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Last active May 6, 2024 08:32
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My macOS setup

ℹ️ Enable iCloud end-to-end encryption:

  • Nobody knows that, but iCloud actually supports end-to-end encryption (see “Advanced Data Protection for iCloud”) but it's disabled by default. If you care about data privacy, you should turn it on.
    • System settingsApple IDiCloud → Set Advanced Data Protection to On.
    • System settingsApple IDiCloud → Disable Access iCloud Data on the Web.
  • It supports almost all the native Apple apps, with the notable exceptions of iCloud Mail, Contacts, and Calendars. See official data protection matrix for more info.

Quality of life improvements

Mouse:

  • UnnaturalScrollWheels: Remove macOS's stupid mouse scroll/tracking acceleration. Configure as described here.
  • System Preferences → Set Tracking speed to max.
  • System Preferences → Set Scroll speed to max.

Keyboard:

  • Fix slow initial key repeat (great for arrow keys)
    • defaults write -g InitialKeyRepeat -int 10
  • Fix slow key repeat (also great for arrow keys)
    • defaults write -g KeyRepeat -int 1

Displays:

  • 🔥 BetterDisplay ($22 for pro): Custom resolutions, smooth fractional HiDPI scaling (e.g. for 2.5k screens), virtual screens, picture-in-picture displays, HDR brightness, screen control over DDC.
  • Lunar: Control the brightness of external screens via DDC (over HDMI/DP/DP USB-C/TB2&3/VGA/DVI). You can define different contrast and brightness curve for each screen to make them match visually. ⚠️ If you use an adapter or a USB-C cable, it needs to forward DDC messages correctly (if it supports DP over USB-C it should be fine).

Windows:

  • Drag a window by pressing Control ⌃ Commmand ⌘ + click anywhere in the window
    defaults write -g NSWindowShouldDragOnGesture -bool true
    • This is a huge quality of life improvement!!
  • Make file proxy appear immediately (the little icon in the toolbar inside a window that you can drag to move the open file elsewhere)
    defaults write NSGlobalDomain "NSToolbarTitleViewRolloverDelay" -float "0"
  • yabai: Stunning tiling window manager that makes you super productive. Must have.
    • It's a bit hard to configure though, no sane defaults.
    • Use Übersicht or SketchyBar for a status bar that shows the list of spaces, the current one, etc.
    • ⚠️ Some features require to disable System Integrity Protection and then configure the scripting addition
      echo "$(whoami) ALL=(root) NOPASSWD: sha256:$(shasum -a 256 $(\which yabai) | cut -d " " -f 1) $(\which yabai) --load-sa"
      
      sudo visudo -f /private/etc/sudoers.d/yabai
    • This has to be done after each yabai update
  • Don't automatically switch spaces when clicking on the dock.
    defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-auto-swoosh -bool NO
  • System PreferencesMission Control → Untick When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application.
  • AltTab: Replace the built-in window-switching shortcut Commmand ⌘ Tab ⇥ to add previews, hide windows from other spaces, close windows with Control ⌃ w and Control ⌃ q, etc.
    • Update: don't combine it with yabai or you will have a system freeze every few hours
  • Magnet ($7.99): Basic Windows-like window snapping to screen edges (+ shortcuts). No animations for snapping. Note that BetterTouchTool also embed this feature.

Sound:

  • Auto-mute output audio devices (except Bluetooth) when Mac wakes from sleep. Avoids blasting loud sound when you open your Macbook in public transport. Using Hammerspoon:
    • brew install hammerspoon
    • Download SpoonInstall and unzip it to ~/.hammerspoon/Spoons/
    • Create ~/.hammerspoon/Spoons/init.lua with the following content and then reload Hammerspoon's configuration:
hs.loadSpoon("SpoonInstall")

spoon.SpoonInstall.repos.devnoname120 = {
    url = "https://github.com/devnoname120/hammerspoon-collection",
    branch = "build",
}

spoon.SpoonInstall:andUse("AutoMuteOnSleep", {repo="devnoname120", start=true})

Battery:

  • System PreferencesBatteryBattery → Tick Low power mode
    • ×2 my battery time, and can't notice any difference in snappiness.

Dev:

  • Using touch id for sudo authentication:
    • Run sudo cp /etc/pam.d/sudo_local{.template,}
    • Run sudo vim /etc/pam.d/sudo_local and add or uncomment this line:
      auth       sufficient     pam_tid.so
      
    • Run sudo vim /etc/pam.d/sudo Add the following line if it's missing. Otherwise just close vim.
      auth       include        sudo_local
      
    • (edit 2024-04-25: maybe not needed anymore?) In iTerm2, Open settings —> Advanced —> Allow sessions to survive logging out and back in —> No
    • Note: if it stops working after a macOS update then do these steps again.

Finder:

  • Always display the current path at the bottom:
    • FinderSettingsShow Path bar
    • Or defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool true
  • Show file extensions:
    • FinderSettings…AdvancedShow all filename extensions
  • Show useful folders in the sidebar:
    • FinderSettings…Sidebar → tick <home folder> which has a house 🏠 symbol
  • Don't keep open previously previewed files
    • defaults write com.apple.Preview ApplePersistenceIgnoreState YES
  • Stop creating .DS_Store files on network storages (WebDAV, NFS, etc.) and USB devices
    • defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool true
    • defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteUSBStores -bool true

System Settings:

  • Disable notifications when screensharing
    • Notifications & focusNotifications → Untick When mirroring or sharing the display (at the bottom)
  • See Nikita Voloboev's macOS configuration for more settings.

⚠️ You need to log out and then log back in to apply defaults write changes.

Performances:

  • Remove macOS MRT (Apple's antivirus that hogs resources)
sudo launchctl stop com.apple.mrt
sudo launchctl remove com.apple.mrt
sudo rm -f /System/Library/Launch{Agents,Daemons}/com.apple.MRT*.plist

# This one only works if SIP is disabled
chmod -R -x+X /System/Library/CoreServices/MRT.app
  • Fix mds/mds_store/md_worker high CPU usage (Spotlight indexing)
    • System PreferencesSpotlightPrivacy → Add the following paths:
     /usr, /bin, /sbin, /opt, /private, /Library
     /System/{Library, Application Support}
     ~/.cache
     ~/Library/{Caches, Logs, Application Support, Containers, Group Containers}
    • You can find more paths to exclude in mds's logs
      • sudo fs_usage -w -f filesys mds
    • You will need to do that again at every macOS update

Bugs:

  • When Macbook Air M1 is sleeping, external screens connected via USB-C keep waking up every few minutes and then go straight to sleep again.
    • Workaround (source):
      • sudo pmset -a tcpkeepalive 0
      • sudo pmset -a powernap 0
      • Disable System PreferencesBatteryOptimized battery charging
      • Disable System PreferencesBatteryPower AdapterWake for network access
    • See the reasons of the past wakes
      • pmset -g log | grep 'due to'

Shortcuts:

  • General
    • Commmand ⌘ Option ⌥ Shift ⇧ v: Paste text without formatting
    • Commmand ⌘ Control ⌃ q: Lock screen
    • Commmand ⌘ Control ⌃ space: Open Emoji finder
    • Commmand ⌘ Shift ⇧ /: Search in the currently focused app's menus
    • See more on Apple's website.
  • Finder
    • Commmand ⌘ Option ⌥ v: Paste copied item and remove it from original location.
    • Hold Option ⌥: Reveal path breadcrumbs.
      • Right click on a breadcrumb to copy path or open in terminal.
    • Commmand ⌘ : Move to parent directory.
    • Commmand ⌘ : Open directory/file.
      • Commmand ⌘ o: Does the same thing.
    • Commmand ⌘ Shift ⇧ g: Go to path.
    • Commmand ⌘ Option ⌥ c: Copy path of highlight file/directory.
    • Commmand ⌘ Shift ⇧ .: Show hidden files.
      • Make it the default: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES.
  • iTerm2
    • Option ⌥ click: Move cursor of the command being written at the mouse position.
    • Enable Commmand ⌘ to delete a word in the command line.
      • iTerm2Preferences...Profiles → tab KeysKey MappingsPresets...Natural Text Editing
    • See iTerm2 cheatsheet for more.
  • Other apps:

Multimedia:

  • Shottr: Free screenshot app + annotations + OCR zone of screen to clipboard. ❤️
    • [22-04-22] v1.5.2 is 100% free. Newer versions are still free but show a (rare) nag to nudge you into buying the product for $8..
  • IINA: Awesome video player with great UI on top of mpv (way better than VLC).
    • brew install iina
    • YouTube support:
      • brew install yt-dlp # better than youtube-dl
      • ln -s /opt/homebrew/bin/yt-dlp /opt/homebrew/bin/youtube-dl
      • PreferenceNetworkCustom youtube-dl path/opt/homebrew/bin/
    • More active and up-to-date fork: IINA Plus`
  • HandBrake: ffmpeg GUI that helps convert videos.

Productivity:

  • Alfred: Spotlight replacement (search, browse, clipboard history, snippets, workflows).
    • TODO: add my workflows
  • Spark: Awesome productive email client with first-class multi-inbox, archiving/snoozing/sending later emails, etc. Must-have.
  • Fantastical ($43.99/yr): Great calendar app. Event creation using natural language, first-class timezone + weather support
  • MeetingBar: Display time until next meeting in the status bar, and allow opening the meeting link directly.
  • Karabiner: Remap macOS keys.
    • 🔜 TODO share my config file.
  • Finda: Dmenu equivalent that works on everything (open windows, tabs, browser history, etc.).
  • Tracker Zapper: Watches the clipboard and automatically get rid of trackers from copied URLs (utm_source, fbclid, etc.).

UI/UX tweaks:

  • KeepingYouAwake: Prevent macOS from sleeping (temporarily).
  • Dozer: Declutter macOS menu bar by selectively hiding icons.
  • Muzzle: Disable all notifications when sharing screen.
  • Side Mirror: Show second screen (projector) in a window on the main screen. Useful for presentations
  • macOS-key-cast: Display an overlay with macOS keys you type. Useful for recording the screen with QuickTime.

Dev:

  • iTerm2: Way better Terminal than the default one.
  • Shell/zsh programs
    • Powerlevel10k: Awesome ZSH theme/plugin. Easy to customize. Works for many shells zsh (default on macOS), bash, etc.
    • mcfly: Awesome shell reverse-search-history replacement for the default clunky Control ⌃ r (aka reverse-i-search).
    • z: Track most frequently used directories and then jump to them easily.
    • SCM Breeze: Add numbered shortcuts to the output of Git, ls, etc.
    • tealdeer: superfast unofficial client for the tldr pages (official client sucks).
      • brew install tealdeer
    • ripgrep: Replacement for find. Blazing fast file search with sane defaults.
    • Zsh antidote plugin manager
      • Plugins (add in .zsh_plugins.txt):
        • Extra command auto-completions: zsh-users/zsh-completions
        • Fish-like grey autosuggestions: zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions
        • Syntax highlight for shell commands: zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting
    • ncdu: visualize disk usage tree to find big files
  • Syntax Highlight: Preview source code files with syntax highlighting in Finder's Quick Look (opened when pressing space on a file).
  • TextMate: Fast & lean text editor with syntax highlighting. I use it to do quick file edits like I would in the terminal with Vim.
  • OpenInTerminal: Open the current Finder folder in a terminal.
  • DevUtils ($30/device): hacker toolbox. Convert unix timestamps, base64 decode, URI decode, JSON beautifier, test RegExes, etc.
    • See DevToysMac for a free alternative
    • See CyberChef for an offline webapp alternative
    • See DevBox for a webapp-based alternative (free on the website, app is paid)
  • Vnc connect: free VNC client that just works.

Backups:

Privacy:

Running Windows apps

  • Parallels Desktop — Awesome seamless integration of Windows apps in native macOS Windows. Perfect bidirectional integration (can right-click —> open with macOS apps from Windows and vice versa).
    • hyperenable — Disable Windows 11 intempestive Office popups that show up when pressing ctrl-shift-alt-win (I already use this combination as a hyper key on macOS)

To be reviewed

More macOS defaults configurations: https://gist.github.com/vraravam/5e28ca1720c9dddacdc0e6db61e093fe

  • Amethyst: xmonad-like tiling window manager
  • Bartender ($20): Menu bar customization + command palette for all menus and icons
  • Proxyman: HTTP mitm debugging tool (like Charles Proxy and Fiddler)
    • mitmproxy may be a better option
  • RapidAPI: HTTP sandbox to test and create API

Hammerspoon:

  • Script for Windows snapping like Spectacle/Rectangle

⚠️ Requires system integrity protection to be disabled.

Dev:

  • redo: interactively create shell function from shell history.
  • alacritty: super fast OpenGL terminal emulator
  • zsh surround plugin: surround command with parenthesis/bracket/etc. for easier editing
  • zsh select-quoted plugin: select the text under the cursor to outer delimiter boundaries (e.g. "…", '…', etc.)
  • zsh select-bracketed plugin: same but with matching parentheses/brackets so that it works for nested parentheses/brackets
  • zsh autopair plugin: auto-close parenthesis/brackets/etc.
    • ❗ I'm not sure if it does it live (good) or once the command is run (bad)
  • ctop: top equivalent but for docker
  • ktop: top equivalent but for kubernetes

Multimedia:

  • SoundSource: Fine-grained by-app sound control for Mac + precise audio EQ

Productivity:

  • Typinator: auto-expand user-defined abbreviations.
  • Keyboard Maestro: Automate tasks, create macros.
  • Responsively: Test a website on many device screen sizes at once.
  • Paw: Test REST APIs (Postman alternative).
  • Hook: Create local perma-links to anywhere in any documents. Useful for cross-referencing stuff (+ use those links in Obsidian).
  • Timing: App-usage time tracking, miles ahead of Apple's native feature
  • Presentify: Annotate your screen while sharing it or presenting it to an audience.
  • numi ($22): Calculator app in natural language
  • Prizmo (80€): advanced OCR processing for documents (OCR, table detection, edge repair, resampling, resolution upscaling)
  • MarginNote ($47): annotate books and documents
  • CheatSheet: Show cheatsheet of all the shortcuts of the current app

Utilities:

  • Better Mouse ($8): super powerful tool to configure mouse (e.g. Logitech Master MX 3) features such as ratchet/break point, DPI, bindings, etc. It's not mouse-agnostic but instead supports the specific
  • SteerMouse ($20): similar to Better Mouse
  • Day One App: Journaling app. Claims to be e2e encrypted and to protect users' privacy.
  • rcmd: Switch to apps directly using a option+letter shortcut. ⚠️ Conflicts with qwerty-fr.
  • PDF viewer/annotator
  • espanso: Auto-expanding inline snippets with templating support.
  • sloth: GUI that shows open ports/files/more for each running app
  • peek ($7.99): awesome QuickLook plugin that supports a lot of file types

Multimedia:

  • LosslessCut: The swiss army knife of lossless video/audio editing

Tested but didn't like

Annoyances:

  • Mac Mouse Fix: Remove accelerated scroll, and general improvement fixes.
    • 🙅‍♂️ Couldn't remove mouse acceleration, lacked other options I needed.
  • MonitorControl: Alternative to Lunar
    • 🙅‍♂️ Tried but randomly prevented brightness keys from working when coming back from sleep.
  • XtraFinder: Finder improvements. Dual panels, copy paths, make symbolic links, always show folders on top of file lists.
    • 🙅‍♂️ Not bad but too bloated/too many features for me. I rarely needed any of the added features.
  • Rectangle: Alternative to Magnet. Windows-like resizing snapping edges.
    • 🙅‍♂️ Sometimes windows don't return to their original size, and features randomly behave erratically.
    • 🙅‍♂️ I suspect that the author keeps these bugs on purpose to promote their paid product (Hookshot aka Rectangle Pro).
  • defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling -1
    • 🙅‍♂️ Doesn't seem to work anymore as of macOS 12 (Monterey). Use UnnaturalScrollWheels instead.
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devnoname120 commented Apr 6, 2022

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