How to Set up Your New Mac

Welcome to the Apple ecosystem

If you've just purchased a new Apple Mac or MacBook computer, you're joining one of the most popular digital ecosystems in the world. Setting up your new Mac is intuitive and easy. Here's how to set up your new Mac, create your user account, and hit the ground running.

These Mac setup instructions apply to new Macs and MacBook laptops.

15-inch New Apple MacBook Pro ready to be set up
bulentumut / Getty Images

Make Sure You Have the Basics

Before you begin setting up your Mac, take care of a few initial steps:

  • Make sure your Mac is plugged in.
  • Check that your internet connection is stable and reliable.
  • Have your network password ready.
  • Connect the mouse, keyboard, and monitor, if necessary. Leave all other peripheral devices unattached. 

When you've taken care of these preparations, it's time to set up your Mac.

How to Set up Your New Mac

Follow these basic steps to set up your new Mac and create your user account.

  1. Turn on the power for your Mac.

    You may need to press the power button to turn on your computer. Some Mac notebooks turn on automatically when connected to power.

  2. The Mac's Setup Assistant will launch, presenting you with a series of questions and prompts to follow.

  3. The first prompt will display a world map. Select a country to set your time zone and language. Select Continue when you're done.

  4. Next, choose a keyboard layout. Select Show All to see other options. When you've made your selection, select Continue.

    If you selected the U.S. as your country, you'll see only the U.S. keyboard as an option.

  5. Connect to your Wi-Fi network. Choose your network's name (SSID), enter the password, and select Continue. It may take a few minutes to connect.

    To connect to a wired connection, select Other Network Options in the lower-right corner of the screen and follow the prompts.

  6. Opt to transfer data from another Mac, a Time Machine backup, a startup disk, or a Windows PC. Choose your option and select Continue.

    Select Don't transfer any information now if you want to transfer data later or if you're starting fresh.

  7. Check the box next to Enable Location Services on this Mac for use with Siri, Apple Maps, and more. Select Continue.

    Don't check this box if you'd prefer that Apple didn't have access to your location.

  8. Sign in with your Apple ID. If you don't have an Apple ID, select Create New Apple ID and follow the prompts. Once done, select Continue.

    This is the same Apple ID you use with your iPhone, Apple TV, and other Macs.

  9. Select Agree to agree to the various terms and conditions, and then select Agree again to confirm.

    Select More to read the terms and conditions in more detail.

  10. You'll now see the Create a Computer Account dialog box. Enter your full name, an account name, create a password, and then choose a password hint.

    Your name should fill in automatically if you signed in with your Apple ID.

  11. Optionally, place a check in the box next to Allow my Apple ID to reset this password. This is helpful if you ever forget your user account password.

  12. Check the box next to Set time zone based on current location. This option is helpful when you're traveling.

    You'll need to enable Location Services if you want to use this option.

  13. When you're done with the Create a Computer Account options, select Continue.

    This may take a few minutes while iCloud syncs.

  14. You'll now see options related to FileVault disk encryption. These options relate to the encryption of files on your hard drive.

  15. Place a check in the box next to Allow my iCloud account to unlock my disk, and then select Continue.

  16. Place a check in the box next to Store files from Documents and Desktop in iCloud if you have enough iCloud storage space, and then select Continue.

  17. Place a check in the box next to Enable Siri on this Mac so you can use Apple's digital assistant. Select Continue.

  18. Your Mac will now finalize its settings, which may take a while. When it's finished, you'll likely see pop-ups about signing in to various accounts, which you can allow or opt to do later.

  19. Enjoy your new Mac, and visit the Mac App Store to find useful and popular free and paid services, including Microsoft Office for Mac, Adobe Creative Cloud, and more.

Make sure to take advantage of your Mac's Accessibility Options during and after setup to optimize your Mac for vision, hearing, mobility, and learning issues.