Start up Mac

At times when you have to boot your Mac, all you need is to press the power button, wait for the apple logo (and chime) to kick in, and the operating system is loaded. But did you know that there are options to start up your Mac in different modes.

For instance, you can start up your Mac in Safe Mode for debugging purposes, or you can start up your Mac in Target Disk Mode to load your operating system entirely from another medium.

To start up your Mac in these different modes, you need to press-and-hold another “combination of keys” almost immediately after pressing the power button. Like, to go into Safe Mode, after pressing the power button, you press-and-hold the Shift key.

Here is a list of other modes you to start up your Mac with .

Startup from built-in macOS Recovery system.Command + R (hold).
Startup from macOS Recovery system over Internet.Command + Option + R (hold).
Startup to Startup Manager.Option (hold).
Reset NVRAM / PRAM.Command + Option + P+ R (hold).
Startup in Safe Mode.Shift (hold).
Startup from Apple Diagnostic utility.(hold).
Startup from a NetBoot server 1.(hold).
Startup in single-user mode.Command + S (hold).
Startup in target-disk mode.(hold).
Startup in verbose mode.Command + V (hold).

Shut down Mac

To call it a day on a MacBook, I usually close the lid and it would later go into sleep mode; on an iMac, I would leave it until it the Energy Save mode kicks in.

However, there are more ways to shut down your Mac through certain keyboard shortcuts. You can take a look at these shortcuts as follows.

Turn on Mac / Wake it up from sleep.Power button (press once).
Force Mac to turn off.Power button (press hold 5 seconds).
Put Mac to sleep.Command + Option + Power button.
Put display to sleep.Control + Shift + Power button.
Select between restart, sleep or shutdown.Control + Power button.
Force Mac to restart.Command + Control + Power button.
Quit all apps, then shut down Mac.Command + Control + Option + Power button.
Log out Mac user account, asking for confirmation.Command + Shift + Q
Log out Mac user account, without asking for confirmation.Command + Shift + Option + Q


Mac has special “Accessibility Options” for people with special needs or disabilities. These features include enabling screen zoom, voiceover, invert display colors, and more. You can control, toggle on/off or enable/disable these features using keyboard shortcuts or an assistive device.

Show Accessiblity Options.Command + Options + F5
Toggle VoiceOver on/off.Command + F5
Open VoiceOver Utility.Control + Option + F8
Turn Zoom on/off.Command + Option + 8
Zoom In.Command + Option + +
Zoom Out.Command + Option + –
Invert Colors settings on/off.Command + Control + Option + 8
Increase Contrast.Command + Control + Option + ,
Reduce Contrast.Command + Control + Option + .


Finder on the Mac is sort of your dashboard from where you can access all your documents, apps, and services. The versatility of the Finder makes it all the more important to utilise keyboard shortcuts to perform certain actions, organize your files and folders, or access content quickly.

Use Quick Look to preview selected item.Space Bar
Move items to Bin.Command + Delete
View items in Finder windows as icons.Command + 1
View items in Finder windows as list.Command + 2
View items in Finder windows in columns.Command + 3
View items in Finder windows with Cover Flow.Command + 4
Duplicate selected files.Command + D
Eject disk or volume.Command + E
Search in Finders’s window.Command + F
Show Get Info window for selected file.Command + I
Open the Computer window.Shift + Command + C
Open the desktop folder.Shift + Command + D
Open Go to Folder window.Shift + Command + G
Open Home folder of current macOS user.Shift + Command + H
Open iCloud Drive.Shift + Command + I
Open the Network window.Shift + Command + K
Open the Downloads folder.Shift + Command + L
Create a new folder.Shift + Command + N
Create a new Smart Folder.Option + Command + N
Open the Documents folder.Shift + Command + O
Show/hide Preview pane in Finder windows.Shift + Command + P
Open AirDrop window.Shift + Command + R
Show/hide tab bar in Finder windows.Shift + Command + T
Open the Utilities folder.Shift + Command + U
Show/hide path bar in Finder windows.Option + Command + P
Show/hide sidebar in Findow windows.Option + Command + S
Show View Options.Command + J
Open Connect to Server window.Command + K
Make an alias of selected item.Command + L
Open a new Finder window.Command + N
Create new tab in current Finder windows.Command + T
Use Quick Look to preview selected file.Command + Y
Use Quick Look in slideshow mode of selected files.Option + Command + Y
Go to previous folder.Command + [
Go to next folder.Command + ]
Close the selected folder. (When in List view).
Open the selected folder. (When in List view).
Go to folder that contains the current folder.Command + ↑
Go into folder of current selected folder.Command + ↓
Open item in a separate window and close current window.Option + Double-clicking item.
Open folder in a separate tab.Command + Double-clicking item.
Move the dragged item instead of copying it.Command + dragging item to another destination.
Copy the dragged item.Option + dragging item to another destination.
See folders that contain current folder.Command + click window title.


Mac offers a lot of keyboard shortcuts to enhance your desktop experience. These are especially useful for those who use multiple desktops or have to access the appearance settings more frequently.

Decrease brightness.F1
Increase brightness.F2
Empty Bin.Command + Shift + Delete
Empty Bin without confirmation dialog.Option + Command + Shift + Delete
Show all windows of active app.Control + ↓
Show/hide the Dock.Option + Command + D
Launch/quit Mission Control.Control + ↑
Launch/quit Mission Control.F3
Open Appearance Preferences.Option + F3
Show desktop.Control + F3
Move to space on left.Control + ←
Move to space on right.Control + →
Switch to a specific (#n) desktop. Example: To switch to desktop 3, use Control + 3.Control + #.
View installed apps.F4

Screen Capture

Since the popularity of virtual work and learning spaces, there has been a lot of reliance on screenshots and screen recordings. Fortunately, macOS offers built-in screenshot and screen-capturing functionality.

Following is a list of keyboard shortcuts for using different features of Mac’s screen capture function.

Screen capture entire screen, save as picture.Command + Shift + 3
Screen capture custom area, copies to clipboard.Command + Shift + Control + 3
Screen capture custom area, save as picture.Command + Shift + 4
Screen capture custom area, copies to clipboard.Command + Shift + Control + 4
Screen capture an open window or app.Command + Shift + 4, press Space Bar
Launch and customize screen capture options.Command + Shift + 5


Spotlight helps you find items on your Mac that you’re unable to find otherwise, including apps, documents, music, and even emails. Here is a list of keyboard shortcuts that enable you to use Spotlight more productively.

Launch/close Spotlight.Command + Space Bar
Move to next result.
Move to previous result.
Move to first result in next category.Command + ↓
Move to first result in previous category.Command + ↑
Open selected result.Enter
See selected file in an app.Command + R
Open a Finder window with selected result.Option + Command + Space Bar

Happy learning!