Get to know the desktop

At the top of the screen is the menu bar. At the bottom of the screen is the Dock. In between is what’s called the desktop.

Example of a desktop

Menu bar

The menu bar contains the Apple menu, app menus, status menus, Spotlight, and Notification Center. For more information, see What’s in the menu bar?

Menu bar


Your computer’s desktop takes up most of your screen, and it’s where you do most of your work. To customize the desktop, see Give your desktop a custom look. When you open apps, the app’s windows appear over the desktop. For information about working with app windows, see Window basics.

You can keep files handy on the desktop, and organize them at any time.


Use the Dock to quickly access apps, documents, and folders. To open items from the Dock, just click them. For example, to open the Finder—the home base for your Mac—just click the Finder icon (the icon with the smiling face). For more information about the Finder, see See your files in the Finder.

Finder icon in Dock

To easily open apps that aren’t in the Dock, use Launchpad—just click the Launchpad icon in the Dock.