I was once a Windows user. Believe it or not, I was one of those people who looked at Mac users and considered them to have far too much disposable income and an absence of common sense.
Why own a Mac when you could own a faster, cheaper Windows-based PC?
That’s right – I’d probably have trolled my own YouTube channel if Mark Ellis Reviews had existed twenty years ago.
Times change, don’t they? I’m now a staunch advocate of macOS and can’t think of anything worse than diving wholeheartedly back into the world of blue screens, command prompts, and the increasingly unfathomable Start Menu.
We Mac users are still pointed and laughed at, but we don’t care. It’s a club from which it’s incredibly tricky to remove yourself – not that you’d ever want to.
However, there are also a bunch of realities that come with owning a Mac that I’d like to share with the uninitiated today.
1. The Apple stickers are, ultimately, pointless
If you weren’t aware, Apple places stickers inside the packaging of its Macs. They come in the form of the unmistakable fruit-based logo and are usually colour-coded to the device you’ve purchased.
Except when they’re not, or when they’re not included at all, in which case the entire universe collapses for Apple fans.
Apple stickers fascinate me because I don’t know anyone who sticks them onto anything. Their fate is usually consigned to the now-empty product box, rendering them totally unused and, consequently, entirely pointless.
Have you ever stuck yours anywhere?
2. The first few weeks of ownership are perilous
Love or hate Apple, it’s hard to deny that they make very pretty computers.
This is lovely because it genuinely makes the ownership experience pleasurable – no matter how superficial that might seem to some. I’ve owned enough ugly Windows machines to truly appreciate the design ethos Apple lavishes on the Mac. You get a lot for your money, in that regard.
The downside is that, for the first few weeks (sometimes, months) of ownership, you’re scared to so much as sneeze near your new Mac. If it’s a MacBook, you place it gingerly on every surface, constantly wipe it down, spend a fortune on a protective case, and immediately disown any family member who dares to place something on top of its naked lid.
3. You stop fretting (eventually)
The aforementioned initial period of fraught Mac ownership does recede, thankfully.
If you’re anything like me, as time wears on, you’ll gradually remove those kid gloves and stop treating your Mac as though it’s made from the most delicate material on earth.
Because it isn’t. Macs are surprisingly durable. You might even do away with that case!
4. The Touch Bar was pointless
This is only applicable if you’ve owned both Touch Bar-equipped and function row key-equipped MacBooks.
The former was, I’m afraid, totally pointless. I’m yet to hear an argument for the Touch Bar that makes sense.
5. The space bar is the most useful keyboard shortcut
Want to preview something in Finder? Need to grab a quick look at that email attachment? Fancy making a few edits to an image without heading into Photoshop? The space bar will quickly become your best friend.
Whenever I dive briefly back into the world of Windows, this is the feature I miss the most – immediately. It’s an example of the best type of keyboard shortcut – one that’s so simple and which becomes so ingrained that you don’t realise quite how much you rely on it until it isn’t there anymore.
I rarely fully open anything on my Mac because of this feature. For someone who is rather anal about closing apps that aren’t being used, it’s a godsend.
6. You’re entered immediately into the Dock Debate
Where do you place your Dock? Do you leave it at the bottom, or is it shoved to the left or right of the screen?
I’m a leave-it-where-it-is dock person (i.e. it remains in its default position at the bottom of the screen), which has resulted in several run-ins with the Left-Hand Dock Police.
If you’re about to buy your first Mac, you need to be ready for this, because you will be questioned if you fail to comply.
7. Time spent with Windows is time wasted
I often joke that I lost most of my hair while battling blue screens and incompatible hardware configurations in the world of Windows. That isn’t strictly true (my formative Windows years took place during my teens, after all), but the point I’m making remains utterly true. In my humble opinion.
Thankfully, back then, I had other interests to take me away from the latest incompatible driver-based hell hole I’d inevitably find myself in every single day. But if I think back to how often I ended up rooting through the Registry or bashing things into command prompts just to get the simplest of stuff working properly – or the number of times Windows would soil itself and return me back to the BIOS boot screen – it only confirms one thing.
Windows is an absolute pain to live with, compared to macOS – even if you know what you’re doing (arguably, it’s even worse in that instance).
Shots fired, etc.
8. The temptation to add stickers eventually arrives
I did it to my M1 MacBook Air.
9. MagSafe is the single best invention, ever
It just is.
Apple took MagSafe away from the Mac for far too long and for no discernible reason. Thankfully, we now have it back on both the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, which means the chances of kids and clumsy adults inadvertently hurling your expensive laptop across the room have evaporated with one ultra-satisfying click.
10. It’s possible to live a crash-free life
When was the last time macOS soiled itself on your Mac?
I genuinely can’t remember, personally. And I own about eleventy seventeen Macs.
11. You have to get used to shiny keys
If anyone knows a solution to this, I’d love to hear it.
And, yes I wash my hands regularly.
Despite this, all of my MacBooks seem to suffer from Shiny Key Syndrome.
For the uninitiated, this is when the surface layer material gradually wears away from the keycap, leaving a shiny finish across your once-matte MacBook keyboard.
I’m yet to own a MacBook that doesn’t develop this rather unsightly appearance after too short a period. If your experience is different, I’d love to know how and why, please!
12. The Apple Watch is the Mac’s best friend
There’s a brilliant setting in macOS that enables your Apple Watch to unlock your computer.
It’s faster than Touch ID or Face ID and it doubles as a way to authenticate installers, purchases, and a myriad of other system prompts.
A bit like CMD+Space, you don’t realise how much you rely on this little relationship until you forget to put your Apple Watch on.
13. Handoff is absolutely brilliant
I’ve noted several times recently that one of the main reasons I can’t wrench myself out of the Apple ecosystem is because of Handoff and, in particular, one function it enables.
If you’re not aware, Handoff is Apple’s catch-all term for the way in which all of its devices talk to and interact with one another.
It means you can transfer web pages you’re viewing on your iPhone to your Mac, continue a FaceTime call on a different device, or even pass whatever’s playing on your iPhone to your HomePod.
For me, Handoff makes its presence felt constantly throughout the day thanks to its ability to synchronise the clipboard between my Apple devices. It’s easily the most boring and nondescript feature of them all, but I use it all the time, and, true to form, it just works.
14. Lifting the lid with one finger never gets old
For as long as I can remember it has been possible to lift the lid of a MacBook without steadying the rest of it.
Try that with a Windows laptop and you’ll simply lift up the entire device and watch helplessly as it slips from your grasp before crashing back onto the table.
I have no idea how Apple does this (I presume it’s all about balance and counterweighting) but it remains one of the simple joys of MacBook ownership. It has also long been a hallmark of MacBook TV advertising campaigns, which you’ll probably only notice if you’re part of the One Finger Lift Fan Club.
15. Once you use a Magic Trackpad, everything else is rubbish
I’ve made a few claims today about Mac versus Windows ownership which can be disputed – I freely admit. In fact, I welcome you to get involved and ‘tear me a new one’ in the comments section.
One thing that can’t be disputed, however, is how unmatched Apple is when it comes to trackpads.
I’ve never used a laptop trackpad on any other device that comes anywhere close to matching the brilliance of the Magic Trackpad. It was, to my knowledge, the first to gain brain-melting haptic feedback, and is far more of a joy to use compared to the Windows-based competition.
16. Retina displays ruin every other monitor
If the Magic Trackpad ruins the experience of every other laptop’s input method, I think its fair to suggest that Apple’s retina displays for its Macs make every non-Apple monitor purchase a disappointment.
There are, of course, monitors and even laptops that just about match the quality of an Apple retina screen, but they’re few and far between and they are incredibly expensive.
If, like most people, you have a modest budget for your Mac mini display and have previously used a retina display-equipped MacBook, be prepared for the disappointment that comes with buying anything that isn’t the Studio Display. Sorry.
If you’re in Club Mac, you’ll no doubt recognise most of the above, but I can guarantee I’ve forgotten a few elements of Mac ownership.
So, get involved in the comments section, please. As a Mac user, which undeniable truths permeate your ownership experience?
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