17 Best MacBook Air M2 Tips & Tricks You Should Know About

MacBook Air in midnight displaying a wallpaper.  

If you just got yourself a MacBook Air M2, there are a ton of new tips and tricks to get to know. Regardless of whether you’re a veteran or a new Mac user, these MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks are ones you’ll want to take advantage of. Check out the best MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks to make the most out of your computer.

Best MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks

1. Use your iPhone as a webcam

The first MacBook Air M2 trick you should know about is Continuity Camera, which turns your iPhone into your Mac’s webcam.

While you may be familiar with the Continuity Camera feature from previous versions of macOS, in Ventura, the Cupertino tech giant has expanded the feature with iPhone webcam support. You can mount an iPhone to your Mac or place it on a stand and Ventura automatically senses the device and wirelessly connects to it. You can then use your iPhone’s camera in FaceTime and other apps on your Mac.

With an iPhone as a webcam, you also gain the ability to use Center Stage to keep you in the center of the frame, as well as Portrait mode. If you’re using an iPhone 12 or newer, there’s a Studio Light feature that uses the iPhone flash to provide better lighting. And finally, a nifty Desk View feature creates a two-shot view, one of the person, and another of the desktop in front of the Mac, which cane come in handy when doing demos.

2. Show live Captions in FaceTime calls

Another cool MacBook Air M2 trick lets you enable live captions during your FaceTime calls, complete with speaker attribution. These captions apply to all videos on your Mac, so no matter what you’re watching, you can follow along.

When the Live Captions feature is enabled, the spoken words of the person you’re talking to are transcribed in a window on the right side of the FaceTime window.

To activate this feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to System Settings.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Click Live Captions (Beta).
  4. In the “In-App Live Captions” section switch on Live Captions in FaceTime.

Apart from using Live Captions on FaceTime, you can use the feature while watching a video that doesn’t have captions. But as it says in the name, Live Captions is in beta, which means you could run into bugs, inaccurate captions, and other quirks.

3. Unsend Messages and emails

I understand you might not need to use this MacBook Air M2 trick right away, but it’s happened to all of us—we send an email or text to the wrong person, make a silly spelling mistake, or just wish we could immediately take back the note we just sent. Thankfully, a cool MacBook Air M2 trick makes it possible to unsend messages. Follow the steps below

  1. In Messages, right-click on the message bubble.
  2. In the pop-up that appears on the screen, click Undo Send.

Please note: Apple offers you two minutes to unsend a message after sending it. Once it’s unsent, the message will be deleted but the recipient will see a note that says that the message was deleted. This feature is also available on iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 and only works only when everyone involved is using iMessage. A text message sent from an iPhone to an Android phone or another non-Apple device cannot be unsent.

In Mail, after you send an email, you have 10 seconds to unsend it. At the bottom of the Sidebar, an Undo Send link appears and you can click it to undo the sent email. This feature is also available in iOS 16 for iPhone and iPadOS 16 for iPad.

4. Quickly lift a subject from the background in photos

If you’ve been spending lots of time in an image editing app to remove the background in a photo, then you’ll you’ll appreciate the time saving aspect of this MacBook Air M2 trick. With this feature, you can automatically select the subject that you want, copy it, and then you can paste it anywhere.

This feature is available in both the Preview and Photos apps that come with macOS Ventura, and it also works in Quick Look when you select a file in the Finder and press the spacebar to see a preview. Follow the steps below:

  1. Point the cursor over the subject.
  2. Right-click it.
  3. Mouse over Copy Subject in the pop-up menu. Ventura senses the subject and shows you what will be selected with a glowing outline.
  4. Click the Copy Selection command, and you can then paste it into a new image.

This feature is also available in iOS 16 for the iPhone and iPadOS 16 for the iPad.

5. Password-protect Hidden and Recently Deleted photos

If you use Photos to manage your pictures, the app allows you to hide an image from your feed if you right-click it and then select Hide Photo. It gets placed in a Hidden photo album, but before this MacBook Air M2 trick was developed, anyone who has access to your Mac account can open that album.

Finally, in Ventura, the Hidden photo album–as well as the Recently Deleted folder–can be password-protected. To turn this on, follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to Photos.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click General.
  4. In the Privacy section, check the box for Use Password.

Now, when those albums are accessed, you’ll need to type in your user password or use Touch ID. Make sure not to forget it.

6. Play background white noise

White noise can help with your concentration, especially if you’re in an area with a lot of distractions, or it’s dead silent. With this hidden MacBook Air M2 trick, you can have white noise play from your Mac, and you can turn it on and off as you like. Follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to System Settings.
  2. Click Accessibility.
  3. Click Audio.
  4. Scroll down to the Background Sounds section, and you can flip the switch to turn it on.
  5. You can also choose the type of sound you want to play and adjust the volume. After it’s all set up, you can turn it on and off in the Control Center.

7. Kill time with the Clock app

Apple added the Clock app that is on iOS and iPadOS on the Mac. It works just like it does on the iPhone and iPad, so it’s all very familiar. You can set timers and alarms, and track different times all over the world in a easy to use interface that lets you see time zones in locations all over the world. And it also works with Siri on the Mac, so you can use voice commands instead of opening the app.

8. Stage Manager

Stage Manager is a new feature in macOS 13 Ventura for organizing your windows. If you work in several applications at a time, Stage Manager can be used to easily switch between apps and documents, saving you from the headache of finding the window you need.

It’s easy to set up, but it’s a big change from what we’ve been using for decades on the Mac.

You can turn on/off Stage Manager in the Control Center, but you can also activate and customize it in System Settings. Follow the steps below:

  1. Head over to System Settings.
  2. Select Desktop & Dock in the left column.
  3. In the main section of the window, scroll down until you find the Stage Manager section. Click the switch to turn on/off Stage Manager. When you turn it on for the first time, a pop-up window explains what Stage Manager does. You need to click the Turn On Stage Manager button to confirm that you want to turn it on.

Once you enable stage manager, the system automatically organizes your apps and windows in a single view on Mac. The function helps you focus while moving between tasks. You can even create a group of apps for specific tasks or projects. For example, you can group Lightroom, Photoshop, and Canva and pin them in Stage Manager to summon with a single click.

Similarly, you can group social media or writing apps and focus on a single project, removing other obstructions.

9. Search better with Spotlight

I don’t know about you, but Spotlight is an integral tool for my Mac use. I use it for everything, from opening new apps, to looking up definitions and websites, and finding files on my computer.

Apple added some great updates to Spotlight with Ventura. Now, you can preview files with Quick Look by pressing the spacebar, which will give you a much better look at the file than the current preview window. My favorite, though, are the new quick actions. You can run a shortcut, set a timer, or Shazam a song, right from Spotlight.

You’ll also see web image results for queries, so you can search for images of people, animals, monuments, and more. Speaking of images, you can use Spotlight to search for pictures through your various apps, including Photos, Messages, Notes, and Finder, using keywords like locations, text, pets, etc.

10. Split the screen between two apps

Your MacBook Air has a split screen view that automatically resizes two windows side-by-side.

We all work on multiple windows at once. You need information from the web to write something in a document or fill in a spreadsheet. Or you have to read a PDF of a report while you compose an email introducing it to your team.

You can easily resize windows on your MacBook Air by clicking and dragging the edge. But you might still end up with multiple windows floating around. When you go to your Word doc, your spreadsheet disappears. Then your browser window covers your email.

The split screen view is a simple and elegant solution to the floating windows problem. Split view neatly positions two windows to fill your entire screen. Your other 296 windows disappear, temporarily.

Think of it as a dual focus mode.

Splitting the screen of your MacBook Air and using two apps side-by-side only requires a few steps.

In the top left corner of a window, hover over the green circle with your cursor. This will bring up a small menu. Click on Tile Window (to the left or right of screen). You’ll then get prompted to choose another open window for the other half of the screen. Choose one, and voila! You can work with both windows open simultaneously.

11. Use Dictation instead of typing

Tired of typing long articles, essays, or reports? Are your hands occupied by something else? MacBook Air M2 offers a cool Dictation feature. Just hit the Microphone (F5) button on your keyboard and start talking. Your Mac will type everything you’re saying instantly. This feature saves you time and effort, assuming your speech is faster than your typing speed.

12. Force quit an app

Is an app not responding? Are you primarily working on your keyboard and don’t want to move the cursor to the top left to hit the red circle? Tired of apps just minimizing when clicking the red circle instead of completely shutting down? This MacBook Air M2 trick is for you! Just hold on the Command button and click Q. Careful, though — if you have unsaved changes in the app, you will most likely lose them if you quit using this method.

13. Take a screenshot without using the dedicated app

If you quickly want to take a screenshot of your entire screen, you can just hold Command and Shift then click 3. A thumbnail of the screenshot will appear in the bottom right corner. You can click that to edit, delete, or share it.

14. Easily switch between open apps

Do you have several open apps and you need to switch between them from time to time? If you’re in fullscreen or split-screen mode, the Dock is hidden. And even if you’re not in either modes, finding the right open app can be time-consuming. Fortunately, there’s a shortcut for that. Hold on the Command button and click Tab to show open apps. Keep holding Command and click Tab again to move the selector to the second open app. Release your fingers if you want to switch to the second app. If not, keep on clicking Tab, until the selector reaches the app you want to switch to, then finally release your fingers. It sounds confusing, in theory, but once you try and get used to it, it becomes a time-saver.

15. Instantly delete a file

The Trash on macOS exists for a reason — retrieving files we accidentally delete, or in case we change our minds. However, sometimes we’re pretty sure we don’t want a certain file to stick around, such as embarrassing photos. So instead of moving to Trash then permanently deleting it, you can just hold Command and Option, then click the Delete button on your keyboard, after selecting the file. This will permanently delete it after confirmation, so make sure you’ve selected the correct file. It’s worth mentioning that holding on just Command (without Option) then clicking Delete will move a file to the Trash. Additionally, holding Command and Option, then clicking Delete will empty the Trash. They’re handy shortcuts that I use frequently.

16. Copy and paste between Mac and iPhone

If you have an iPhone and a MacBook Air, you can copy from either device and paste it in the other, and this includes photos as well — not just text. All you have to do is have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Handoff enabled on both while using the same Apple ID. Copy the info on one device, and just paste it like you’d normally do on the other.

17. Paste text without the pre-formatting

If you’re copying text from a document or Wikipedia, for example, it sometimes gets pasted with the original formatting. So you end up with bullet points, links, large headers, or other unwanted formatting. To paste something as plain text, hold on Option, Command, and Shift, then click V. This will paste the text and match its style to the current document you’re working on, while disregarding the original formatting. If the key combination is too hard for you to memorize, you can alternatively click on Edit in the Menu Bar, followed by Paste and Match Style.

Tweak, Customize and Be Productive with These MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks

These MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks will change the way you interact with your Mac. Once you get used to and integrate them into your workflows, you will find yourself saving a lot of time and effort. Personally, I take advantage of most of them almost daily, and they never fail to impress.

Which of these MacBook Air M2 tips and tricks is your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below.

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