You’ve finally decided to give up your Windows PC for a Mac. Now you’re staring at an unfamiliar machine, with functions that are just different enough to make you wonder whether you made the right decision.
As with any new device, there’s a learning curve when you switch to a Mac. In time and with some practice, you’ll wonder why you were ever intimidated. In the short term, though, there are a few things to do right away to make your transition as seamless as possible.
1. Protect Against Viruses
You’ve probably heard that Macs are “immune” to viruses. In reality, while Macs tend to be less vulnerable to viruses than PCs — mostly because until recently there haven’t been enough of them in the marketplace to make attacking them worthwhile — the tide is shifting. The growing proliferation of Apple devices has gotten hackers’ attention, and they are working hard to develop malware to attack the previously safe machines. In addition, Macs can be carriers of viruses that infect PCs, meaning that even if you don’t get a virus yourself, you could spread harmful code to your friends and associates who aren’t running Macs. In short, antivirus for Mac is inexpensive, it’s easy to install and doesn’t slow down or affect your machine’s performance in any way other than keep it safe from cyber criminals, so there is no reason not to install it.
2. Protect Your Apple ID
When you launch your Mac, you’re prompted to create an Apple ID. If you already have an Apple device like an iPhone or iPod, you most likely already have one, and you can use that same ID or establish a new one using a different email address. This ID grants you access to all of your Apple accounts, including the App Store and iTunes, as well as helps you conduct the initial setup of your machine. If you enter an existing Apple ID into the Mac, it will automatically load all of your personal data into the computer, including contacts and email. Because the Apple ID is the key to your entire digital life, it’s important that you protect it. Take advantage of Apple’s optional two-factor authentication, and develop a strong password to keep your ID safe.
3. Learn Basic Commands
One area in which PC users tend to have the most trouble when switching to a Mac is the different commands. Things that are second nature on a PC, like right clicking on the mouse and Ctrl+Alt+Delete do not work on a Mac. Even the buttons for closing, minimizing or maximizing open screens are different. Take some time to learn some of the basic shortcuts to accomplish common tasks; Apple even offers a handy cheat sheet on its website that you can print for easy reference. The sooner you learn these new commands and memorize them, the more likely you are to avoid frustration.
4. Back Up Before You Transfer
In the past, it was difficult to transfer files from a PC to a Mac due to compatibility issues. That’s no longer the case, and you shouldn’t have any trouble transferring your documents, photos, videos and music. Before you transfer files, via Dropbox, MobileMe or another transfer service, or even use a USB or other external storage device, back everything up in a secure location. That way, in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, you won’t permanently lose access to your files. Also, this is a good time to clean out your files; the more you have, the longer the transfer will take, so delete any unnecessary or duplicate files before making the move.
5. Know How to Install Programs
Most of the programs that you’re familiar with have versions for the MacOS. Apple prefers to have customers download programs from the App store, which is the easiest and most efficient way to get the programs you need —especially since the programs you acquire from the App Store are connected to your Apple ID and if you get a new device, you can easily download your existing apps to it.
However, some popular programs like Microsoft Office and Adobe aren’t available through the App store, so you will have to either purchase a physical disk or download right from the developer. Keep in mind that even if you already have a license for a program, like Microsoft Office, you aren’t going to be able to transfer that license to the Mac, and will have to purchase a new one.
Switching from a PC to a Mac requires a bit of a learning curve, but if you take your time and learn the basics first, it won’t be long before you know exactly how to do everything you need.