15 Best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks

So Apple has finally introduced the first Mac models that use its own custom Silicone chip. Even though they look identical to their predecessors, the new Mac models are upgraded with new hardware and a bunch of new features. These models- the M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro– have received a lot of praise from the users in both performances and power-efficiency. For instance, the M1 MacBook Air is significantly faster in speed than its predecessor by 3.5 times. In addition, the new MacBook Air now can handle intensive tasks like video editing and music processing, something the Pro lineup can do. However, if you now own one of these 2 models, you may need some time to get used to them. There are dozens of shortcuts and tricks to make it easier to work on your M1 Mac.  In this article, we will provide you the 8 best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks. Let’s check them out.

Install iPhone and iPad Apps on New M1 Macs

Since Apple Silicon SoC uses the same architecture as the A-Series chips on the iPhone and the iPad, your M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is now able to run apps built for iOS and iPadOS natively. The process is quite simple as:

  • Open the Mac App Store
  • Click on the search bar located in the top-left corner of the window
  • Search for the apps you want to get. 
  • The search result will be in the Mac Apps tag by default
  • Switch to the  iPhone and iPad apps tag to see the result for iOS/iPadOS apps
  • Simply download and install them like you always do on your iPhone/iPad
  • Open and use them via Spotlight Search or the Launchpad.
Best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks

Unfortunately, several developers have opted-out of offering their apps on the new Mac models. Some apps will only be available on the iPhone and iPad App Store. Unfortunately, these include some popular apps like Facebook, Instagram, MyFitnessPal, Reddit, Messenger, TikTok, and Netflix. 

In addition, you are able to bring the list of apps that you’ve already purchased/installed on your iPhone and iPad to your Mac. In fact, just select your profile from the lower-left corner of the Mac App Store and switch to the iPhone & iPad Apps tab to access it. From there, you can start installing the apps that you want.

Set-up Touch Alternatives

As the iPhone and iPad apps that you’ve installed on your new M1 Macs are designed for use on touch screens, it’s clear that you won’t be able to use touch-actions on your Mac screen to operate these apps. Fortunately, Apple has provided a new feature called Touch Alternatives to deal with this problem. This feature includes a set of trackpad gestures and keyboard button combos that you can use to interact with the iPhone/iPad apps.

To bring up these settings, click on the Touch Alternatives option from a touch-based app’s menu bar.

Best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks

Quickly Manage Notifications

Alongside several updates, macOS Big Sur also came with a re-designed Notification Center. In particular, your Notifications are now categorized by apps. This makes the Notifications Center tidier and easier to deal with. That said, you can also manage the notifications directly:

  • Right-click a notification or notifications stack from a particular app
  • Select Deliver Quietly to deliver these notifications silently to the Notification Centers
  • Or you can click Turn Off to disable future notifications from the apps

Adjust Keyboard Backlight

As Apple has changed some function keys on its M1 MacBook models, you will need to find another way if you want to adjust the keyboard brightness on your M1 MacBook Air. Conveniently, macOS Big Sur has come with a big addition – The Control Center. This new feature allows you to do several customizations on your M1 Macs, including backlight settings. In fact, it is very simple to do:

  • Click on the Control Center icon on the top right of the menubar
  • Select Keyboard Brightness
  • Move the slider left or right to adjust your keyboard brightness

Add Icons to Menu Bar

As you just noticed, the new Control Center includes almost every icon that was previously located within the menu bar. This obviously makes things more well-organized and easier to manage. However, you may find it more complicated to access the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth settings as you have to dig into the Control Center all the time. Luckily, you can add these icons to the Menu Bar for easier access. Everything you need to do is drag and drop the icons out of the Control Center to the Menu Bar. This method also applies to other controls such as Keyboard Brightness and Display.

Dictation, Spotlight, and Do Not Disturb

Apple has made some changes to the new Mac models’ function keys row. You can now activate Dictation by pressing F5 and Do Not Disturb by pressing F6 on your M1 Macs’ keyboard. In addition, you can also quickly access the Spotlight Search by pressing the F4 key, which previously opened the Launchpad.

Put Your Mac to Sleep

The new M1 MacBooks can last up to 18-20 hours of video playback more than the Intel counterparts, which means you can use them for an entire day even if you keep it running all the time. That said, it’s nothing wrong to put your Mac to sleep to conserve battery life. In fact, everything you need to do is close the lid to put your device to sleep. With the amazing processing speed on the M1 chip, your Mac will wake up instantly when you re-open its lid.

Best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Tips and Tricks

Alternatively, you can also open the Apple menu in the top left corner of your screen and select Sleep from the dropdown menu to put your Mac to sleep

Show Battery Percentage

The M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro do not show the battery percentage on the menu bar by default. Instead, now you have to bring up the Battery Status menu via the battery indicator in order to check your Mac’s battery percentage 

However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get back the percentage indicator on the menu bar. To make the indicator appear again, you need to:

  • Open the Apple menu.
  • Select System Preferences
  • Click the Dock & Menu Bar icon. 
  • Switch to the Battery tab
  • Check the box next to Show Percentage.

Run Windows on your Mac

To run windows and windows applications on a Mac, you will need some visualization apps like Vmware, Wine, or Parallel desktop. Alternatively, you can also create a partition on your MacOS hard drive to install windows. Then, just run it entirely on your hardware using Boot Camp assistant.


Screenshotting with your MacBook Air & Pro

Simply press Shift + Command + 3 at the same time to take a screenshot on your Mac. Also, if you want just a part of the screenshot, use these keyboard shortcuts (Shift + Command + 4) instead. Then, the image is automatically stored on your desktop. For older versions like macOS Mojave and Catalina, you will see a preview emerge on the bottom right of your screen after screenshotting.


Manage Notifications Quickly

The latest macOS Big Sur comes with a new Notification Center which is way easier for users to interact with now. Also, you can easily manage notifications directly in just a few clicks. Start by right-clicking a notification or notification stack from a particular app. Then, you can choose “Deliver Quietly” to deliver notifications silently to the Notification Center. Or, just click “Turn Off to disable future notifications from that app.


Manage and Edit Widgets

Just like iOS, now macOS Big Sur also comes with widgets. You can access this feature easily via the Notification Center on your Mac. To manage and edit your widgets, simply head into the widgets gallery to add and remove widgets and pick between different sizes. Also, for some widgets, you will have a new option in the right-click menu that allows you to change how the widget functions. Additionally, you can also install loads of third-party apps with widget support with a brief hop over to the App Store.


Customize Safari

Safari just received a significant performance boost in the new MacOS that makes it up to 50% faster than Chrome. Furthermore, the browser also comes with a fully customizable Start Page so you can easily add your own dash of personality. Start by selecting the Customize icon in the lower-right corner of the screen. Here, you can choose to enable or disable sections such as Favorites, Frequently Visited, Privacy Report, etc. Additionally, you can also add backgrounds to the Start Page either pick one from built-in backgrounds or upload your own images.


Disable Wallpaper Tinting

If you’re not a big fan of wallpaper tinting, just follow these steps to disable this feature on your MacBook:

  1. Go to System Preferences > General
  2. Then, uncheck the “Allow wallpaper tinting” in windows option


Use Split Screen

With the Split screen view, working on the Mac is so much easier now for everyone. If you’re using macOS Mojave or an older version, start by holding down a left-click on an app’s green maximize button on the top left-hand side. Then, drag it to be positioned on the left or right-hand side of the display to go to the Split screen.

For macOS Catalina and Big Sur, simply left-click that green maximum button. This brings out a dropdown menu in which you can choose between Enter Full Screen, Tile Window to Left of Screen, and Tile Window to Right of Screen.


Well, that’s our 15 best M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro tips and tricks. We hope that our tips will help you get used to your new devices. Do you have any other tips and tricks for the M1 MacBook that you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

Was this article helpful?
Categories Mac
About Simon Kroft

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.