macOS Sierra: Change settings in System Preferences

Change settings in System Preferences

You can adjust system settings to customize your Mac. For example, you can change the size and location of the Dock, choose a desktop background, and more.

To open System Preferences, click the System Preferences icon in the Dock or choose Apple menu > System Preferences.

Explore preferences

Options are organized into preferences. For example, options that control how the desktop appears are located in Desktop & Screen Saver preferences.

Preferences appear as a grid of icons; the icons shown may vary depending on your Mac and the apps you have installed. Click an icon to open a preference pane and see the options.

System Preferences window showing the grid of icons. Click the Show All button in the window’s toolbar to see system preferences as a list, or change how the grid looks.

By default, preferences are arranged in rows by category. To see them in alphabetical order, choose View > Organize Alphabetically.

Set options

Each preference pane contains options you can set. Most panes include a Help button to click for more information about the options.

Click Show All to see all preference icons. Click the Question Mark button to see help for the pane.

Some panes are locked to protect your Mac, indicated by a closed lock icon at the bottom of the pane, and the options are dimmed. To unlock a pane so you can set options, click the lock icon, then enter the administrator password for your Mac.

Find options

If you want to change an option but don’t know where to find it in System Preferences, use the search field at the top of the window. Options that match your search text are listed, and the preference panes where they’re located are highlighted.

System preferences window showing “zoom” in the search field, a list of matching search results below the search field, and three preference icons highlighted.

Tip: To change options for a specific app, such as Mail or Safari, open the app, click the app’s name in the menu bar, then choose Preferences.

Published Date: Jan 3, 2017
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