Your OSX System Preferences Explained

System PreferencesThese are your Mac's System Preferences. They can do a lot. So, as an exercise, I'm going to go through each of them, one a day, and show you what they do. For starters, you can find them in your Apple menu, very top left of your screen.

System Preferences #1 - General


systempreferences1This one's mostly about appearance, such as highlight colour and size of sidebar icons. My suggestion, as always, is to open it up and see what each option can do. You can't ruin anything. The one that matters to me the most is the option for automatic scroll bars. After upgrading to a new OS, you may be dismayed that your scrollbars have disappeared due to the default, 'automatically based on location'. First thing I do is switch that option to 'always'. I just don't like to hover in hopes that my scrollbars will appear. You ight also want to select, 'ask to keep changes when closing a document', too. 


System Preferences #2 - Desktop and Screensaver

This is where you choose your desktop picture, whether it's from Apple's default folders or your own Photos library. You can choose to rotate through a selection of your photos on a schedule of seconds, minutes or days. If you don't want your slideshow to include your entire Photos library, you can create an album of your top 10, 50 or 200 etc photos, and select it as your target folder.

There are screensaver options on the second page, though screensaver are not as crucial as they were when we used old cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors


  • Dan retrieved the iPhoto library I had deleted from my boyfriend's computer from a Time Machine backup I didn't even know we had. Thank you Dan, you saved my bacon!

  • Hi Dan:

    Thank you so much for helping out with my urgent problem the other day, so promptly – and from the arena! I really did appreciate it (and was so impressed!).


  • Hi Dan, thanks for the January newsletter. I added my vote to you for "outstanding customer service".


  • Your expeditious replacement of my hard drive is very much appreciated. I had a little trouble restoring the system, but it's now working perfectly (and it seems to be a little faster).In my excitement I forgot to ask about warranty. What do I do?Thank You again

     Trevor W Jackson

  • Hi Dan,

    I picked up quite a few useful things in class even without a laptop, and enjoyed the course. Do please let me know if you decide to offer an intermediate level follow up. Thanks,


  • Hi Dan,

    It was great to meet you and thanks for your help, I love the dual screen and upgrades. I seem to have forgotten how to access the iphoto shots from the original iphoto and can only find the few new ones, can you re direct me.


  • Whoa .....fabulous ...wonderful ...fantastic ...beautiful......OMG ...thank you so much. I will look into the photos and see what I can do  ....touble is I don't actually know much about Marilyns life! I will make something up .....!!  wow Wonderful to what you have created...


  • Just a quick note to thank you again for coming by……this is working ever so much better. See you next month.
  • Just got home. plugged the router and computer in and its working!!!  Go figuure. You must have done something right.


    Al Z

  • Hi Dan,What a difference!  My MacBook is working much faster now, and not getting hung up.  The newer OS and more memory really helped.Thank you.