macOS : System Preferences and it’s Components

System Preferences is an application included with macOS. It allows users to modify various system settings, which are divided into separate Preference Panes. The System Preferences application was introduced in the first version of Mac OS X to replace the control panels found in earlier versions of the Mac operating system.

macOS - System Preferences

System Preferences ComponentsIt’s uses or features
GeneralChanges the general color scheme of the OS, as well as placement of scroll arrows and font smoothing.
​Desktop & Screensaver​Used to set the desktop picture as well as the screensaver, and their settings.
Dock​Adjust the dock size as well as magnification and position on screen.
​Mission ControlChanges the preferences for the Mission Control application, such as showing the Dashboard as its own space or automatically rearranging spaces based on most recent use. Also sets Active Screen Corners and keyboard and mouse settings to activate certain applications such as Launchpad or to show the Desktop.
​Language & Region​Set the default OS language as well as numerical, measurement, currency, date, and time formats.
Security & PrivacySet “FileVault” and account security settings, set up the firewall.
Spotlight​Set the preferences for the Spotlight system-wide search application. Command + Space
​Notifications​Configures settings for notifications, such as the manner they’re presented in (banner, alert, etc.) and which applications can display notifications and which ones can’t.
DisplaysUsed to set screen resolution and color settings.
Energy SaverOptimize energy settings as well as set sleep times and processor usage.
KeyboardSet keyboard settings
Mouse​Set mouse preferences. If using a Magic Mouse, provides preferences for the multitouch gestures like double-tapping with two fingers and swiping between pages.
​TrackpadAdjust tracking, clicking, and scrolling speed. Also allows users to adjust multi-touch gestures on newer MacBooks
Printers & ScannersSet the default printer as well as scanner settings.
SoundSet alert sound, volume and input/output options.
Startup DiskSet the default disk, for the computer to boot into.
iCloudConfigure iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage and cloud computing service.
Internet AccountsYou can use Exchange, Google, Yahoo, and other internet accounts in Mac apps by adding the accounts to your Mac. You add internet accounts, and manage account settings, in Internet Accounts preferences. You can also add internet accounts from some apps that use them.
Software UpdateSet default times to check for updates, and view updates already installed.
NetworkSet Ethernet, AirPort, Modem and VPN Settings.
BluetoothPair Bluetooth devices and edit Bluetooth settings
ExtensionsSystem extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which are a kind of system extension that works using older methods that aren’t as secure or reliable as modern alternatives.
SharingSet the computer name, sharing and remote management services.
Users & GroupsSet the computer name, sharing and remote management services.
Users & GroupsControl user creation/deletion, administrator privileges and user limitations.
Parental ControlsManage parental controls for accounts, and view account usage data.
SiriSiri is a virtual assistant that is part of Apple Inc.’s iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS, and audioOS operating systems.
Date & TimeUsed to set the date and time of the computer, as well as how the clock appears on the menu bar.
Time MachineSet the Time Machine drive and backup options.
AccessibilityThe Accessibility Options panel offers shortcuts to quickly turn on or turn off common accessibility features such as Zoom, VoiceOver, Sticky Keys etc.
ProfilesOnly appears if the computer is enrolled in a device management solution

This article is part of our macOS Basics series. You can check other articles here.

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