Chosen for further distribution in: Programming.

Apple MacBook Owner? A List of Useful Key Shortcuts for Better Performance

Most of us use only 10% of these timesavers ⏳

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Like every other Mac user, I thought my MacBook 💻 will never have a problem. But a week ago, I woke up, turned my MacBook on, and I got a 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭, 𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘺 💔 heart attack. My wifi had stopped working.

The wifi sign showed that my system was trying hard to connect. I checked my internet service, it was okay. I tried to connect to the internet with Bluetooth. I succeeded too. But after one hour, Bluetooth 🆂🆃🅾🅿🅿🅴🅳 working.

I tried my best to solve the problem myself. But no luck.

I had to call Apple Genius Support. After some time, it was confirmed that my wifi card had died. I asked about a possible cause of death of my dear departed wifi card. The reason they gave me was this: dust. Long story short, after one week — and $100 💵 — my MacBook is online✌️again✌️.

I often try to find something good in the minor setbacks. I learned about what’s called the ‘Diagnostic Mode’ — press the D key during boot. I also discovered how pressing Alt+Cmd+R+ P simultaneously during boot — for twenty seconds — resets the NVRAM. I learned to reset SMC, or System Management Controller.

That is when I decided to create this list of useful keys¹ for MacBook users:

Intro to Modifier Keys 🔑

Sometimes, instead of using a mouse 🐁, trackpad, or another input device, you can use these key combinations.

The shortcuts use one or more m͢o͢d͢i͢f͢i͢e͢r͢ ͢k͢e͢y͢s͢ and another key. Press and hold the keys. Here are the modifier keys:

  • Command (or Cmd) ⌘
  • Shift ⇧
  • Option (or Alt) ⌥
  • Control (or Ctrl) ⌃
  • Caps Lock ⇪
  • Fn

Some keys on Apple keyboards ⌨️ have special symbols and uses. Like ᴅɪsᴘʟᴀʏ ʙʀɪɢʜᴛɴᴇss, ᴋᴇʏʙᴏᴀʀᴅ ʙʀɪɢʜᴛɴᴇss, Mɪssɪᴏɴ Cᴏɴᴛʀᴏʟ, and more.

If your keyboard doesn’t have these functions, you can create some of them by creating your own keyboard shortcuts.

To use these keys as F1 to F12 combine them with the Fn key.

Use Diͥaͣgnoͦstͭiͥcͨs to test 🧪 your Mac

Apple Diagnostics can help you check your Mac for hardware issues. I found🔎 the dead body of my wifi card using this method.

If you have a hardware issue, use Apple Diagnostics to locate the faulty hardware component.

Prepare 🛫 your Mac

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Disconnect all external devices except keyboard, mouse, display, Ethernet connection, etc., and connection to power.

Start Apple Diagnostics

Check if you’re using a Mac with Apple silicon, then follow these steps:

Apple silicon

  1. Turn on your Mac. Continue to press and hold the power button as your Mac starts.
  2. Release when you see the startup options window, which includes a gear icon labeled Options.
  3. Press Command (⌘)-D on your keyboard.

Intel processor

  1. Turn on your Mac. Then quickly press and hold the D key on your keyboard as your Mac starts.
  2. Release when you see a progress bar.

View the test results

Apple Diagnostics will a progress bar while it’s checking:

When the test is complete, the results show including one or more reference codes. You can learn more about Diagnostics reference codes.

To repeat the test, click “Run the test again” or press Command-R.
To restart your Mac, click Restart or press R.
To shut down, click Shut Down or press S.
To get information click ”Get started” or press Command-G.

You‘ll see a webpage with more information. When you’re done, choose Restart or Shut Down from the Apple menu.

Other Mac startup key ⌨️ combinations for performance —🛡️𝑆𝑎𝑓𝑒 𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑒, 𝑅𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑒

Pressing one or more keys during startup is a powerful way to explore your MacBook.

Press and hold the keys immediately after pressing the power button while turn your laptop on. Keep holding until the related function happens.

S͛l͛e͛e͛p͛, 𝕝𝕠𝕘 𝕠𝕦𝕥, and 𝚜𝚑𝚞𝚝 𝚍𝚘𝚠𝚗 shortcuts

These shortcuts take slightly 🄻🄾🄽🄶🄴🅁 than other shortcuts. So, you may not shut down unintentionally:

  • Power button: To turn on your Mac or wake it from s͛͛͛l͛͛͛e͛͛͛e͛͛͛p͛͛͛.
    Press and hold for 1.5 seconds to put your Mac to s͛͛͛l͛͛͛e͛͛͛e͛͛͛p͛͛͛.
    Continue holding to force your Mac to turn off.
  • Option+Command+Power button: Put your laptop to s͛͛͛l͛͛͛e͛͛͛e͛͛͛p͛͛͛.
  • Control+Shift+Power button: Put your displays to sleep immediately — to be used before someone catches you watching porn 😺👙.
  • Control–Power button: Display a dialog asking whether you want to restart, sleep, or shut down.
  • Control–Command–Power button: Force your Mac to restart, without prompting to save any open and unsaved documents.
  • Control–Command–Media Eject: Quit all apps, then restart your Mac. If any open documents have unsaved changes, you will be asked whether you want to save them.
  • Control–Option–Command–Power button: Quit all apps, then shut down your Mac. If any open documents have unsaved changes, you will be asked whether you want to save them.
  • Control-Command-Q: Immediately lock your screen.
  • Shift-Command-Q: Log out of your macOS user account. You will be asked to confirm. To log out immediately without confirming, press Option-Shift-Command-Q.

Finder 🔎 and system shortcuts

Most of these commands are context-sensitive — on desktop, they do one thing but in the browser, they do something else:

  • Command-D: Duplicate the selected files.
  • Command-E: Eject the selected disk or volume.
  • Command-F: Start a Spotlight search in the Finder window.
  • Command-I: Show the Get Info window for a selected file.
  • Command-R: (1) When an alias is selected in the Finder: show the original file for the selected alias.
    (2) In some apps, such as Calendar or Safari, refresh or reload the page. (3) In Software Update preferences, check for software updates again.
  • Shift-Command-C: Open the Computer window.
  • Shift-Command-D: Open the desktop folder.
  • Shift-Command-F: Open the Recents window, showing all of the files you viewed or changed recently.
  • Shift-Command-G: Open a Go to Folder window.
  • Shift-Command-H: Open the Home folder of the current macOS user account.
  • Shift-Command-I: Open iCloud Drive.
  • Shift-Command-K: Open the Network window.
  • Option-Command-L: Open the Downloads folder.
  • Shift-Command-N: Create a new folder.
  • Shift-Command-O: Open the Documents folder.
  • Shift-Command-P: Show or hide the Preview pane in Finder windows.
  • Shift-Command-R: Open the AirDrop window.
  • Shift-Command-T: Show or hide the tab bar in the Finder windows.
  • Control-Shift-Command-T: Add selected Finder item to the Dock.
  • Shift-Command-U: Open the Utilities folder.
  • Option-Command-D: Show or hide the Dock.
  • Control-Command-T: Add the selected item to the sidebar.
  • Option-Command-P: Hide or show the path bar in Finder windows.
  • Option-Command-S: Hide or show the Sidebar in Finder windows.
  • Command–Slash (/): Hide or show the status bar in Finder windows.
  • Command-J: Show View Options.
  • Command-K: Open the Connect to Server window.
  • Control-Command-A: Make an alias of the selected item.
  • Command-N: Open a new Finder window.
  • Option-Command-N: Create a new Smart Folder.
  • Command-T: Show or hide the tab bar when a single tab is open in the current Finder window.
  • Option-Command-T: Show or hide the toolbar when a single tab is open in the current Finder window.
  • Option-Command-V: Move the files in the Clipboard from their original location to the current location.
  • Command-Y: Use Quick Look to preview the selected files.
  • Option-Command-Y: View a Quick Look slideshow of the selected files.
  • Command-1: View the items in the Finder window as icons.
  • Command-2: View the items in a Finder window as a list.
  • Command-3: View the items in a Finder window in columns.
  • Command-4: View the items in a Finder window in a gallery.
  • Command–Left Bracket ([): Go to the previous folder.
  • Command–Right Bracket (]): Go to the next folder.
  • Command–Up Arrow: Open the folder that contains the current folder.
  • Command–Control–Up Arrow: Open the folder that contains the current folder in a new window.
  • Command–Down Arrow: Open the selected item.
  • Right Arrow: Open the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Left Arrow: Close the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Command-Delete: Move the selected item to the Trash.
  • Shift-Command-Delete: Empty the Trash.
  • Option-Shift-Command-Delete: Empty the Trash without confirmation dialog.
  • Command–Brightness Down: Turn video mirroring on or off when your Mac is connected to more than one display.
  • Option–Brightness Up: Open Displays preferences. This works with either Brightness key.
  • Control–Brightness Up or Control–Brightness Down: Change the brightness of your external display, if supported by your display.
  • Option–Shift–Brightness Up or Option–Shift–Brightness Down: Adjust the display brightness in smaller steps. Add the Control key to this shortcut to make the adjustment on your external display, if supported by your display.
  • Option–Mission Control: Open Mission Control preferences.
  • Command-Shift-3 or 4: Take a screenshot of the whole screen or a part of it.
  • Command–Mission Control: Show the desktop.
  • Control–Down Arrow: Show all windows of the front app.
  • Option–Volume Up: Open Sound preferences. This works with any of the volume keys.
  • Option–Shift–Volume Up or Option–Shift–Volume Down: Adjust the sound volume in smaller steps.
  • Option–Keyboard Brightness Up: Open Keyboard preferences. This works with either Keyboard Brightness key.
  • Option–Shift–Keyboard Brightness Up or Option–Shift–Keyboard Brightness Down: Adjust the keyboard brightness in smaller steps.
  • Option key while double-clicking: Open the item in a separate window, then close the original window.
  • Command key while double-clicking: Open a folder in a separate tab or window.
  • Command key while dragging to another volume: Move the dragged item to the other volume, instead of copying it.
  • Option key while dragging: Copy the dragged item. The pointer changes while you drag the item.
  • Option-Command while dragging: Make an alias of the dragged item. The pointer changes while you drag the item.
  • Option-click a disclosure triangle: Open all folders within the selected folder. This works only when in list view.
  • Command-click a window title: See the folders that contain the current folder.
  • You can cllick the Go menu in the Finder menu bar to see shortcuts for opening many commonly used folders, such as Applications, Documents, Downloads, Utilities, and iCloud Drive.

Document shortcuts 📁

The behavior of these shortcuts varies with the app you’re currently using:

  • Command-B: Boldface the selected text, or turn boldfacing on or off.
  • Command-I: Italicize the selected text, or turn italics on or off.
  • Command-K: Add a web link.
  • Command-U: Underline the selected text, or turn underlining on or off.
  • Command-T: Show or hide the Fonts window.
  • Command-D: Select the Desktop folder from within an Open dialog or Save dialog.
  • Control-Command-D: Show or hide the definition of the selected word.
  • Shift-Command-Colon (:): Display the Spelling and Grammar window.
  • Command-Semicolon (;): Find misspelled words in the document.
  • Option-Delete: Delete the word to the left of the insertion point.
  • Control-H: Delete the character to the left of the insertion point. Or use Delete.
  • Control-D: Delete the character to the right of the insertion point. Or use Fn-Delete.
  • Fn-Delete: Forward delete on keyboards that don’t have a Forward Delete key. Or use Control-D.
  • Control-K: Delete the text between the insertion point and the end of the line or paragraph.
  • Fn–Up Arrow: Page Up: Scroll up one page.
  • Fn–Down Arrow: Page Down: Scroll down one page.
  • Fn–Left Arrow: Home: Scroll to the beginning of a document.
  • Fn–Right Arrow: End: Scroll to the end of a document.
  • Command–Up Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the document.
  • Command–Down Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the document.
  • Command–Left Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the current line.
  • Command–Right Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the current line.
  • Option–Left Arrow: Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word.
  • Option–Right Arrow: Move the insertion point to the end of the next word.
  • Shift–Command–Up Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document.
  • Shift–Command–Down Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the document.
  • Shift–Command–Left Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line.
  • Shift–Command–Right Arrow: Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the current line.
  • Shift–Up Arrow: Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line above.
  • Shift–Down Arrow: Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line below.
  • Shift–Left Arrow: Extend text selection one character to the left.
  • Shift–Right Arrow: Extend text selection one character to the right.
  • Option–Shift–Up Arrow: Extend text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, then to the beginning of the following paragraph if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Down Arrow: Extend text selection to the end of the current paragraph, then to the end of the following paragraph if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Left Arrow: Extend text selection to the beginning of the current word, then to the beginning of the following word if pressed again.
  • Option–Shift–Right Arrow: Extend text selection to the end of the current word, then to the end of the following word if pressed again.
  • Control-A: Move to the beginning of the line or paragraph.
  • Control-E: Move to the end of a line or paragraph.
  • Control-F: Move one character forward.
  • Control-B: Move one character backward.
  • Control-L: Center the cursor or selection in the visible area.
  • Control-P: Move up one line.
  • Control-N: Move down one line.
  • Control-O: Insert a new line after the insertion point.
  • Control-T: Swap the character behind the insertion point with the character in front of the insertion point.
  • Command–Left Curly Bracket ({): Left align.
  • Command–Right Curly Bracket (}): Right align.
  • Shift–Command–Vertical bar (|): Center align.
  • Option-Command-F: Go to the search field.
  • Option-Command-T: Show or hide a toolbar in the app.
  • Option-Command-C: Copy Style: Copy the formatting settings of the selected item to the Clipboard.
  • Option-Command-V: Paste Style: Apply the copied style to the selected item.
  • Option-Shift-Command-V: Paste and Match Style: Apply the style of the surrounding content to the item pasted within that content.
  • Option-Command-I: Show or hide the inspector window.
  • Shift-Command-P: Page setup: Display a window for selecting document settings.
  • Shift-Command-S: Display the Save As dialog, or duplicate the current document.
  • Shift–Command–Minus sign (-): Decrease the size of the selected item.
  • Shift–Command–Plus sign (+): Increase the size of the selected item. Command–Equal sign (=) performs the same function.
  • Shift–Command–Question mark (?): Open the Help menu.

Cut, copy, paste, and other common shortcuts ✂️

  • Command-X: Cut the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard.
  • Command-C: Copy the selected item to the Clipboard. This also works for files in the Finder.
  • Command-V: Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app. This also works for files in the Finder.
  • Command-Z: Undo the previous command. You can then press Shift-Command-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command. In some apps, you can undo and redo multiple commands.
  • Command-A: Select All items.
  • Command-F: Find items in a document or open a Find window.
  • Command-G: Find Again: Find the next occurrence of the item previously found. To find the previous occurrence, press Shift-Command-G.
  • Command-H: Hide the windows of the front app. To view the front app but hide all other apps, press Option-Command-H.
  • Command-M: Minimize the front window to the Dock. To minimize all windows of the front app, press Option-Command-M.
  • Command-O: Open the selected item, or open a dialog to select a file to open.
  • Command-P: Print the current document.
  • Command-S: Save the current document.
  • Command-T: Open a new tab.
  • Command-W: Close the front window. To close all windows of the app, press Option-Command-W.
  • Option-Command-Esc: Force quit an app.
  • Command–Space bar: Show or hide the Spotlight search field. To perform a Spotlight search from a Finder window, press Command–Option–Space bar.
  • Control–Command–Space bar: Show the Character Viewer, from which you can choose emoji and other symbols.
  • Control-Command-F: Use the app in full screen, if supported by the app.
  • Space bar: Use Quick Look to preview the selected item.
  • Command-Tab: Switch to the next most recently used app among your open apps.
  • Shift-Command-5: In macOS Mojave or later, take a screenshot or make a screen recording. Or use Shift-Command-3 or Shift-Command-4 for screenshots. You can learn more about screenshots.
  • Shift-Command-N: Create a new folder in the Finder.
  • Command-Comma (,): Open preferences for the front app.

If a key combo doesn’t work 🛠

If a key combination doesn’t work when you are starting the MacBook, one of these might help:

  • Press and hold all keys in the combination together, not one at a time 🕰.
  • Shut down your Mac. Then press the power button to turn on your Mac. Then press and hold the keys as your laptop 💻starts.
  • Wait a few seconds before pressing the keys, to give your Mac more time to recognize the keyboard as it starts up.
    Some keyboards have a light that flashes💡 briefly at startup, indicating that the keyboard ⌨️ is recognized and ready for use.
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Final Thoughts

I wish you could remember these key combinations.

But it’s alright if you forget them. Once you know the shortcuts are there, you’ll subconsciously remember the ones you may need frequently.

One trick to stay updated about your MacBook is to spend time with it. Dedicate ten minutes every day to explore how it works.

Many of the features, like Time Machine, are never used by most of us. If you are a programmer, who is doing serious work, you must know about these cool features.

The Macs are made to last. If you know what you can do when something goes wrong, it can save you a lot of time and headache.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Reference: 1. Apple Support

Living life in awe of it all. Hoping to make sense. A Thinker, Writer & Storyteller. Working on my tech startup.

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