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New Mac? This is the best way to set it up



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New Mac? Don’t press that power button just yet!

And Ackerman / CNET

Apple’s latest computers ̵

1; the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac Mini – are some of the most impressive computers we’ve seen in a while. They are all powered by Apple’s M1 processor, and can even run iPhone or iPad apps. If you’ve pampered yourself this holiday season and bought a new Mac, or were lucky enough to get one as a gift, don’t rush through the setup process.

Whether you’re replacing a worn-out MacBook or a tired pc, it’s only natural to rip open the box, hit the power button, and navigate the installation instructions. But before you do that, take a deep breath and take a step back; there are some things you should know about installing a Mac.

For starters, the process can take several hours if you plan to transfer your data from another computer. Then there are aspects to consider like FileVault and if you need it, or how to get information from your old Mac or PC to the new one. Those questions are exactly why we are here.

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There is something special about getting a new computer.

And Ackerman / CNET

What you need

Make sure to set aside about an hour to set up your Mac. The process will take longer if you plan to restore your Mac from a Time Machine backup from another Mac.

In addition to a reliable internet connection, you’ll need your Wi-Fi network information, your Apple ID username and password, and the Mac’s charger or power cord.

It is helpful to have a piece of paper and a pen handy. During the installation process, you will be asked to create a user account, including username and password. We don’t recommend storing passwords on paper – it’s much safer to use a password manager – but a piece of paper is useful for temporarily storing this kind of information until you can enter it into your password manager. Make sure to shred the sheet of paper when you are done.

Once you have everything in order, connect the charger or power cord to your Mac and turn it on.

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Setting up a new Mac isn’t difficult, but it can take a while.

Apple

Apple’s Setup Assistant will walk you through most of the process

The first time your Mac is turned on, you will be greeted by an installation assistant. The assistant will help you select your country and language and connect your Mac to the Internet. You will also be tasked with creating a user account on the Mac and signing in to your Apple ID.

During the process, you will be asked if you want to enable services such as FileVault, iCloud Keychain, or Find My Mac. You will also be asked if you want to enable Siri or provide logs to developers when problems are detected. Here’s what some of these features do for you.

FileVault encrypts your Mac’s hard drive to prevent unauthorized access to the information you store on it. If you’re not sure, you can always turn it on or off in the future.

iCloud Keychain is Apple’s password manager built into all of its devices. If you are using iCloud Keychain on iPhone ($ 599 at Apple) or iPad ($ 263 at Back Market), those usernames and passwords will also be available on your Mac. iCloud Keychain also stores your Wi-Fi network credentials, which means you don’t need to log into a Wi-Fi network on your Mac if you have previously connected to it on your iPhone. It’s a good idea to turn on iCloud Keychain.

Find My Mac works with the Find my app to help you locate a lost Apple device. I recommend turning on Find My Mac, even for a device the size of an iMac ($ 1,800 at Best Buy) it will be less likely to disappear, because you never know when you might end up with a lost or stolen MacBook. There is no downside to turning it on.

If you have a MacBook, you also need to set up Touch ID, the fingerprint reader that unlocks your computer, which you use to sign in to apps or authorize Apple Pay purchases. It’s all pretty simple, just keep following the prompts, enter all the required information, such as your Apple ID or create a username, to complete the gist of the installation process.

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Migration Assistant makes it easy to transfer all your information.

Apple

Recover from a Time Machine backup

During installation, you will be asked if you want to restore your new Mac from a Time Machine backup of another Mac through Migration Assistant. If so, you need the storage device where your Time Machine backup is stored.

If you haven’t backed up your old Mac through Time Machine, it’s not too late. We have a guide to walk you through the process. Or if you prefer to transfer your files and settings directly from one Mac to another, Migration Assistant can do that too.

Follow the directions in the Migration Assistant tool and select to transfer your data from a Time Machine backup. Select the Time Machine drive connected to your new Mac and select the most recent backup.


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Then you will be asked to confirm what information you want to transfer – including home folders, applications, settings, user accounts and other miscellaneous documents.

The process can take several hours, depending on how much you need to transfer. If it’s going to take a while, you don’t have to be careful. It’s okay to leave your computer and go to a show, let it process overnight, or even run some errands.

If you’re moving from a PC to a Mac, you can use Apple’s migration assistant, but the process is a bit more complicated and technical (just at the beginning). Apple walks you through the process in this support article.

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Once you’ve got your Mac all set up, it’s time to get to work!

Sarah Tew / CNET

Install any software updates

After you complete Setup Assistant and find yourself looking at your Mac’s desktop, it’s a good idea to check for pending software updates.

To do that, click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen followed by System preferences > Software update.

Once your Mac’s software is up to date, you’ll also want to check that all pre-installed apps are updated from the App Store. Look for the App Store icon in the app dock at the bottom of your screen. Click on it to open the App Store, then select Updates and then update all apps with pending updates.

Now that your Mac is all set up, it’s a good idea to be prepared for any glitches you may encounter. Be here system adjustments you may want to make right away. If this is your first time using this MacOS Big Sur, we have lots of tips to get you started. When your Mac inevitably slows down, learn how to speed it up again.


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