Set up your Mac
The first time your MacBook Air starts up, Setup Assistant walks you through the simple steps needed to start using your new Mac.
Tip: To use Voice Over during setup, sit idle until you hear the voice command prompting you for a response. To learn more, see Accessibility on your Mac.
Choose a country to set the language and time zone for your Mac. You can respond to all the prompts, or skip some and choose “Set up later” when you see that option. For example, it might make sense to set up Apple Pay—which requires a verified credit card—and Screen Time—which you can set for different users—after initial setup. Read on for more information about setup tasks.
Connect to a Wi-Fi network: Choose the network and enter a password, if necessary. You can also choose Other Network Options if you’re using Ethernet. To change this later, click the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, then choose a Wi-Fi network and enter the password. You can also choose to Turn Wi-Fi On or Turn Wi-Fi Off here.
Tip: After setup, if you don’t see the Wi-Fi status icon in the menu bar, you can add it. Open System Preferences, then click Network. Click Wi-Fi in the list on the left, then select “Show Wi-Fi status in menu bar.”
Transfer information: If you’re setting up a new computer, click “Don’t transfer any information now.” If you want to transfer your data from another computer now or later, see Transfer your data to your new MacBook Air for details.
Sign in with your Apple ID: Your Apple ID is the account you use for everything you do with Apple—including using the App Store, Apple TV app, Apple Book Store, iCloud, Messages, and more. Your Apple ID consists of an email address and a password. Sign in with the same Apple ID to use any Apple service, on any device—whether it’s your computer, iOS device, iPadOS device, or Apple Watch. It’s best to have your own Apple ID and not share it. If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you can create one during setup (it’s free). To manage your Apple ID, go to the Apple ID account website.
If other family members use Apple devices, make sure that each family member has their own Apple ID. You can create Apple ID accounts for your kids and share purchases and subscriptions with Family Sharing. See Apple Account on Mac.
Important: If you forget your Apple ID password, you don’t need to create a new Apple ID. Just click the “Forgot Apple ID or password?” link in the sign in window to retrieve your password.
Screen Time: Monitor and get reports on the use of your computer. For options and details, see Screen Time on Mac.
Enable Siri and “Hey Siri”: You can turn on Siri and “Hey Siri” (so you can speak your Siri requests) during setup. To enable “Hey Siri,” speak several Siri commands when prompted. To learn how to turn on Siri and “Hey Siri” later and for information about using Siri on your Mac, see Siri on your Mac.
Store files in iCloud: With iCloud, you can store all of your content—documents, movies, music, photos, and more—in the cloud, and access it anywhere you go. Be sure to sign in with the same Apple ID on all your devices. To set this option later, open System Preferences and sign in with your Apple ID if you haven’t already. Click Apple ID > iCloud, then select the features you want to use. To find out more, see Access your iCloud content on your Mac.
Choose an appearance: Select Light, Dark, or Auto for your desktop appearance. If you want to change the choice you make during setup, open System Preferences, click General, then select an appearance option. You can also set other preferences here.
Set up Touch ID: You can add a fingerprint to Touch ID during setup. To set up Touch ID later, or to add additional fingerprints, open System Preferences, then click Touch ID. To add a fingerprint, click and follow the onscreen instructions.
You can also set options for how you want to use Touch ID on your MacBook Air: to unlock your Mac, use Apple Pay (see Use Apple Pay on your Mac), purchase items on the App Store, Apple TV app, Apple Book Store, and websites, and auto-fill your password.
Tip: If two or more users use the same MacBook Air, each user can add a fingerprint to Touch ID to quickly unlock, authenticate, and log in to the MacBook Air. You can add up to three fingerprints per user account, and a total of five fingerprints for all your MacBook Air user accounts.
Set up Apple Pay: You can set up Apple Pay for one user account on your MacBook Air during setup. Other users can still pay with Apple Pay, but they must complete the purchase using their iPhone or Apple Watch that’s been set up for Apple Pay (see Use Apple Pay on your Mac). Follow the onscreen prompts to add and verify your card. If you already use a card for media purchases, you might be prompted to verify this card first.
To set up Apple Pay or add additional cards later, open System Preferences, then click Wallet & Apple Pay. Follow the onscreen prompts to set up Apple Pay.
Note: The card issuer determines whether your card is eligible to use with Apple Pay, and may ask you to provide additional information to complete the verification process. Many credit and debit cards can be used with Apple Pay. For information about Apple Pay availability and current credit card issuers, see the Apple Support article Apple Pay participating banks.