Navigating OS X can be confusing if you're new to the operating system. This free lesson can help you better understand how to use it.
Whether you're new to computers or just new to OS X, it's important to learn the basics of using your computer. If it all seems a little overwhelming right now, don't worry! We'll take you through it step by step and show you some of the most fundamental things you'll need to know, such as how to work with the desktop, how to open and close windows, and how to turn off your computer.
Once your computer has finished starting up, the first thing you'll see is the desktop. You can think of the desktop as the main workspace for your computer—from here, you can view and manage your files, open applications, access the Internet, and much more.
Click the buttons in the interactive below to become more familiar with the desktop:
The Notification Center displays an alert when you've received an update. It can be customized to let you know of upcoming appointments, tweets, news, and other real-time events. It remains hidden until you click its icon in the top-right corner.
The Notification Center was introduced in Mountain Lion and is not available in earlier versions of OS X.
When you click the magnifying glass icon, it will open Spotlight. Spotlight allows you to find a file or application by typing the name (or just part of the name).
On the right side of the menu bar, you will see the date and time, along with shortcuts you can click to adjust settings like sound volume.
The menu bar will contain different menu options depending on which program you're using. In this example, the active program is Finder.
In the top-left corner of the screen is the Apple icon, which you can click to access your System Preferences, recent documents, and more. You can also use it to shut down your computer.
The desktop background, or wallpaper, allows you to personalize your computer. You can either choose a built-in background or use one of your own images.
You can keep folders, files, and shortcuts on the desktop so they'll be easily accessible.
When you delete a file, it is moved to the Trash. This allows you to recover the file if you change your mind. To permanently delete a file, you'll need to empty the Trash.
The Dock can contain shortcuts to applications, files, and folders. If you have multiple programs open, you can use the Dock to quickly switch between them.
Launchpad allows you to see a list of all of your applications. It is designed to make it easier to find and organize your applications.
Launchpad was introduced in OS X Lion, and it is not available in earlier versions of OS X.
When you double-click a folder, it will open in a specialized program called Finder. This lets you navigate to the specific file or folder you want.