System Preferences

First Time Setup

The first thing you should do is update your system. To do that go: Apple menu () > About This Mac > Software Update.

Also upgrade your OS to the latest version to have a more secure OS. macOS upgrades are usually free so you might as well keep your machine up to date.

If this is a new computer there are a couple tweaks you could make to the System Preferences. These settings are all optional, consider them suggestions. Always choose the setting that makes the most sense to you.

Users & Groups

  • Login Options -> Change fast user switching menu as Icon
  • Set up Password, Apple ID, Picture, etc.

Trackpad

  • Point & Click
    • Enable Tap to click with one finger
    • Change Secondary click to Right corner
    • Uncheck Three Finger Drag
  • Scroll & Zoom
    • Uncheck all apart from Zoom in and out

Dock

  • Visual Settings
    • Change position to Left and make the size of icons Small
  • Other settings
    • Remove workspace auto-switching by running the following command:
defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-auto-swoosh -bool NO
killall Dock # Restart the Dock process

Finder

  • General
    • Change New finder window show to open in your Home Directory
  • Sidebar
    • Add Home and your Code Directory
    • Uncheck all Shared boxes
  • Remove the Display and Bluetooth icons
  • Change battery to Show percentage symbols

Spotlight

  • Uncheck fonts, images, files etc.
  • Uncheck the keyboard shortcuts as we’ll be replacing them with Alfred

Accounts

  • Add an iCloud account and sync Calendar, Find my Mac, Contacts etc.

User Defaults

  • Enable repeating keys by pressing and holding down keys: defaults write NSGlobalDomain ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false (and restart any app that you need to repeat keys in)
  • Change the default folder for screenshots
    • Open the terminal and create the folder where you would like to store your screenshots: mkdir -p /path/to/screenshots/
    • Then run the following command: defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /path/to/screenshots/ && killall SystemUIServer

Security & Privacy

  • Set Require Password ... after sleep or screen saver begins to immediately
  • Enable FileVault to encrypt your hard drive
  • Turn on Firewall

Xcode

Xcode is an integrated development environment for macOS containing a suite of software development tools developed by Apple for developing software for macOS, iOS, watchOS and tvOS.

Download and install it from the App Store or from Apple’s website.

For installing Xcode command line tools run:

xcode-select --install

It’ll prompt you to install the command line tools. Follow the instructions and you’ll have Xcode and Xcode command line tools both installed.

XQuartz

XQuartz is Apple Inc.’s version of the X server, a component of the X Window System for macOS. It might be useful if you are developing software for macOS, it’s available for download here.


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