Install the latest macOS

If starting with a old mac, I recommend doing a factory reset and installing the latest macos.

Power on the mac and keep holding down Option/Alt + Command + R until a spinning globe appears. This boots you into recovery mode and offers to reinstall the latest version of OSX, which for me is 10.15: Catalina.

I had to format the disk before installing as the installer wasn’t recognizing it. The eraser defaulted to the old MAC disk format, change that to AFPS with scheme GUID Partition Map. I’m used to case insensitive systems on linux, but on MacOS some apps don’t like that, so regular AFPS seems to be the best option.

Also see:

Interface tweaks

manual tweaks

  • autohide the dock: Its just a waste of space. No one should be looking or clicking on the dock anyways.
  • Don’t press, tap! System Preferences > Trackpad > Tap to click
  • three finger drag is awesome. Accessibility -> Mouse & Trackpad -> Options -> Enable dragging (choose 3 finger drag)


New finder window open in home dir.

App setup

homebrew aka easy install apps

homebrew installs all the packages.

Install it by pasting this in a terminal:

  • sudo xcode-select --install - this installs the xcode cli
  • /bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL" downloads and installs brew.

Most cli tools are installed by: brew install wget and gui apps by: ` brew cask install firefox`.

Other useful commands:

  • brew update updates brew itself and all the packages it can install
  • brew upgrade upgrades all packages installed by homebrew

cli apps

  • neofetch displays nifty info about your system in the terminal. Don’t install this using brew as that installs way too much stuff.
brew install curl 

essential apps

  • Rectangle window manager, cause life is too short to use a mouse to resize windows.
  • [itsycal] adds a small dropdown calendar to the menubar
  • Karabiner Elements to modify keyboard shortcuts, in particular make the capslock key into a super key which can launch alred.
  • Alfred is a super duper launcher for macos. I remap capslock to launching it.
  • Visual Studio code is my cross-platform editor of choice. its awesome.
  • slack gotta talk to all the work colleages
  • spotify gotten listen to music
  • zoom - video chat service of choice in 2020, even for companies paying tons of money to other companies for video calls!

This installs them all in one fell swoop.

brew cask install \
    rectangle \
    itsycal \
    karabiner-elements \
    alfred \
    google-chrome \
    visual-studio-code \
    slack \
    spotify \

A better app launcher

Alred replaces spotlight.

Dev setup

Install a nicer terminal: brew cask install iterm2 cause why not.

update git cause the macos version is old: brew install git and do the basic git setup:

git config --global "khalido"
git config --global ""
git config --global color.ui auto

Install neofetch cause its looks nice to see your system stats in a terminal: brew install neofetch