The MacBook Pro Revealed: Hidden Features, Tricks & Tips

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had your MacBook Pro for, we’re willing to bet it’s managed to keep a few secrets from you. You know what they say about secrets: they destroy relationships. And now that Valentine’s Day is over with you can admit there’s no relationship more important than the one you have with your Pro. Luckily, you don’t need to sign up for couple’s counselling to sort everything out. Get to the bottom of your laptop’s hidden features, and you can uncover some cool tricks to help you save some time.

Shortcuts

Love yourself and get to know your keyboard commands — beyond the typical command + V to paste that even your parents know about. These simple shortcuts can make a surprising difference to your time before the screen, keeping in mind these only work if you don’t have the latest Retina’s Touch Bar.

  • Control + command + D — This prompt will define any word you’ve highlightedon your screen, giving you the gift of seeming smarter than you actually are with an improved vocabulary.
  • Command + F3 — If you ever get overwhelmed by all of the apps you have open on your screen, this prompt will hide all of them and reveal your desktop, so you can have your moment of Zen.
  • Control + Up Arrow — Ready to get back to work? Use ctrl + ?to bring it all back.
  • Command + W — Sometimes, whether it’s at work or at home, you’re getting up to something you don’t want anyone else to see. Hey, we’re not judging. If you need to shut it all down immediately, use this prompt and breathe a sigh of relief.

Hands Free Dictation

Anyone suffering from tendinitis or carpal tunnel will struggle through a day of typing at their Mac. Luckily, there’s a convenient dictation setting available on OS X Yosemite, Mavericks, and Sierra. Enabling ED is as simple as going through Settings > Dictation & Speech. You’ll find a box entitled Use Enhanced Dictation and — you guessed — you need to tick it order to turn it on. Once switched on, Enhanced Diction converts your speech to text.

macbook pro hidden features tips & tricks

Summarize Like a Boss

If you’re tasked with reading a long piece of text (oh, let’s say Apple’s Terms & Conditions) but don’t have the time or gumption to read it yourself, your Mac can summarize it for you. Confirm you have it enabled by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts and selecting Services. Scroll through the list until you can tick off Summarize and it will show up as an option any time you right click on a highlighted chunk of text. Boom, you’ve just saved yourself the torture of reading legalese.

Protect with Decals

Not everything comes built-in to your OS X, but that’s okay. Manufacturers like dbrand have you covered. As the best skins MacBook Pro owners can get, these vinyl coverings will give an opportunity to show off your individual style while saving you the heartache of scratching up your laptop. Open up a new tab and shop for MacBook skins at dbrand.com to see what kind of customized design you can create.

Backup Batteries

It’s the worst when you decide to get some work down at Starbucks only to find out you’re down to your last percent of battery and there are no available outlets. Of course this always happens after you’ve placed your order. Don’t be that person who sits in a coffee shop to actually drink their coffee without any technological distractions. (What kind of monster?) Make sure you’re always prepared for a sudden battery drain with a battery box like the ZeroLemonToughJuice 30000mAh Dual Layer Rugged External Battery, which is powerful enough to recharge the Pro and still have some energy left over. With a name like that, it should!

Get Some Peace

In a world where we’re constantly logged in, checking for notes, emails, and followers, we can feel overwhelmed by our laptops. If you’re tired of seeing every notification from your accounts, you can mute them by holding the ?button as you click the Notification Center icon, giving you some distance from the online world.

Apple is a major player for a reason; they’ve designed their OS X to be as convenient as possible. The only caveat is you need to be savvy enough to know how to use these hidden features. This list doesn’t even come close to the true number of tips, tricks, and accessories you can get for your Pro, so keep curious and explore everything there is to offer.

Amol Wagh

Author of Game Marketing Book: Market Your Indie Game Like A Pro! 7 years of Tech Blogging & Digital Marketing. Co-founder at Dotline Inc & a Gamer. Follow me on Twitter @amolwagh, @amol.wagh