macOS & Linux Features and Tools | CompTIA A+ 220-1002 | 1.9

In this video you will learn about macOS & Linux features and tools for client/desktop operating systems.

Best Practices

The best practices necessary to maintain any computer system are as follows:

  • Scheduled backups
  • Scheduled disk maintenance
  • System updates/App Store
  • Patch management
  • Driver/firmware updates
  • Antivirus/antimalware updates

Scheduled Backups

A backup (data backup) is a copy of computer data taken and stored elsewhere so that it may be used to restore the original after a system failure, accident, or some type of data loss event. Backups can be used to protect:

  • Contacts
  • Email
  • Media files
  • Documents

Time Machine is the default backup software application distributed as part of the macOS. The software is designed to work with external storage devices and most commonly used with external disk drives. A few backup utilities for Linux include:

  • The command line tar
  • rysnc utilities
  • Amongst others that are available from various Linux distribution repositories

Scheduled backups should be run at times when the system is idle (overnight and on weekends).

Scheduled Disk Maintenance

Routine issues the involve disk maintenance are scheduled & fixed automatically with macOS systems. In Linux systems, the cron utility can set up and run various automated tasks too include disk maintenance. The crontab utility displays cron scripts by system or by user.

System Updates/App Store

Command line system update tools available for Linux that allow for app installation, Linux updates, and maintaining a list of app (packages) for the OS include:

  • dnf (for Red Hat & Fedora)
  • apt-get (for Debian & Ubuntu)

In macOS, the App Store section of System Preferences provides a variety of options for system updates.

macOS App Store

Patch Management

A patch is a set of changes to a computer program or its supporting data designed to update, fix or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, with such patches usually being called bug fixes. Patches are often written to improve the functionality, usability, or performance of a program. Patch management within organizations with a small number of Linux systems can utilize manual system updates with yum and apt-get commands.

Driver/Firmware Updates

For macOS systems, the App Store delivers driver and firmware updates automatically. For most Linux distros, the apt-get command can be used to manually retrieve driver updates.

Antivirus/Anti-malware Updates

Despite Windows OS being the most vulnerable computers in the world subject to virus and malware attacks, macOS & Linux are also capable of being targeted as well. Most well known antivirus/anti-malware software made for Windows OS usually include a version for Linux and macOS. Antivirus/anti-malware apps for Linux and macOS should be updated at least daily.


Applications for system maintenance for Linux and macOS include:

  • Backup (Time Machine in macOS)
  • Restore/Snapshot
  • Image (Backup) Recovery
  • Disk Maintenance Utilities
  • Shell/Terminal
  • Screen Sharing
  • Force Quit (macOS)


To restore a file from Time Machine in macOS:

  1. Open a Finder > Time Machine from Dock.
  2. Scroll through the backups to locate the file, click Restore.

When using macOS laptops, backups/snapshots are stored on the laptop’s system drive and on the Time Machine external drive. To restore a file from a Linux backup, see the documentation for the backup app being used.

Time Machine for macOS

Image Recovery

Image recovery options for macOS:

  • Images can be restored using Edit > Restore after creating an image with Disk Utility.
  • Disk Utility can also be used to reinstall macOS.
    • If the Recovery System is available from the Startup drive, the latest edition of macOS is reinstalled. 
    • If the Recovery System has been deleted, you must use Internet Recovery. 
      • Internet Recovery installs the same edition of macOS originally installed on your system. 
      • You can then update it to the latest edition.

To recover an image with a Linux backup utility, see the utility’s documentation for details.

Disk Maintenance Utilities

First Aid is macOS’s Disk Utility app for repairing issues with drives such as: file systems, partitions, and a variety of other issues.

macOS First Aid

A few Linux Terminal mode disk maintenance commands:

  • df-h:  lists files and free space in a computer.
  • >directory path/filename:  removes the contents of the specified file without removing the file itself.
  • ls -lsr | tail -5:  finds the 5 largest files in the current directory.


Both macOS & Linux use shell/terminal apps for a command-line environment. Both operating systems use the terminal utility to run commands, scripts, & programs without a GUI.

macOS Terminal

Screen Sharing

Screen sharing is included in macOS which allows for local users on a network or remote users utilizing virtual network computing (VNC) to control the screen for training or troubleshooting and the sharing of other types of resources which can be configured through the Sharing section of System Preferences. Linux is also capable of supporting screen sharing. Search for VNC or Remote within your Linux distribution.

Screen Sharing on macOS

Force Quit

In macOS, user the Force Quit feature to shut down an application. To open the Force Quit application from the keyboard, press Cmd+Option+Esc. To start Force Quit from the menu bar:  Apple menu > Force Quit. Starting Force Quit from an app in the Dock: right-click the app & hold it to bring up a menu with Quit as an option; select Force Quit.

Force Quite in macOS


Linux and macOS share many of the same commands, but there are features that are available for macOS that aren’t available on Linux. We’ll discuss some in the following sections.

Multiple Desktops/Mission Control

Mission Control is a feature of the macOS operating system. Mission Control offers a bird’s-eye view of all your open windows, desktop spaces, and any apps in full screen of Split View, making it easy to switch between them. It is very helpful when working with multiple displays.

Mission Control


Spotlight is a system-wide desktop search feature in macOS and iOS operating systems. Spotlight is a selection-based search system, which creates an index of all items and files on the system. It is designed to allow the user to quickly locate a wide variety of items on the computer, including documents, pictures, music, applications, and System Preferences. In addition, specific words in documents and in web pages in a web browser’s history or bookmarks can be searched. It also allows the user to narrow down searches with creation dates, modification dates, sizes, types and other attributes. With Siri Suggestions, you can also get the latest news, sports scores, weather conditions, etc. Spotlight can even perform calculations and conversions for you. You can open Spotlight by pressing Cmd+Spacebar and type in keywords to search the entire system.



iCloud is a cloud storage and cloud computing service for Apple that was launched on October 12, 2011. iCloud enables users to store data such as documents, photos, and music on remote servers for download to iOS, macOS or Windows devices, to share and send data to other users, and to manage their Apple devices if lost or stolen. iCloud also provides the means to wirelessly back up iOS devices directly to iCloud, instead of being reliant on manual backups to a host Mac or Windows computer using iTunes. iCloud comes with 5GB of free storage and you can add more storage at any time.



Keychain is the password management system in macOS developed by Apple. It was introduced with Mac OS 8.6, and has been included in all subsequent versions of the operating system, now known as macOS. A Keychain can contain various types of data such as: passwords (for websites, FTP servers, SSH accounts, network shares, wireless networks information across Apple devices, groupware apps, encrypted disk images, etc), credit card information, private keys, certificates, and secure notes.



With a multi-touch trackpad or Magic Mouse, macOS allows users to tap, swipe, pinch, or spread one or more fingers to perform useful actions.


The Trackpad & Magic Mouse options can be located in the System Preferences.


Finder is the default file manager & GUI shell used on all macOS systems. It is responsible for the launching of other applications, and for the overall management of files, disks, and network volumes.


Remote Disc

Remote Disc is a way for Macs without optical drives to access another computer’s optical drive (CD/DVD) over a network. Recent macOS computers do not have optical disks.


The Dock is a prominent feature of the GUI of macOS. It is used to launch applications and to switch between running applications.


Boot Camp

Boot Camp Assistant is a multi-boot ultility included with macOS that assists users in installing Microsoft Windows operating system on Intel-based Macintosh computers. The utility guides users through non-destructive disk partitioning of their HDD or SSD and installation of Windows device drivers for Apple hardware. The utility also installs a Windows Control Panel applet for selecting he default boot operating system.

Basic Linux Commands

To use these commands, open a Terminal session.  Some commands must be run as root user.  (To run commands as root, log in as root or use sudo.)

Basic Linux Commands