50 Mac Features Hidden Behind the Option Key

When you look in the Mac Menu Bar you can see most of the commands and functions of the app you are using. But holding the Option key sometimes reveals hidden items. You can also get access to other functions when clicking or selecting something with the Option key.

Show Notes:
Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen):
• About This Mac changes to System Information
• Restart, Shutdown, and Log Out options skip the confirmation prompt
Application Menu (e.g., TextEdit):
• Quit changes to Quit and Close Windows or Quit and Keep Windows
• Duplicate changes to Save As
File Menu:
• Close changes to Close All
• Duplicate changes to Save As
Window Menu:
• Minimize changes to Minimize All
• Zoom changes to Zoom All
• Tile windows to the left or right side of the screen changes to Move Windows to the Left Side of the Screen
• Bring All To Front changes to Arrange In Front
• Empty Trash changes to Empty Trash without confirmation
• Open changes to Open and Close Window
• Open With changes to Always Open With
• Get Info changes to Show Inspector
• Copy changes to Copy as Pathname
• Select All changes to Deselect All
• Paste changes to Move Item Here
• Additional option to access the Library folder in the Go menu
• Command + Up Arrow changes to close the current window and open a new one with the parent folder
• Option-click on a folder in List View to open all subfolders
• Option-click and drag a file to make a copy instead of moving it
• Option-click in the search bar to create complex search criteria
• Option-drag a window from the side or corner to move both sides or corners simultaneously
• Option-double-click on a corner of a window to snap it to the screen edges
Status icons (top right corner):
• Option-click on Sound icon to change input settings
• Option-click on Wi-Fi icon for more options and diagnostics
• Option-click on Bluetooth icon for additional settings
• Click on Date & Time to switch to Do Not Disturb mode, Option-click to turn it off
Special feature keys (Brightness, Volume, etc.):
• Option + Brightness Up opens Displays settings
• Option + Volume Up opens Sound settings
• Clear History changes to Clear History and Keep Website Data
• New Tab changes to New Tab at the end of the list
• Close Tab changes to Close Other Tabs
Numbers (Table functionality):
• Use Option key to select cells with the keyboard
• Use Option key to delete rows with data in Tables
• Option-click on the Play button to start the slideshow from the first slide
• Hold Option key to select different libraries when launching the Photos app
• Rotate counterclockwise changes to rotate clockwise when holding Option
• Hold Option key to fine-tune adjustments in editing tools
• Flip Horizontal changes to Flip Vertical in cropping tools
• Rotate option in Finder sidebar changes direction when holding Option
Music and TV:
• Hold Option key when launching to choose a specific library
• Option-click on an app icon to hide all other apps or force quit the app
• Option-click on Finder in the Dock to relaunch it
Startup Options:
• Older Intel-based Macs: Hold Option key at startup to access the Startup Manager
• Newer Apple silicon Macs: Press and hold the Power button to access Startup Options

Comments: 5 Responses to “50 Mac Features Hidden Behind the Option Key”

    John MacKenzie
    10 months ago

    Another highly informative video, Gary. I'm so glad I found MacMost, I learn so much from you.

    10 months ago

    This is mind blowing. As a fairly new Mac user, I'll be referring to this again and again. Thank you, Gary.

    Andrea Grasselli
    10 months ago

    Thank you Gary, really useful!

    Dave Hunter
    10 months ago

    Superb Option-key tips for novice users. The tips like this give users like myself clues as to how to get into hidden corners that are otherwise invisible.

    Steve Johnson
    10 months ago

    Hey Gary... I was playing with the "Option Key" and turned on the mouse key function! Didn't realize it till I had some keys that didn't work! Then I remembered 💡the Mouse keys! Ü might want to mention this as some might think their keyboard is bad?? I did the first time it happened to me! 🤔

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