System Preferences is the center of all of your Mac’s settings—you can adjust speaker output, display settings, privacy options, and what not from the utility. Apple has done a great job of making System Preferences easy to use, and with so many options in each category, you can easily customize your Mac to make it truly your own.

Below, we’ve covered our top 10 tips and tricks for using System Preferences on your Mac. You may already know some of these, but you will definitely learn some new tips as well.

1. Access Settings Directly from the Dock

You can launch System Preferences by opening the Apple menu and clicking System Preferences, or from the icon in the Dock. However, did you know that you can select any preference directly from the dock without ever opening the app?

To do this, click and hold the System Preferences icon in the Dock. This should reveal the full list of preferences. When you select an item, you’ll be taken to that particular preference without having to find your way through System Preferences.

2. Use the Search Bar

If you’re confused about where to find a specific preference in System Preferences, try using the search bar! This is very useful to use if you only want to change a specific setting and saves you a lot of time navigating through the utility.

As you type, potential matches for what you’re looking for appear in search results, and relative preference icons are highlighted in the System Preferences window. You can also type a phrase that describes what you want to do if you’re not sure of the specific preference name.

3. Use the Show All Button Efficiently

If you want to customize multiple settings in System Preferences, you usually change one setting, then click Show All (to take you back to the main menu) and then change your other settings. However, the Show All button has a secret—if you hold it down, it brings up a list of all preferences.

Simply select any setting you want to change, and release the button to be taken to that specific preference.

4. Hide Settings from Your View

System Preferences is its own grid of organized preference icons. Third-party apps can also add their own preferences to the utility, which can clutter it. If so, you can choose to hide items you rarely access. To do this, choose Customize from the View menu that opens System Preferences.

A checkmark will appear for each item in the System Preferences window. Uncheck the items you want to hide and click Done.

If you want to bring back some items you’ve hidden, go to View > Customize again and tick the box for Hidden items to enable them in the System Preferences window.

5. Adjust Item Grouping

In System Preferences, all preferences are organized into logical groups and are listed category-wise by default. If you want to switch things up, you can switch between group organization and alphabetical grouping by selecting Organize by categories or Arrange alphabetically in the View menu.

7. Unlock Dim Settings

You may find some system-level settings to be disabled or locked in some preference panes. This is to prevent users who do not have administrative account privileges from changing important settings on your Mac.

If you want to change a disabled or dim setting in System Preferences, click the lock icon in the bottom-left of the window and enter your administrative password.

If you close the Unlocked pane or the System Preferences window, your Mac will automatically lock any unlocked items for your safety.

8. Enable Apps from Outside the App Store

macOS doesn’t allow any older programs to run by default without a developer’s license. Instead, you will be asked to change your security settings to allow the app to run. This feature is called Gatekeeper, and it does a good job of protecting your Mac from unauthorized software. However, it can be very annoying if you’ve downloaded a trusted app from the Internet, and your Mac won’t let it run.

To enable the app, simply go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Here, you’ll see an option to enable specific apps to run (a one-time thing), or to change the setting entirely to allow any app to run on your Mac. If you want to do the latter, choose anywhere under Allow downloaded apps to disable Gatekeeper.

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