Did you just buy your first new Mac? Here's how to set it up!
If you are new to Mac and are about to set up your new MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro, you might want a little preparation before you begin. It is easy to set up your new Mac if you follow the on-screen instructions, but you may not understand what those instructions mean. I'm here to help walk you through each step so you don't worry that you might be doing something wrong.
How to set up your new Mac
- Press the Power button on your Mac to turn it on.
Select a language.
- This is the language that your computer will be written in across the system.
Select a keyboard layout.
- This is how your keys will type out onto your computer, no matter what the physical keyboard looks like.
Select your Wi-Fi network.
- If you are connecting to the internet using Ethernet, select Other Network Options and select Ethernet.
Enter your Wi-Fi password if you are using Wi-Fi.
This may take a few minutes. You may see a spinning wheel and "Looking for networks." This is normal.
If you are setting up your Mac as a new computer, select Don't transfer any information now.
- If you are transferring from another Mac, follow these instructions.
- If you are transferring from a PC, follow these instructions.
Tick the box for Enable Location Services on this Mac.
- This service is important for use with Siri, Maps, Spotlight suggestions, and more. If you don't want Apple to have access to your location, do not tick this box.
Sign in with your Apple ID.
- Use the same Apple ID you use with other iCloud services on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and other Macs so you can sync services across devices.
- If you don't already have an Apple ID, you can create one on your Mac at a later time or sign up through your iPhone or iPad.
- If you have two-factor authentication turned on, you will be asked to verify your identity.
Click Agree to agree to the terms and conditions.
- You can read each section of the terms and conditions by clicking More.
Click Agree to confirm.
- Enter a Full name for your computer. If you signed in with your Apple ID, this will populate automatically.
Enter Account name. If you signed in with your Apple ID, this will populate automatically.
Enter a password to secure your Mac.
- This will be your administrator password, which is used to create new accounts and access system features across your Mac.
Enter a Hint to help you remember your password.
This hint will appear on your Lock screen if you type in the wrong password on your Mac.
Tick the box to Allow my Apple ID to reset this password.
- This is a little less secure if someone else has access to your Apple ID and password, but is convenient if your forget your password.
Tick the box for Set time zone based on current location.
- This will only work if you enabled Location Services in step 11.
When enabled, your date and time will change when you visit new locations across time zones.
iCloud will begin syncing if you signed in. This may take a few minutes. You may see a spinning wheel and "Setting up account." This is normal.
Tick the box for Turn on FileVault disk encryption.
- FileVault encrypts the contents of your Mac's hard drive.
Tick the box for Allow my iCloud account to unlock my disk.
- Allowing iCloud to unlock your disk is the same thing as allowing iCloud to reset your Mac's password.
Tick the box for Store files from Documents and Desktop in iCloud to store everything on your desktop and your Documents folder.
Tick the box to Enable Siri on this Mac.
- Siri on the Mac is your personal virtual assistant on your comptuer.
At this point, your Mac will finalize all settings and iCloud syncing for setting up your Mac. This may take a while. You may see a spinning wheel and "Setting up." This is normal.
After your Mac has finished setting up, you may receive pop up notifications to sign into various mail and social networking accounts. Click Allow, Continue, or turn on for each notification to sign in.
Do you have any questions about the set up process on your new Mac? Let me know in the comments and I'll help you out.
Originally written January 2015. Updated October 2016 to reflect changes to macOS.
Peter Cohen contributed to an earlier version of this article.