Glossary of Key Terms for Setting Up a Used Mac: A Comprehensive Guide

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When setting up a used Mac, you’re likely to encounter various technical terms and jargon. Understanding these key terms can help you better navigate the process. Here’s a detailed glossary:

1. Apple ID

Your Apple ID is an account used for identification in Apple’s ecosystem. It allows you to access Apple services such as the App Store, iCloud, iMessage, and FaceTime.

2. iCloud

iCloud is Apple’s cloud service that lets you store photos, videos, documents, and more. It also syncs your data across all your Apple devices and helps locate lost devices with its ‘Find My’ feature.

3. macOS

macOS is the operating system that runs on Mac computers. It’s the software platform on which all other applications function.

4. Recovery Mode

A special mode in macOS that includes tools to diagnose and fix problems with the Mac, reinstall macOS, and restore from a Time Machine backup.

5. Disk Utility

An app included with macOS that you can use to manage internal and external storage devices. It’s commonly used to erase or repair disk errors.

6. APFS (Apple File System)

The file system used by macOS 10.13 and later. It offers strong encryption, better file system snapshots, space sharing, and is more reliable.

7. Mac OS Extended (Journaled)

Also known as HFS+, it’s the file system used by older versions of macOS (before 10.13).

8. Time Machine

Time Machine is Apple’s built-in backup feature for Mac. It automatically backs up all your files, including apps, music, photos, email, documents, and system files.

9. Find My Mac

A security feature that helps locate your Mac if it’s lost or stolen. It uses location services to help point out the device’s location on a map.

10. System Preferences

A built-in application in macOS that allows you to customize settings on your Mac, including your desktop, hardware configurations, and system updates.

11. App Store

An online platform by Apple for users to buy and download applications for macOS.

12. Safari

Safari is Apple’s web browser, preinstalled on all Apple devices.

13. iWork

Apple’s productivity software suite, including Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (presentations).

14. iTunes

Apple’s media player, media library, and mobile device management application. It’s used for playing, downloading, and organizing digital multimedia.

15. VLC Player

A free and open-source media player that plays most multimedia files and various streaming protocols.

16. Antivirus Software

Software designed to detect and destroy computer viruses and other malicious software.


Setting up a used Mac involves a blend of hardware and software familiarity. Knowing the meaning of these key terms can enhance your understanding and comfort in the process. From familiarizing yourself with Apple’s ecosystem to understanding software functionalities, these terms are stepping stones towards mastering your Mac setup.

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