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If you switch to Mac from Windows, it can be difficult to adjust to a new set of default apps. It should go without saying that for each of the default Windows apps, there is a Mac equivalent.

Sometimes there are obvious ways to do the same things, and others are going to take a little work to find. However, they are all going to get you working on your Mac.

Task Manager -> Activity Monitor

The most basic step in troubleshooting any Windows issue is to open Task Manager. The app allows you to look at the process and what resources they are using. You access it using the Ctrl + Alt + Del shortcut or by right clicking the Toolbar. It might not be as obvious on the Mac to new users how to get this information.

activity monitor mac

In the Applications folder, there is a subfolder: Utilities. (Keep this folder handy as there are many useful things there.) After you open Activity Monitor there are different panels for each type of resource Activity Monitor: The Mac Equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Delete Activity Monitor: The Mac Equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Delete If you want to be a fairly proficient Mac user, it is necessary to know what Activity Monitor is, and how to read and use it. As usual, that's where we come in. Read More : CPU, Memory, Energy, Disk, and Network. Energy even includes the details about closed apps that chewed up your battery.

To quickly access Activity Monitor, pin it to your dock (right click the icon and choose Keep in Dock) or search for it using Spotlight (Command + Space).

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Powershell and Command Prompt -> Terminal

Depending on your generation, you think of the command line for Windows as either Cmd.exe or Powershell. The former being the older DOS-style command line, and the latter is Microsoft’s modern take on the command line. If you want a quick way to find your IP, or scan through a bunch of folders — the command line is much faster than clicking through menus.

terminal mac

On the Mac, you have Terminal. This app also lives in the Utilities folder under Applications. This is a Bash shell, something you may be familiar with if you have used Unix or Linux before. There are a ton of powerful tools, but it is an entirely different syntax from the Windows 5 Fun & Useful Terminal Commands You Can Use More Than Once [Mac & Linux] 5 Fun & Useful Terminal Commands You Can Use More Than Once [Mac & Linux] There is a ton of information on the Internet about various Terminal commands and ways to customise your Mac or Linux machine with the Terminal. Here are some commands which are really useful and can... Read More shells. If you miss Powershell, you can install it on your Mac.

Cortana -> Siri and Spotlight

If you are moving over from Windows 10, then you are familiar with Cortana. Though its primary use is as a voice assistant, it is also the way that you search the web and your local computer. In earlier versions of Windows, there was the Find option, which you used for quick file and app searches.

siri mac

For the Mac, you have Siri, which performs a similar role. You hold down Command + Space to get a Siri prompt. You can ask Siri to search files or to create Reminders and Calendar events.

If you would prefer to do your searches the old fashioned way, you can press Command + Space to bring up Spotlight. It is not as powerful as Siri for certain tasks, but you can search Applications, Files, and the web. It is also great to do simple math problems without opening the Calculator.

Check out our guides for both Siri on the Mac How to Use Siri on Your Mac: A Quick Start Guide How to Use Siri on Your Mac: A Quick Start Guide Apple’s intelligent personal assistant Siri is now on the Mac, and controlling your computer with your voice has never been easier. Read More , and searching with Spotlight Search More Efficiently In Mac OS X With Our Top Spotlight Tips Search More Efficiently In Mac OS X With Our Top Spotlight Tips Spotlight has been a killer Mac feature for years, with Cupertino regularly schooling Redmond in the art of desktop search. Here are a few tips to help you find more on your Mac. Read More .

Notepad and Wordpad -> TextEdit

On Windows, your basic Text Editor and Rich Text Editor are different programs: Notepad and Wordpad. On the Mac, these combine into a single program called TextEdit Make TextEdit More Powerful With These 9 Hidden Features Make TextEdit More Powerful With These 9 Hidden Features Native Mac editor TextEdit has a lot of powerful features under the hood, so here's how to find them. Read More . By default TextEdit uses Rich Text, and you can make basic documents with formatting.

textedit mac

However, if you want a barebones text editor, you can simply press Shift + Command + T to switch to plain text. This switch removes the alignment options and the ruler. Then you can create your code or text files. The UI is expectedly simple, and like Notepad it is dead simple to use. It is not for complex projects, but that is not why you are using TextEdit.

Internet Explorer and Edge -> Safari

Windows 10 replaced internet Explorer with Edge. This change ended the era of the internet’s favorite browser to hate. Using Windows for a long time may have soured you on using the default browser. Though that impression may stem from the last time I used Windows regularly in the Vista/IE 7 days.

safari mac

Safari on the Mac is not quite such a grim affair. Safari has a decent extension collection The Best Safari Extensions for Mac Users The Best Safari Extensions for Mac Users Safari is probably the best browser for Mac users, but you can make it even better with a few well-chosen extensions. Read More , though nothing close Firefox or Chrome. What you do get is Apple’s features to save on both resources and battery life. Both Chrome and Firefox are hungry for resources, and a few too many tabs can lead to a significant change in battery life.

There’s also Reading List, which is a read later service Use Safari’s Reading List for Offline Reading on Your Mac & iPhone Use Safari’s Reading List for Offline Reading on Your Mac & iPhone Want to share articles between your iPhone and Mac? Use Safari's Reading List. Read More that syncs with iCloud. Safari is a strong choice for your main browser Improve Your Safari Experience with These 10 Tips Improve Your Safari Experience with These 10 Tips Don’t you wish you could fix a few Safari quirks here, speed up a few things there? A good mix of in-built features and extensions is all it takes. Read More .

Windows Media Player -> iTunes

Windows Media Player is the workaday default media player for Windows. If you have an iOS device, you probably already replaced it long before you got your Mac. iTunes being required for managing your iPhone/iPod/iPad on Windows, you might already be familiar with the app.

itunes mac

Most Mac users do not harbor much love for iTunes. It is, however, the default way to handle your Music, Movies, and iOS apps. More recently it was expanded to include support for Apple’s streaming music service, Apple Music.

iTunes is iTunes, and you are stuck with it for now unless you use Android (then you can use something like Doubletwist doubleTwist: A Simple & Clean Music App With Desktop Synchronization [Android] doubleTwist: A Simple & Clean Music App With Desktop Synchronization [Android] Ask anyone what their favorite Android music player is and you’ll get a dozen answers. The worst (or best) part is that each of those answers is perfectly viable. There are so many apps to... Read More ).

OneNote -> Notes

One Note is part of the Office suite, but it comes preinstalled on most Windows machines. It offers a notebook you can create tabs in to keep your notes, to-do lists, files, web pages and even drawings. Its Mac version is identical, so if you want to keep using it, you can.

notes mac

If you are looking for a change, Mac’s built-in Notes app is a bit more simplified 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Apple Notes on OS X 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Apple Notes on OS X Have you switched over to Apple's vastly improved Notes app? Here are a few tips on improving your workflow. Read More . There is a three pane interface. On the left are your folders, then a second pane with your notes laid out, then the main pane where you can edit your note. There is support for rich text, checklist, and linking files and web pages.

You lose the ability to create drawings or mark up your notes since Notes drawing support is for iOS only. That said, Notes is a capable text-based app. It even promises support for tables when High Sierra releases this fall How to Try macOS High Sierra Right Now Before Everyone Else How to Try macOS High Sierra Right Now Before Everyone Else macOS High Sierra is now available for beta testing. If you'd like to give it a try before the general release, here's how to get your hands on it now. Read More .

Office -> iWork (Pages/Numbers/Keynote)

Okay, so this one is not a default Windows app. Yet, it is the way that most people think about getting “work” done on Windows. Like One Note, Office is already on the Mac, and it is at feature parity with the Windows version.

If you do not want to pay for an Office subscription, Apple has their suite of apps called iWork How iWork Works: The Basics of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote How iWork Works: The Basics of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote Have you always dismissed Apple's productivity apps as unsuitable for your office needs? It's time to reconsider! Read More . Each is free for all Mac users. You can find them in the Mac App Store under individual apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

iwork mac suite office

Pages is not only a word processor but also is a basic page layout app. You can make business cards, pamphlets, and basic posters. Numbers is nowhere near as powerful as Excel, but ideal for basic organization Organize Your Life With Numbers for Mac Organize Your Life With Numbers for Mac New Macs come with Numbers, a spreadsheet program that's perfect for helping you get organized. Read More . Keynote is superior to Powerpoint in many ways. It is the app Apple uses internally for their events.

All the apps are compatible with their Office counterparts. Like Open Office, that compatibility does not always work with advanced features.

Scheduled Tasks -> Automator

Scheduled Tasks is a powerful way to control your Windows machine. If you have started scheduling programs and scripts to run at certain times, you may wonder what the Mac has to match that kind of power.

automator mac

Automator has you covered. It has a Calendar Event option that allows you to schedule your workflows to run via the built in Mac calendar. Automator is even more powerful, allowing you to create Services and Applications. If you are interested in automating your Mac, you can see our tutorial here Learn to Use Mac Automator With 6 Handy Example Workflows Learn to Use Mac Automator With 6 Handy Example Workflows A little bit of patience and creativity are all you need to start automating your Mac -- you don't need to know a single line of code. Read More .

Switching From Windows to Mac?

These are just the Apps that you can get from Apple or are preinstalled on your Mac. One of the best things about moving to the Mac is the developer community. There are apps made by people who care about the tools that they make and the people who use them. You should explore alternatives beyond the basics — you might find the perfect app for you. The Best Mac Apps The Best Mac Apps From email clients to system utilities, time savers to productivity boons; on this page you'll find the best Mac software used by MakeUseOf staff and readers alike. Read More

What is the one thing from Windows you wish the Mac did better since switching? If you are a long time Mac user, what is your favorite app? Let us know in the comments.

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