Introduction - OS X Mavericks For Dummies (2014)

OS X Mavericks For Dummies (2014)


You made the right choice twice: OS X Mavericks and this book. Take a deep breath and get ready to have a rollicking good time. That’s right. This is a computer book, but it’s fun. What a concept! Whether you’re brand spanking new to the Mac or a grizzled Mac vet, I guarantee that reading this book to discover the ins and outs of OS X Mavericks will make everything easier. The publisher couldn’t say as much on the cover if it weren’t true!

About This Book

This book’s roots lie with my international best seller Macintosh System 7.5 For Dummies, an award-winning book so good that now-deceased Mac cloner Power Computing gave away a copy with every Mac clone it sold. OS X Mavericks For Dummies is the latest revision and has been, once again, completely updated to include all the OS X goodness in Mavericks. In other words, this edition combines all the old, familiar features of previous editions — but is once again updated to reflect the latest and greatest offering from Apple as well as feedback from readers.

Why write a For Dummies book about Mavericks? Well, Mavericks is a big, somewhat complicated personal-computer operating system. So I made OS X Mavericks For Dummies a not-so-big, not-very-complicated book that shows you what Mavericks is all about without boring you to tears, confusing you, or poking you with sharp objects.

In fact, I think you’ll be so darned comfortable that I wanted the title to be OS X Mavericks Made Easy, but the publishers wouldn’t let me. Apparently, we For Dummies authors have to follow some rules and using For Dummies and OS X Mavericks in this book’s title are among them.

And speaking of dummies, remember that’s just a word. I don’t think you’re a dummy at all — quite the opposite! My second choice for this book’s title was OS X Mavericks For People Smart Enough to Know They Need This Book, but you can just imagine what Wiley thought of that. (“C’mon, that’s the whole point of the name!” they insisted. “Besides, it’s shorter our way.”)

The book is chock full of information and advice, explaining everything you need to know about OS X in language you can understand — along with timesaving tips, tricks, techniques, and step-by-step instructions, all served up in generous quantities.

Another rule we For Dummies authors must follow is that our books cannot exceed a certain number of pages. (Brevity is the soul of wit, and all that.) So I wish I could have included some things, but they didn’t fit. Although I feel confident you’ll find everything you need to know about OS X Mavericks in this book, some things bear further looking into, including these:

image Information about some of the applications (programs) that come with OS X Mavericks: An installation of OS X Mavericks includes roughly 50 separate applications, mostly located in the Applications folder and the Utilities folder within it. I’d love to walk you through each one of them, but that would have required a book a whole lot bigger, heavier, and more expensive than this one.

I brief you on the small handful of bundled applications essential to using OS X Mavericks and keep the focus there — namely, Calendar, Contacts, Messages, Mail, Safari, TextEdit, and the like, as well as important utilities you may need to know how to use someday.

For what it’s worth, many books cover the applications that come with OS X Mavericks, as well as applications commonly bundled with Mavericks on a new Mac, such as iLife; the one my publisher suggested I recommend is OS X Mavericks All-in-One For Dummies, written by Mark L. Chambers, which is (of course) also published by Wiley.

image Information about Microsoft Office, iLife, iWork, Adobe Photoshop, Quicken, and most other third-party applications: Okay, if all the gory details of all the bundled (read: free) OS X Mavericks applications don’t fit here, I think you’ll understand why digging into third-party applications that cost extra was out of the question.

image Information about programming for the Mac: This book is about using OS X Mavericks, not writing code for it. Dozens of books cover programming on the Mac, most of which are two or three times the size of this book.

Conventions Used in This Book

To get the most out of this book, you need to know how I do things and why. Here are a few conventions I use in this book to make your life easier:

image When I want you to open an item in a menu, I write something like Choose File⇒Open, which means, “Pull down the File menu and choose the Open command.”

image Stuff you’re supposed to type appears in bold type, like this.

image Sometimes an entire a sentence is in boldface, as you see when I present a numbered list of steps. In those cases, I leave the bold off what you’re supposed to type, like this.

image Web addresses, programming code (not much in this book), and things that appear onscreen are shown in a special monofont typeface, like this. (If you're reading an ebook version of this book, web addresses are clickable links.)

image For keyboard shortcuts, I write something like Command Key+A, which means to hold down the Command Key key (the one with the little pretzel and/or Apple symbol on it) and then press the A key on the keyboard. If you see something like Command Key+Shift+A, that means to hold down the Command Key and Shift keys while pressing the A key. Again, for clarity, I never refer to the Command Key key with the Apple symbol. I reserve that symbol for the Apple menu (Apple menu). For the Command key, I use only the Command Key symbol. Got it? Very cool.

Foolish Assumptions

Although I know what happens when you make assumptions, I’ve made a few anyway. First, I assume that you, gentle reader, know nothing about using OS X — beyond knowing what a Mac is, that you want to use OS X, that you want to understand OS X without having to digest an incomprehensible technical manual, and that you made the right choice by selecting this particular book. And so I do my best to explain each new concept in full and loving detail. Maybe that’s foolish, but . . . that’s how I roll.

Oh, and I also assume that you can read. If you can’t, ignore this paragraph.

Beyond the Book

We have written a lot of extra content that you won’t find in this book. Go online to find the following:

image Online articles covering additional topics at

image The Cheat Sheet for this book is at

image Updates to this book, if we have any, are at

Icons Used in This Book

Little round pictures (icons) appear off to the left side of the text throughout this book. Consider these icons miniature road signs, telling you a little something extra about the topic at hand. Here’s what the different icons look like and what they all mean.

imageLook for Tip icons to find the juiciest morsels: shortcuts, tips, and undocumented secrets about Mavericks. Try them all; impress your friends!

imageWhen you see this icon, it means that this particular morsel is something that I think you should memorize (or at least write on your shirt cuff).

imagePut on your propeller-beanie hat and pocket protector; these parts include the truly geeky stuff. It’s certainly not required reading, but it must be interesting or informative, or I wouldn’t have wasted your time with it.

imageRead these notes very, very, very carefully. (Did I say very?) Warning icons flag important cautionary information. The author and publisher won’t be responsible if your Mac explodes or spews flaming parts because you ignored a Warning icon. Just kidding. Macs don’t explode or spew (with the exception of a few choice PowerBook 5300s, which won’t run Mavericks anyway). But I got your attention, didn’t I?

imageThese icons represent my ranting or raving about something that either bugs me or makes me smile. When I’m ranting, imagine foam coming from my mouth. Rants are required to be irreverent, irrelevant, or both. I try to keep them short, for your sake.

imageWell, now, what could this icon possibly be about? Named by famous editorial consultant Mr. Obvious, this icon highlights all things new and different in OS X Mavericks.