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macOS Sierra: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Chapter 3. Organizing Your Stuff

Over the years, the Finder has grown and grown in size, scope, features, and complexity. Today, its occupants—those humble little icons that represent every scrap of your work on that computer—have become more talented than the cast of Cirque du Soleil. You can rename them, delete them, move them, copy them, tag them, get info on them, and of course file them away in folders. This chapter is your guide to life with icons.

The macOS Folder Structure

For the first 20 years of the Mac’s existence, you began your workday by double-clicking the Macintosh HD icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. That’s where you kept your files.

These days, though, you’d be disappointed if you did that. All you’ll find in the Macintosh HD window is a set of folders called Applications, Library, Users, and so on—folders you didn’t put there.

Most of these folders aren’t very useful to you, the Mac’s human companion. They’re there for macOS’s own use—which is why, today, the Macintosh HD icon doesn’t even appear on the screen. (At least not at first; you can choose Finder→Preferences and turn the “Hard disks” checkbox back on if you really want to.)

Think of your main hard drive window as storage for the operating system itself, which you’ll access only for occasional administrative purposes.

Your Home Folder

So where is your nest of files, folders, and so on? All of it, everything of yours on this computer, lives in the Home folder. That’s a folder bearing your name (or ...

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