New to Mac? How to personalize your Mac desktop and more

Personalize Mac - MacBook

If you just got a new Mac, then you’ve been working on making it your own. There are some obvious and not-so-obvious ways you can do this. From picking out an attractive wallpaper to working with your Dock to picking out the right notifications sounds, here’s how to personalize your Mac.

Personalizing your Mac

Choosing your color scheme

You can change the appearance of your Mac from light to dark and select your accent and highlight colors. So if you have a favorite color or find that one is easier on your eyes, here’s how.

Open your System Preferences with the icon in your Dock or Apple icon > System Preferences from the menu bar. Choose General.

Choose Color Scheme Mac

  • At the top, you can pick the Appearance from light, dark, or auto. If you pick Auto, this will change from light to dark during the day.
  • Next, select the Accent color which will be the one used for buttons, pop-up menus, and other types of controls on your interface.
  • Finally, you can pick the Highlight color. This will apply when you highlight text in apps, your browser, and similar spots.

By choosing the right appearance and color scheme, you can not only make your Mac look the way you want but help you when you’re performing tasks.

Picking out your sounds

There are a few different sounds you can customize on your Mac. These include alert sounds, app notifications, and

Let’s start with alert sounds. You’ll hear these when you try to do something on your Mac that isn’t allowed, for example.

In your System Preferences, pick Sound and choose Sound Effects at the top. You’ll see a list of built-in sounds at the top. Click each one to hear it and then keep the one selected (highlighted) that you want to use. You can then go down and adjust the Alert volume if you like.

Adjust Sound for Alerts Mac

Some apps let you set different sounds for notifications on your Mac other than the default one above. For instance, you can have an alternative sound when you receive an email in Mail or a text in Messages.

Open one of those apps like Mail or Messages and click Mail > Preferences or Messages > Preferences from the menu bar. Select the General tab.

You’ll see the options with a drop-down box to choose a sound for when new messages arrive. This is a great way to distinguish between a system alert, incoming email, or text message you receive.

Pick Sounds Mail Messages Mac

Customizing your Dock

We have a full tutorial for how to work with the Dock on your Mac. But here are just a few basics to get you started.

Open System Preferences and select Dock.

Dock Preferences Mac

  • Starting at the top, you can change the Size of your Dock using the slider.
  • Next you can enable Magnification and adjust the size for that. This feature makes the icons in your Dock pop when you put your cursor over them.
  • Move onto where you want your Dock to sit on your screen. Pick a Position from left, right, or bottom per your preference.
  • Then you can choose an effect when minimizing windows. This is how windows will fall into the Dock when you minimize them.

You have several other options in the Dock Preferences that you can enable or disable. And again, take a look at our tutorial for further details on customizing your Dock.

Changing your wallpaper and screen saver

Like customizing your Dock, we have a full tutorial for those new to Mac on how to change your wallpaper and screen saver. So here, we’ll just show you the basics.

Open System Preferences and select Desktop & Screen Saver.

Change Desktop and Screen Saver Mac

Choose either Desktop or Screen Saver from the top and then make your selections at the bottom.

  • The Desktop wallpaper options are plentiful with pictures from Apple, solid colors, or your own photos.
  • For the Screen Saver, you can pick an animation type and then choose the photos for it.

Both of these can help you give your Mac just the right look.

Arranging your desktop items

Everyone likes their desktop to display differently. You might like your icons sorted by name maybe you prefer date. You may want small icons so you can fit a lot or larger ones that are easy to see.

There are various ways that you can organize your Mac desktop. And we’ll show you just a few.

To get started, right-click or hold Control and click an empty spot on your desktop and select Show View Options.

In window that pops open, you can choose how to sort your icons, what size you’d like them to be, how much space you want in between them, and the size and position of the labels.

Desktop Preferences Mac

As you make these adjustments, you’ll see the changes to your desktop immediately. So you can give it that perfect appearance and arrangement. Then, just close the window when you finish.

More personalization options

There are several other ways that you can personalize your Mac. From customizing the login screen to rearranging the menu bar. Take a look at these related articles.

Wrapping it up

This is just a handful of ways you can personalize your new Mac. As you get used to it, you’ll likely find more that help you work more efficiently, play more enjoyably, or simply have a better overall macOS experience.

Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to share for ways to personalize Mac? Let us know below or hit us up on Twitter with your suggestions!