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System Preferences on Mac: Where It Is & How to Use It?

Updated on Saturday, June 3, 2023

iBoysoft author Connie Yang

Written by

Connie Yang
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Where Is and What's the Use of System Preferences on Mac?

Summary: This post is an overview of System Preferences on your Mac. Read to learn where it is and what you can do with it. Also, tell you how to open System Preferences without the mouse. - from iBoysoft

System Preferences on Mac

System Preferences on your Mac give you the entrance to customize various system settings. This article will show you all the basic information about System Preferences. Let's explore more.

Table of Contents:

Where is the System Preferences on Mac?

System Preferences is an option in the Apple menu. And it is also an app on Mac. Therefore, you can find and access System Preferences on any Mac model, including MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, iMac, and others, with one of these ways. It is redesigned as System Settings on macOS Ventura, the latest macOS version.

Get to System Preferences on Mac from the Apple menu

  1. Click the Apple menu (which appears like an Apple logo) in the top left corner of your Mac screen.
  2. Select System Preferences.

Now, you see the System Preferences window.

where is System Preferences on Mac

Access System Preferences on Mac from Finder

  1. Open Finder and select the Applications folder from the left sidebar.
  2. Scroll down to find System Preferences from the right pane.
  3. Double-click System Preferences to open it.

System Preferences in Finder

Open System Preferences on Mac from Launchpad

  1. Click Launchpad from the Dock.
  2. Find and click System Preferences in Launchpad to open it.

System Preferences in Launchpad

Launch System Preferences on Mac through Spotlight Search

  1. Press down the Command - Option keys together to open Spotlight Search on Mac.
  2. Enter System Preferences onto the Spotlight Search box.
  3. Click System Preferences from the results below the search box to access it.

What is the use of System Preferences in Mac?

In order to give users more autonomy to modify the system settings and preferences on their Mac, Apple has designed an app called System Preferences. 

From System Preferences, you can access types of separate Preference Panes, including Apple ID, passwords, network, users, system extensions, keyboard, Bluetooth, security and privacy settings, etc.

System Preferences on Mac

In System Preferences, you can:

  • Set iCloud backup in Apple ID.
  • Update your Mac in Software Update.
  • Turn Mac VoiceOver on or off.
  • Manage users of your Mac in Users & Groups.
  • Customize extensions from Apple and third-party software you've installed, and fix system extension blocked Mac issue.
  • Turn on Bluetooth to pair a wireless device.
  • Control your keyboard, trackpad, mouse, sound, and the display in corresponding panes.
  • Change startup disk.
  • Start to back up your Mac with Time Machine.
  • Etc.

If you can't find the setting you want to modify at a glance from the System Preferences window, you can type the keywords into the top-right search box. That will guide you to the right pane directly.

System Preferences not responding, what to do?

Like other programs on Mac, System Preferences may also be out of work sometimes. If that happens, you cannot customize your system settings.

To fix System Preferences that is not responding or working on your Mac, you can try these solutions.

  • Force quit it and then relaunch. Go to the Apple menu > Force Quit and then select System Preferences and click Force Quit.
  • Restart your Mac.
  • Update your Mac.

FAQ about System Preferences on Mac


There are kinds of reasons that may lead to System Preferences not being accessible or working properly, including the system errors, bugs in System Preferences, your wrong way to access System Preferences, software conflicts, etc.


For a T2-based and M1 Mac running macOS Monterey, you can reset Mac System Preferences in this way:
Step 1: Open the Apple menu > System Preferences.
Step 2: Click the System Preferences option from the top System Preferences menu bar.
Step 3: Select Erase All Contents and Settings.
If this feature is not available on your Mac, you need to factory reset your Mac to reset the System Preferences.


If you use a MacBook without a mouse, you can open System Preferences on Mac via keyboard shortcut. Press down Alt + F2 keys together to open the Display window. Then, hit down the Command + L to open System Preferences.

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