Getting Started with OS X Mavericks

If you're new to OS X Mavericks getting started is simple. Just follow the instructions provided in this free lesson.

Opening files, folders, and apps

Video: Using the Dock

Launch "Using the Dock" video!

When you use any operating system, you'll need to know how to open files, folders, and apps. In OS X, you can open something by clicking it in the Dock or Launchpad, or by double-clicking it if it's on the desktop or inside a folder.

Getting started with Finder, Launchpad, and the Dock

If you're new to OS X, you may want to practice by performing the following steps:

  1. Open Finder by clicking the Finder icon on the left side of the Dock. You'll use Finder whenever you want to navigate to a file or folder.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksOpening Finder
  2. Close Finder by clicking the button in the top-left corner of the Finder window. Later on, we'll talk more about how to use Finder.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksClosing Finder
  3. Open Launchpad by clicking the Launchpad icon on the Dock.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksOpening Launchpad
  4. While Launchpad is open, click on any app to open it.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksClicking an app
  5. Quit the app you just opened by clicking the app name in the top-left corner of the screen and selecting Quit.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksQuitting an app
  6. If you have any icons on your desktop, double-click one of them to open it, then close or quit it.


    Screenshot of OS X MavericksDouble-clicking a file to open it

When an app is open, the icon on the Dock will have a light under it. You may notice that the Finder icon always has a light under it—that's because it's always running, even if there are no Finder windows open.

Screenshot of OS X MavericksLights indicating which apps are open

Full-screen apps

Some apps in OS X have a full-screen mode that lets you just focus on one app, with no distractions. These apps have a double-arrow icon in the top-right corner. When you click the icon, the app will zoom to fill the entire screen, and everything else will be hidden. You can then use the keyboard shortcut Control+Command+F to return to the normal view. Not all apps currently support this feature. However, it is used by many of the pre-installed apps such as Calendar, Safari, and iPhoto.

Screenshot of OS X MavericksThe double-arrow icon