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12 Mac Life Hacks You Can’t Go Without

Macs receive much love and praise for being able to perform actions outside the standard Windows toolset. However, even the most devout Mac users probably aren’t aware of every trick and shortcut available underneath that slick, shiny exterior.

Learning your computer’s shortcuts and hacks can save time, sanity and, in some cases, just be plain fun. There are a lot of shortcuts out there. Most are specific to software and programs you’re running but the following 12 are pretty awesome whether you use an iMac, Macbook Pro, or Macbook Air for homework or your job. Be a productivity powerhouse with these easy Mac life hacks.

*Last updated March 2021

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1. Snap a Picture With Screenshots (Command⌘+Shift+4)

Screenshots are a really simple way to capture images of your screen. You can take a quick snap of the exact area or full window you would like a .jpg of. This comes in handy when you’re remotely guiding someone through a computer process, or to simply capture an image you’d like to keep or share later. When you’re having a laughing fit from a funny chat with someone, you can take a screenshot of the convo. Please use this power for good, not evil.

The basic command above pops up a crosshair that you can drag to screenshot only the area you want. 

Need a picture of the full window you’re working in? Hit Command+Shift+4, let them go, then hit the Spacebar and click the window you want

Want your full desktop screen captured, toolbar and all? Hit Command+Shift+3.

2. Hide the App Deck (Command⌘+Option+D)

That 13-inch screen can feel pretty small sometimes, and the App Deck can get in the way when all you need is an extra inch … or centimeter. Open up some space by holding the Command⌘+Option+D keys. Press again to bring the deck back. 
If you can’t find the Option key on your keyboard, hold Command⌘+Alt+D.

This works in most applications, including Gmail. Just highlight the text you’d like to link, and use the Command⌘+K shortcut to add your link, then Command⌘+V to paste the URL you’re linking to. 

4. Select All in a Table (Command⌘+A)

So this one seems pretty basic, but you’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t), just how many people forget about this shortcut and wind up spending entire minutes selecting things like pictures or files one-by-one.

5. Reopen a Tab (Command⌘+Shift+T)

We all do it, close a browser tab on accident and have no idea how we found it. You can either look through your browser history or you can simply use the reopen tab command to automatically open the last tab that was closed. This is actually a Chrome shortcut, but if you’re on a Mac, let’s face it…you’re probably using Chrome.

6. UNDO! (Command⌘+Z)

Another simple shortcut that has saved so many lives…well, at least a lot of work. Let’s say you just accidentally erased half of your graduation speech…you freeze…that didn’t just happen! 

Have no fear, Command⌘+Z is here to undo whatever stupid thing you just did. Many use this as just a Microsoft Word command, but it works in nearly all applications.

7. Search for Answers to Your Most Random Questions (Command⌘+Space)

Skip the math equations. With Spotlight, the official name of the “desktop search bar thingy”, you can type in any number, math expression, currency, temperature, measurement or conversion and instantly get the right answer. As a bonus, you can get even more conversion suggestions by pressing the Tab key.

8. Search for Text on a Page (Command⌘+F)

The time saver of all time savers. Instead of playing eye spy every time you need to locate something, just use this shortcut to quickly and easily search whatever page you’re on. A small search box will appear in the upper right hand corner, enter your search terms and you will see them highlighted. Boom!

9. Be an Efficiency Boss With Hot Corners

This isn’t technically a command, but rather a setting – an important one. If you don’t know what hot corners are, they quickly become the bane of your online existence. However, when you set them up, they’re a lifesaver! When you move your cursor to the corners of your screen, certain actions happen like clearing your screen or showing all open windows. Whatever you set up hot corners to do. 

To personalize your hot corners settings, open the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hot Corners. Select an action from the drop-down menu next to the corner you want to use and select OK.

Here is the full list of Mac shortcuts, but remember not all shortcuts are created equally. These next couple hacks add a little fun to your day, while saving you a few clicks in the process. 

10. Add Emojis in a Flash With the Emoji Keyboard (Command⌘+Control+Spacebar)

Those cute icons aren’t limited to just your iPhone. To pull up the emoji keyboard, use the above key combination. You can search for your favorite emoji by keyword like “smiley face” or “pizza”. 

The keyboard works with most apps and text fields too, meaning you can add some life to nearly any body of text in your presentations, emails and chats.

11. Apple Icon (Option+Shift+K)

This one is for Apple’s greatest fangirls and fanboys. Create an Apple icon anywhere in an email, text, or document. 

12. Adjust the Volume in Smaller Increments

Okay, not the most fun hack, but definitely a good one. Normally, you can adjust the volume on your Mac across sixteen levels.

When you need a little more control, hit Shift+Option before you tap the volume key. Now you can fine-tune your volume for any occasion.

Now go, be that productive person you always knew you could be and come back to the Friendly PC blog every week for fresh, new tech tips and info. Actually, here’s another hack…if you highlight this URL – – and drag it just a few centimeters to the grey area under your search bar to save it as a bookmark for easy future access.