A curated list of shell commands and tools specific to OS X.

“You don’t have to know everything. You simply need to know where to find it when necessary.” (John Brunner)

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Transparency in Menu and Windows

# Reduce Transparency
defaults write com.apple.universalaccess reduceTransparency -bool true

# Restore Default Transparency
defaults write com.apple.universalaccess reduceTransparency -bool false


Set Wallpaper

# Up to Mountain Lion
osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to set desktop picture to POSIX file "/path/to/picture.jpg"'

# Since Mavericks
sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/desktoppicture.db "update data set value = '/path/to/picture.jpg'" && killall Dock


App Store

List All Apps Downloaded from App Store

# Via find
find /Applications -path '*Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt' -maxdepth 4 -print |\sed 's#.app/Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt#.app#g; s#/Applications/##'

# Via Spotlight
mdfind kMDItemAppStoreHasReceipt=1

Show Debug Menu

Works up to Yosemite.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool true

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.appstore ShowDebugMenu -bool false

Apple Remote Desktop

Kickstart Manual Pages

sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -help

Activate And Deactivate the ARD Agent and Helper

# Activate And Restart the ARD Agent and Helper
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -activate -restart -agent -console

# Deactivate and Stop the Remote Management Service
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -deactivate -stop

Enable and Disable Remote Desktop Sharing

# Allow Access for All Users and Give All Users Full Access
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -configure -allowAccessFor -allUsers -privs -all

# Disable ARD Agent and Remove Access Privileges for All Users
sudo /System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/Resources/kickstart -deactivate -configure -access -off

Remove Apple Remote Desktop Settings

sudo rm -rf /var/db/RemoteManagement ; \
sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist ; \
defaults delete ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.RemoteDesktop.plist ; \
sudo rm -r /Library/Application\ Support/Apple/Remote\ Desktop/ ; \
rm -r ~/Library/Application\ Support/Remote\ Desktop/ ; \
rm -r ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.RemoteDesktop


Debug Mode

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.addressbook ABShowDebugMenu -bool true

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.addressbook ABShowDebugMenu -bool false


Uninstall Google Update

~/Library/Google/GoogleSoftwareUpdate/GoogleSoftwareUpdate.bundle/Contents/Resources/ksinstall --nuke


Keyboard Media Keys

This works up to Yosemite. System Integrity Protection was introduced in El Capitan which prevents system Launch Agents from being unloaded.

# Stop Responding to Key Presses
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist

# Respond to Key Presses (Default)
launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.rcd.plist

From El Capitan onwards, you can either disable SIP or resort to a kind of hack, which will make iTunes inaccessible to any user, effectively preventing it from starting itself or its helpers. Be aware that for all intents and purposes this will trash your iTunes installation and may conflict with OS updates down the road.

sudo chmod 0000 /Applications/iTunes.app


Show Attachments as Icons

defaults write com.apple.mail DisableInlineAttachmentViewing -bool yes

Vacuum Mail Index

The AppleScript code below will quit Mail, vacuum the SQLite index, then re-open Mail. On a large email database that hasn't been optimized for a while, this can provide significant improvements in responsiveness and speed.

Speed up Mail.app by vacuuming the Envelope Index
Code from: http://web.archive.org/web/20071008123746/http://www.hawkwings.net/2007/03/03/scripts-to-automate-the-mailapp-envelope-speed-trick/
Originally by "pmbuko" with modifications by Romulo
Updated by Brett Terpstra 2012
Updated by Mathias Törnblom 2015 to support V3 in El Capitan and still keep backwards compatibility
Updated by Andrei Miclaus 2017 to support V4 in Sierra

tell application "Mail" to quit
set os_version to do shell script "sw_vers -productVersion"
set mail_version to "V2"
considering numeric strings
    if "10.10" <= os_version then set mail_version to "V3"
    if "10.12" <= os_version then set mail_version to "V4"
    if "10.13" <= os_version then set mail_version to "V5"
    if "10.14" <= os_version then set mail_version to "V6"
end considering

set sizeBefore to do shell script "ls -lnah ~/Library/Mail/" & mail_version & "/MailData | grep -E 'Envelope Index$' | awk {'print $5'}"
do shell script "/usr/bin/sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/" & mail_version & "/MailData/Envelope\\ Index vacuum"

set sizeAfter to do shell script "ls -lnah ~/Library/Mail/" & mail_version & "/MailData | grep -E 'Envelope Index$' | awk {'print $5'}"

display dialog ("Mail index before: " & sizeBefore & return & "Mail index after: " & sizeAfter & return & return & "Enjoy the new speed!")

tell application "Mail" to activate


Change Default Fonts

defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2StandardFontFamily Georgia
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2DefaultFontSize 16
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2FixedFontFamily Menlo
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2DefaultFixedFontSize 14

Enable Develop Menu and Web Inspector

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true && \
defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDevelopMenu -bool true && \
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtrasEnabledPreferenceKey -bool true && \
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2DeveloperExtrasEnabled -bool true && \
defaults write -g WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true

Get Current Page Data

Other options: get source, get text.

osascript -e 'tell application "Safari" to get URL of current tab of front window'

Use Backspace/Delete to Go Back a Page

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2BackspaceKeyNavigationEnabled -bool YES

# Disable
defaults write com.apple.Safari com.apple.Safari.ContentPageGroupIdentifier.WebKit2BackspaceKeyNavigationEnabled -bool NO


Export Compact SVGs

defaults write com.bohemiancoding.sketch3 exportCompactSVG -bool yes


Turn Off Auto Reload Dialog

Removes the dialog and defaults to auto reload.

defaults write -app Skim SKAutoReloadFileUpdate -boolean true


Focus Follows Mouse

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string YES

# Disable
defaults write com.apple.Terminal FocusFollowsMouse -string NO


Use Plain Text Mode as Default

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit RichText -int 0

Visual Studio Code

Fix VSCodeVim Key Repeat

defaults write com.microsoft.VSCode ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false


Time Machine

Change Backup Interval

This changes the interval to 30 minutes. The integer value is the time in seconds.

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.backupd-auto StartInterval -int 1800

Local Backups

Whether Time Machine performs local backups while the Time Machine backup volume is not available.

# Status
defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine MobileBackups

# Enable (Default)
sudo tmutil enablelocal

# Disable
sudo tmutil disablelocal

Since High Sierra, you cannot disable local snapshots. Time Machine now always creates a local APFS snapshot and uses that snapshot as the data source to create a regular backup, rather than using the live disk as the source, as is the case with HFS formatted disks.

Prevent Time Machine from Prompting to Use New Hard Drives as Backup Volume

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool true

Show Time Machine Logs

This little script will output the last 12 hours of Time Machine activity followed by live activity.


filter='processImagePath contains "backupd" and subsystem beginswith "com.apple.TimeMachine"'

# show the last 12 hours
start="$(date -j -v-12H +'%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S')"

echo ""
echo "[History (from $start)]"
echo ""

log show --style syslog --info --start "$start" --predicate "$filter"

echo ""
echo "[Following]"
echo ""

log stream --style syslog --info --predicate "$filter"

Toggle Backup While on Battery

# Status
sudo defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine RequiresACPower

# Enable (Default)
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine RequiresACPower -bool true

# Disable
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.TimeMachine RequiresACPower -bool false

Verify Backup

Beginning in OS X 10.11, Time Machine records checksums of files copied into snapshots. Checksums are not retroactively computed for files that were copied by earlier releases of OS X.

sudo tmutil verifychecksums /path/to/backup



Compile Sane Vim

Compiling MacVim via Homebrew with all bells and whistles, including overriding system Vim.

brew install macvim --HEAD --with-cscope --with-lua --with-override-system-vim --with-luajit --with-python


Install the modern Vim drop-in alternative via Homebrew.

brew install neovim


Install Command Line Tools without Xcode

xcode-select --install

Remove All Unavailable Simulators

xcrun simctl delete unavailable


Add a Stack with Recent Applications

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

Add a Nameless Stack Folder and Small Spacer

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = {}; "tile-type"="small-spacer-tile"; }' && \
killall Dock

Add a Space

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

Add a Small Space

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="small-spacer-tile";}' && \
killall Dock

Auto Rearrange Spaces Based on Most Recent Use

# Enable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.dock mru-spaces -bool true && \
killall Dock

# Disable
defaults write com.apple.dock mru-spaces -bool false && \
killall Dock

Icon Bounce

Global setting whether Dock icons should bounce when the respective application demands your attention.

# Enable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.dock no-bouncing -bool true && \
killall Dock

# Disable
defaults write com.apple.dock no-bouncing -bool false && \
killall Dock

Lock the Dock Size

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.Dock size-immutable -bool yes && \
killall Dock

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.Dock size-immutable -bool no && \
killall Dock

Reset Dock

defaults delete com.apple.dock && \
killall Dock


Fully resize your Dock's body. To resize change the 0 value as an integer.

defaults write com.apple.dock tilesize -int 0 && \
killall Dock

Scroll Gestures

Use your touchpad or mouse scroll wheel to interact with Dock items. Allows you to use an upward scrolling gesture to open stacks. Using the same gesture on applications that are running invokes Exposé/Mission Control.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.dock scroll-to-open -bool true && \
killall Dock

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.dock scroll-to-open -bool false && \
killall Dock

Enable Dock Autohide

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide -bool true && \
killall Dock

Set Auto Show/Hide Delay

The float number defines the show/hide delay in ms.

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.4 && \
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0 && \
killall Dock

Show Hidden App Icons

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool true && \
killall Dock

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool false && \
killall Dock

Show Only Active Applications

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true && \
killall Dock

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool false && \
killall Dock


Convert File to HTML

Supported formats are plain text, rich text (rtf) and Microsoft Word (doc/docx).

textutil -convert html file.ext

Files, Disks and Volumes

Create an Empty File

Creates an empty 10 gigabyte test file.

mkfile 10g /path/to/file

Disable Sudden Motion Sensor

Leaving this turned on is useless when you're using SSDs.

sudo pmset -a sms 0

Eject All Mountable Volumes

The only reliable way to do this is by sending an AppleScript command to Finder.

osascript -e 'tell application "Finder" to eject (every disk whose ejectable is true)'

Repair File Permissions

You don't have to use the Disk Utility GUI for this.

sudo diskutil repairPermissions /

Beginning with OS X El Capitan, system file permissions are automatically protected. It's no longer necessary to verify or repair permissions with Disk Utility. (Source)

Set Boot Volume

# Up to Yosemite
bless --mount "/path/to/mounted/volume" --setBoot

# From El Capitan
sudo systemsetup -setstartupdisk /System/Library/CoreServices

Show All Attached Disks and Partitions

diskutil list

View File System Usage

A continuous stream of file system access info.

sudo fs_usage


Available since High Sierra. There is no central utility and usage is inconsistent as most functionality is rolled into tmutil.

Convert Volume from HFS+ to APFS

/System/Library/Filesystems/apfs.fs/Contents/Resources/hfs_convert /path/to/file/system

Create New APFS Filesystem

/System/Library/Filesystems/apfs.fs/Contents/Resources/newfs_apfs /path/to/device

Create Snapshot

tmutil localsnapshot

Delete Snapshot

tmutil deletelocalsnapshots com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-01-26-044042

List Snapshots

tmutil listlocalsnapshots /

Mount Snapshot

Snapshots are read-only.

mkdir ~/mnt
/System/Library/Filesystems/apfs.fs/Contents/Resources/mount_apfs -s com.apple.TimeMachine.2018-01-26-044042 / ~/mnt

Disk Images

Create Disk Image From Folder Contents

hdiutil create -volname "Volume Name" -srcfolder /path/to/folder -ov diskimage.dmg

If you'd like to encrypt the disk image:

hdiutil create -encryption -stdinpass -volname "Volume Name" -srcfolder /path/to/folder -ov encrypted.dmg

By default, you'll be prompted for a password. You can automate that by piping in a password:

echo -n YourPassword | hdiutil create -encryption -stdinpass -volname "Volume Name" -srcfolder /path/to/folder -ov encrypted.dmg

Burn Disk Images to DVD

This command applies to .iso, .img and .dmg images.

hdiutil burn /path/to/image_file

Disable Disk Image Verification

defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify -bool true && \
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify-locked -bool true && \
defaults write com.apple.frameworks.diskimages skip-verify-remote -bool true

Make Volume OS X Bootable

bless --folder "/path/to/mounted/volume/System/Library/CoreServices" --bootinfo --bootefi

Mount Disk Image

hdiutil attach /path/to/diskimage.dmg

Unmount Disk Image

hdiutil detach /dev/disk2s1

Write Disk Image to Volume

Like the Disk Utility "Restore" function.

sudo asr -restore -noverify -source /path/to/diskimage.dmg -target /Volumes/VolumeToRestoreTo



Show External Media

External HDs, thumb drives, etc.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowExternalHardDrivesOnDesktop -bool true && \
killall Finder

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowExternalHardDrivesOnDesktop -bool false && \
killall Finder

Show Internal Media

Built-in HDs or SSDs.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowHardDrivesOnDesktop -bool true && \
killall Finder

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowHardDrivesOnDesktop -bool false && \
killall Finder

Show Removable Media

CDs, DVDs, iPods, etc.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowRemovableMediaOnDesktop -bool true && \
killall Finder

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowRemovableMediaOnDesktop -bool false && \
killall Finder

Show Network Volumes

AFP, SMB, NFS, WebDAV, etc.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowMountedServersOnDesktop -bool true && \
killall Finder

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowMountedServersOnDesktop -bool false && \
killall Finder

Files and Folders

Clear All ACLs

sudo chmod -RN /path/to/folder

Hide Folder in Finder

chflags hidden /path/to/folder/

Show All File Extensions

defaults write -g AppleShowAllExtensions -bool true

Show Hidden Files

# Show All
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles true

# Restore Default File Visibility
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles false

Remove Protected Flag

sudo chflags -R nouchg /path/to/file/or/folder

Show Full Path in Finder Title

defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool true

Unhide User Library Folder

chflags nohidden ~/Library

Increase Number of Recent Places

defaults write -g NSNavRecentPlacesLimit -int 10 && \
killall Finder


Show "Quit Finder" Menu Item

Makes possible to see Finder menu item "Quit Finder" with default shortcut Cmd + Q

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool true && \
killall Finder

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool false && \
killall Finder

Smooth Scrolling

Useful if you’re on an older Mac that messes up the animation.

# Disable
defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool false

# Enable (Default)
defaults write -g NSScrollAnimationEnabled -bool true

Rubberband Scrolling

# Disable
defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -bool false

# Enable (Default)
defaults write -g NSScrollViewRubberbanding -bool true

Expand Save Panel by Default

defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true && \
defaults write -g NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool true

Desktop Icon Visibility

# Hide Icons
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false && \
killall Finder

# Show Icons (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool true && \
killall Finder

Path Bar

# Show
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool true

# Hide (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool false

Scrollbar Visibility

Possible values: WhenScrolling, Automatic and Always.

defaults write -g AppleShowScrollBars -string "Always"

Status Bar

# Show
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowStatusBar -bool true

# Hide (Default)
defaults write com.apple.finder ShowStatusBar -bool false

Save to Disk by Default

Sets default save target to be a local disk, not iCloud.

defaults write -g NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false

Set Current Folder as Default Search Scope

defaults write com.apple.finder FXDefaultSearchScope -string "SCcf"

Set Default Finder Location to Home Folder

defaults write com.apple.finder NewWindowTarget -string "PfLo" && \
defaults write com.apple.finder NewWindowTargetPath -string "file://${HOME}"

Set Sidebar Icon Size

Sets size to 'medium'.

defaults write -g NSTableViewDefaultSizeMode -int 2

Metadata Files

Disable Creation of Metadata Files on Network Volumes

Avoids creation of .DS_Store and AppleDouble files.

defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool true

Disable Creation of Metadata Files on USB Volumes

Avoids creation of .DS_Store and AppleDouble files.

defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteUSBStores -bool true

Opening Things

Change Working Directory to Finder Path

If multiple windows are open, it chooses the top-most one.

cd "$(osascript -e 'tell app "Finder" to POSIX path of (insertion location as alias)')"

Open URL

open https://github.com

Open File

open README.md

Open Applications

You can open applications using -a.

open -a "Google Chrome" https://github.com

Open Folder

open /path/to/folder/

Open Current Folder

open .


Clear Font Cache for Current User

To clear font caches for all users, put sudo in front of this command.

atsutil databases -removeUser && \
atsutil server -shutdown && \
atsutil server -ping

Get SF Mono Fonts

You need to download and install Xcode 8 beta for this to work. Afterwards they should be available in all applications.

cp -v /Applications/Xcode-beta.app/Contents/SharedFrameworks/DVTKit.framework/Versions/A/Resources/Fonts/SFMono-* ~/Library/Fonts

From Sierra onward, they are included in Terminal.app.

cp -v /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app/Contents/Resources/Fonts/SFMono-* ~/Library/Fonts


Please see this file.



# Status
defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth ControllerPowerState

# Enable (Default)
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth ControllerPowerState -int 1

# Disable
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth ControllerPowerState -int 0 && \
sudo killall -HUP blued


Force Enable Trim

Enable Trim for non-Apple SSDs. This command is available since Yosemite.


Hardware Information

List All Hardware Ports

networksetup -listallhardwareports

Remaining Battery Percentage

pmset -g batt | egrep "([0-9]+\%).*" -o --colour=auto | cut -f1 -d';'

Remaining Battery Time

pmset -g batt | egrep "([0-9]+\%).*" -o --colour=auto | cut -f3 -d';'

Show Connected Device's UDID

system_profiler SPUSBDataType | sed -n -e '/iPad/,/Serial/p' -e '/iPhone/,/Serial/p'

Show Current Screen Resolution

system_profiler SPDisplaysDataType | grep Resolution

Show CPU Brand String

sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string

Infrared Receiver

# Status
defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.driver.AppleIRController DeviceEnabled

# Enable (Default)
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.driver.AppleIRController DeviceEnabled -int 1

# Disable
defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.driver.AppleIRController DeviceEnabled -int 0

Power Management

Prevent System Sleep

Prevent sleep for 1 hour:

caffeinate -u -t 3600

Show All Power Management Settings

sudo pmset -g

Put Display to Sleep after 15 Minutes of Inactivity

sudo pmset displaysleep 15

Put Computer to Sleep after 30 Minutes of Inactivity

sudo pmset sleep 30

Check System Sleep Idle Time

sudo systemsetup -getcomputersleep

Set System Sleep Idle Time to 60 Minutes

sudo systemsetup -setcomputersleep 60

Turn Off System Sleep Completely

sudo systemsetup -setcomputersleep Never

Automatic Restart on System Freeze

sudo systemsetup -setrestartfreeze on

Chime When Charging

Play iOS charging sound when MagSafe is connected.

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.PowerChime ChimeOnAllHardware -bool true && \
open /System/Library/CoreServices/PowerChime.app

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.PowerChime ChimeOnAllHardware -bool false && \
killall PowerChime

Input Devices



# Disable
defaults write -g NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

# Enable (Default)
defaults write -g NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool true

# Show Status
defaults read -g NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled

Full Keyboard Access

Enable Tab in modal dialogs.

# Text boxes and lists only (Default)
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleKeyboardUIMode -int 0

# All controls
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleKeyboardUIMode -int 3

Key Repeat

Disable the default "press and hold" behavior.

# Enable Key Repeat
defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

# Disable Key Repeat
defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool true

Key Repeat Rate

Sets a very fast repeat rate, adjust to taste.

defaults write -g KeyRepeat -int 0.02


Reset Launchpad Layout

You need to restart Dock because Launchpad is tied to it.

# Up to Yosemite
rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Dock/*.db && \
killall Dock

# From El Capitan
defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool true && \
killall Dock



Convert Audio File to iPhone Ringtone

afconvert input.mp3 ringtone.m4r -f m4af

Create Audiobook From Text

Uses "Alex" voice, a plain UTF-8 encoded text file for input and AAC output.

say -v Alex -f file.txt -o "output.m4a"

Disable Sound Effects on Boot

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=" "

Mute Audio Output

osascript -e 'set volume output muted true'

Set Audio Volume

osascript -e 'set volume 4'

Play Audio File

You can play all audio formats that are natively supported by QuickTime.

afplay -q 1 filename.mp3

Speak Text with System Default Voice

say 'All your base are belong to us!'


Auto-Play Videos in QuickTime Player

defaults write com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX MGPlayMovieOnOpen 1



Bonjour Service

# Disable
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder.plist ProgramArguments -array-add "-NoMulticastAdvertisements"

# Enable (Default)
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.mDNSResponder.plist ProgramArguments -array "/usr/sbin/mDNSResponder" "-launchd"


Renew DHCP Lease

sudo ipconfig set en0 DHCP

Show DHCP Info

ipconfig getpacket en0


Clear DNS Cache

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache && \
sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder


Set Computer Name/Host Name

sudo scutil --set ComputerName "newhostname" && \
sudo scutil --set HostName "newhostname" && \
sudo scutil --set LocalHostName "newhostname" && \
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.smb.server NetBIOSName -string "newhostname"

Network Preferences

Network Locations

Switch between network locations created in the Network preference pane.

# Status

# Switch Network Location
scselect LocationNameFromStatus

Set Static IP Address

networksetup -setmanual "Ethernet"

Networking Tools

Ping a Host to See Whether It’s Available

ping -o github.com

Troubleshoot Routing Problems

traceroute github.com


Permanently Add Private Key Passphrase to SSH Agent

Prior to macOS Sierra, ssh would present a dialog asking for your passphrase and would offer the option to store it into the keychain. This UI was deprecated some time ago and has been removed.

Instead, a new UseKeychain option was introduced in macOS Sierra allowing users to specify whether they would like for the passphrase to be stored in the keychain. This option was enabled by default on macOS Sierra, which caused all passphrases to be stored in the keychain.

This was not the intended default behavior, so this has been changed in macOS 10.12.2. (Source)

ssh-add -K /path/to/private_key

Then add to ~/.ssh/config:

Host server.example.com
    IdentityFile /path/to/private_key
    UseKeychain yes

Remote Login

# Enable remote login
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist

# Disable remote login
sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist


Show Application Using a Certain Port

This outputs all applications currently using port 80.

sudo lsof -i :80

Show External IP Address

Works if your ISP doesn't replace DNS requests (which it shouldn't).

dig +short myip.opendns.com @resolver1.opendns.com

Alternative that works on all networks.

curl -s https://api.ipify.org && echo


Start Native TFTP Daemon

Files will be served from /private/tftpboot.

sudo launchctl load -F /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/tftp.plist && \
sudo launchctl start com.apple.tftpd


Join a Wi-Fi Network

networksetup -setairportnetwork en0 WIFI_SSID WIFI_PASSWORD

Scan Available Access Points

Create a symbolic link to the airport command for easy access:

sudo ln -s /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport /usr/local/bin/airport

Run a wireless scan:

airport -s

Show Current SSID

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I | awk '/ SSID/ {print substr($0, index($0, $2))}'

Show Local IP Address

ipconfig getifaddr en0

Show Wi-Fi Connection History

defaults read /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.airport.preferences | grep LastConnected -A 7

Show Wi-Fi Network Passwords

Exchange SSID with the SSID of the access point you wish to query the password from.

security find-generic-password -D "AirPort network password" -a "SSID" -gw

Turn on Wi-Fi Adapter

networksetup -setairportpower en0 on

Package Managers


Clear Print Queue

cancel -a -

Expand Print Panel by Default

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool true && \
defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint2 -bool true

Quit Printer App After Print Jobs Complete

defaults write com.apple.print.PrintingPrefs "Quit When Finished" -bool true


Application Firewall

Firewall Service

# Show Status
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --getglobalstate

# Enable
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --setglobalstate on

# Disable (Default)
sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --setglobalstate off

Add Application to Firewall

sudo /usr/libexec/ApplicationFirewall/socketfilterfw --add /path/to/file


Add Gatekeeper Exception

spctl --add /path/to/Application.app

Remove Gatekeeper Exception

spctl --remove /path/to/Application.app

Manage Gatekeeper

# Status
spctl --status

# Enable (Default)
sudo spctl --master-enable

# Disable
sudo spctl --master-disable


Generate Secure Password and Copy to Clipboard

LC_ALL=C tr -dc "[:alnum:]" < /dev/urandom | head -c 20 | pbcopy

Physical Access

Launch Screen Saver

# Up to Sierra
open /System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app

# From High Sierra

Lock Screen

/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend

Screensaver Immediate Lock

# Status
defaults read com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay

# Enable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay -int 0

# Disable (Integer = lock delay in seconds)
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPasswordDelay -int 10

Screensaver Password

# Status
defaults read com.apple.screensaver askForPassword

# Enable
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPassword -int 1

# Disable (Default)
defaults write com.apple.screensaver askForPassword -int 0

Wiping Data

Note: The srm command appears to have been removed on MacOS after 10.9. There is a note on an Apple support page hinting as to why:

With an SSD drive, Secure Erase and Erasing Free Space are not available in Disk Utility. These options are not needed for an SSD drive because a standard erase makes it difficult to recover data from an SSD.

Securely Remove File

srm /path/to/file

Securely Remove Folder

srm -r /path/to/folder/

Securely Remove Path (Force)

srm -rf /path/to/complete/destruction


Recursively Delete .DS_Store Files

find . -type f -name '*.DS_Store' -ls -delete


Build Locate Database

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

Search via Locate

The -i modifier makes the search case insensitive.

locate -i *.jpg



# Enable AirDrop over Ethernet and on Unsupported Macs
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool true

# Enable (Default)
defaults remove com.apple.NetworkBrowser DisableAirDrop

# Disable
defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser DisableAirDrop -bool YES


Execute AppleScript

osascript /path/to/script.scpt


Compare Two Folders

diff -qr /path/to/folder1 /path/to/folder2

Copy Large File with Progress

Make sure you have pv installed and replace /dev/rdisk2 with the appropriate write device or file.

FILE=/path/to/file.iso pv -s $(du -h $FILE | awk '/.*/ {print $1}') $FILE | sudo dd of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m

Restore Sane Shell

In case your shell session went insane (some script or application turned it into a garbled mess).

stty sane


sudo reboot


sudo poweroff

Show Build Number of OS



How long since your last restart.



Copy data to Clipboard

cat whatever.txt | pbcopy

Convert Clipboard to Plain Text

pbpaste | textutil -convert txt -stdin -stdout -encoding 30 | pbcopy

Convert Tabs to Spaces for Clipboard Content

pbpaste | expand | pbcopy

Copy data from Clipboard

pbpaste > whatever.txt

Sort and Strip Duplicate Lines from Clipboard Content

pbpaste | sort | uniq | pbcopy


Automatically Unlock FileVault on Restart

If FileVault is enabled on the current volume, it restarts the system, bypassing the initial unlock. The command may not work on all systems.

sudo fdesetup authrestart

FileVault Service

# Status
sudo fdesetup status

# Enable
sudo fdesetup enable

# Disable (Default)
sudo fdesetup disable


Generate Advanced System and Performance Report

sudo sysdiagnose -f ~/Desktop/

Install OS

Create Bootable Installer

# Mojave
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Mojave.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --nointeraction --downloadassets

# High Sierra
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ High\ Sierra.app

# Sierra
sudo /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ macOS\ Sierra.app

# El Capitan
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ El\ Capitan.app

# Yosemite
sudo /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app/Contents/Resources/createinstallmedia --volume /Volumes/USB --applicationpath /Applications/Install\ OS\ X\ Yosemite.app

Kernel Extensions

Display Status of Loaded Kernel Extensions

sudo kextstat -l

Load Kernel Extension

sudo kextload -b com.apple.driver.ExampleBundle

Unload Kernel Extensions

sudo kextunload -b com.apple.driver.ExampleBundle


Please see this file.


Rebuild LaunchServices Database

To be independent of OS X version, this relies on locate to find lsregister. If you do not have your locate database built yet, do it.

sudo $(locate lsregister) -kill -seed -r

Login Window

Set Login Window Text

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowText "Your text"

Memory Management

Purge memory cache

sudo purge

Show Memory Statistics

# One time

# Table of data, repeat 10 times total, 1 second wait between each poll
vm_stat -c 10 1

Notification Center

Notification Center Service

# Disable
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist && \
killall -9 NotificationCenter

# Enable (Default)
launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist


Preview via QuickLook

qlmanage -p /path/to/file

Remote Apple Events

# Status
sudo systemsetup -getremoteappleevents

# Enable
sudo systemsetup -setremoteappleevents on

# Disable (Default)
sudo systemsetup -setremoteappleevents off

Root User

# Enable

# Disable
dsenableroot -d

Safe Mode Boot

# Status
nvram boot-args

# Enable
sudo nvram boot-args="-x"

# Disable
sudo nvram boot-args=""


Take Delayed Screenshot

Takes a screenshot as JPEG after 3 seconds and displays in Preview.

screencapture -T 3 -t jpg -P delayedpic.jpg

Save Screenshots to Given Location

Sets location to ~/Desktop.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Desktop && \
killall SystemUIServer

Save Screenshots in Given Format

Sets format to png. Other options are bmp, gif, jpg, jpeg, pdf, tiff.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type -string "png"

Disable Shadow in Screenshots

defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true && \
killall SystemUIServer

Set Default Screenshot Name

Date and time remain unchanged.

defaults write com.apple.screencapture name "Example name" && \
killall SystemUIServer

Software Installation

Install PKG

installer -pkg /path/to/installer.pkg -target /

Software Update

Install All Available Software Updates

sudo softwareupdate -ia

Set Software Update Check Interval

Set to check daily instead of weekly.

defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency -int 1

Show Available Software Updates

sudo softwareupdate -l

Set Software Update Server

This should only be done for testing purposes or unmanaged clients. To use network-wide, either correctly set up DNS along with Apple SUS service and bind your clients via OpenDirectory. Alternatively, use Reposado together with correct network DNS settings to make resolution transparent. Margarita looks nice to have as well.

# Use own SUS
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL http://su.example.com:8088/index.sucatalog

# Reset to Apple SUS
sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.SoftwareUpdate CatalogURL

Software Version

Show System Software Version

sw_vers -productVersion


Spotlight Indexing

# Disable
mdutil -i off -d /path/to/volume

# Enable (Default)
mdutil -i on /path/to/volume

Erase Spotlight Index and Rebuild

mdutil -E /path/to/volume

Search via Spotlight

mdfind -name 'searchterm'

Show Spotlight Indexed Metadata

mdls /path/to/file

System Integrity Protection

Disable System Integrity Protection

Reboot while holding Cmd + R, open the Terminal application and enter:

csrutil disable && reboot

Enable System Integrity Protection

Reboot while holding Cmd + R, open the Terminal application and enter:

csrutil enable && reboot

Date and Time

List Available Timezones

sudo systemsetup -listtimezones

Set Timezone

sudo systemsetup -settimezone Europe/Berlin

Set Clock Using Network Time

# Status
sudo systemsetup getusingnetworktime

# Enable (Default)
sudo systemsetup setusingnetworktime on

# Disable
sudo systemsetup setusingnetworktime off


Ring Terminal Bell

Rings the terminal bell (if enabled) and puts a badge on it.

tput bel

Alternative Terminals



Install the latest version and set as current user's default shell:

brew install bash && \
echo $(brew --prefix)/bin/bash | sudo tee -a /etc/shells && \
chsh -s $(brew --prefix)/bin/bash


Install the latest version and set as current user's default shell:

brew install fish && \
echo $(brew --prefix)/bin/fish | sudo tee -a /etc/shells && \
chsh -s $(brew --prefix)/bin/fish


Install the latest version and set as current user's default shell:

brew install zsh && \
sudo sh -c 'echo $(brew --prefix)/bin/zsh >> /etc/shells' && \
chsh -s $(brew --prefix)/bin/zsh

Terminal Fonts


Mac OS X, OS X, and macOS Version Information

Version | Codename | Release Date | Most Recent Version -------------------------- | ------------------ | ------------------ | ------------------------------------- Rhapsody Developer Release | Grail1Z4 / Titan1U | August 31, 1997 | DR2 (May 14, 1998) Mac OS X Server 1.0 | Hera | March 16, 1999 | 1.2v3 (October 27, 2000) Mac OS X Developer Preview | n/a | March 16, 1999 | DP4 (April 5, 2000) Mac OS X Public Beta | Kodiak | September 13, 2000 | n/a Mac OS X 10.0 | Cheetah | March 24, 2001 | 10.0.4 (June 22, 2001) Mac OS X 10.1 | Puma | September 25, 2001 | 10.1.5 (June 6, 2002) Mac OS X 10.2 | Jaguar | August 24, 2002 | 10.2.8 (October 3, 2003) Mac OS X 10.3 | Panther | October 24, 2003 | 10.3.9 (April 15, 2005) Mac OS X 10.4 | Tiger | April 29, 2005 | 10.4.11 (November 14, 2007) Mac OS X 10.5 | Leopard | October 26, 2007 | 10.5.8 (August 5, 2009) Mac OS X 10.6 | Snow Leopard | August 28, 2009 | 10.6.8 v1.1 (July 25, 2011) Mac OS X 10.7 | Lion | July 20, 2011 | 10.7.5 (September 19, 2012) OS X 10.8 | Mountain Lion | July 25, 2012 | 10.8.5 (12F45) (October 3, 2013) OS X 10.9 | Mavericks | October 22, 2013 | 10.9.5 (13F1112) (September 18, 2014) OS X 10.10 | Yosemite | October 16, 2014 | 10.10.5 (14F27) (August 13, 2015) OS X 10.11 | El Capitan | September 30, 2015 | 10.11.6 (15G31) (July 18, 2016) macOS 10.12 | Sierra | September 20, 2016 | 10.12.6 (16G29) (July 19, 2017) macOS 10.13 | High Sierra | September 25, 2017 | 10.13.6 (17G65) (July 9, 2018) macOS 10.14 | Mojave | September 24, 2018 | 10.14 (18A391) (September 24, 2018)


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