Getting Started With the Mac

Listed below is a selection of posts from across the AppleVis website which have been especially selected to help you setup and get to know your first Mac.

Displaying 1 - 20 of 24
Guide by Tyler on Monday, October 14, 2019


If you’re new to the Mac, learning and mastering the VoiceOver screenreader can seem daunting at first. In an attempt to streamline the search for essential getting started information across the AppleVis website, I will provide a series of tips, along with links to more comprehensive guides and podcasts, organized by heading and subheading.

From personal experience, I have found that one of the most effective ways to learn a new screenreader is to read documentation… Read more

Guide by Nicholas on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Compiled below is a rearrangement of Apple’s published VoiceOver key commands charts, edited/confirmed for macOS High Sierra.

Editor’s note: VO Key Commands are arranged by Levels. Press and hold the keys below while typing any other key.

Level One: Press Control-Option.

Level Two: Press Control-Option-Shift.

Level Three: Press Control-Option-Command.

Level Four: Press Control-Option-Command-Shift.

A “Combined Listing” has… Read more

Guide by Tyler on Monday, May 18, 2020


If you’re coming to the Mac from Windows, you’re probably used to either downloading apps from the Microsoft Store, or downloading an app package from a website and running its included installer. On macOS, there are several ways apps can be installed and uninstalled, which I will give an overview of in this guide.

The good news is that whatever methods the developer has employed, the installation and uninstallation processes should seem very straightforward to you,… Read more

Guide by Tyler on Monday, April 8, 2019


If you own a computer or mobile device, there’s one thing you’ve probably heard time and time again, back up your data.

When your critical information is stored in only one medium, it is inherently vulnerable. The device’s internal storage, either a hard drive or solid state drive, could fail, complications could occur during an update or other system event, the device could get lost or stolen, or a flood or fire could break out at the device’s location.

For… Read more

Guide by Tyler on Monday, December 17, 2018


If you’re a Mac Voiceover user, there’s one word you absolutely hate hearing, the B word.

Of course, I’m talking about the word, “Busy.” It may pass after a few seconds, causing only minor annoyance, or it can happen frequently and significantly disrupt your workflow.

Often times, repeated experiences like this mean you probably have some performance issues to address. In this guide, I will give an overview of some of the most common problems and solutions.… Read more

Guide by mehgcap on Saturday, April 11, 2015

What Is Night Owl?

Night Owl is the only accessible Twitter client for the Mac, or at least the most popular among VoiceOver users. With it, you can retweets, manage lists, send direct messages, save searches, and much more. While most of the app is relatively simple, some parts can be a bit confusing, and there are some undocumented shortcuts and features. This guide will walk you through… Read more

Guide by mehgcap on Friday, October 19, 2012

What Is This?

Is there an application on your Mac whose menu items are lacking keyboard shortcuts? For instance, would it not be easier to add a shortcut to mail for the Save Attachments item, or to iTunes to sync your iOS device, or to Safari to quickly tweet a page? Well, you can do all this, and you need nothing more than a few minutes and System Preferences.

Cool! How Do I Do It?

  • Open the application to which you want to add a shortcut. Go to the menu… Read more
Blog Post by mehgcap on Sunday, March 30, 2014


Macs have been fully accessible since 2005, but those who have never used one may still believe the myths about VoiceOver that have been around almost as long as VoiceOver itself. Even long-time users may be doing extra work, not even realizing that there are shortcuts or steps they can skip. I would like to take this opportunity to dispel these long-standing myths, and maybe make you more comfortable with the idea of switching to, or at least trying out, a Mac.

Read more

Guide by Tyler on Monday, March 23, 2020


If you use a Mac, at some point or another, you will need to drag an item from one place to another. You could be, among other things, trying to move a file, reorder a list, or attach photos and other files to a document.

While there is no, “Magic solution,” to drag and drop with VoiceOver, there are several methods you can employ that just might work to accomplish the task at hand. These tips come predominantly from my own personal use, as literature on how to do… Read more

Blog Post by David Goodwin on Tuesday, March 11, 2014

In this post I explain the importance of reporting accessibility-related bugs to Apple; and make a few suggestions for the best way to do so.

AppleVis is a great platform for talking about VoiceOver, braille, and low vision bugs - to confirm with others that what you are experiencing is actually a bug; to seek and share workarounds; or to simply vent the occasional frustration - but we also need to make sure that the Accessibility Team at Apple is aware of each and every bug so that… Read more

Blog Post by PaulMartz on Monday, January 20, 2020

Also in this series:

I've always used Audacity for digital recording projects, including ripping my vinyl collection for use in… Read more

Blog Post by PaulMartz on Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Also in this series:

With no accessible 64-bit Audacity build available, GarageBand has become my new digital recording solution on MacOS. In this series, I hope to fully explore nearly all of GarageBand's many features. In… Read more

Blog Post by PaulMartz on Friday, March 6, 2020

Also in this series:

GarageBand makes it amazingly easy to create music. In this blog, I'll show you how to create the following blues-based rock jam. You don't need an instrument. You won't have to play a single note.

Read more
Guide by David Woodbridge on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finder Navigation


  • New Finder window: Command N

  • Up one folder level: Command Up Arrow

  • Open selected folder: Command Down Arrow

  • Back: Command left bracket

  • Forward: Command right bracket

Direct Folder Access

  • Open the Applications folder: Command Shift A

  • Open the Computer folder: Command Shift C

  • Open desktop folder: Command… Read more

Guide by mehgcap on Saturday, April 19, 2014


Safari is the Mac's default web browser, and it does all the usual web browser things - opens webpages, downloads files, plays audio, all that. It has some neat tricks, too, like the Reader that can show you only the meat of an article.

However, if you are coming to the Mac for the first time, especially from a Windows background, Safari can seem like a clunky app at best, and a totally unusable mess at worst. As with all things on the Mac, though, you just have to… Read more

Guide by mehgcap on Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Finder

Finder is the Mac's file browser. With it, you can look at files and folders on internal, external, and network drives; copy, cut, and paste items; tag files for easier locating later; search for files; and more. The problem is that, particularly for those transitioning to the Mac from Windows, Finder is a confusing mess that makes you scared to even go looking for a file. I understand that, because I was there too. Hopefully, in writing down what I've learned over the… Read more

Guide by mehgcap on Friday, July 11, 2014


When you first get a Mac, and are learning VoiceOver, it can be hard to remember the myriad commands available. Some are pretty easy, like control-option-w to read the current word. Some are quite complex or seldom used, such as control-option-command-f5 to move the mouse pointer to where VoiceOver is focused. Then there are the core concepts, like interacting, moving around dialogs, getting to menus, and plenty more. So, I wanted to offer a guide that does not explain most… Read more

Guide by Tyler on Saturday, June 9, 2018


Recently, I was helping someone with their Mac and the question came up, “What is iCloud and what is the cloud?”

This happens to be one of the most common questions I am asked about Apple products, and that’s no coincidence. Although Apple markets its products and services as being seamless and easy to use, they still conjure that image of some mysterious and complicated cloud, something that often tends to confuse people. In this guide, I will attempt to explain… Read more

Guide by blindgator on Thursday, November 21, 2013
As VoiceOver users on the Mac, we all love short cuts. They make our life and computer experience easier. Most of us are familiar with the basics, when in mail Command N for a new message, and Command Shift D to send that message. We have to learn all of these keyboard commands to use our Macs. I am here to tell you that once you have gotten comfortable using your Mac, there are even more ways to speed up performance. Today I want to discuss Keyboard Commander. Some of you are very familiar… Read more
Guide by mehgcap on Friday, January 24, 2014

What Are Tags?

Starting in macOS 10.9 Mavericks, files could be given one or more "tags", to help users keep things organized. A tag is simply a text label you can assign to a file, letting you organize your files with categories instead of, or in addition to, folders. For example, a student might have a science folder, holding a textbook, handouts, tests, notes, assignments, research papers, and more. What if a quiz deals with thermodynamics, as do some files of notes and a paper… Read more