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The older generation often feels out of touch with modern technology. Teaching them how to use a Mac can give them a confidence boost and increase their digital skills.

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Teaching Mac OS

Mac guides 4x4

10 minutes


20 minutes


20 minutes

"Most people learn how to use a computer for the first time on a PC, so understanding the ins and outs of the Mac operating system can be tricky for older people who are used to a Windows-based experience. You can use your knowledge of Macs to help them as they are trying to navigate around a completely new operation system."

Step 1:

Teach the Basics


Help them create a user profile and password that are relevant but not obvious (e.g. old street address mixed with first pet’s name). Remind them to write it down and keep the information somewhere safe.


Teach them about the six essential elements of any Mac: Desktop, Finder, Dock, Menu Bar, Spotlight, and Notification Center.


Introduce them to the programs on the Dock: Safari, FaceTime, Calendar, iPhoto, iMail, etc.

Max min

Explain how to minimize, maximize, and close windows using the buttons in the upper left-hand corner: red for close, yellow for minimize, and green for maximize.

Step 2:

Practice Navigating the Mac


Using the trackpad or mouse can be hard at first. Show them how many fingers are required to navigate the screen and select different items.


Teach them how to view messages and alerts from their calendar, email, reminders, etc. in the Notification Center.


Show them how to open Safari. Practice searching for something as well as typing a URL.

Attach photo

Show them how to open iPhoto. Upload photos from a camera and view them on the computer.


Help them download other programs that they might want, such as Google Chrome, Skype, etc.

Mac command

Practice opening and using other programs that interest them.

Additional Resources

For more resources on teaching older adults to use technology, check out these sites:

Report Back

Once you're done, head back to the "Teach Older Adults Tech" page and report your story for a chance to be featured on or get a little surprise from the Mentor Up team.

Need help?

If you have questions or need some more tips on Teaching Mac OS , contact the Mentor Up team at