The Internet is the best source for help with your challenges other than Mac user groups.
- Apple — the place to start for Mac products and information.
- Mactopia — Microsoft products for the Mac.
You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac.
The use of security software for Mac OS X should not fail due to false vanity. — AV-TEST
Once of the reasons people love Macs is because of the relative lack of security vulnerabilities compared to Windows.
However, reports are increasingly appearing about malware and viruses infecting Apple computers (as well as the ever-more-ubiquitous hand-held devices).
New Security Threats
With the increased popularity of Macs has come a new set of security threats (see sidebar).
- Mac internet security threats show malware aimed at Mac is rapidly increasing.
- Mac OS X in the crosshairs — 18 malware scanners put to the test.
- Mac vs. PC Security: Which is Better?
- A data-stealing Trojan aimed at Mac users.
Don't Be Part of the Problem
Do not click on links sent via email and be wary of websites or sudden warnings that “you're infected.” Know how your security software provides protection and alerts so you can identify fake warnings.
Protect your privacy when sharing on social media sites:
- AVG PrivacyFix can help you to determine how much you're sharing and allow you to manage your Facebook, LinkedIn and Google privacy settings from a single dashboard.
Install Security Software
I strongly recommended that you install security protection onto your Mac.
- Macintosh OS X Security: Understanding the platform and usage (second lesson and third lesson).
- Apple security updates direct from Apple.
- Tips and tools to help Mac users protect their data and communications.
You'll find a listing of Mac security software in the software section.
These news sources will keep you informed about what is new and upcoming regarding the Mac.
MacTracker provides detailed information on every Apple Macintosh computer ever made, including items such as processor speed, memory, optical drives, graphic cards, supported Mac OS versions, and expansion options.
Tips & Tricks
Information About Older Macs
These are sites don't appear to be maintained but still contain useful information:
- FAQs.org — Macintosh — various FAQs for the Mac (last updated 1995).
- apple-history.com provides information on Apple computers and products by date, family and processor type. (Last updated August 2012.)
- Info-Mac HyperArchive (last updated 2007).
Feeling nostalgic or curious about early Macs?
- Making the Macintosh: Technology and Culture in Silicon Valley - An online project documenting the history of the Macintosh computer.
- apple-history.com has information on Apple products listed by date which provides an excellent historical reference.
- MacIssues — how to use, troubleshoot, and repair your Mac.
- MacIssues on Twitter (@mac_fix_it) has news and troubleshooting for Macs, OS X, iPods, iPhones, & more.
- Mac Apps Support — Apple's support for the apps that come with your Mac.
- If you can’t send or receive email on your Mac.
- Isolating issues in Mac OS X provides a methodical approach to determining the source of software (and hardware) issues.
- Office Mac Help is a resource for Microsoft Office on the Mac.
Apple has a Force Quit option for programs that don't respond to a normal shutdown request. This should be your last resort option.
- Mac OS X: How to quit an unresponsive application using Force Quit — Apple's guidelines.
- 6 Ways to Force Quit Mac Applications.
Traditionally, the only option for a hard drive was a spinning magnetic platter. Today, SSDs have changed that but you need to be aware of the risks and benefits of each choice.
- SSD vs hard drives: which is the best storage to have in a Mac.
- Here's how to recover data if your hard drive or SSD crashes.
Backing Up Your Mac
If your hard drive fails, you'll lose all your data and perhaps the information necessary to recover your computer. Backing up your Mac stores that information so that you can recover. You might want to read a bit about backups to fully understand the main concepts and risks.
- Are you backing up your Mac? You should be! Here are some options.
- Alternatives to Time Machine, bootable backup solutions for Mac.
Backing Up Your Email
- Back-up your Mac OS mail folder.
- How to manually restore emails from Time Machine backup.
- How to back up and restore mail in Lion.
- How to back up or copy your Mac OS X mail address book.
- The Entourage Help Page.
Basic Mac Software
The Mac App Store provides a more secure source for software. If given the choice, look there for apps.
You need to be running security (antivirus) software on your Mac.
- More Security for Mac OS X: 13 Security Packages Put to the Test by AV-Test, the folks that test security software.
- Protect your Mac for free with these five anti-virus apps from Tom's Guide.
- 11 Antivirus Apps for the Mac from PC Magazine.
- Mac Malware Guide.
The effectiveness of security programs varies. See this not all products as effective and many Mac OS X security products adversely affect system performance.
- Avira Free Antivirus for Mac is a free virus scanner for Mac OS X that outperforms most paid alternatives.
- Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac has less impact on system performance than most others and provides for more customization. On-demand detection is excellent.
- Avast Free Mac Security has excellent malware detection but significantly impacted system performance.
- Kaspersky Internet Security for Mac features strong e-commerce protection and parental controls but had more impact on system resources than some others and didn't perform as well in on-access malware tests.
- ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac.
OS X's built-in firewall provides only inbound protection. There is no outbound protection and provides no additional protection if you're behind a router.
- Little Snitch provides both incoming and outgoing firewall protection and includes a network monitor.
Photo & Graphic Design
Affinity products are extremely powerful and very reasonably priced.
- Affinity Photo ($57.99, no subscription) is professional photo editing software for the Mac. In the works for 5 years, it has an incredibly intuitive interface. System requirements.
- Affinity Designer ($57.99, no subscription) is professional graphic design software for the Mac. Affinity Designer won the 2015 Apple Design Award, “honoring outstanding design and innovation.” System requirements.
- Safari Browser is the Mac OS X default web browser and supports the latest standards and features.
- Firefox Browser is available for Mac OS X 10.2.x and later.
- iCab Browser. This alternative browser for the Mac is highly customizable and includes image filtering, which eliminates banner ads.
- iCloud includes email, calendar and more. Available for OS Lion 10.7.2 or iOS 5 or better.
- Mozilla Thunderbird is available for Mac OS X 10.2.x and later. Not recommended for large amounts of mail. Installing Thunderbird on Mac works fine in spite of the older images.
- Postbox (US$9.95) may provide a Thunderbird alternative to those looking for something similar but with more features. Review.
- Macworld's favorite Mac mail clients.
- Interarchy ($49.99 USD) is a good Mac FTP program that requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later.
- FileZilla is a free cross-platform graphical FTP, FTPS and SFTP client with many features.
Manager is free accounting software that runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.
- It includes modules such as cashbook, invoicing, receivables, payables, taxes and comprehensive financial reports.
- The Desktop edition doesn't support multi-user capabilities. If you require multi-user access, you will need to sign up for Cloud edition and your data will be stored in the “cloud” rather than on your computer.
- VLC media player is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVD, Audio CD, VCD, and various streaming protocols.
Office Suites & Text Editors
LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice: Free Office Alternatives
LibreOffice and Apache OpenOffice provide the core features of Microsoft Office and both are free to download, use, and distribute.
Governments, education, businesses, not-for-profits, IT businesses and more are using Apache OpenOffice products (and LibreOffice) as their standard office software.
System Requirements for Mac OS X
- Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) or higher; (since LibreOffice 4.1 — Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger for versions up to 4.0.x)
- Intel processor; (Note: as of LibreOffice v.4.1 support for PowerPC has been dropped);
- 512 MB RAM;
- Up to 800 MB available hard disk space;
- 1024x768 graphic device with 256 colors (higher resolution recommended).
- Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher
- Intel Processor
- 512 MB RAM
- 400 MB available disk space
- 1024 x 768 or higher resolution with 16.7 Million colours
About the Java Requirements
Both LibreOffice and OpenOffice will run without Java for most users but certain features depend upon Java, particularly the database program.
Java is mainly required for the HSQLDB database engine (used by our database product Base) and to make use of accessibility and assistive technologies. — Apache OpenOffice
- iA Writer ($9.99) requires OS X 10.9 or later, 64-bit processor.
- Typed for Mac ($24.99) requires OS X Mavericks or newer. This review felt that Typed offered “a buggy and inconsistent writing experience.”
- Best writing apps for Mac.
HTML and Text Editors
- BBEdit ($49.99 USD) is an excellent HTML text editor.
- TextWrangler is now free, and considered the replacement for BBEdit Lite. There is a TextWrangler FAQ that should answer questions about the intended market for this product and the advantages of moving to the full-featured BBEdit.
- BBEdit Lite is discontinued. There is still a download available here, which you'll need if you are not running OS 10.
This page is maintained as a service to Macintosh users.
Updated: March 1, 2016