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.

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Guide by Tyler on Monday, October 14, 2019

For macOS Ventura


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 with another more familiar one. For example, you could start reading this guide on iOS, Android or Windows, gradually try various things on macOS, and finally, see how you do relying on VoiceOver in macOS in addition to or in place of your other screenreader.

Guide by Nicholas on Saturday, January 2, 2021

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

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 been provided at the end of this document. This offers an arrangement by keypress, with all Control keys and notes included, per key.

Except for the Combined List which is my own arrangement, all information is presented as true as possible to Apple’s original materials.

-End of Editor’s note.

All information provided is copyright Apple, Inc. All rights reserved.

Podcast by AppleVis on Monday, February 6, 2023

In this episode, Tyler gives a demonstration and walkthrough of macOS Recovery, a suite of utilities that can help resolve issues with your Mac and manage startup parameters. From within macOS Recovery, you can:

Podcast by AppleVis on Saturday, January 22, 2022

In this podcast, Tyler discusses and explores some storage-management features of macOS.

Note: In macOS Ventura, these features have been relocated to System Settings > General > Storage.

Free up storage space on your Mac

Podcast by AppleVis on Saturday, December 2, 2017

In this podcast, Khalfan Bin Dhaher demonstrates Multilingual VoiceOver support on macOS.

Guide by Tyler on Monday, May 18, 2020

For macOS Ventura


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, the user. Toward the end of this guide, I will attempt to explain some of the security warnings that you may come across in your use of apps, as well as best practices to keep your Mac and the information on it secure.

Guide by Tyler on Monday, April 8, 2019

For macOS Ventura


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 medium 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 this reason, it is advisable to always back up your data.

If you have an iOS or iPadOS device, you probably back up the data on it in iCloud. However, iCloud backup is not available on macOS. Thus in this guide, I will be discussing how to back up your Mac with Time Machine, the Mac’s built in backup utility.

Guide by Tyler on Monday, December 17, 2018

For macOS Ventura


If you’re a Mac Voiceover user, there’s one thing you absolutely hate hearing, that an app is “Not responding.” This may happen occasionally and only last for a few seconds, causing only minor annoyance, or it can happen frequently and significantly disrupt your workflow.

If it happens frequently or for more than a few seconds at a time when performing basic tasks, there is likely an underlying problem with your Mac, either software or hardware related. In this guide, I will give an overview of some of the most common problems and solutions, but keep in mind that slower than expected performance is a nonspecific symptom, so there might be other explanations for the issues you’re experiencing.

Guide by Tyler on Monday, October 24, 2022

In macOS Ventura, Apple replaced the familiar System Preferences app with a new app called System Settings. This app is fully accessible with VoiceOver, however the interface is quite different and many settings have been relocated, which may at first be disorienting to longtime Mac users. However, the new layout may feel familiar if you’ve used iOS or iPadOS, and you may eventually find that the increased parody between the two platforms makes the experience of locating and changing settings easier and more predictable on both of them.

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.

Podcast by AppleVis on Friday, August 26, 2022

To help start off a new school year, Tyler gives us a podcast demonstration covering some of the aspects of Pages for macOS using VoiceOver. Topics covered in this demonstration include:

  • Pages versus Microsoft Word (high-level comparison)
  • recommended settings
  • navigating the app
  • creating a blank document
  • applying paragraph styles
  • navigating documents
  • text alignment
  • fonts and line spacing
  • saving, sharing, and converting documents to alternate formats

For information on more advanced formatting functions in Pages, the following additional guides may be helpful:

Podcast by AppleVis on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

In this podcast, Alex Hall gives us an introduction to using the macOS Calendar with VoiceOver.

Podcast by AppleVis on Monday, November 4, 2013
In this podcast, Steve Murgaski walks us through how to assign braille keyboard commands to VoiceOver actions. He also demonstrates how to change the way a braille display behaves through the Activity feature found in the VoiceOver Utility.
Guide by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, January 26, 2014


iWork 13 was a big update. One that excited blind people, and at the same time annoyed power users. Because the iWork apps were rewritten from scratch, not every feature was included at first. One of these features is assigning hotkeys to styles, which later was brought back in an update. A couple times I’ve seen people asking how it works, so I sat down to figure it out.

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.

Podcast by AppleVis on Monday, October 22, 2018

In this podcast, Alex Hall demonstrates the Home app on MacOS. The Home App is new in macOS 10.14 Mojave.

Guide by Kevin Shaw on Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Before I lost my sight, the usable low vision I had allowed me to fall in love with typography, design and the Apple aesthetic which I'd describe as clean and simple. I’ve kept this design philosophy throughout my life and have continued to edit and design my documents so they match this aesthetic.

These skills may take some time to master, but are worth the investment especially if you work in an organization that values design. Your documents will not only look better, but you will communicate that you are a student or businessperson who knows how to use your assistive technology well.

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 this is rather scarce. Therefore, if you know of additional tips and tricks, sound off in the comments.

Guide by Kevin Shaw on Saturday, September 4, 2021

In my first Pages guide, I described what certain typographic elements looked like such as bold text and underlining. In my second guide, I provided a crash course in how you can quickly apply styles in your Pages documents. In this guide, let’s tackle some more complex concepts. You can apply these to the test document available in my second guide, or use one of yours as a playground.

Podcast by AppleVis on Monday, September 28, 2015

In this podcast, Jonathan Simeone discusses and demonstrates the autosave and versioning features of TextEdit on macOS. These provide the peace of mind of knowing that your work is being automatically saved as you type, and that it’s quick and easy to revert to a previous version of a document.