General Question

futurelaker88's avatar

Brand NEW Mac user! Do i turn off my iMac/keyboard/mouse when not in use?

Asked by futurelaker88 (1600points) February 22nd, 2010 from iPhone

i just made the (i can’t really say “switch”) from pc to Mac. I still have my PC. but I just purchased the new 27” iMac with the magic mouse and wireless keyboard. I’m BRAND new to mac and really have no real grasp on how it works from an experienced perspective. I am really versed on windows and can do more than most, so I feel out of place on a Mac. I use them in school all the time, but never had to deal with troubleshooting (downloading files, codec issues with video types, knowing what programs work with mac; or applications I guess they call them, etc.) for starters is it normal to turn off the magic mouse when I’m done using the machine? or is it meant to be left on and will “sleep?” same question with the keyboard. another question i guess is….for windows i just search and download (software), it seems on a Mac I have to go to certain, specific websites to get specail “applications” that are compatible. is there one place to find all these apps? like an app store? or do I just search for what I’m looking for and hope an app is available? lol these seem like childish questions but I turned on thr iMac and stared at it realizing that i don’t know what to do with it!! until I can afford “Final Cut Pro” which was the real reason I purchased it to begin with. thanks guys!!

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17 Answers

netgrrl's avatar

First there are a lot of articles & videos for ppl who have just switched to Macs.

Secondly, you can turn your Mac off my going to the Apple menu (the icon in the top left corner) and using shut down. No need to turn off mouse or kbd.

fireinthepriory's avatar

For programs, is a good place for finding random programs – but you can also just search on google like you would for Windows programs. If you use something like “alarm clock application mac” and you’ll only come up with programs that are mac compatible. A lot of programs are available on the mac platform, I’ve only rarely come across programs that are PC-only.

Another tip, if you click around in System Preferences you’ll find a lot of the customizable features that make macs so fun to use. Definitely look at Exposé and Spaces – you’ll love Spaces when you start using Final Cut.

futurelaker88's avatar

@fireinthepriory thanks, yea i will mess around with all that. in your oppinion, is leaving the iMac on 24/7 bad? it goes to sleep after an hour. or is better to shut down at nights?

netgrrl's avatar

It’s an endless argument over leaving it running vs shutting down. Booting up is harder on any computer than staying running. Do what you feel is best. I tend to leave mine running, esp during the week. If I think I won’t be using it for a day or two, going out of town or expect bad weather, I shut it down.

fireinthepriory's avatar

Ditto @netgrrl. I almost never shut it down except when doing system updates, because I am rarely in the position where I won’t be using it for several days (I’m a macaholic). Even when I am, I’ll often put it to sleep instead just cause I’m always in the middle of a lot of things, and it’s a lot of work to close my tabs/apps/docs and then get them all set up again in 3 days time. It doesn’t seem to hurt my mac to have it running all the time.

futurelaker88's avatar

ok thanks guys!! one more quick question for now…the iMac has 4gb RAM, and is upgradeable to 16…is that a difficult upgrade? do I have to bring it to the apple store?

missingbite's avatar

You can do it yourself if you feel comfortable taking apart a computer. There are directions for installing ram on the Apple website.

gailcalled's avatar

I keep mine (OS snow leopard) in sleep mode. Look under “System Preferences”...drop-down menu under Apple icon and click on “energy saver.” You can do a lot of tweaking there.

But I use the “Disk Utility” program to housekeep once a week. It gets the cobwebs out of the corners.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@futurelaker88 I would be nervous doing a RAM upgrade myself, but look it up on the Apple web site, read through the process, and see if you think you could handle it yourself. Also call an Apple Store and ask if it would be free for them to do for you. If it is, why risk messing it up by doing it yourself?

DarkScribe's avatar

There is no need to turn it off – regardless of what “green” advice is given. Using sleep mode is all you need to do. Computers that are not turned off (like most electronic devices) last much longer than those that are regularly turned on and off. Most components fail when turned on from a cold state. Like light bulbs blowing as they are turned on.

They use very little power in sleep mode but you will have to reboot every now and then to clean up memory leaks from less than perfect apps etc. As for ram, it is a simple mechanical exercise to open the system and plug in new or additional ram.

ArtisticJellyfishKM's avatar

Don’t ever shut it down all the way if you have a program still in use like LifePad or iTunes. Because then a virus will come on to the progrm like it did to mine and I got spam in the inbox of the email address that was on my LifePad!!!!!!!! And on iTunes, it deleted all my music and videos and instead put music that I hated and porn videos.

sndfreQ's avatar

@ArtisticJellyfishKM I’ve never heard of a MAC app called LifePad, nor have I ever heard of anyone catching a virus from using iTunes…ain’t gonna happen…and that last sentence sounds like jibberish…flamebait

sndfreQ's avatar

back to the question-on the Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, they should also go into sleep mode when you sleep the computer…after a number of minutes of inactivity, they go to sleep. I believe they’ll wake from sleep if you tap a key or click the mouse, without having to power cycle them (turn them off then back on).

xenetic's avatar

I don’t ever comment but after reading the above commenters (artisticJellyfishKM) post, I just have to say that he is completely wrong. You will never get a virus just because you shut down your computer, that doesn’t even make sense. Also, do’t fall for the hype that macs can’t get viruses. If you’re on the internet, stay away from shady looking websites that are asking for unsolicited personal information, asking you to download some random video codec, and etc..

As for the sleeping vs shutting down issue. It’s really up to you. Contrary to what other people have said, shutting down and restarting your computer will not wear down your computers components. There’s really no such thing as a “cold” start with computers unlike cars. Sleep mode will use next to no power at all, but when it’s shut down completely it will of course use none. Depends on if you want to wait 1 minute for it to turn on again, or a few seconds to wake up from sleep mode.

As for some actual useful info, I suggest you check out
Hack Attack: A guide for switching to a Mac
Top 30 mistakes made by new Mac users

Some general tips from me. Make use of apples unique window management. You’re probably used to alt-tab on windows for getting around (apple has to that too, but the short-cut is command key+tab) which is fine and all. But I use expose and spaces to get around. You have to set up your own short-cuts in the preference , but totally worth it.
Also, when you click to close button on an app, be aware that this doesn’t actually completely quit most apps. It will close the window, but the app will still be open. Some people find this annoying, but if you want to completely close out an app, select quit app from the top menubar, the dock, or hit command+q.
One misconception people have about macs is that they can’t right click. Not true at all. Plug in any usb mouse (even if it’s not explicitly made for mac) and it will just work, right click button and all. This goes for a lot of usb peripherals also.

As for software, yes it’s true that there isn’t as much software available for the mac as their is for windows. But at the same time, there’s at least 1–2 good apps that cover everything you need. Microsoft even has their office suite on mac, threre’s apples iwork if you won’t want to use microsofts stuff for publishing, there’s also the free and open source open office if you don’t want to pay at all. I don’t know if you’re into a creative professional of any sort, but there’s also software for that. Adobe, Avid, and Autodesk all have cross platform versions of their apps. Apple also has Final Cut and Logic studio (with cheaper express versions available too) for video and audio editing.

There’s certainly no shortage of web browsers. Of course you can stick with apples own safari, which is pretty good and fast on macs (can’t say the same for the windows version), but then theres also firefox, google chrome, and opera just to name a few.

For instant messaging there Adium it covers all the major Im protocols (aol, msn, yahoo, google talk) but it also has customizable themes and such. For some reason there’s a ton of twitter clients for mac. To many for me to list, but a quick google search and you’ll find at least a dozen if you’re even into twitter at all

For music playback. I really don’t think there’s anything better than itunes on the mac. The windows version is so-so, but the mac version performs well. If you’re not into itunes, you can check out Songbird It’s sort of like the firefox of music players, it has extensions, but you can make it buggy and bogged down if you install too much.

For video playback, I never like quicktime, even on macs themselves. There’s the all mighty VLC that will play everything under the sun. Personally I prefer Movist it will play pretty much everything VLC can play, but it has a more “mac” feel to it. If for some reason those two players don’t play a video, you can install Perian which is a bundled codec pack

If you’re not satisfied with Finder for file management and browsing, I suggest you check out Path Finder . Think of it like finder and windows explorer on steroids. It has tabs, duel pain windows, and a bunch of other features that make it really useful.
If you’re really feeling adventurous you can check out Leap by ironic software. It’s not really a file browser like finder or windows explorer, but rather a way to search and find files by tags. You may or may not be into it, but it’s worth checking out.

For some small, quirky apps I suggest checking out
Istat Menus (Lets you see your cpu, ram, hard drive etc… use in real time)
Caffeine (prevents your computer from going to sleep when inactive, useful when watching videos on the internet while no in fullscreen)
Cinch (this little app emulates the windows 7 feature of dragging a window to the side of the monitor and making it take up exactly half of the screen, pretty useful with high resolution monitors like your imac)
Growl (notifications from apps in a customizable popup in the corner of your screen)
Transmission Small lightweight bittorrent client

Whew, I hope this isn’t too much too read, hopefully you get something out of this post. If there’s anything I didn’t cover, a quick google search will prolly get you answers. If you want more software, I suggest going to macupdate or version tracker directly and searching

sndfreQ's avatar

Good post @xenetic (and welcome to Fluther?...)

DarkScribe's avatar

@xenetic Contrary to what other people have said, shutting down and restarting your computer will not wear down your computers components.

Nonsense. A current surge from cold is when components usually fail. They don’t “wear” they just fail. It is why in the military equipment is never shut down other than for servicing.

Learn a bit about it before offering nonsense advice. It is the whole reason why equipment has a standby mode. There is no other reason with solid state devices.

PacificRimjob's avatar

Turn it off nightly as long as it’s under warranty, after that weekly.

Macintosh computers self maintain when shut down and booted.

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