Extended Warranty. If you buy a Mac, get AppleCare+, which extends the warranty from one year to three.

Essential Hardware

Besides what came in the Macintosh box, you will need some other hardware. Some places I buy equipment: Apple Online Store,, Other World Computing, physical Apple Store.

If you have a laptop, you probably want a bag for it: I have liked bags by be.ez and STM. Amazon has some basic laptop bags that are less expensive. I use a cheap USB mouse with my laptop. (Wireless mice need new AA batteries every couple of weeks; you can use rechargeable batteries and a charger.)

Docks, Ports, and Devices

Tne new m1 and m2 MacBooks provide only USB-C sockets.

A nice TidBITS article by Glenn Fleishman explains USB-C, Thunderbolt 3, and other protocols.

You can buy individual adapters from Apple to connect all kinds of devices to the USB-C sockets, such as Ethernet connections, USB-A devices, SD card readers, and Thunderbolt 2 drives. For example, Apple sells this thunderbolt-2 adapter for $49. You can also get official Apple adapters for USB-C to VGA video, HDMI video, Lightning cables for iPhone Apple Watch chargers, headphone jacks, SD card readers, and so on. This can get costly.

You may have more peripherals than sockets: MacBook Airs have only 2 USB-C sockets, and Macbook Pros have 3. I use a "dock" that connects to one USB-C socket on tme Mac and provides sockets for plugging in 12 simultaneous devices. I use a NewQ dock that turns one USB-c connection into 12, and supports dual monitors. Costs about $49. (There is a similar product that comes with an external power supply, costs more.)

Docks like this are great, but they don't work for every case. I connected an Apple CD/DVD SuperDrive to my dock's USB-A socket, and macOS popped up a warning that the device "needs power" and instructed me to connect it to a port on my computer. I had to use a USB-C to USB-A adapter cable to get the drive to work.

For traveling, I use a smaller dock from Plugable. It costs $39 and supports 7 simultaneous connections.

Essential Settings

Visit everything in System Settings and set these items, and make a page in your notebook for settings you made.

Essential Software


There is a lot of free software available for the Mac. Some of it is more trouble than it is worth. Be conservative. Here are a few that I use.

Installing Malwarebytes: you need not buy a subscription; the basic Malwarebytes app will work for free. Occasinoally it will pop up an alert like "Security Advisor: you have unresolved securty actions. Click to improve your protection." to try to upsell you. You need not click this, or buy anything. The free version od Malwarebytes will run once a day, or when you click "Start Scan."

Comes with the Mac


These cost money. Worth it.

Essential Web sites

Here are some web sites I use often. Some require signup or accounts. You can add shortcuts to your favorites to your browser's bookmarks bar.

Essential Tips for Mac Users

OSX Daily has a nice article with essential tips for new Mac users.

Home | FAQ © 2010-2024, Tom Van Vleck updated 2024-02-09 13:03