No matter what Mac you’re using, or what application you’re in, there’s one constant… the black Apple menu can always be found in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

Black Apple Menu Position On Toolbar

At some point or other all Mac users end up accessing this menu, so it’s good to know what it offers:

Black Apple Menu Options

  • About This Mac… – Opens a window with information on your Mac. Options let you drill-down to explore the full specifications of your machine.  Mac Model Identifier, Serial Number, OSX Version, RAM installed, can all be found here.

About This Mac

  • Software Update… – On all Macs using OSX Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and below this opens the Software Update dialog box and starts an immediate search for Apple updates.
    On all Macs using OSX Snow Leopard 10.6.6 and above (Lion, Mountain Lion and Mavericks) this opens the App Store Application at the Update tab and searches for Apple updates.
    If you do not see this command, you’ll find it under System Preferences > Software Updates.
  • This command does not auto-update. That decision is left to the user. Auto-updates are possible on the Mac and I’ll look at that in the next post.
  • App Store… – On versions of OSX that have this option, choosing it opens the App Store. 

Apple App Store

  • System Preferences… – Opens System Preferences. This area lets users customize their Mac, including Displays, Printers, Mouse, Trackpad, Sharing, Users, Time Machine, Parental Controls,  and the OSX interface.  

Apple Mac OSX - System Preferences

  • Dock – Control all aspects of the Dock: Show/Hide, Magnification, Position and more advanced Dock Preferences.

Mac OSX Dock With Icons

  • Recent Items – Displays a list of the last files opened broken down by type, e.g.Applications, Documents, Servers.
    You can control the number of recent items displayed in System Preferences > General > Recent Items. 
  • Force Quit… – Provides a list of open applications with the option to Force Quit. Critical for dealing with applications that have frozen or crashed.

Apple Mac OSX - Force Quit

  • Sleep… – Places the Mac in Sleep mode. A detailed explanation of what occurs is provided by Apple in this Support Document.
  • Restart… – Shuts down all application and reboots the machine.
  • Log Out Current User– Logs out the current user and provides a screen showing all user accounts. Another user can now log in. Keystroke shortcut is Shift Command Q

Three dots after any menu item indicate that there is another step before the final command is executed. Those without dots are a final command.

At any time, you can glance at the application name to the right of the black Apple, to determine what application is currently active.

If you like this post, you may find these other posts helpful:

Force Quit – What To Do When An Application Freezes

Is Your Dock Filled With Strange Icons? Let’s Clean It Up…

Hope you have a most excellent week.

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