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Your Mac comes with the Control Center feature that’s similar to the iPhone and iPad’s Control Center you already know and love. Follow along with this tutorial to learn how to use macOS Control Center, including how to customize it to your liking by adding or removing items.
Control Center, on your Mac
Apple first implemented Control Center functionality on the iPhone and iPad with the September 2013 release of the iOS 7 software. The Mac wouldn’t get a Control Center of its own until macOS 11.0 Big Sur, which was released publicly on November 12, 2023.
→ How to control smart home accessories from your Control Center
Similar to its iOS counterpart, the Mac Control Center groups all your menu bar extras into a single place. This gives you instant access to the controls you use most, like Wi-Fi, Do Not Disturb, Brightness, Volume and so forth, right from the macOS menu bar.
In this tutorial, you’re going to learn how to use and customize the macOS Control Center to your liking by adding or removing items, such as accessibility shortcuts or Fast User Switching.
How to use Control Center on your Mac
You can access the Control Center interface on your Mac computer through the menu bar in macOS, which runs along the top of the screen of your Mac.
Some macOS system features are represented with simple sliders, such as the volume and brightness controls. This lets you drag a slider to do things like adjust display brightness. By default, your Control Center includes nine items: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, AirDrop, Do Not Disturb, Keyboard Brightness, Screen Mirroring, Display, Sound and Now Playing.
→ How to customize Control Center on Apple TV
The Control Center is always available in the menu bar.
Pinning your Control Center favorites
Drag an item from the Control Center to the menu bar.
By the way, you can remove an item from your Mac’s menu bar by dragging it out of the menu bar whilst holding the Command key on the keyboard. Keep in mind that some system features cannot be added to or removed from the Control Center or the menu bar.
How to customize macOS Control Center
You can add items to or remove them from the Control Center, as well as change their order, by using the Dock & Menu Bar preference pane on your Mac.
Tick the box next to “Show in Control Center” to do just that.
Conversely, unticking the box removes the item from your Control Center.
It’s great that you can use this interface to add items to the macOS menu bar for even faster access: just choose an item in the sidebar and tick the box next to “Show in Menu Bar.”
Here are quick descriptions of the sub-sections in the lefthand section:
Control Center: These are your nine non-removable items that are always available through the Control Center. Selecting something here displays a preview in the Control Center section on the right. Even though you can’t remove these from your Control Center, you can add them to the menu bar (check the box for “Show in Menu Bar.”)
Other Modules: These are the three other items mentioned above that you can add to your Control Center (check the box for “Show in Control Center”). Any added controls will appear at the bottom of the Control Center in smaller rounded squares.
Menu Bar Only: These are your common macOS system features that can be accessed through the macOS menu bar, but not the Control Center.
Some caveats apply.
Although you cannot remove any of the nine default tools in the Control Center, you can add three more: Accessibility Shortcut, Battery and Fast User Switching. Again, none of the controls listed in the “Menu Bar Only” section can be added to the Control Center. Also, items in the Control Center section are permanent fixtures that cannot be removed at will.
Sandy Writtenhouse contributed to this tutorial
You're reading Macos Big Sur: How To Use And Customize The Control Center On Your Mac
The Apple Maps app received nice enhancements with iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. So of course, Apple introduced some of these new features for Maps on macOS Big Sur. In addition, the app has a slightly different appearance and navigation.
Whether you just picked up your first Mac or upgraded to the new OS, we’ll guide you through using the updated Maps app on Mac.Updated Maps on Mac
Navigating the Maps app
Apple moved a few options around from the last version for viewing your map. The toolbar at the top has handy buttons for your current location, map view (default, transit, satellite), 3D, Look Around, directions, adding a tab, and sharing a map.
The zoom, compass, and 3D slider are all on the bottom right making it easy to adjust the view of your map without jumping to various spots in the app.
Additionally, the Search box no longer appears at the top. This gives you a full view of your map instead. You can access the search feature in the sidebar along with Favorites, Recents, and My Guides (below). Plus, you can still use the tab bar for switching between multiple locations.
Select View from the menu bar to Show Sidebar and/or Show Tab Bar. You can also quickly open and close the sidebar with the Toggle Sidebar button on the top left of the Maps window.
Related: Keyboard shortcuts for Maps on Mac
The Search tool in Maps is still as helpful as ever. You can quickly find businesses near a location and you can easily narrow down the options.
Favorites and Recents
You may also see Siri Suggestions display for locations that might interest you.
The newest feature for planning your next road trip or getaway is My Guides. As we explained for the city guides feature on iPhone and iPad, these are curated collections pointing out noteworthy spots in that city. So if you added any guides on your iOS device, you’ll see those in the Maps app on Mac too.
You can also add a guide you find, create your own, edit one, and assign a cool photo. Then, save, share, or send a guide to another device.
Check out our full article on using the curated city guides in Maps on Mac for details on using this convenient and useful feature.
Viewing location details
This window can hold tons of details and provide helpful actions depending on the type of location. So if you’re interested in that spot, take a moment to look through it.
Related: How to see locations that accept Apple Pay in Apple Maps
Accessing Maps Preferences
The General tab is where you can select your distance units, show labels, display weather conditions and air quality, and more.
Route Planner settings
The Route Planner tab is where you pick your preferred method of travel and default options for driving, cycling, and transit.Wrapping it up
Don’t take the Maps app on your Mac for granted. It’s a terrific way to find nearby places, new spots to visit, and information about local businesses. Along with seeing directions, the updated Maps on Mac has a lot to offer and the improvements with macOS Big Sur make it better than ever.
What’s your favorite feature in the Maps app? Is it a new feature or one that has been enhanced?
MacBooks offer outstanding battery life and usually allow for an entire day’s worth of moderate to heavy use on a single charge. Still, it’s important to keep regular tabs on the amount of charge remaining since intensive tasks and unoptimized apps can drain the battery quickly. macOS Big Sur, however, doesn’t make that easy.
If you just upgraded from macOS Catalina, you would’ve immediately noticed the missing battery percentage indicator on the Mac’s menu bar. There’s the familiar battery icon, but that doesn’t provide an accurate picture and can often mislead you.
Table of ContentsShow Battery Percentage in macOS Big Sur
Despite removing the battery percentage indicator from the menu bar, macOS Big Sur does allow you to check the remaining charge in percentage terms. Select the battery icon to bring up the Battery Status menu, and you will see the information in the first row. It’s not something that you’d want to repeat all the time, though.
Luckily, you can still go back to having a percentage indicator on the Mac’s menu bar itself. In macOS Catalina and earlier, the Battery Status menu included a Show Percentage toggle that allowed you to enable and disable the feature easily. But, macOS Big Sur has buried it deep within the System Preferences pane.
Here’s how to show battery percentage on the menu bar in macOS Big Sur.
1. Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
2. Select the option labeled Dock & Menu Bar.
3. Scroll down the sidebar to the left and select Battery.
4. Check the box next to Show Percentage.
The battery percentage indicator should immediately show up to the left of the battery icon on the Mac’s menu bar.
There are third-party apps that can help you add even more battery-related details to the menu bar—we’ll go through a list further below.Other Battery-related Additions and Changes in macOS Big Sur
macOS Big Sur comes with an iPhone-like Control Center that groups together options such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Do Not Disturb. That helps cut down the clutter on the menu bar.
Additionally, macOS Big Sur ditches the Energy Saver preferences from Catalina and instead comes with a dedicated Battery pane—you can bring it up by selecting Battery Preferences from the Battery Status menu. It provides battery-related usage stats for the past 24 hours and 10 days, again similar to the iPhone.
You can also access the older Energy Saver settings (Sleep, Power Nap, etc.) by switching between the Battery, Power Adapter, and Schedule side tabs in the Battery preferences pane.Apps to Show Battery Percentage and Time Remaining
Third-party battery apps can not only show the battery percentage on the menu bar in macOS Big Sur, but they can also provide quick access to even more battery-related information. Here are three such programs that deserve a closer look:
Simple Battery Monitor
Note: If you decide to go for any of these apps, you can always disable the stock battery icon and percentage indicator to avoid extra clutter on the Mac’s menu bar.
coconutBattery gives a lot of insight into the condition of a MacBook’s battery. It displays the cycle count, health status, temperature, full charge and design capacities, manufacture date, and so on. Connect an iPhone or an iPad to your Mac, and you can also get a similar set of details by switching to the iOS Device tab.
Additionally, you can stick coconutBattery right up on the menu bar itself. Open the coconutBattery Preferences, switch to the General tab and check the box next to Run coconutBattery in background and show information in Menu Bar.
By default, coconutBattery adds a percentage indicator to the menu bar. Instead, you can make it display the time remaining, charge cycles, watt usage, etc., by inserting the relevant parameters into the Format field—the icon next to it reveals a list of them.
Also, select Show charge icon if you want a battery icon to appear alongside the percentage indicator (or whatever else you’ve configured to show up).
After adding coconutBattery to the menu bar, you can select it to view additional battery information (such as time remaining, temperature, cycle count, etc.) in menu format.
Battery Medic launches directly within the Mac’s menu bar itself and displays a colored-battery icon and a percentage indicator by default. Select the icon, and you can view lots of extra information such as the time remaining, battery health, charge cycles, and so on.
If you want, you can add the amount of battery time remaining into the menu bar itself. Open the Battery Medic menu, select Preferences, and check the box next to Show Battery Time.
Additionally, you can choose to receive notifications whenever the battery’s charge level reaches an upper or a lower threshold using the sliders underneath Low battery notification and Full battery notification.
As its name implies, Simple Battery Monitor is much simpler compared to coconutBattery and Battery Medic. It displays a battery status icon, a percentage indicator, and the amount of time remaining on the menu bar of your MacBook. You can also select it to get a quick peek at the number of charge cycles, but that’s about it.
As far as customization goes, you can choose to disable or enable the percentage indicator using the Show Percentage toggle within the Simple Battery Monitor’s Settings sub-menu.Accuracy Does Matter, Apple
The first thing you lay your eyes upon, when you login to a Windows PC, is the desktop. If you use your PC a lot, chances are, you use the desktop for a large duration of time and if the Windows desktop is not customized to one’s liking, it surely affects the experience. Thankfully, with every new Windows iteration, Microsoft has offered more control over how a user can customize the desktop to their liking. With Windows 10, you get complete control over how you want your desktop to look and function. There are some new and improved features to control your interaction with the Windows desktop, and there’s the new virtual desktops feature. To help you with your Windows 10 desktop customization, we are listing down 12 handy tweaks you will definitely love:1. Add or Remove System Desktop Icons
A dialog will open up where you can check or uncheck the system icons you want on the desktop.2. Change Windows Logon Sound
The first thing you usually listen when you log into your system is the Windows Logon sound. If you want to listen to a different sound because your find the default sound annoying or bland, there is a way. You can use another Windows built-in sound or even your own custom sound file, but you will have to make a quick edit in Windows Registry for that.
Here, navigate to the below mentioned location:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/AppEvents/EventLabels/WindowsLogon3. Remove Cortana Search Bar 4. Auto-Hide Taskbar
An old feature, but a really handy one. You can set taskbar to automatically hide when it is not in focus and immediately show up when you move your mouse cursor to it. This will keep your desktop clean with more room and also let you access the taskbar when needed.
5. Pin Items To Taskbar
6. Change Taskbar and Menus Color7. Snap Windows
You can also snap windows to the corner of the screen to see multiple windows at the same time and work between them, perfect for multitasking. Windows can both automatically snap windows for you or you can manually drag and adjust them to your required location.
You can repeat this process to snap multiple windows, and you can snap up to 4 windows or more (depending on your display) that can be easily seen and interacted with. This is especially great if you have a larger display.8. Use Task View 9. Use Virtual Desktops
An old feature in Linux and macOS, but newly added in Windows 10. Virtual Desktops, as the name suggests lets you create unlimited virtual desktops that are not affected by each other. You can open separate applications in each desktop and they will not affect each other. For example, you can create a virtual desktop for your work and one for casual use and easily switch between them.
Best of all, you can drag and drop applications from one desktop to another in the Task View to quickly move the applications from desktop to desktop. If you want to quickly switch between virtual desktops, press Windows+Ctrl and then press left/right arrow keys to switch.10. Use Peek Feature 11. Use a Dock Application
A dock application basically allows you to add an extra bar with handy shortcuts and buttons to quickly access them when needed, similar to the taskbar; but more interactive. Windows has many dock applications, but RocketDock is one of the most popular ones. RocketDock is a free tool that will allow you add a bar of shortcuts and apps anywhere on the screen, where you can drag and drop shortcuts to any application, file or folder.
The program itself is very interactive, works smoothly and can be customized in any way you like. I will recommend you to keep it set to “Auto-hide” so it doesn’t get between your work, and the best place for it would be on the right side.12. Get Desktop Gadgets
Windows dropped support for desktop Gadgets in Windows 8, as the Live Tiles feature removed their need. However, if you’ve been missing desktop gadgets in Windows 10 and want to see them again on the desktop, there’s an app to bring it back. You can get the same Windows 7 gadgets with the Desktop Gadgets Sidebar app.
Simply dragging the gadgets on the desktop will place them there and the gadgets will bring information in real-time, as per the working of the widget.
SEE ALSO: Best Ways to Customize Windows 10 Start MenuSome Cool Tips for Windows 10 Desktop Customization
Accessing Night Shift quickly has changed in iOS 11 and iOS 12 and while Night Shift is still easily accessible via Control Center on iPhone and iPad, users will have to dig just slightly deeper to reveal the Night Shift setting toggle and be able to enable and disable the feature through Control Center.
For the unfamiliar, Night Shift is the excellent iOS feature which adjusts an iPhone or iPad displays color hue to be warmer during the evening hours, theoretically helping to reduce eye strain and perhaps even improve sleep by reducing blue light exposure too. Night Shift is really popular, and while it’s perhaps best used on a schedule to automatically turn itself on and off as daylight goes and comes, users can also toggle Night Shift off and on through Control Center whenever wanted. In iOS 11, the Night Shift toggles in Control Center are hidden however, but don’t worry they are still easy to find and adjust as needed.How to Turn On / Off Night Shift in Control Center for iOS 12
Accessing the Night Shift toggles in iOS 12 and iOS 11 Control Center is the same on iPhone and iPad, though due to screen size it may look slightly different. Here’s how it works:
Swipe to open Control Center on the iPhone or iPad as usual (swipe up from the bottom of the screen)
Tap and hold on the brightness setting slider, it’s the one with the sun icon (iPhone can 3D Touch the setting too)
The display brightness slider will enlarge and reveal the hidden “Night Shift” setting, tap on that to enable or disable Night Shift in iOS 11
If Night Shift is turned on, the settings toggle switch will be orange and state “Night Shift On Until (time)”, whereas if Night Shift is disabled it will state that. The “Until” time stated in the Night Shift toggle of Control Center is the time that is set in the Night Shift scheduling of iOS, which is recommended to enable and on the warmest tolerable setting for best results.
iPhone and iPad users can also continue to access Night Shift through the iOS Settings app too, where it is found within the “Display & Brightness” settings as “Night Shift”, with switches for scheduling, manually enabling or disabling, and to adjust color temperature.
Remember that when Night Shift is enabled, the screen will be warmer in appearance. That means the colors will shift to be more orange and brown on the display, almost having a sepia tone type appearance. When Night Shift is disabled, the screen will look as usual.
And that’s how you access Night Shift in iOS 11 Control Center! It’s always possible that a future iOS software update will give an additional option to directly toggle Night Shift off and on without long-pressing on the Brightness setting again, like how it used to be access prior to iOS 11, but that remains to be seen. For now, just remember to tap and hold on the brightness setting in Control Center and you’ll see the Night Shift switch.
To use Siri on an iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, make sure that it is enabled. You can then say “Hey Siri” and wait for the familiar swirling light circle to appear on the screen. Or, on an iOS device, you can also long-press the side power button. AirPods mirror whichever Apple device you have paired them to, therefore requiring no separate setup.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
iPhone or iPad
Some popular commands
The following tutorial assumes you have set up and activated Siri. If not, you need to do that first before proceeding.How to use Siri on the iPhone or iPad
“Where am I?” (requires Location Services to be enabled)
Call (name of person)
Text (name of person)
FaceTime (name of person)
What’s this song called? (if music is playing in the background)
Add this song to my library (requires an active Apple Music subscription)
Open (name of app)
Press Side Button for Siri
David Imel / Android Authority
Alternatively, you can activate Siri by long-pressing the side power button. Don’t release your finger until the swirling light circle appears. Short-pressing the button will switch off the phone, so don’t do that.
How to use Siri with your AirPods
Sam Smart / Android Authority
The difference with AirPods is that there is no separate setup required. Since they are paired to another device (like an iPhone or an iPad), you merely have to pair them together, and Siri is pretty much ready to go on your buds.
With 1st Generation AirPods, you merely have to double-tap one of the AirPods. Then give your command, question, or request.
With 2nd Generation AirPods, you would say “Hey Siri” and then your command, question, or request. However, you can change it to a double-tap by going to the AirPods in Bluetooth settings and selecting Siri.
Your AirPods can also announce incoming phone calls and text messages, which you can answer by tapping the AirPod bud. Any music currently playing on your device would cease during the call and would resume when the call ends. If you feel these announcements are starting to get annoying, you can easily disable them.
How to use Siri on your Apple Watch
One cool feature is that you can use Siri on an Apple Watch. Now, every time you speak to your watch, you look like David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider. You have to be an 80’s kid to appreciate it.
Press the digital crown on the side of the Apple Watch.
Navigate to Settings. Scroll down until you find Siri, and tap it.
Toggle on Listen for “Hey Siri” and Press Digital Crown.
Now raise the phone to your mouth and say, “Hey Siri.” Alternatively, press the digital crown. The familiar glowing swirling ball will appear. Give your command.
Some popular commands
In the iPhone section, we covered some basic commands that you can give, but there are countless more. Edgar profiled the best Siri commands that you need to know to get the most out of the service. As well as asking it to use your phone functions to contact someone, you can also ask it general knowledge questions (which ruins quiz shows for my wife.) You can also ask for recipes, ask the time and date, create a reminder list, add something to your calendar, plot a route on Apple Maps, make search engine queries….anything, really.
Of course, there are also funny things you can ask Siri. Like asking if she would be your girlfriend, and she replies, “why would I want to be loved, then thrown away and face the misery and the heartache…?”
And don’t quote Bohemian Rhapsody to her — not unless you want her to finish the song — using her own words.
Read more: How to stop Siri from auto-correcting certain words on Apple devices
You can either stay silent, and she will eventually go away herself. Or you can say “stop” or “go away” which pretty much does the same thing.
Siri will never swear. If you ask her to, she will politely say she is not allowed to. The same goes for dirty jokes. She will refuse.
No, it is currently not possible to change her name.
If you decide to shut Siri down entirely, just go into the device settings, and toggle off all related settings.
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