Software & AppsOperating SystemmacOS

Where Is the Settings App on My Mac?


If you’re new to a Mac, it’s not always easy to figure out how to do things. If you’re in this boat, you probably clicked on a few menus to find the settings app, but you still don’t know where to look. If this sounds like a familiar experience, don’t worry. We’re here to help!

Quick Answer

On macOS, the settings app is called “System Preferences” and can be accessed through various methods. You can access it three ways: through the Dock, in the top menu bar, or using Spotlight Search.

The settings app is a pretty useful tool in your Mac’s arsenal, and it is often used to alter all sorts of options, from basic ones like volume control to more complex ones like network configuration. However, some people don’t know where to find this app on their Mac computers.

That’s why we’re here! In this article, you’ll learn how to find and open the settings app, no matter what type of Mac you have or what preferences you want to change. 

Method #1: Access the Settings Using the Top Menu Bar

Assuming you want to change a setting on your Mac, the first place to look is in the System Preferences, and one of the easiest ways to access it using the menu bar at the top.

You’ll find the menu bar at the top of your screen where you’ll see options for various applications on your Mac and status icons for things like your battery level and Wi-Fi connection.

Using it, you can access the settings as follows.

  1. Click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen to open the Apple menu.
  2. You will then see a drop-down menu with different options.
  3. Click on “System Preferences” to open the settings for your Mac device.

Clicking this option will open up the System Preferences window, and you’ll see a grid of icons representing different areas where you can adjust various settings for your computer.

Method #2: Access the Settings Using the Bottom Dock

You can easily configure various options and settings using System Preferences, and if you want an even faster way to access it, use the Dock at the bottom of the screen.

In macOS, the Dock is a convenient place to access important apps and features, and it’s found at the bottom of the screen by default.

It can be used to access the settings as follows.

  1. Highlight the icons in Dock and look for a gear-shaped one.
  2. Click on it to access the System Preferences.

This will open up the System Preferences, and you can change your system settings. Within the System Preferences window, you’ll find a section for each type of setting.

For example, there’s a section for display settings, sound settings, network settings, and more. To adjust a setting, simply click on the corresponding icon in the System Preferences window.

Method #3: Access the Settings Using the Spotlight Search

Using Spotlight Search is one way of finding the settings app if you cannot find it using other methods on your Mac. 

Spotlight is a search engine for your Mac, searching through apps, features, documents, and other items on your computer.

You can access settings using it as follows.

  1. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner of your screen to open Spotlight.
  2. Type “System Preferences” in the search bar.
  3. Click on System Preferences from the search results to open it.

Once you’ve launched the settings app, you can browse through the various options and make changes to your system settings.

The Spotlight Search window can also be opened by pressing Command + Space Bar on your keyboard as a shortcut.


That’s all you need to do to get to the settings on your Mac. You can customize just about everything on your Mac to suit your needs. So have fun tinkering!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I open my Mac System Preferences without a mouse?

Press CMD + Space to open Spotlight, type “system preferences”, and then press the Return key to open System Preferences from the search results without using a mouse.

Where are the settings in MacBook Air?

It doesn’t matter what type of Mac device you have; the System Preferences app is accessible from the Apple Menu, the Dock, or the Spotlight Search.

How do I change the settings for apps on Mac?

The settings or preferences for an application can be changed by right-clicking its name in the menu bar and then clicking “Preferences”.

Why can’t I access System Preferences on my Mac?

If System Preferences is not responding, try force quitting the window and relaunching it, restarting your Mac in safe mode, resetting preferences, or reinstalling macOS if it still doesn’t work.

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