Got a new Mac for the holidays? Congratulations! We bet you're anxious to get started using your new Mac--in fact, you might be reading this on that new Mac right now. The key to getting things done is to have the right software. Your Mac comes with plenty of software to get you started: Mail, Safari, iCal, Address Book, iLife, and more. But where can you find software that's not already on your Mac? One place--and perhaps the easiest source to use--is Apple's Mac App Store.
The Mac App Store is filled with thousands of software programs for all different types of people and tasks. You can find recipe databases for the family chef, artistic effect filters for photographers, audio software for musicians and DJs, system utilities for the Mac expert, and upgrades to OS X Lion for your friends. And, of course, there are games, games, and more games.
But wait--you say you've never bought anything on the Mac App Store? Don't worry, we're here to help. In this tutorial, we'll go through the steps for buying software on the Mac App Store. It's very easy.
Step 1: Go to the Mac App Store
Sounds simple enough to start, right? It is, if you are running OS X 10.6.6 or later. If you have a brand new Mac, that includes you, since it's probably running the latest version of OS X, Lion (10.7).
If you are using an older Mac with OS X 10.5.x, you need to buy an upgrade to OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard (OS X 10.7 Lion isn't necessary to access the Mac App Store). Once you upgrade, you then have to use Software Update to update OS X to the latest version of Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, which includes the Mac App Store app. (You can then decide if you want to upgrade to OS X Lion, which you can buy in the Mac App Store. Or you can get your shopping done first and then upgrade to Lion.)
Assuming you've got Lion or the latest version of Snow Leopard installed, you should have the Mac App Store app. Look in your Applications folder, your Dock, or (if you're running Lion) in LaunchPad--it looks like the icon at the top of this article, a blue circle with an A inside. Open the app, and you're in the store.
Step 2: Sign In
If you've shopped at the Mac App Store before, you're probably still automatically signed in. If not, you need to sign in with your Apple ID. If you've used the iTunes Store before, you can use the same Apple ID. Click the Sign In link in the Quick Links section on the right-hand side of the Mac App Store window. (You don't need to sign in to browse the contents of the store, so you can wait to perform this step when you're ready to make a purchase.) A pop-up box will appear and prompt you to sign in with your Apple ID.
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