Getting the most out of your IT assets makes good business sense and saves you money. Macs have numerous built-in apps and features that you can use to help run your business. You are probably using the more popular ones, such as Mail, Contacts, and Calendar. However, some of the other features are just as useful.

Here are four less-popular features in OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan, and macOS Sierra that you can use to get the most out of your computers:

1. Printer Sharing

If your staff has grown but your printer is not wireless or network ready, you have two options: You can buy another printer, or you can use the Printer Sharing feature to share the existing printer. If you want to save money by choosing the latter option, do the following on the computer that is connected to the printer:

  1. Select “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
  2. Click “Sharing”.
  3. Choose the “Printer Sharing” option.
  4. Select the printer you want to share.

All users on the local network with a supported Apple operating system will now be able to use that printer. The printer will appear in the printer dialog box, provided that the computer connected to the printer is turned on.

Besides being able to share a printer with all users, you have the ability to share it with only certain individuals or groups in your local network. Your IT service provider can help you with this configuration as well as help you set up a local network if you do not currently have one.

2. File Sharing

With the File Sharing feature, you can share the files on your computer with other Mac users on the local network. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Place the files you want to share in the Public folder on your computer.
  2. Select “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
  3. Click “Sharing”.
  4. Choose the “File Sharing” option.
  5. In the “Shared Folders” section, select your Public folder.
  6. In the “Users” section, click “Everyone” and choose either “Read & Write” (users can view and copy files to and from your Public folder) or “Read Only” (users can only view the files in your Public folder).

To access the files, your employees simply need to:

  1. Open the Finder window on their computers.
  2. Click your computer’s name in the “Shared” section of the Finder window.
  3. Double-click the Public folder.

Depending on the permissions you chose, they will be able to work with or just read the files in that folder.

This is file sharing at the most basic level. Besides sharing individual files, you have the ability to share entire folders. Plus, instead of sharing content with all users in your local network, you can share it with only certain users or groups. You can even share files and folders with Windows users. Your IT service provider can help you set up these more advanced configurations.

3. AirDrop

You do not need to bother with a cloud service if you want to transfer files between your Mac and iOS device (e.g., iPad, iPhone). You can instead use the AirDrop feature to quickly transfer files. For example, here is how to use AirDrop to transfer a file from your Mac to an iOS device:

  1. Make sure that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled on both your Mac and iOS device.
  2. On your Mac, go to the Finder window.
  3. Select “AirDrop” from the “Go” menu.
  4. Click “Allow me to be discovered by” and choose “Everyone”.
  5. On your iOS device, open the Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the device.
  6. Tap “AirDrop”.
  7. Choose “Everyone”.
  8. On your Mac, verify that an icon representing your iOS device is displayed in the AirDrop window.
  9. Drag and drop the file you want to transfer onto the icon.
  10. On your iOS device, tap “Accept” to complete the transfer.

AirDrop is supported by most Macs running OS X Yosemite or later. Your wireless device needs to be running at least iOS 7. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are also required. (For a full list of the requirements, see the article “Use AirDrop to send content from your Mac”.

4. DVD or CD Sharing

Nowadays, it is common for Macs to not include optical disk drives, which can be problematic if, for example, you need to install a program using an installation DVD. Rather than buying a device like the Apple USB SuperDrive, you can use the DVD or CD Sharing service to share disks between Macs on a local network.

Here is how to share a DVD:

  1. On the Mac that has the optical disk drive, choose “System Preferences” on the Apple menu.
  2. Click “Sharing”.
  3. Choose the “DVD or CD Sharing” option.
  4. Insert the DVD into the optical disk drive.
  5. On the Mac that does not have the optical disk drive, select “Remote Disc” in the “Device” section of the Finder window.
  6. Double-click the icon representing the computer in which the “DVD or CD Sharing” option is enabled.
  7. Click “Connect” to access the DVD.

When you are done using the DVD, you will probably want to clear the “DVD or CD Sharing” option on the Mac that has the optical disk drive to prevent other users from accessing the drive. Note that if a DVD is copy protected, you cannot share it.

Discover More Ways to Maximize the Usefulness of Your Macs

There are many other features in OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan, and macOS Sierra that can help you run your business. ECC IT Solutions can offer more suggestions on how to get the most out of your Macs as well as help you implement them.