25 Mac Tips, Tricks, Apps, & Shortcuts You Should Definitely Know

Most Mac lists online that I’ve seen give about 50% of the value they promise. Literally, they say “7 useful Mac tips” and they proceed to tell me how to slow down OSX’s fancy animations by holding down the shift key and minimizing a window. Are you serious right now?

Not only am I going to list 25 incredibly useful tips, but I will briefly explain why they are optimal. I am a professional Mac Ninja trainer (more about what that means later).

My goal is for you to learn these tips, not just read them. So please, test out each of the tricks and shortcuts AS you read through. Practice makes perfect grasshopper. 😉

General OS X System Tricks

1. Move between desktops / Spaces: Control + 1 or 2 or 3 etc or gesture 3 fingers left & right. Multiple desktops are important for organizing a lot of apps and programs. I usually have a work desktop, personal desktop, and music streaming desktop (so I can quickly swipe over to pause my music, rather than searching through endless browser tabs.)

2. Move between open Applications (Important: Everyone should use this all the time, rather than clicking the dock!): ⌘ + Tab

3. (*Little known tip*) Move between open windows of the same application: ⌘ + ~ (The key right above tab)

move between windows of same app picture

4. Show Date on Menu Bar: I don’t know how many times I have asked, what’s the day & date? This is a life saver. Unless you’re a savant and know what day july 15th, 2020 falls on, then you should enable this. Right Click your clock.

mac date

5. Disable caps lock key: No explanation needed. This key is a waste of your time. Disable it or change it’s function.

6. Instant Sticky Note: If you like Mac’s Stickies App, then you can instantly make a sticky of any selected text by pushing ⌘ + shift + Y. Good for remembering things, saving for later, etc. (I prefer real life stickies personally lol.)

stick note mac shortcut


7. Most people don’t realize you can right click with the track pad by gently tapping two fingers down at the same time. Try it if you’ve got a MacBook.

8. Gestures! They make life way easier. Can’t show them all to you in this post, but just go to System Preferences > Trackpad to see some mini video tutorials.

Text & Highlighting w/ Keyboard Tricks

9. Delete forward (right of cursor): fn + delete

10. Move to beginning or end of a line: ⌘ + Arrow left or right

11. Move top or bottom of text: ⌘ + Arrow up or down

12. Paste text without formatting: (This means that, if you copy big bold purple text, and paste into somewhere, it will strip off all the bold and purple formatting, only pasting the text itself.): ⌘ + Shift + V

Finder Tips

13. New Finder window: ⌘ + N

14. Preview any file you have selected in finder: Spacebar

15. Keyboard shortcut to delete selected file(s): ⌘ + delete

16.Push ⌘ + 3 to use the Column View: This is by far the best view for navigating through many nested folders and files. Make sure to breeze through them with the arrow keys.

17. Rename files: Most people don’t realize hitting “Enter / Return” key for any selected file actually opens the Rename editor. Very useful to know when renaming lots of files (a common task). Push enter again to stop editing.

18. Use color labels: They rock for organizing. You can even Sort by the colors. Select any file(s) and right click, change label color.


Yes, Chrome dominates. Safari users can still try some of these tips, but it’s best if you just switch over to the dark side.

19. Open recently closed tab: ⌘ +  Shift + T (Useful when closing things by accident.)

20. Close tab: ⌘ + W (Super useful instead of tying to snipe those little ‘x’ circles of tabs.)

21. Fast Short Link any webpage in Chrome. This little Chrome Extension will add an option in your right-click context menu to copy a short-link of the current webpage to your clipboard. Install. Visit webpage. Right click. Get short-link. Paste anywhere. Boom! The utility of this plugin speaks for itself. Now you can rick-roll people twice as fast and often. (Do people still rick roll? I’m getting old…)

Must Have Mac Apps

22. CloudApp
Free: http://getcloudapp.com/

Cloud App is a faster way to share images, links, music, videos and files. My favorite use is sharing images quickly. Especially screenshots. All you need to do is drag the image file on to the top menu bar icon, drop it, and BOOM, the short link to that image is pasted automagically to your clipboard for sharing. I usually proceed to Skype my friends the link.

23. Memory Clean
Free: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/memory-clean/id451444120?mt=12

Memory is a super simple app. It looks like this. The number simply tells me how much available memory my Mac currently has. I love it because I can tell when I start having too many things going at once. If you exceed your memory, everything starts going super slow. It can also run a memory cleaner to free up “inactive” memory.

24. Skitch
Free: http://evernote.com/skitch/

Skitch is a neat little screenshot annotations creator. It’s fast, intuitive, and very useful. Take screenshots of anything and add your own arrows, highlights, notes, text or anything else over the screenshot to explain something. Can be used just to point out something to a friend. Show bugs on your website to the designer. Even make up your own memes and post on reddit lol. There are endless possibilities!

25. Prey
Free: http://preyproject.com/

Prey protects your Macbook. If ever it should get stolen, you will be able to take screenshots, locate, and send messages to the thief, without his ever knowing. Super ninja! The basic functions are all completely free. It’s a MUST-HAVE for anyone with a Macbook.

About me

My name’s Tharyn and I am a Mac Ninja. I show people how they can take their Mac productivity to lightning speed, saving hours of time, and having more fun working with their Mac.

Sign up to get blog updates about new Mac productivity tips as they arrive.

If you’ve got some awesome tricks, shortcuts, or OSX settings enhancements, then share them in the comments below.

To being Ninja-Fast,

mac dojo course

Get Mac Productivity Tips In Your Inbox

Ninjas will protect your email.