3/26/219:00 am What To Do When You Get a New Mac When you get a new Mac, you'll be walked through some steps in Setup Assisant. After that, there will be a few thing you want to check and set up before you start using your Mac. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today I'm going to show you what you need to do when you get a new Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 900 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So there are a lot of videos and blog posts online telling you what you need to do when you get a new Mac. However most of the stuff they talk about really isn't stuff you need to do right away. Most of the time they are talking about different preferences and things that you can change like maybe changing how gestures work on your trackpad. You don't need to do that right away. You can change those as often as you want. So doing it on day one really isn't anymore important than doing it three months later when you change your mind as to how you want those things to work. So the things I want to talk about are the things that you really need to do when you first get your Mac before you start using it. But I do want to point out that there are some very important things you need to do if you're buying a used Mac. I'm mostly going to talk about if you got a new Mac directly from Apple. But if you bought a used Mac I'm going to tell you some important stuff towards the end of the video. Now when you first turn on your new Mac you're going to be put into Setup Assistant. It's all those Welcome screens that you're going to get asking you various different questions. Now this will take care of most of what you actually need to do. It will ask you, for instance, to sign onto your iCloud Account. It will ask you to grade your User Account and it will ask you for things like setting up Siri and Touch ID if you have a MacBook Pro. Things like that. Most of what you need to do is going to be in Setup Assistant. So pay careful attention to everything. Don't just try to skip through them like it's just a bunch of Welcome screens. Everything you do there is very important. Now one thing it will ask is if you want to transfer your data from an older Mac. This is called Migration Assistant and you can do it now during Setup Assistant or you can do it immediately after. If you go beyond that, if you've actually starting using your Mac, then you really don't want to use Migration Assistant past that. It's something you want to do during setup or right after setup before you start using it. Migration Assistant will actually transfer data from your old Mac to your new one and set your new Mac up just like your old one was. Now you don't necessarily need to use this. As a matter of fact in my more recent transfer from an older MacBook Pro to a new MacBook Pro I didn't use this at all. All of my data was stored in iCloud. So by signing onto iCloud pretty much I did everything I needed. I didn't have to run Migration Assistant or transfer data from an old Mac to a new Mac during Setup Assistant. So it's really up to you. If you're not completely in iCloud, if you've got local data, then you do want to use Migration Assistant to bring everything from your old Mac to your new one. So let's say you've done that. You've gone through Setup Assistant, you've transferred any data that you wanted to, and now go to Software Update. Go to the Apple Menu, System Preferences, and click on Software Update. Because very often what you'll get when you get a new Mac is the latest system that it had when it was in the store or when it was shipped by Apple. So if there's been an update in the last week or two chances are you're going to need to get it. So you want to update now before you start using it. Now there's some miscellaneous things that you want to do also in System Preferences. In there you may want to go and check to make sure you've got the right time and time zone. So in Date & Time go to Time Zone and make sure it's set to the right place. Now go to Security & Privacy. In here is FireVault. Now if you have a MacBook then you're going to want to have FireVault on. After all you're probably taking it out of your house or office which means it can easily get stolen which means you want to have your data encrypted. It's best to turn FireVault on now at the very beginning and let it go and encrypt everything, perhaps overnight, so that that's all set. If you wait and you use your Mac for awhile it's just going to take longer to do it. It's best not to wait to turn this on. If you have a Desktop Mac and you decide you want to use FireVault there as well best to turn it on right now at the very beginning. Now you also want to make sure at this point that you're signed into iCloud. You should have done that during Setup Assistant but you can check her under Apple ID to make sure that you're signed in. Then maybe go through all of these settings here to make sure things are turned on. One thing in particular that you want to make sure if turned on is this, Find My Mac. You could see here I actually do have it turned on but it's turned on with another user account on this machine. Find My Mac is very important because if somebody steals it, if this is on you cannot only locate it but you could also disable and wipe the drive remotely with this on. But if you haven't turned this on and somebody steals your Mac there's nothing you could do. Also at this point if you're using a MacBook that has Touch ID you want to make sure that you enable Touch ID in Setup but also you can go into Touch ID now and add other fingers. So if you're like me and you always use your index finger to sign onto Touch ID on your MacBook Pro then that's fine. But you may find that sometimes you use one index finger, sometimes the other, sometimes the thumb you can add all of those. Add them now just to make things easier. Now once you have Touch ID all setup you can also setup Apple Pay. Now Apple Pay on the Mac isn't as useful as it is, say, on the iPhone because you're not carrying it around with you into stores. But you do often use Apple Pay to pay for things online. It's more secure to use Apple Pay to do that than to use a credit card directly. So go ahead and add your different credit cards into Apple Pay so you have that setup so the first time you encounter a site that takes Apple Pay you can use it. Now another thing you want to do before using your Mac too much is to setup your Time Machine backup. Now if you don't have a Time Machine drive you want to order one right now so you can get your Time Machine backup going as quickly as possible. You set it up here in Time Machine. You could see I already have one setup. But if not when you plug in a new drive it should prompt you asking if you want to use that drive for Time Machine backup but you could also go in here and hit Select Disk, select that drive and start your Time Machine backup. You want to get this going before you start using your Mac too much. Remember without a backup then it's very easy to lose your data. To actually make a mistake and delete a file, not have a backup, or for something to go wrong with your Mac, have it stolen, have a disaster happen, and now you lose all of your local data. So get Time Machine backup going as quickly as possible. If this isn't your first Mac chances are you purchased things in the Mac App Store before. So if you go to your Apple ID, which is the bottom left hand corner, you could see your previously purchased apps. Chances are they will be apps in here that you use all the time but they're not yet on this Mac. So now you can go in and click the download button for the apps that you currently use and add them to your Mac. I'm using a demo account so most the apps that I've purchased that are on this Mac are with that account. You would see say Pages, Numbers, Keynote, GarageBand, all sorts of standard apps that now I would have to go ahead and download and install. Don't wait until you need the app to install it if you know that you use the app. Go ahead and add them all, let them all download and install, so that they are all on your Mac and ready. Likewise if you've purchased apps from outside of the App Store, like for instance maybe Adobe Apps or apps from third parties that have their apps outside of the App Store, you're going to want to go in and download those as well. Just try to do the ones that you remember and obviously if you run into an app that you forgot to add you can add it then. A lot of people try to transfer apps from the old computer to the new one. There's really no reason to do that. Just install fresh new updated copies directly from the Mac App Store or the developer. Now installing apps doesn't mean that they appear in the Dock. Chances are now you'll have a Dock that has all the default apps. You may want to customize that at this point. For instance if they are apps that you're really not using much you might want to take them out. If they are apps that you use a lot but they're not in the Dock yet then you can go and create a new Finder window, go to the Applications Folder, and from there drag any apps that you use often into the Dock. The basic idea is, of course, to make the Dock look just like it did on your old Mac. Now at this point another thing you may want to do is create multiple user accounts, one for each person using this Mac. So if you're the only person using this Mac you just need the one user account. But if you and say your partner are both going to be using this Mac, even if the other person is only using it occasionally, you want to setup a separate user account for them. That way they can have their own files, their own preferences, they can be logged into their own iCloud Account and everything. If you have kids or other family members that may occasionally use the Mac you may want to setup a user account for them as well. It's not really important to setup the user accounts until they first need to use it. But if it's somebody you know that's going to need to use it pretty soon you might as well setup that user account for them now. Allow them to login to their iCloud Account and set things up and get it ready so the first time they are ready to use it they don't have all of this time where they have to set things up first. Now here's the last thing that you want to do and it's kind of the most important. That is to give your Mac time to do its initial system maintenance. You see when you get a new Mac and you've installed all these apps, you've setup your backup, you've setup FireVault, there's a lot of things for it to do. If nothing else it's got to go and index all the files now that are in iCloud or that you transferred over by Migration Assistant. This can take a long time and it's got to look in the contents of lots of files and put everything into an index so you can rapidly search it in Spotlight. What's important to realize is that this can't happen when your Mac is shutdown. A lot of people still shutdown their Macs at night and you really shouldn't. You should just let your Mac sleep whether it's you Desktop Mac or a laptop don't ever shut it down. Just put it to sleep when you're not using it and that will allow it to do some maintenance while it sleeps. If it does it while it sleeps that means it's not doing it while you are using your Mac and your Mac will be faster and more responsive when you're doing things. But if you shut your Mac down as soon as you're done using it and only start it up again when you want to start using it then things like indexing and backups will only happen when you're using it and it will take a long time for it to finish indexing or to finish any maintenance it needs to do, any backups, encryption like encrypting Time Machine backups or FireVault. It's all going to do that while you're using your Mac and it could take days, weeks, or even longer to finish all those tasks. All the while your Mac is running slowly because it's doing all this. Just let your Mac sleep at night and hopefully after that first night of it sleeping, it might take a couple of nights, it finishes all those maintenance tasks and is now fully optimized and working at 100%. Now I mentioned at the beginning that if you get a used Mac things are a little different. Actually everything I just showed you is the same except what you need to do first. First thing you need to do when you get a used Mac is WIPE IT. Before you use it at all, before you login, do anything with it, while it's a blank machine with none of your data on it, you need to restore the Mac and you've started it up using Command R then in Disk Utility wipe the drive, reinstall macOS. Apple has instructions on how to do that here. I've gotten questions from people that have bought a used Mac and just continued to use the previous person's accounts and apps. That's a big no-no. You don't know what they've installed. You don't know what sort of mess they've created. They could have even left behind malware. I've also talked to people who have gotten a used Mac and it appears to be wiped and ready to start. But you don't know that for sure. Unless you got it directly from Apple, like it's a refurbished Mac, you don't know if it's completely reset and ready to go or maybe somebody has installed something on there. So you want to go and do a restore even if there's nothing on the Mac. It won't take long and now you could feel confident that you're starting fresh. But it's very important that you do that before you do anything else. Before you use the Mac for even a single thing. So that's all the stuff that you need to do. I know it sounds like a lot but a lot of that is taken care of during Setup Assistant. Besides a few minutes to check a few of those things, turn a few things on, and you should be able to start using your Mac pretty much right away. But it really pays to make sure you've done these things right at the beginning instead of putting any of them off until after you've begun using your Mac. Let me know if you have any questions in the Comments below. Related Subjects: System Settings (150 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 16 Responses to “What To Do When You Get a New Mac” Howard Brazee 2 years ago I've always heard recommendations that I start everything from scratch, but I'm always afraid that some apps that I didn't buy from my Mac have security codes and settings that I will miss, and I'll have to re-buy them (if they are still available). Should I use migration assistant from my old Mac or from my Time Machine? Afterward, should I format my Time Machine to start it over? Howard Brazee 2 years ago Your comment about keeping everything on the cloud interests me. I have a family plan with 200 GB and 8.5 GB available. I think my music and photos and documents are there, but my impression is that none of my programs are there. I will replace my iMac when I see the M1 iMacs, but I see that default iMacs come with much smaller drives. I'll probably spend money for more space, or move my Music & Photos to an external SSD. But I really am clueless about using the Cloud to get around my Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Howard: Don't start from scratch unless everything you have is in the cloud, or you have a good reason. You should never have to re-buy an app just because you got a new computer, unless you weren't using the current version of that app before. If there is a "code" or something you need to activate an app, then you should have that or be able to get it from the publisher from your account. You can do migration assistant either way. If you can do it from your old Mac it may be slightly faster than Time Machine. I like to restart my Time Machine backup when I get a new Mac, but you should be able to do it either way. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Howard: Apps aren't stored in iCloud or any other cloud service. You'd need to add them again from the Mac App Store or re-download them again. That shouldn't be a problem. I've done it many times before. Always opt for more hard drive than you think you need. I hear from people all the time that bought a Mac with too small of a drive and regret it. Sherry 2 years ago Gary, Can you explain to me why Apple Pay is more secure than using a reg. c.card? I never use A.P. but I might start if it's more secure. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Sherry: Basically, when you use your credit card the merchant (and person at the cash register) gets your credit card number. So it is easy for a nefarious person to then use that card info and charge other things (AKA "getting your credit card number stolen.") But when you use Apple Pay, a one-time code is used. They never see or get your card number. That code is only for that one transaction. That's much safer and more private. See https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/ Gene 2 years ago Got a used Mac. How do I get my KeyChain password data to the new machine? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Gene: iCloud Keychain? Just log into your iCloud account as you would do anyway. Otherwise, for other things, migration assistant should do it. Ariella 2 years ago I purchased a new laptop the M1...it won't read usb sticks. Is there a reason for that? My other laptop does. Thanks Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Ariella: What do you mean by "won't read?" What happens, exactly? Is there an error message? Do you see them appear in the the Finder sidebar? Do they appear in Disk Utility? Sharyn Lucas 2 years ago I set up new iMac as u stated. Seemed great until 3 power failure from storms. On third power failure my external backup won’t back up, doesn’t connect in finder, makes a noise and I get a message to eject before connecting. I assume a new external backup is required. What should I purchase. Thx Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Sharyn: Could be that it was damaged by one of the power failures. You should definitely get a UPS with surge protection for your Mac and peripherals. Just get a good USB3 HDD that you like and is at least twice the size of all of your data. More if you can. Carl 2 years ago Can I use Migration Assistant to copy photos from my desktop to my MacBook? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Carl: Migration Assistant is for when you get a new Mac to copy the whole account. If you use it when you get your new Mac, it should copy the photos. Otherwise if this is later, use another method, depending on where and how your photos are stored. Brian Sullivan 2 years ago Ive transfered all my data from my old mac air, now i want to wipe my old mac without wiping anything away from my new one. any suggestions? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Brian: Are you asking because you are using iCloud Drive and are afraid that deleting files on the old Mac will delete them from iCloud (and thus your new Mac too)? Just go to your old Mac, sign out of iCloud. Sign out of everything (Messages, FaceTime, iTunes/Music, etc). Then wipe it. See https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201065 Comments Closed.