How to make macOS better

This blog post focuses on a number of tips and tweaks that will help to make your macOS experience better and more efficient.

How to ensure macOS checks for new software updates daily

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency -int 1

How to copy text from a website and paste it quickly into a text file

Head to the Keyboard section within System Preferences and highlight the Services section. Next, in the secondary panel scroll down you see “New TextEdit…..”. From there add your shortcut keyboard combination.

Next, copy text from a website and use your new shortcut keyboard combination. The copied text will automatically be pasted into TextEdit

 

 

How to add emojis in your documents quickly

Within macOS, select your text-based application and then type the following key combination:

Command + Control + Space

This will launch the emoji selector.

How to add a quit option to the Finder

To add a quit option to the Finder, add the following command to the Terminal

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool YES

Now type killall Finder into the Terminal window

How to stop macOS from indexing the Applications folder

To turn off Spotlight, open the Terminal and type the following:

sudo mdutil -a -i off

To unload it, type the following into the Terminal

sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To load It, type the following into the Terminal

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.metadata.mds.plist

To turn on Spotlight, type the following into the Terminal

sudo mdutil -a -i on

How to quickly see your IP address and other Wi-Fi networking information

In macOS, hold down Alt (or the Option key on some keyboards) and click the Wi-Fi icon at the top right of the screen. Beneath the name of the currently in-use Wi-Fi base station you will see the networking information and also a disconnect option.

How to delete autofill entries from Google Chrome 

Within Google Chrome, position the cursor in the address bar and type the following after you enter a web address

Function+Shift+Delete

The auto-completed web address should now be removed.

How to quickly launch incognito mode in Google Chrome

Within Google Chrome type the following:

Command+Shift+N

How to force quit an app in macOS

Type the following:

Click Option, Command, and Escape

How to change the location of your screenshot images

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Dropbox/Screenshots

Where ~/Dropbox/Screenshots is the location where you want the screenshots folder to live.

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

How to disable screenshot drop shadows

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool TRUE

Now type killall SystemUIServer into the Terminal window

How to shutdown your Mac, with or without a delay

To shut down your Mac immediately:

Type the following into the Terminal:

sudo shutdown -h now

To restart your Mac immediately:

sudo shutdown -r now

We can even add a time delay (in minutes) if we wish:

sudo shutdown -r +60

How to make your Mac talk

Within the Terminal type the following:

say "Hello world"

We can even go one better and have it read any text file we like:

say -f /path/to/file.txt

Your Mac can then say whatever was in the text file.

How to change the default filetype for screenshot images

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Now type killall SystemUIServer into the Terminal window

How to add your most recent used applications into the dock

Open Terminal and copy the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }'

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

How to show the full file path in Finder

To easily find the hierarchy of folders, you can easily find the full path by adding this tweak to the Terminal.

Open Terminal

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

Now type killall Finder into the Terminal window

If you need to change it back, change “YES” to “NO” (without the quotes).

How to add spacers into the dock

If you need a way to organize your dock icons, the following command will allow you to insert a spacer into your dock that you can move around and place anywhere to divide your apps up by category.

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{tile-data={}; tile-type="spacer-tile";}'

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

To add more spaces, add the command into the terminal again. If you want to remove the spaces just drag them out of the dock.

How to make hidden apps “hidden” in the dock

If you use ⌘H to hide apps on screen with this tweak, you’ll be able to add transparency to all of your hidden apps so you don’t forget they’re running in the background

Within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool TRUE;

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

If you need to change it back, change “YES” to “NO” (without the quotes).

How to eliminate the dock reveal delay

If you need to speed up the dock when you have it hidden, this tweak will speed it up.

For faster animation, within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.12;

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

For no animation, within the Terminal type the following:

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -int 0;

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

To go back to the defaults, within the Terminal type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier;

Now type killall Dock into the Terminal window

Reinstalling apps on macOS

On occasion, I reinstall macOS on various Apple Macintosh computers. As such, remembering to install all of my apps and settings can become a pain. This post covers all of the steps I follow after I’ve formatted my Mac and reinstalled macOS. A hat tip to Casey Liss, whose blog post inspired this one.

Apps I install

These are the apps that I install after I have reinstalled macOS.

macOS Settings

  • Change the computer’s name in System Preferences > Sharing
  • Enable FileVault
  • Make sure messages originate from my mobile phone number

If you are selling your Apple Macintosh computer.

How To Create A New Admin Account in Mac OS X

1. BOOT INTO SINGLE-USER MODE

Turn on the computer. Upon hearing the startup chime, hold the key combination CMD+S. This boots the computer into single-user mode, which in turn gives you access via the root user. It is important to note, however, that this can be blocked by a firmware password. If that’s the case, head on over to this guide on getting into single-user mode while locked.

2. MOUNT THE HARD DRIVE

Once single-user mode boots (it should look like a black screen with white text), we need to mount the hard drive. At the prompt type in:
/sbin/mount -uw /

3. REMOVE THE “SETUP HAS BEEN COMPLETED” FILE

Now that the drive is mounted, we can edit the file system. We’re going to delete a file that tells your computer that you have completed the initial setup. Type in:
rm /var/db/.applesetupdone
This command deletes the file “.applesetupdone” in the /var/db/ directory, which the computer checks for on startup to ensure that the computer has already been set up.

4. REBOOT

Pretty self explanatory. We need the system to reboot so it can check for the file and then notice it’s missing. Type in:
reboot

5. WATCH THE VIDEO

Your computer will shut down and reboot. A setup window should pop up asking what language you want your computer to be in, just as if you turned on your computer for the first time after purchase. After you select a language, a welcome video will play. If you brought headphones along, feel free to plug them in during the “Select A Language” screen. Otherwise, enjoy a little music.

6. CONTINUE SETUP

Go through the rest of the setup process.

Be sure to select “DO NOT TRANSFER MY DATA”.

Don’t worry, all of your old files will still be on the computer.

At one point during setup you will have to configure your internet connection, this is when you need your wireless password. It’s fine if you don’t have the password, you can enter it later if you need to.

7. SET UP THE ADMINISTRATOR ACCOUNT

Near the end of the setup you will be asked to create an administrator account for your computer.

Be sure to make the name of the admin account different from the existing one.

You can name the account anything that you want, except for the name of the old administrator account. If the new account is given the same name as the old one it will overwrite the old account, causing all the old account’s files to be deleted.

8. FINISH SETUP AND LOG IN

Wrap up the setup and the computer should automatically log you into your new administrator account.

Run a Macbook Pro with Chrome? You’ll love this

Via Paul Boag

Creating and installing OS X Lion from a bootable USB drive or DVD

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  1. You will need to locate the OS X Lion installation package on your Mac. The easiest way to do this is to Option + click its icon on your dock and choose Options>Show in Finder.
  2. Once you’ve located the package, Option + click it and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. Open the folder titled ‘SharedSupport’ and find a file called ‘InstallESD.dmg’. This file contains everything you need to boot up a computer and install OS X Lion. Drag this file out to your desktop or another easy to find location.
  4. At this point, if you just want to make a DVD, open up Disk Utility on your Mac, find this image in the list on the left, Option + Click on it and click ‘Burn’. You’ll have a bootable DVD.
  5. Now prepare a USB thumb drive at least 8GB in size by opening up the Disk Utility application on your Mac, plugging it in and choosing to Partition it in a 1 Partition scheme. Note that this process will erase your thumb drive, so make sure you’ve backed it up.
  6. Highlight the single partition and use the pull-down menu to select ‘GUID Partition Table’ as the type and click ok.
  7. Name the USB drive anything that you would like, make sure that the Format option is set to ‘Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) and click the Apply button.
  8. Now, click on your new partition and click on the Restore tab at the top right. In the Source section, click on Image and choose the ‘InstallESD.dmg’ file from step 3.
  9. Make sure that the Destination field displays the name of your USB drive and click Restore. You will be prompted to enter the password for your Administrator account. Once you’ve done so the copying process will begin.
  10. Once the process is complete, you can verify the bootable status of your drive by selecting it and clicking Info in Disk Utility. Bootable status should show ‘Yes’.

Now that you have a bootable USB drive (or DVD) that contains OS X Lion, you can boot from it by plugging it in to any Mac and holding down the Option key while its booting. Once the screen appears that asks you which volume to boot from, choose the bootable OS X Lion drive. This will enable you to install OS X Lion on any compatible Mac without using the standard upgrade procedure. If you’re the kind of user who likes to perform a clean install instead of an upgrade, this is a great option for you.

(via The Next Web)

iTunes – Your Way.

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Apple’s iTunes is the defacto standard application for syncing music to iPods on many PCs. As a result, many people also use iTunes to organise their music libraries, iPhone applications, podcasts etc. However, there is one big problem with the iTunesSetup.exe installation file. Apple have decided to bundle and install a number of other applications with the iTunes installation. The other applications include Bonjour, Mobile Me, Apple Application Support, Apple Mobile Device Support and Quicktime.

Many people do not want to install the other applications. However, Apple does not allow the option to install individual components. The good news, is that it very easy just to install the individual components that you want.

Firstly, you need to install Winrar. This application will allow you to ‘unpack’ your downloaded iTunesSetup.exe file. Locate your file, and right click on it. You will be presented with a number of menu options, select ‘Extract Here’.

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Winrar will now extract the iTunes installation package and will reveal the individual MSI setup files. You can now double click on the iTunes.msi file to install iTunes without the other applications.

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How To: Install Snow Leopard on a Dell Mini 10v with 10.6.2 support.

This post was originally made by Gizmodo. However, I have added some additional information to support the 10.6.2 update, which removes Intel’s Atom processor. All picture credits to Gizmodo.

This post walkthroughs the process of preparing Mac OS X Leopard, onto a USB memory stick. The USB memory stick can then be used to install Snow Leopard on the Dell Mini 10v netbook.

Prerequisites

 

• Dell Mini 10v.  It must be a 10v, not a regular Mini 10.

• BIOS version lower than A06 (A05, A04, A03 all work fine). Downgrade instructions are available here, though they require a Windows PC for creating a bootable DOS flash drive.

• Retail copy of OS X 10.6 (NOT an OEM copy that comes with a new Mac).

• An 8GB (or larger) USB flash drive, the faster the better. External HDDs will work too.

• A Mac with a working optical drive, for preparing your flash drive

Netbook BootMaker and NetbookInstaller

 

Preparing Your Flash Drive

 


1. Insert your flash drive and OS X Retail install disk into your computer

2. Open Disk Utility (searching in Spotlight is the easiest way to find this)

3. Select your flash drive from the list on the left. Make sure to select the drive itself, not any partitions you may have written to it before.

4. In the right panel, select the "Partition" screen.


5. From the dropdown menu, select "1 Partition," then click "Options" below the partition map.

6. Select "Master Boot Record." This will ensure that your Mini 10v can boot from your flash drive. Select a name for your partition—doesn’t really matter what—and apply your changes. Keep in mind this will delete anything you have on your flash drive right now, so back it up if need be.

7. Once this is done, move from the "Partition" screen to the "Restore" screen in Disk Utility

8. For your Restore Source, select (by dragging) the OS X install disk from the left panel. Make sure this is the item called something to the effect of "Mac OS Install DVD," not "Optiarc DVD" or some other hardware title. For the destination, drag your newly-prepared partition over. Click restore.

9. Run the BootMaker app., select your OS X partition on the USB drive and select Prepare Boot Drive.

Installing OS X Snow Leopard

 

10. Jump into the BIOS, double-check to see if you have the right BIOS. As long as it’s lower than A06, you’re fine. If not, you will need to downgrade. See above.

11. With the arrow keys, cycle over to the "Advanced" screen, where you’ll see a list of options. USB BIOS Legacy support should be enabled, as should Bluetooth.

12. Now cycle over to the Boot screen., "USB Storage," and move it to the top by pressing the F6 key.

13. Once you’re done, press F10 to save and exit.

14. Ensure your power plug is connected to your computer and the USB stick is connected. All being well, you should see the screen below.

15. The first thing you need to do is format your hard disk. Bring up Disk Utility in the installer select it at the highest level possible. Go to "Partition" and make it a single Mac OS X Extended (Journaled) partition. Before hitting Apply, go to Options and select GUID Partition Table. Then hit apply.

Follow the usual OS X install instructions.

Updates

16.  Download  the Mac OS X v10.6.1 Update. After the installation reboot. Now, install the Mac OS X v10.6.2. Update – BUT DO NOT REBOOT!

17. Next download and install the latest version of Netbook Installer and reboot. The netbook should now reboot with the 10.6.2. update.

Odds and Ends

By and large, your install should work out of the box. Sleep, shutdown/startup, sound, keyboard shortcuts, battery indicators, and anything else you can think of should be present and at attention, barring one glaring flaw: the trackpad.

18. Go here, and download the attached trackpad driver.

19. Open Finder on your 10v, and press CMD+Shift+G (on this keyboard, that’s Alt+Shift+G.) In the box that comes up, typed "/Extra" and press enter.
This will bring you to a hidden folder. Copy the .kext file you’ve download into the Mini10vExt folder, making sure to back up the one you’re replacing.

Open Finder on your 10v, and press CMD+Shift+G (on this keyboard, that’s Alt+Shift+G.) In the box that comes up, typed "/Extra" and press enter.
This will bring you to a hidden folder. Copy the .kext file you’ve download into the Mini10vExt folder, making sure to back up the one you’re replacing.

20. Run the app in the "Extra" directory called UpdateExtra, which will alert OS X to the new drivers. Restart your computer.

Now you should be able to click and drag—the cursor should jump when your second finger makes contact. You should see, as you could before, a panel in the OS X preferences where you can adjust trackpad settings.  The only other issue you’re likely to run into is the occasional too-tall settings screen. Here‘s a clever virtual screen resolution workaround for that.