Beginner Q&A sessions
We’re all beginners in the sense that we continue to learn. The Beginner sessions are for everyone who wants to grow and learn new Macintosh skills.
The session runs from 7:00 – 7:45 PM (before the general meeting).

  • The setting is informal where you are encouraged to ask questions. Tables are set up for notes and laptops. (not for virtual meetings, use your own!)
  • There’s no set agenda. It’s purpose is to respond to the interests of the attendees.
  • The emphasis is on basic Macintosh use: such as eMail; the Internet; Trouble shooting;  and iWork.
  • There’s a broadband, wireless Internet connection available to all. (not for virtual meetings, use your own!)

We’re not in the repair business, but you can bring your computer, set it up, illustrate any
problems or questions. It’s likely that someone else has had your experience.


Resources for Mac Beginners


Join SBAMUG.  We have 70+ members from beginners to experts. Come to the monthly meetings and special interest group meetings, receive the newsletter, get product discounts. Our email group is a great resource for answering questions.

Call 310-644-3315, contact the Membership Chair [ by clicking here ] or visit the web site at Dues are only $35 a year.
*Dues are suspended for 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.

2. Classes at the Apple Store

Go to to find your nearest Apple Store.  The Manhattan Beach Apple Store has free Getting Started virtual sessions. You need to sign up. 

3. Other Apple Store resources

Apple Care – You get 90 days of tech support via telephone with your new Mac.  You can extend it to 3 years (and extend your hardware warranty to 3 years).

Workshops – contact your Apple Store

Genius Bar – It’s free, but you need a reservation.  Good  for getting answers to specific questions.

4.  Web Sites

Mac Basics is a good place to start: Mac User Guide.    Be sure to select which version of the Mac OS you are using from the pop up menu at the top left. Other useful web sites are Apple Discussions, Mac Help and Apple support. There are many more.

5. Books on the Mac operating system/ iDevices

The Missing Manual series by David Pogue

Teach Yourself Visually Mac by Paul McFedries

From the Apple Book Store:

Apple iPhone Users Guide

Apple iPad Users Guide

Apple Watch Users Guide

Apple TV Users Guide

Take Control Books. Mac and IOS Downloadable PDF books ~ $10 each

6. Podcasts

Allison Sheridan podcast at – interesting but not necessarily for beginners

7.  Radio shows

Leo Laporte  (Weekends on AM 640 KFI Los Angeles – Syndicated elsewhere) – He has a big following,  he’s PC as well as Mac and the commercials are oppressive. Leo Laporte is retiring from his radio show. Rich DeMuro with the Rich In Tech show will be replacing Leo. Starts Jan 7th 2023. 

8. Magazines

MacWorld and MacLife – neither are essential

9. Consultants

Pat Dengler ( and Sean Graham ( are popular consultants.

Other Consultants mentioned on Nextdoor:

Gabriel Silk (378-9142)

Steve 310-618-1537

Matt’s computer handymen – call or text at 310-357-3504 or check out my website at – 25012 Narbonne, Lomita, on-site and in-shop repair, $75/hr

Martin Feldman 310-908-6851

Aaron Chang  310-497-3888

10 Tips for Beginner/Intermediate Mac Users

1.  Google and YouTube are your friends

If you want to learn how to do a task or are having a problem, Google it.  I just figured out how to selectively sync my iPod thanks to Google. Or search for a pertinent YouTube video.

2.  The email group is there for you

Join the SBAMUG email group.  Where else can you find a collection of experts like Dr. Dave, Bob, Jim, LJ, Hector, Glen and the others?

3. Check out the SBAMUG web page (

It contains the current and past club newsletters with Bob’s monthly column and descriptions of Jim’s public domain CD.  Plus the Wiki with hardware and software reviews, how to’s, tips and more.

4.  Visit the Mac websites

 Macrumors has news plus a useful buyer’s guide.  Go to arstechnica and search for “macintosh operating system reviews” for their extensive reviews of the new and recent Mac operating systems. There are many more.

5.  Backup

Your hard drive is a mechanical device that will fail sooner or later.  Even SSD (solid state drives) can fail, although in general they are more reliable. To protect your valuable files, you must backup.  The simplest way is to buy an external hard drive.  They start at less than $100.  If you have OSX Leopard or later, you can backup with the Time Machine software. See this Apple Support Article If you have an earlier version of OSX, or want a separate backup (highly recommended) you will need a program like Carbon Copy Cloner  or SuperDuper.  It is possible to go into great detail on this. – Do check out SBAMUG Presentations; there have been several over the years discussing backup. 

6.    Learn the vocabulary

Learn your operating system.  Communication is difficult if you don’t know the dock from the menu bar. The Help menus and are places to start.  Buy or borrow an OSX book.  Attend a class at the Apple Store (

7.  Avoid spam and viruses

Google search can help figure out an email is spam or real. Try searching for a whole sentence or 2.  All emails that ask you to forward them are spam. If you are using Apple mail there is a built in junk mail filter.  Mark Spam as Junk to block the spam and train it to block similar types. If it seems to fail you can reset the junk mail filter in mail preferences. For ISP junk mail filtering look up the specific instructions from your provider.  A well known third party app for junk mail is SpamSieve.  

Your Mac does not have the same susceptibility to viruses as a PC.  The consensus is that virus protection software is not recommended for a Mac.  Still, you should not open an email attachment from an unknown sender.

Here is Apple’s article on Malware. For Adware removal look into Malwarebytes for Mac. Many recommend  running manually only not scheduled, and some even recommend uninstalling afterwords. 

8.  Get organized

You shouldn’t have a lot of stuff scattered around on your desktop; it makes things hard to find.  Put your files in folders in the Documents folder of your Home folder (the one with the little house icon).

9.  Check out Apple Mail

You don’t need a .mac account to use Apple Mail.  You can manage all your email addresses from this one location.

10.  Mind your email etiquette

Don’t write your message in all caps.   Have a subject.  Use cc if you want all recipients to see each other’s address, otherwise use bcc.  See Bob’s June 2007 newsletter article for more.

11.  Don’t panic!

If you make a mistake, you can undo it (Pull Edit menu to “Undo”).  If an application is not responding (spinning pizza), force quit (cmd > option > esc) or pull the Apple menu (at top left) to “Force Quit…”.  If the problem persists, you can Restart (drop down under Apple icon).  If your internet is not connecting, try power off the modem and the router. wait a minute and power on the modem. When it seems ready (normal number of lights) then you may power on the router.