Screen, gestures, Launchpad, Auto Save).

But you should at least make an informed decision—and that’s the purpose of the next few pages. They’re a tutorial. They walk you through a typical OS X working session the way Apple intended you to work. If you follow along, you’ll wind up with a good sense of how much you like (or don’t like) the iPaddified Mac.

NOTE

In this book, you’ll see touch gestures provided separately for trackpads (either the one on your laptop, or Apple’s external Magic Trackpad) and the Magic Mouse (Apple’s latest mouse, whose surface is touch sensitive).

Why aren’t the gestures identical? Because the Magic Mouse requires at least two fingers to hold, so some of the more multi-fingered gestures aren’t practical. And remember, on the trackpad you need a finger just to move the cursor—and on the Magic Mouse, moving the mouse moves the cursor.

Launchpad

All right. It’s Monday morning. Yawn, stretch, fluff your hair (if any).

You want to start with a quick Web check. And for that, you’ll need Safari, the Mac’s Web browser.

1.    Put four fingers on the trackpad (thumb and three fingers), and pinch them inward toward the center.

If you have a Magic Mouse, just click Launchpad on the Dock.

Your screen goes dark and fills up with what looks like the Home screen on the iPhone or iPad. You’ve just opened Launchpad. Here are the icons of all your Mac’s programs, evenly spaced, arrayed (if there are lots of them) on multiple “pages.” Figure 3 shows the idea.

NOTE

The four-finger pinch gesture opens Launchpad only on trackpads. If you don’t have one, click the Launchpad icon on the Dock instead. It looks like a rocket ship ().

Suppose, for the sake of this exercise, that you can’t find the Safari icon. It’s on a different page.

Launchpad displays all your programs’ icons at once, neatly spaced and ready to open with a single click. To see more pages full of icons, swipe left or right with two fingers on your trackpad (or with one finger on your Magic Mouse).Also note the search box at top.

Figure 3. Launchpad displays all your programs’ icons at once, neatly spaced and ready to open with a single click. To see more pages full of icons, swipe left or right with two fingers on your trackpad (or with one finger on your Magic Mouse). Also note the search box at top.

2.    With two fingers on the trackpad, swipe left or right to change “pages.” Stop when you spot Safari.

If you have a Magic Mouse, swipe left or right with one finger.

TIP

This same gesture—swiping left or right—also works as Back or Forward in Safari.

You could, if you like, customize Launchpad just as you would on an iPhone or an iPad. You can drag the icons around, put them on different pages, combine them into folders, or delete them (Deleting App Store Programs). For now, you just want to open the Web browser.

3.    Click the Safari icon once.

That’s one difference between opening a program in Launchpad (one click) and in your Applications folder (two clicks).

Full Screen Mode, Safari

Once Safari opens, you’re ready for your first full-screen experience.

1.    Click the  icon in the upper-right corner of the Safari window.

With a smooth animation, your Mac hides the menu bar and the bookmarks bar. The only thing remaining is the address bar. The window’s edges expand all the way to the edges of the screen (Figure 4).

TIP

You may as well learn the keyboard shortcut to enter Full Screen mode: Control-⌘-F. The same keystroke leaves Full Screen mode, but you can also tap the Esc key for that purpose.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Full Screen mode, one of the flagship features of OS X. The idea is to fight back against the forces of window clutter that have been encroaching on your document windows for years now. Your actual work, your photo or Web page, fills every pixel of that giant screen you paid so much money for.

Figure 4. This, ladies and gentlemen, is Full Screen mode, one of the flagship features of OS X. The idea is to fight back against the forces of window clutter that have been encroaching on your document windows for years now. Your actual work, your photo or Web page, fills every pixel of that giant screen you paid so much money for.

You don’t have to panic, though. The menu bar is still available: Move the pointer to the top of the screen to make the menus reappear.

TIP

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a keyboard shortcut for bringing the menu bar back—if nothing else, so that you can check your battery level and the time of day? There is—but not one that Apple intended. Just press ⌘-space bar. That’s the keystroke for Spotlight, the Mac’s master search bar—but it also makes the menu bar appear. Press the same keystroke to hide the menu bar again.

For the next demonstration, call up an actual Web page, preferably one with a lot of text on it—www.nytimes.com, for example. Now suppose you want to scroll down the page.

2.    With two fingers on the trackpad, drag upward.

If you have a Magic Mouse, drag up with one finger.

If you just tried this, you’re no doubt frowning right now. You just scrolled down the page by moving your fingers up. That’s backward, isn’t it?

For your entire computing career so far, you’ve always dragged the scroll bar down to move the contents of the page up—and now, Apple has swapped the directions. Why would Apple throw such a monkey wrench into your life?

The main reason is (what else?) to make the Mac match the iPad/iPhone, where you drag your finger up to move the page up.

Anyway, you have two choices: You can spend a couple of days getting used to the new arrangement—or you can put things back the way they’ve always been. (To do that, open System Preferences. For a trackpad: Click Trackpad, click Scroll & Zoom, and then turn off “Scroll direction: natural.” For a Magic Mouse: Click Mouse, click Point & Click, and then turn off “Scroll direction: natural.”)

NOTE

If you have a non-Apple mouse that has a scroll wheel, then the Mouse preference pane doesn’t offer this scroll-direction option. You can still reverse the scroll-direction logic, though, if you’re handy in Terminal (Saving a report).

Just open Terminal and type defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false. When you press Return and log out, you’ll find that the time-honored scroll directions have been restored.

3.    Find a photo or a block of text. With two fingers, lightly double-tap the trackpad.

These are taps, not full clicks. On the Magic Mouse, double-tap with one finger.

Safari neatly magnifies the photo or text block to fill the screen, just as on an iPhone or an iPad. Neat, huh?

4.    Repeat the double-tap to restore the original size. Click a link to visit a different page.

For this demonstration, it doesn’t make any difference what other Web page you visit. The point is for you to see how cool it is when you swipe your trackpad instead of clicking the Back button.

5.    Go back to the first page by swiping leftward with two fingers on the trackpad.

On a Magic Mouse, use one finger.

The previous page slides back into view as though it’s a tile sliding into place. You can swipe the other way, too—to the right—to go forward a page.

Full Screen Apps, Mission Control

You’re still in Safari, right? And it’s still full screen, right?

But if Safari is full screen, how are you supposed to get to other open programs? That’s what you’ll find out in this exercise. You’ll get to see what it’s like to run multiple full-screen apps.

1.    Pinch your trackpad with your thumb and three fingers.

Launchpad appears, at your service. (As you may recall, this doesn’t work on the Magic Mouse, so if you’re trackpadless, you’ll have to exit Full Screen mode and then click Launchpad on the Dock.)

2.    Find Calendar.

You may have to change Launchpad “pages” to find it. Swipe horizontally with two fingers (trackpad) or one finger (Magic Mouse) to change pages.

3.    Click to open Calendar. Make the new window full screen by clicking the  in the upper-right corner.

In theory, you now have two apps running at full screen: Safari and Calendar. Now comes the fun part.

4.    With three fingers on the trackpad, swipe left or right.

(On the Magic Mouse, use two fingers.)

The Full Screen apps slide into or out of view. If you keep three-finger swiping to the right, you’ll see that Dashboard is all the way at the left end of the “channels” that you’re changing. (If it doesn’t work, somebody might have changed the setting to require four fingers in System Preferences.)

Here in Mission Control, each Full Screen app gets its own “screen,” as indicated by the map at top. But every running program appears here in the main screen area, in miniature. You can click one to jump there, or point and then press the space bar to get a full-size Quick Look.

Figure 5. Here in Mission Control, each Full Screen app gets its own “screen,” as indicated by the map at top. But every running program appears here in the main screen area, in miniature. You can click one to jump there, or point and then press the space bar to get a full-size Quick Look.

You’ll also discover that any other programs—the ones that aren’t full screen—are gathered onto a single screen, as they have been for years. Each Full Screen app is one “screen,” and the Finder and all your other apps huddle on another one. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

5.    With three fingers on the trackpad, swipe upward.

If you have a Magic Mouse, double-tap (don’t fully click) with two fingers.

You now enter Mission Control, a special screen full of miniatures of all your other screens; see Figure 5. (Again, if three fingers don’t work, someone might have changed your trackpad preferences to require four fingers.)

Mission Control has all kinds of cool features. It lets you jump to one window in a haystack. It lets you set up multiple virtual screens. It lets you reorganize the Full Screen app screens you already have. For the full rundown, jump to Launchpad.

In this miniature crash course, you’ve had a glimpse at the future that awaits you: a future of trackpad (or Magic Mouse) finger gestures, Full Screen apps, and the new centralized organizing features like Launchpad and Mission Control.

If any of this seems intimidating (or unnecessary), here’s the point to remember: It’s all optional. If you think the Mac works just fine without them, you can ignore the new features and forget about them completely.

But if you think you could get efficiency and pleasure out of adopting a couple of these features, then Mavericks is ready for you. Full speed ahead!