Welcome to our step by step guide for How to Setup Your Mac Like an AV Professional. Whether you’re using PowerPoint, Keynote, Playback Pro, Q-lab, VJ software or any other similar software this guide will help build a more safe and robust system for your next presentation. This may also benefit designers and video editors, of course some settings might need to be changed due to the situation or personal preferences, however this is a good starting point to get maximum performance.

1. Create a brand new profile

Whether you’re using your own Mac or hiring from us, we recommend creating a brand new user profile if you plan to use this for anything beyond usual work/personal purposes. For example I have my standard user profile that I use for emails, design etc and then I have another called AV Work.

Here are a few reasons why its a good idea to create a new profile. 1. It sets a base configuration without any background processes running that will clog up system resources. 2. It helps with file management as you can delete the profile afterwards, which will delete any sensitive data. 3. Its a good way to ensure you don’t have any programs running that may cause interruptions or embarrassing situations like email alerts, message chimes or notification popups. 4. If you have staff or clients using the presentation machine sensitive information from other profiles will be kept private.

Creating User AccountTo create a new profile it’s super easy, go to system preferences  ===> Users and Groups ===> Add a new user account. You may have to click on the security lock to allow access and enter the password.

You will then have a new window which asks for some details. Typically I would set the account to administrator, enter the full name, account name, select use separate password, enter a password and password hint. **Note the password down somewhere safe and give it to anyone that might need to access the computer.**

2. Setting up the new profile

As mentioned above we are covering off a typical audiovisual setup for PowerPoint, Keynote, Playback Pro and VJ work. Some of these settings might not apply. I.e. Screen saver, background image and a few other settings might not change or can be set to personal preferences.

  1. Log out of  your current profile and into the new profile
  2. Select “Don’t Sign in with Apple ID”
  3. If promoted disable Siri and location settings
  4. Once the new profile has been setup head to system preferences

3. System Preferences

Desktop and Screen Saver

Desktop  >  Change the background to a company logo or solid dark colour (black or grey)
Screen Saver  >  Change screen saver to never


Select personal preferences here

Mission Control

– Untick : Displays have separate Spaces.
  *This removes the menu bar from the extended monitor
  **This will require logging out to take affect, however you can do this later

Language and Region

This can be left or set to your personal preference. I usually add any local language settings you might require. In my case I usually add arabic.


General > Untick requires password after sleep or screen saver
Privacy > Deselect all that aren’t required


This will be largely based on your external display settings if connected.

Energy Saver

Power adapter  >

– Untick : Automatic graphics switching
– Set Turn Display off after : Never
– Tick : Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when the display is off
– Untick : put hard disk to sleep when possible
– Tick : Wake for Wi-Fi Network access
– Untick : Enable power Nap

Battery  >

We never recommend running a show on battery power, so the only setting I change here is to tick Slightly dim the display while on battery. This is a good safety measure as you might see the screen dim which means you have lost power.

Keyboard, Mouse, Trackpad

Set these to your personal preferences.


Sound effects  >
– Untick : Play user interface sound effects
– Untick : Play feedback when volume is changed

Output  >
– It’s important to ensure that when you connect a 3.5mm jack/aux cable, HDMI cable, external sound card, or DI that you set your output to the correct output. Mac OSX doesn’t always default back to the last setting so anytime you plug in any of the above cables check what your output device is set to.

As far as settings go that’s all you need to change for the profile.

Audiovisual technicians. We also suggest installing an application called TestCards from the App Store. It has a number of different test patterns that will help you during setup.

We hope this helps you set a robust profile for you next live presentation.

Mac Rentals Team.