Apple designs and programs their products with convenience and efficiency highly in mind. This is absolutely true of their computers and laptops that utilize OS X. Applications, or ‘apps’ as they are often called nowadays, are the backbone of the OS X operating system. Anytime someone does something in OS X, they are using an app. Even Finder, the all-important feature used to find any document or application on the computer, is itself an app. This article will go over the basics of apps, such as how users can find and install them as well as the various tricks Apple has set in place to easily access them.
Apple makes finding apps easy. The App Store, also itself an application, comes as part of OS X out of the box, and offers a massive and continuously growing collection of applications that vary from free to download to hundreds of dollars in price. There are also applications, such as Microsoft Office, that can be found and bought separately online or at stores that sell software.
Installing applications may seem very simply, but for someone new to Mac whose previous experience lies with an operating system such as Windows, the difference can be confusing at first. Many applications on Mac are extremely easy to install. A window will pop up that has the icon of the application being installed, instructing the user to drag it into the applications folder (which is even in some cases automatically in the same window as the icon being dragged). This action is so guileless, in fact, that it can baffle users. The other common method of installing an application is more similar to Windows installations and requires only slightly more effort. Users double-click the application’s icon causing an installation window to open and they must click through the installation.
Once an application is installed, Apple has provided a wealth of avenues for users to take advantage of it. They can open up Finder and go to the applications folder and double-click it to launch. Alternatively, if they have the applications folder on the dock, they can open it from there with a single click. Users can also search for the application using Spotlight, which can be accessed by hitting the space bar and command key simultaneously or clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the screen. Once it is found in spotlight, a press of the return key or click of the mouse will open the desired program. Also, if the application is selected (highlighted), whether it be on the desktop or in finder, the user can also open it by pressing command and the down arrow.
Users can also control which application is launched when they open a file. Every file has a default application, but by right clicking it and going to “Open With,” users can select from all the applications that have the ability to open it. The default application can also be changed by right clicking a file and clicking “Get Info.” In the middle of the column that appears will be a tab titled “Open With,” where users can choose the default app from a drop down menu.
These are some of the basic tips that any new Mac user should grasp in order to maximize the functionality and efficiency of their computing experience. By understanding applications and how best to use them, users begin the path to becoming an expert of OS X.