How to Set Up an IMac Computer at Home

By Andrew Tennyson

Updated February 10, 2017

Setup steps are the same for all iMac models.
i Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

You’ve got that shiny new iMac computer out of its box, and now it’s time to set it up. Setting up an iMac running OS X Yosemite is a two-stage process. First, power up the device, create a user account and configure your Magic Mouse. Once that’s finished, take advantage of the Software Update tool to make sure your iMac has the latest security patches and is running the newest versions of all available software. Note that process are similar to setting up other Mac computers, but the iMac also features the Magic Mouse which needs configuring.

Initial Setup

Connect the iMac’s power cord and press the “Power” button to turn on the computer. The power button is located on the back of the computer. Tilt the iMac's screen until it sits at an angle that's optimal for its location. Because the screen can be quite reflective, situate the iMac so that it does not point directly at a light source, such as a lamp or overhead light.

Follow the prompts on the Setup Assistant to set up the iMac's basic functionality. This is an automated process during which you create a user account and connect to an available Wi-Fi connection. If a Wi-Fi connection is available, the iMac walks you through importing photos, emails, music, movies and other data from another computer, if you desire.

Sign in using your Apple ID to associate that ID with iTunes, iCloud and the Mac App Store. If you don’t have an Apple ID already, follow the prompts in the Setup Assistant to create one. You must associate an Apple ID with your iMac in order to download music, movies, apps and other content from the iTunes and App stores. Doing so also automatically sets up your iMac for use with FaceTime, iCloud and Messages the first you open them.

Configure the Magic Mouse. Although the Magic Mouse is automatically charged and paired with your iMac, you can customize its gestures and the speed at which it scrolls. Click the “Apple” menu icon in the top corner of your screen, select “System Preferences” and then choose “Mouse” to configure the Magic Mouse.

Software Update

Click the “Apple” menu in the top corner of your screen and select “Software Update.”

Click “Update Now” to have the iMac check for available updates for all applications currently installed on the computer. This process also checks for security patches for its OS X operating system.

Place check marks next to the items you want to install and then click the “Install” button.

Enter your password in the provided field to verify that you have administrative rights for your iMac. This password is the one you created when initially setting up your user account on the iMac.

Restart your computer when prompted to finish installing the updated software.


To configure peripherals, such as printers and scanners, connect them to your iMac and wait for the computer to recognize them. To manually adjust settings associated with peripherals, click the “Apple” menu, click “System Preferences” and then select the type of device you want to configure.

To set up an audio device, click the “Audio MIDI Setup” option in the Utilities folder in Launchpad. Select the device you want to configure and then customize its settings on the right side of the window.