Key TakeawaysApple's virtual Product Skills sessions walk you through the basics of using a Mac, iPhone, or iPad. As an experienced Apple user, I already knew most of what was talked about, but did pick up a few useful tips from the sessions. These sessions are definitely geared towards beginners and would benefit first-time Apple users. James D. Morgan / Getty Images
Apple's new virtual Product Skills sessions may not be ideal for the seasoned Apple user, but they are an excellent introductory course for those new to the Mac or iPhone.
I signed up for two virtual Product Skills sessions about using a Mac and using an iPhone, hoping to learn new things about the products I've used for more than a decade. While I did learn a few new things, the sessions are definitely geared towards a brand new Apple user.
As someone who has had some iteration of Apple products for the last 15 years, these sessions had little benefit. However, for someone switching over to Apple for the first time or older generations not as tech-savvy, these sessions could be beneficial.
"I can see people like my parents benefiting greatly from these sessions."
Learn the Basics
The Product Skills sessions usually happen in-person at Apple Stores, but the company recently opened virtual sessions to allow more people access to support during the pandemic.
There are three free sessions you can sign up for if you're interested: one covering the iPhone, one that focuses on everything Mac, and one devoted to the iPad.
The sessions were led by Apple Store employees and focused on the same topics: hardware, notification and controls, organization, how to stay productive, and customizing settings and preferences.
The employees walked us through the fundamental specs of each Apple product (this is where the charging port is, this is where you silence your phone, etc.). They went through how to change brightness settings, check your storage, and plenty of other things I already knew.Apple
However, I did come away with a few new things: for one, I didn't know you could edit the pages on your iPhone's home screen to hide specific pages from view. This feature could help my goal to scroll through social media less by grouping all my social apps on one page and hiding them from my main home screen.
I also learned about widgets, which I'm a little embarrassed to say I didn't know about. But if you're like me and have been using Apple products since the dawn of time, it can get easy to continue to use what you've known for years without taking the time to learn the new software rollouts' features.
Another useful organizational feature I came away with was Stacks on a MacBook: I've been using folders this entire time and had no idea Stacks were a thing. As a freelance writer, I'll definitely be utilizing these more to clear up my desktop and organize things in a different way outside of my folders.
Are They Worth It?
Apple's virtual Product Skills sessions are a must for anyone new to Apple. Whether you're making the switch from Android devices or are new to smartphones entirely, these sessions are a great introductory course for Apple newbies.
I can see people like my parents benefiting greatly from these sessions, too. While my parents have iPhones, these sessions could eliminate the many calls I get about navigating something on their phone.Tim Bennett / Unsplash
The Apple ecosystem is a lot more complicated if you really think about it. For those of us who have used Macs for years, it's second nature, but I can't even imagine trying to figure it all out for the first time.
While I learned a few useful tricks, I already knew much of what was discussed and taught in these sessions, and found them boring, overall. It would have been neat to have taken sessions based on specific topics, like diving deeper into MacBook hacks or some of the lesser-known apps of Mac.
There are things even experienced users like myself can still learn about our Apple products, so separate sessions geared towards experienced users would be useful, instead of finding out about cool iPhone hacks on a viral TikTok video.