9 Hidden Customization Settings to Get the Most Out of Your Mac

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Featured

There are many features in macOS that are unknown to many. In some cases, a macOS user can go years before making a new discovery. That is, until you have read some of the best macOS hidden customization settings to help you get more out of your Mac.

1. Cleaning Up System Preferences

System Preferences on the Mac is a one-stop shop for all of your main settings. However, for all of the items you need on this menu, there are plenty you don’t. Use this handy trick to clean up the menu and only leave the settings you want.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings System Preferences Customize
  1. To get started, open System Preferences by clicking on the Apple menu at the top left of the screen and then click on “System Preferences.”
  2. Next, click on “View” at the top of the screen.
  3. Select “Customize” from the dropdown list of shortcuts.
  4. You can now uncheck any of the menus you don’t need or want access to.

2. Find the Emojis

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Emoji Keyboard

Did you know the Mac has its own emoji keyboard? They are all available right from your Mac keyboard, and you probably never knew they were there. Accessing the emojis is as easy as hitting Control + Command + Space. Once you hit that combination, the emoji picker automatically opens. You can use emojis in a variety of applications, especially Safari, Mail, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, and iMessage.

3. Rename Multiple Files at Once

This is definitely one of the handier tricks, especially for managing photos. To do this, go into Finder and find a bunch of photos, documents or whatever file type you prefer.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Rename Multiple Items
  1. Once you have located a bunch of photos, for example, hold down Command on the keyboard and start selecting additional files or photos.
  2. Once you have identified all of the files or photos you wish to rename, right-click on your mouse or trackpad.
  3. Look for the option that says “Rename X items.” X is the number of items you are renaming. Select that menu option.
  4. You can now rename one file and the rest will apply the same format. If you named the first photo “David’s Graduation Party,” Apple will start with the first photo you selected as number one and number the rest.

4. Automatically Launch Programs

One of the easiest tips you can discover on a Mac is to start applications at launch.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Auto Launch Programs

To get started:

  1. Head to System Preferences and choose “Users & Groups.”
  2. On the right side of the window, you’ll have an option for “Login Items.”
  3. Under that heading, you can add or remove applications by using the plus or minus buttons.
  4. A word of warning for this tip as well: don’t initiate too many programs at launch, or you might slow your computer’s startup time. Adding Spotify/Apple Music, a browser, Twitter and smaller applications is perfectly fine.

5. Combine Open App Windows to Tabs

Instead of keeping multiple application windows open, combine them with tabs.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Combine Open Apps

For example, open two windows for Apple Maps. Then go to the menu bar and select “Window -> Merge All Windows,” and instead of two open Apple Map windows, they will combine into one application with two tabs. This works for most of Apple’s default software including Maps, Calendar, Finder, etc.

6. Spotlight Does Math

macOS comes with a calculator, but sometimes you just want to do a quick math calculation. Did you know that Spotlight can do math or currency conversion?

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Spotlight Calculator

Open Spotlight by clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper right on the Mac menu bar or by pressing Command + Space on the keyboard. Once it’s open, type whatever calculation you want to make in the search bar. The answer appears as a search result that can be copied and pasted.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Currency Conversion

To convert currency, open Spotlight again and type in the amount you wish to convert. For example, if you put $100 into the search bar, it will return currency conversions in Japanese yen, Swiss francs, Canadian dollars, British pounds and Euros.

7. Create Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are hardly new for most computer users, but did you know Apple allows you to create your own?

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Keyboard Shortcuts
  1. Go to “System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts” and then press the “+” button.
  2. You can now choose whatever you want to title the shortcut as well as the keyboard shortcut itself. Choose whatever combination you can remember.
  3. Click on “Add” and you are finished. The shortcut is now activated.

8. Stop Autoplaying Content

Few things about the Internet are more frustrating than autoplaying ads and videos. Fortunately, Safari makes it really easy to put an end to this practice.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Safari Autoplay
  1. Open Safari and go to Preferences at the top of the menu bar.
  2. Head to the “Websites” tab.
  3. Find the option labeled “Auto-Play” and open the drop-down menu to choose to stop audio and video from playing automatically. You can also block videos entirely that have sound enabled.

9. Muting Siri

Everyone knows the distinct sound of Siri’s responses, but that doesn’t mean they are required. Instead, opt for a silent Siri response with this macOS tweak.

Nine Mac Hidden Settings Muting Siri
  1. Go to the Apple menu and choose “System Preferences -> Siri.”
  2. Look for the “Voice Feedback” menu option and select the “Off” box.
  3. You are now free to ask Siri questions as you would before, but the responses are no longer spoken aloud. They do remain visible, so you lose no functionality with this tweak, just the audio.

The above-mentioned tips are a few of the hidden customization settings in Mac, with more features like changing folder icons, managing multiple app windows, etc. not included. These showcased the power of macOS and all of the easy ways you can adapt it to your own use. What’s your favorite hidden Mac setting?

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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