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How to make your Chromebook look and feel like a MacBook

Whether you’re looking for a cheap companion or just do not want to pay sky-high prices for a new Apple laptop right now, a Chromebook is an excellent option. With a fast, touch-friendly user interface and an airy, do-it-yourself attitude, a Chromebook is a great addition to any Apple fan’s device case, whether it’s their primary device or not.

The only problem: Chromebooks are much closer to a Windows PC than a Mac. From the experience to the interface, Chrome OS is clearly inspired by Windows, but it does not have to be that way. Google offers many customization options to get rid of your Chromebook with all the Windows influences.

Embrace the shelf

One of the most important things that separates macOS from Windows OS is the Dock. But the Chromebook has something similar called the shelf, which is the place to store frequently used apps and websites for easy launch. The shelf holds an unlimited number of apps ̵

1; if you add more than you can see, you will be able to swipe to see the rest – and just like macOS, you can keep it visible or move it to the sides of the screen. Just right-click on an empty spot on the dock and you will see auto-hide and position options.

Chromebook Dock IDG

The Chrome OS shelf is just like the macOS Dock.

To add apps to the shelf, just right-click on an icon and select Pin to Shelf. You can do the same to remove an app (Unpin), or you can drag it out and drop it somewhere on your desktop.

It’s a little different for web apps. Once you’re in Chrome and find a site you’d like to visit regularly (like iCloud below), go to the menu at the top right and select Create Shortcut. Then name it what you want and check the “Open as window” box if you want it to look like an app instead of a tab in Chrome.

Change the keys

They may not have a Windows key, but Chromebook keyboards are definitely PC-like, with Alt and Ctrl keys instead of Command and Option. But even if you do not want to be able to get the Bowen knot on the keyboard, you can rearrange your keys so that your fingers think it is there. Just go to the device setting and click on the keyboard tab to swap the Alt and Ctrl keys and get back some shine of normalcy.

Add iCloud to the Dock

If you’re looking for an extension or Play Store app that lets you access your iCloud account, you will not find one. But that doesn’t mean your iCloud account is locked out of your Chromebook. By logging in to iCloud.com via a web browser, you get access to Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Photos, Notes, Reminders and iCloud Drive, as well as Pages, Numbers, Keynote and Find My Apps. It’s not as seamless as it is on a Mac – you have to repeatedly log in and regularly verify your 2FA credentials – but it’s definitely better than not having it. And if you want it available with a click, just follow the instructions above to add a site to the Dock.

chromebook icloud IDG

You can access most of your iCloud stuff on your Chromebook.

Change scroll

There are many differences between PCs and Macs, but the biggest one is trackpad scrolling. Ever since MacOS X Lion, Apple has switched scrolling to match iOS – swipe up and the content on the page moves in the same direction. It’s different on PCs, and if your Chromebook uses “natural” scrolling, you can change it the Mac way by enabling reverse scrolling in the trackpad settings.

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