How to Use a Macbook

How to Use a Macbook

The MacBook was Apple’s alternative to two lesser products, the iMac and the PowerBook. The MacBook is mega popular, and represents the cheapest notebook computer that Macintosh offers, currently retailing for just under $1,000 online and in Apple retail stores.

Getting Started With Your MacBook

Your first step in cracking open your brand new MacBook is removing the protective film from the power adapter. Once the film is off, plug the computer in to the wall and the side of the MacBook itself. Don’t be alarmed by the magnetic pull from the power adapter plug — the MacBook’s power cord is attached with a weak magnetic force to allow for easy “breakaway”. If your power adapter cord isn’t long enough, Macintosh has provided an AC power cord.

Now it is time to connect all your various cables and peripherals.

When it comes to an Internet connection, you should connect your MacBook to your DSL modem, external modem, cable modem, or using an Ethernet cord to an Ethernet network. If you’re connecting to a wireless network through AirPort, you won’t need any cables to make an Internet connection.

If you plan on using a dial-up connection to connect to the Internet, you’ll have to purchase an external Apple USB modem, available online at the Apple website or in an Apple retail store. Once you have it, plug the Apple USB modem in to your MacBook and connect a phone line from the modem to a wall phone jack.

Turn On Your MacBookHow to Use a Macbook

To turn on your MacBook, press the power button. Make sure not to hold the button down. You’ll hear a tone when the MacBook is first turned on — don’t touch the power button after you hear this tone, or the computer will shut down again.

The MacBook shouldn’t take long to start up — just a few seconds. The first time you start your MacBook, a program called Setup Assistant will open automatically..

Using the Mouse on Your MacBook

The MacBook is equipped with a special trackpad instead of a mouse. The MacBook trackpad works just like a standard mouse, except you use your fingers to “track” the mouse icon on the screen rather than rolling the mouse around to select items. Using one finger on the trackpad moves the mouse pointed, but using two fingers allows you to ‘scroll’ up and down on the screen.

Instead of a traditional button or two or more buttons, the trackpad lets you use your fingers to select, click, and double-click. Just press the trackpad itself like you would press a mouse button.

Sleep Mode and Shutting Down Your MacBook

When you finish working with your MacBook, you can choose to ‘put it to sleep” or shut it down. If you only plan to be away from your MacBook for a short time, you can put it in sleep mode. This means you can quickly turn the MacBook back on (“wake it up”) and bypass the whole startup process.

Go to the menu bar, and select the “Apple” option. Then choose “sleep” from the drop down menu.

You could also press the power button, and click on “sleep” when a menu appears.

Another option for putting your laptop to sleep — in the Apple menu, click “System Preferences”, the click “Energy Saver” and set yourself a sleep timer. This will automatically put your MacBook to sleep according to your schedule.

A final way to put your MacBook to sleep — press and hold the “Play / Pause” button on the Apple Remote for three seconds. This will automatically put your MacBook in “sleep mode.”

When it is time to wake up your MacBook, simply open it up or press the power button or any other key on the keyboard, or press any button on the Apple Remote.

Shutting Down Your MacBook

If you don’t want to put your MacBook to sleep, or if you are planning on being away from it for a few hours, you should shut down the MacBook completely.

To shut down your MacBook, choose the Apple menu and click “Shut Down” from the drop down menu.¬†Alternatively, you could press the power button and select “shut down” in the menu that appears.

MacBook Display

Unlike the iMac or PowerBooks that came before it, the “glossy” screen of the MacBook stands out among other Mac products. Under the right conditions, the glossiness of the screen adds that extra “oomph” to graphics and interface, making black colors appear blacker, white colors whiter, and creating more intense colors on the display. The screen is, however, extremely reflective in bad conditions. Glare-filled environments, like offices or computer banks at the library, aren’t great environments for the glossy MacBook screen — all that gloss reflects off of itself and adds up to lots of glare for the MacBook user.

Apple was only comfortable with their ability to produce glossy screens right about the time the MacBook came out, and popular demand for these screens meant the MacBook just had to have them. The two things Apple appears to do better at in the world of glossy screens is a reduction in reflection levels under certain light conditions, and corrections made to the screens to fix color distortion problems so common in PC laptops. The MacBook’s screen has tested at 80 percent brighter than the old iBook screen, so overall the new glossy screen is an improvement.

MacBook Size

The MacBook currently exists in only one size. To get a larger size, you have to go for a MacBook Pro, which comes in three different screen sizes. Rumors of Apple planning to build a large screen MacBook (cheaper than the Pro but larger than the current MacBook line) have remained just that. If you want a screen larger than thirteen inches, you’ll have to buy a MacBook Pro model. The transition Apple made to Intel processors convinced some folks that Apple was ready to put together a smaller model, but none has appeared.

The entry-level MacBook is aimed at the general computer consumer, particularly lower income types like college students and young professionals. Still, it has a dual-core processor, more than justifying the higher cost for what is essentially a low-end notebook computer.

The MacBook model has been extremely successful for Macintosh. At any given time, the MacBook or MacBook Pro model is probably the best-selling computer in America. Though you don’t have as many options when buying a MacBook (especially when compared to the uber-customizable MacBook Pro line), you’re buying a great notebook with the backing of a company known for customer service.


  1. gioia m parrish says:

    my Macbook just arrived…I can not get the set up assistant to come up. the screen stays blank…i thought that Apple Care was around 24/7 but no…so I guess I will call in the am. pretty disappointed

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