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Bet you didn't know your Mac can do all this!

Bet you didn't know your Mac can do all this!
© Aleksey Boldin | Dreamstime.com

As a Windows user for most of my life, making the switch to Mac felt like a leap of faith. I've heard Mac user after Mac user swear by their computers, but changing to an entirely new operating system felt incredibly overwhelming.

Now, a year and a half later after buying my first MacBook, I can honestly say that I get it. With its user-friendly functionality and numerous built-in features, I'm getting more done with my Mac than ever before. Here are some of the most helpful things I've found my Mac can do.

1. Spotlight does more than just search

It's easy to overlook the little magnifying glass that's perched in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. When you need to find a file quickly, you might remember it's there. But did you know this search tool does much more than help you locate things?

In several ways, the Spotlight tool can act just like a Google search. The next time you have a question, put Spotlight to work. Here are a few examples you need to try out. For each of these commands, start by clicking on the Spotlight icon (the magnifying glass) then use the prompts I'm about to share to type in the search field.

Conversions:

When you type in a dollar amount, measurement, etc., Spotlight will bring up some instant conversions. It makes its best guess as to which conversion you're looking for, but you can always adjust your search by making things more specific. For example, when you start by typing "12 feet," Spotlight automatically calculates a conversion to meters. However, if you type "12 feet to inches" you'll find exactly what you're looking for.

Here are some examples of a few more conversions Spotlight can complete:

Weather reports:

Wondering if you need to wear a jacket? Just type, "Weather in [your city and state]" and Spotlight will pull up the local forecast.

Launch applications:

This is a great trick for all of those apps you're typically digging through your Launchpad to find. Just type the name of the application into Spotlight, then click "Enter" to launch.

Save battery power:

Running low on battery power? Type "Energy Saver" into Spotlight and it will bring up the menu where you can tweak your settings.

Do math:

Need a quicker option than the calculator to complete some equations? Just type them into Spotlight and it will give you the solution.

Get dictionary definitions:

When there's no time to pull up your dictionary app, just type "Define [word]" into Spotlight to get the definition fast.

2. Hide your menu bar

Menus are nice when you need them, but when you don't they just get in the way. That's why I love this Settings tweak that hides the main menu bar automatically. Don't worry, it won't be gone forever! When you hover your mouse where the menu usually is, it reappears again.

To change this setting, just go to your System Preferences, then click General, then check the box that says automatically hide and show the menu bar.

3. Use Split Screen

Sometimes one screen just isn't enough, but you don't have to resort to shrinking the size of your windows to display two applications on your screen at once. Instead, use the built-in Split Screen function by holding down a "Left Click" over the green maximize button of the window. The first window you've chosen will fill half of the screen, then you can choose the other application you'd like open. In the end, both windows will sit side by side.

4. Edit images directly in Preview

Need to crop and do some basic edits to your image? When you view the image in Preview, don't overlook that little camera icon in the upper right-hand corner. Clicking it will bring up an editing menu that lets you make your changes before you save the image.

5. Close open tabs on other devices

Your kid has just begged to borrow your iPad and you've finally given in. But just as you've handed the device over, you remember there's an R-rated video paused on one of the tabs in Safari. What can you do? If you'd like to close down those open tabs without fighting to get your tablet back, try this trick with your Mac.

Note: Both devices must be logged in with the same Apple ID for this to work.

Open Safari and click the icon in the top right-hand corner that looks like two overlapping pages. Once you've done this, you'll see a list of open windows, as well as open windows on other devices. Hover your mouse to the right of the window you'd like to close, and a little X will appear for you to click on.

This is really just the tip of the iceberg! If you know someone who's thinking of making the switch to Apple, or if you're ready for a new MacBook yourself, don't miss the special promotion Apple is running where you can get a free set of Beats headphones with your order. Click here to get more details on this special seasonal deal.

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