5 MacBook Features You Never Knew You Had
Hidden Capabilities Every MacBook® Owner Should Know About
It’s no “hidden secret” that people LOVE their MacBooks™! I personally made the switch 5 years ago, and haven’t looked back since. I’m always learning new, fun & even productive things my MacBook is capable of. And whenever I find a cool new feature, I love to spread the word to my fellow “MacBookies.”
Since not everyone has the time to sit down and research every hidden feature on their device, I decided to create a “Top 5 List” of my all-time favorite, lesser-known MacBook capabilities. This list includes a range of features from productive, to surprising, to just downright fun! Keep scrolling to see all the awesome things you can do with your MacBook.
- Use Your iPad as a Second Screen
Working from home has pushed many people to get creative with their home office set-ups. At the office, you may have had access to double screens that made your workflow much easier to handle, but now a lot of people find themselves stuck at home having to make do with what they have, or having to go out and shell out a ton of money on an extra monitor.
HAVE NO FEAR – SIDECAR IS HERE!
Your iPad isn’t just for playing an intense round of Plants vs. Zombies™ during your lunch break. Put it to work for you as an extra screen for your MacBook! To take advantage of this awesome feature, you need to make sure that both your iPad and MacBook have the latest OS update. You’ll also need to make sure your devices are connected to your iCloud, and that Wifi & Bluetooth are both turned on.
To Initiate Sidecar:
- Find the “Airplay™” icon on your MacBook’s menu and select it.
- Now, select your iPad’s name from the menu.
- Sidecar should now be working on your iPad, try moving a window over to the screen.
You can also mirror your screen, rather than it just being an extension of your display. To do this, select the “Airplay” menu again and then click to mirror the display.
- Customize Your Folder Icons
Do you have the Blue Folder Blues? Don’t worry; I’ve got just the cure! Did you know that you can use any image as a folder icon? The screenshot above is actually from my MacBook! These once blue folders were dragging down the overall vibe of my home screen, so I decided to make it a little fun and make my folder emoji-themed instead!
Now, of course, you don’t have to go the emoji route. You can get as creative as you want! The possibilities are endless, and the process is surprisingly simple.
To Customize Your Folder Icons:
- Find the image you want (we recommend those with transparent backgrounds).
- Copy the image using Command (⌘) + C
- Right-click the folder you want to assign the image to and select “Get Info”
- Now, click the small blue folder at the very top of the window that appears and press Command (⌘) + V – Your image should now appear as the folder icon.
- Smaller Volume Increments
Are you a volume flipper like me? I feel like I am constantly fiddling with my Mac’s volume button trying to find the perfect level – and yet it eludes me! Well, that is, until I found this super neat trick! For the longest time, I had no clue that you can actually adjust your MacBook’s volume in smaller increments than if you were to simply press the volume button.
To Adjust Volume in Small Increments:
- Press the Option button (⌥ ) + Shift and then adjust the volume while holding both of these buttons down.
- You should now see the volume indicator on your MacBook’s screen stepping-up or down in much smaller increments.
- Sign Documents via Preview
Signing documents used to be so aggravating to me before I found out about this feature available in “Preview” on my MacBook. It meant having to print out the document, sign it, scan it, and send it back. All of that work just to get a signature? I knew there had to be a better way – AND THERE IS!
The Preview application, by Apple, allows you to actually create a digital signature using your MacBook’s Trackpad! How cool is that?
To Create Your Signature:
- Open your desired document in Preview. Select the Signature icon from the top menu of the window.
- Select “Click Here to Begin”
- Use your finger to sign your name on the Trackpad.
- You should see the digital version appear in the window, if you are happy with it, select “Done.” If you’d like to try again select “Clear.”
Once you have saved your signature in Preview, anytime you press the signature icon on the top menu, it will import your John Hancock– right into your document. You can even save multiple signatures, or even your initials! How convenient is that?
- Speak Your Words onto the Page (Literally!)
Another really cool & productive feature on your MacBook is dictation, aka Voice Control. When you enable this feature, everything you say out loud is then written down in the application of your choice. I stumbled across this neat trick while I was in college, and boy, was it a lifesaver!
I didn’t always have the time to dedicate hours typing out a paper, and writer’s block tended to kick in whenever I sat down at a keyboard. My words flowed much more freely when I could turn on Voice Control, step away from the computer, and just speak instead. Whether you’re using it to brainstorm lyrics or write up that term paper, this feature has a place in every MacBook user’s life!
To Open Voice Control:
- Open your “System Preferences” menu and select “Accessibility.”
- On the side menu, scroll until you see “Voice Control.”
- Check the box “Enable Voice Command.”
- A box should appear with a microphone on it.
- Select whatever program you would like your text to appear on, then start talking! You should see your words appear on-screen.
- If you need to step away or have to say something you don’t want to put on the page, just press the “Sleep” button. When you want to start speaking again, press “Wake Up.”
- Once you’re done, uncheck the “Enable Voice Command” box to end your session.
There you have it! My top 5 favorite hidden MacBook features. I hope that at least a few of these features are new to you. Whether you own a Macbook Pro or MacBook Air, these hidden features are super useful! It’s pretty amazing what these capabilities can do for our productivity– and how much more personal they can make our devices feel, too. Be sure to subscribe to our e-mail list and check out our blog regularly to get the latest tech news, tips, tricks, and more!
And if you’re not a MacBook user, don’t feel left out- check out our favorite hidden PC features here instead.