And then there are the regular menusFile, Edit, View, Go, Window, and Help. All of these menu titles (except Go) are commonly found in other applications. And thats one of the beauties of the Mac OS. Thanks to things like common menu names and commands, youll have a certain sense of familiarity regardless of which application youre using. If you need to copy something, for example, that command will always be found in the Edit menu. If you need help in just about any application, thats exactly what the Help menu is for.
Moving to the right in the menu bar you see a series of icons that also represent menus. These menus often allow you to quickly change one of the Macs settings, saving you a trip to the Macs System Preferences application. The figure below includes the default set of icons found on a 2012 MacBook Air. Your menu bar icons may be different because some functions may not be supported on your Mac. Ill explain in greater detail what the functions represented by these icons do in a future column. For now, here's the short and sweet description, starting from the left:
AirPlay Some Mac models can project their sound and video over a network connection to an Apple TV. (Again, don't worry about it nowI'll explain it in a later column.) This menu allows you to choose the device to which you want to send the Macs audio and video. You wont find the AirPlay menu on any but the most recent Mac models.
Time Machine Computers crash, and when they do, you can occasionally lose your files. For this reason, its a good idea to back up your files. OS X includes a feature called Time Machine that allows you to easily do this. Ill explain Time Machine in a future column. For now, just know that you can invoke some of Time Machines most common commands from this menu.
Bluetooth Your Mac can send and receive information wirelessly in a couple of ways. Bluetoothwhich is commonly used for communicating between wireless keyboards, mice, trackpads, headphones, and speakersis one of those ways.
AirPort Apple calls its wireless (Wi-Fi) networking scheme AirPort. You use this menu to choose a wireless network to connect to, as well as to turn your computers AirPort connection on or off. A black fan indicates that youre connected to a Wi-Fi network. A gray fan means youre not. The fewer number of black bars in the fan, the less robust your connection to the network.
Sound Click on the Sound icon and you can adjust your Macs volume up or down by adjusting the slider.