The first thing I tend to do, to help them organise the chaos, is go through the same setup settings I’ve found work pretty-well from my many years working with Macs, and install some decent apps for security and productivity.

These are the mains ones, and I hope they can help you too:

  • Click on your Desktop > View > Show View Options (cmd-J)
    • Stack by: None
    • Sort by: Kind
    • Icon size: 16 x 16
    • Grid spacing: Max
    • Label position: Right
  • Click on any Finder window > Change to List View > View > Show View Options (cmd-J)
    • Tick “Always open in list view”
    • Stack by: None
    • Sort by: Date Added
    • Icon size: 16 x 16
    • Show Columns: Date Added, Date Modified, Size, Kind
    • Untick: Use Relative Dates
    • Tick: Calculate all sizes, Show icon preview
    • Click “Use as defaults”
  • Finder > Preferences > General
    • Show these items on the Desktop: tick all
    • New Finder windows shows: Macintosh HD
  • System Preferences > General
    • Dark Mode
    • Show scroll bars: Always
    • Default web browser: I use personally and recommend if you have more than one browser, otherwise Vivaldi or Firefox are both recommended.
  • System Preferences > Date & Time
    • Time options: Display the time with seconds (helps to see if your Mac is actually frozen if seconds stop updating)
  • System Preferences > Security & Privacy
    • Firewall: On
    • Firewall Options: Enable stealth mode

You don’t need all these — but they do make my busy Mac-life a bit more pleasant, speedy and secure, as my favourites in each area:

*Free (as-in freedom) Open-Source Software (FOSS) — is an ethical way to provide software services for; transparency, security, freedom, privacy, data-ownership, collaboration, developer credit & promotion — and simply good online citizen karma in return for the countless community projects you already benefit from that form the foundations a free and inclusive internet.

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