1. Command-Q to quit
Unlike with Windows, the X button on a Mac closes the window but does not quit the app. To quit the app, use the keyboard shortcut Command-Q.
2. Function-Delete to forward delete
The missing backspace key on a Mac keyboard is another difference. Windows keyboards have a backspace key and a delete key. On a Mac keyboard, you get only a delete key.
- The delete key on a Mac acts like the backspace key on a Windows keyboard. It deletes the character to the left of the cursor.
- The delete key on a Windows keyboard does the opposite and deletes the character to the right of the cursor. On a Mac, press Function-Delete.
3. Command-Tab to switch apps
- Hit Command-Tab to open the app switcher. While continuing to hold down the Command key, hit Tab again to move right through your open apps.
- You can also use the Command-Q shortcut in the app switcher to quit the app you have highlighted.
4. Command-Option-Esc to Force Quit
If an app is not responding, press Command-Option-Esc to call up the Force Quit Applications window. Select the app and click the Force Quit button.
5. Command-M to minimize
You can click the little yellow dash button in the upper-left corner of a window to minimize it, but it might be easier to just hit Command-M to minimize the active window on your Mac. If you have multiple windows open of the same app, you can hit Command-Option-M to minimize all of them.
6. Adjust volume and brightness in smaller increments
Hold down Shift-Option when adjusting volume or brightness. Each of the little blocks you see on the onscreen menu is sliced into quarters when you hold down Shift-Option for a total of 64 volume or brightness steps so you can get your levels just right.
7. Option-click to toggle Do Not Disturb
Macs also feature a Do Not Disturb mode, which you can schedule during certain hours via System Preferences > Notifications or manually activate via the Notification Center. Do Not Disturb is oddly hidden in Notification Center. Just hold down the Option key when you click the Notification Center icon. When the icon is grayed out, Do Not Disturb is on; when the icon is black, Do Not Disturb is off.
8. Option-click menu bar icons
You can use the Option key with other menu bar items to access different or expanded menus.
- Option-click the volume icon and you’ll get a menu that allows you to change the input source or output device.
- For the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons, Option-click reveals more in-depth information about your network and connected devices, respectively.
- The Option key also works with third-party menu bar icons. Option-click the Dropbox icon, for example, and you can see how much of your storage allotment you have used.
9. Option-click the Apple button
On the other side of the menu bar, in the upper-left corner of your Mac is the Apple icon. Its menu lets you restart or shut down your Mac and view system information.
If you press the Option key when the menu is visible, you’ll notice the dots disappear from Restart, Shut Down and Log Out commands. No dots means the confirmation step is removed, so you can perform any of the three commands.
10. Command-spacebar for Spotlight
Instead of clicking the magnifying glass in the menu bar to open Spotlight search, just hit Command-spacebar.