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How to set up a new Mac

Forget men, I want to marry my MacBook. It’s dependable, reliable and you can even go shopping with it, Alexandra Potter

macOS is one of the most powerful, robust, secure, intuitive, and stable operating systems in the world. The setup assistant will launch once you turn the computer on and is pretty straight forward.

You will be asked to:

  1. First check for software updates: Apple menu, About This Mac, Software Update.
  2. De-clutter your dock (Right click the app that you want to remove from the dock, Options, Remove from Dock), automatically hide and show the dock (System Preferences, Dock & Menu Bar, click the checkboxes next to Automatically hide and show the Dock and Automatically hide and show the menu bar), and uncheck Show recent applications in Dock.

    Show path and status bars in Finder. Open Finder, select View, Show Path Bar and View, Show StatusBar.

  3. Install Xcode’s Command Line Tools. Xcode is Apple’s integrated development environment for macOS. XCode Command Line tools are required for Homebrew: xcode-select ‐‐install
  4. Install Homebrew:
    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
    vim ~/.zshrc:
    # Add Homebrew's executable directory to the front of the PATH
    export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH
    Finally, verify that Homebrew is set up correctly: brew doctor
  5. Install Cask:
      brew tap homebrew/cask-fonts # It's required to install Source Code Pro Font. brew tap adds more repositories to the list of formulate that Homebrew tracks, updates, and install from.
      brew install --cask \
    Barrier is a free and open-source KVM.
      barrier \
    VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player.
    vlc \  
    dropbox \ # Dropbox is a file hosting service.
    syncthing \ # Syncthing is a continuous file synchronization program. 
    google-chrome \ brave-browser \
    google-backup-and-sync \ # Download and sync with Google Drive.
    gimp \ # Gimp is a free and open source image manipulation program.
    virtualbox \ # The world's most popular open source, cross-platform, virtualization software.
    visual-studio-code \ # A source-code editor made by Microsoft.
    cheatsheet \ # Just hold the Command ⌘ Key for a few seconds to get a list of all shortcuts of the current application. 
    neovim \ # Neovim is a Vim-based text editor engineered for extensibility and usability, to encourage new applications and contributions.
    font-source-code-pro \ # Install Source Code Pro Font
    docker \ # Install Docker, then test it: docker run hello-world
    rocket \ # You can type emoticons easily everywhere, e.g., :wav 〰️, :smiley 😄, etc. It is faster than using the macOS's Emoji keyboard shortcut (Command + Control + Space).
    rectangle \ # Moves and resizes windows in macOS using keyboard shortcuts or snap areas (cmd + option + left/right). full screen: cmd + shift + '
    brew install git \ # Git is a free and open source distributed version control system.
    exa \ # A modern replacement for ls.
    bat \ # A cat clone with wings.
    fzf \ # fzf is a general-purpose command-line fuzzy finder.
    tldr # Too long, didn't read, a replacement for man pages. Maybe, you could install: cowsay, ponysay, fortune, lolcat, top, and neofetch, too.
    # Configure git
    git config --global user.name "Your Name Here"
    git config --global user.email "your_email@youremail.com"
    git config --global credential.helper osxkeychain
  6. Install and configure iTerm, Zsh, and Oh My Zsh:
    brew install ‐‐cask iterm2
    brew install zsh
    brew install zsh-completions
    sh -c $(curl -fsSL https://raw.github.com/robbyrussell/oh-my-zsh/master/tools/install.sh)"
    git clone https://github.com/romkatv/powerlevel10k.git $ZSH_CUSTOM/themes/powerlevel10k
    p10k configure # If you are using iTerm2, p10 configure can install the Meslo Nerd Font for you.
    git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-syntax-highlighting.git ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-~/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/plugins/zsh-syntax-highlighting
    git clone https://github.com/zsh-users/zsh-autosuggestions $ZSH_CUSTOM/plugins/zsh-autosuggestions
    nvim .zshrc
        plugins=(git zsh-syntax-highlighting zsh-autosuggestions colored-man-pages colorize pip python brew)
        # To customize prompt, run `p10k configure` or edit ~/.p10k.zsh.
        [[ ! -f ~/.p10k.zsh ]] || source ~/.p10k.zsh
  7. Alfred is an application launcher for macOS: brew install ‐‐cask alfred. First, disable Spotlight: System Preferences, Keyboard, Shortcuts, Spotlight, disable Show Spotlight Search, and we are going to reuse the Spotlight’s hotkey for Alfred. Open Alfred’s settings, General, Alfred Hotkey: ⌘ + Space, and make sure that the Launch Alfred at login checkbox is enable. Enable the clipboard manager: Features, Clipboard History.
  8. System Preferences, Users & Groups, go to the Login items tab, +, then navigate to your Applications folder and select iTerm, Barrier, Rectangle, and Alfred.
  9. KeePassXC is a free cross-platform password manager. To sync it flawlessly on Dropbox, save your KeePassXC’s database inside the shared cloud folder (e.g., ~\Dropbox). Then, navigate through KeePassXC, Preferences, uncheck Safely save database files (may be incompatible with Dropbox, etc.) and Backup database file before saving in the File Management section.
      brew install --cask keepassxc
  10. System Preferences, Internet Accounts, and add all your online accounts: Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  11. Speed up your keyboard. System Preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard tab. Move the slider for Key Repeat (how fast a key repeats when you hold it down) to Fast and Delay Until Repeat (how long you must hold down a key before it starts to repeat) to Short as fast as they will go.
  12. Open System Preferences, Keyboard, select the Shortcuts tab. Select Launchpad and Dock, uncheck Turn Dock Hiding On/Off. Select Screenshots and check all boxes.
  13. Change your wallpaper and screen saver: System Preferences, Desktop and Screen Saver. Select Desktop, click +, and choose a custom image. Select Screen Saver, Flurry/Shell/Vintage Prints/…. At the bottom, choose when the screen saver should be activated: Start after: (e.g., 10 or 20 minutes), and check Show with clock.
  14. Configure your Wi-Fi: System Preferences, Network, select Wi-Fi from the left pane, click the Network Name drop-down menu, then select the Wi-Fi you want to connect to, enter the Wi-Fi password, then tap on Join.
  15. Change your login picture: System Preferences, Users & Groups, click the lock at the bottom left to unlock the preference pane. Select your user account on the left, then click the user’s picture on the right. It is normally a good idea to disable the guest account: System Preferences, Users & Groups, click the lock at the bottom left to unlock the preference pane. Select Guest User on the left, and uncheck Allow guests to log in to this computer.
  16. ALWAYS ON DO NOT DISTURB: System Preferences, Notifications, click Do not disturb on the left pane, select the From button: 10:01 (AM) to 10:00 AM.
  17. Sensible defaults:
      user@pc:~$ user@pc:~$ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true # It shows hidden files and folders.
      defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~/Dropbox # It changes the default location for screenshots.
      defaults write com.apple.screencapture type JPG # It changes the default file type of screenshots.
      defaults write com.apple.screencapture disable-shadow -bool true # It disables shadows for all window screenshots captured on your macOS.
      defaults write com.apple.finder ShowPathbar -bool true # It shows the path bar.
      defaults write com.apple.finder ShowStatusBar -bool true # It shows the status bar.
      chflags nohidden ~/Library # It shows the Library folder.
      defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool true # It makes the dock only show apps that are currently running, so you can get rid of most apps that come bundle with your macOS out of the box.
      killall SystemUIServer
  18. Install Amethyst: brew install ‐‐cask amethyst. It is a tiling window manager for macOS.


  1. System Preferences, Apple ID. Configure iCloud and turn on the Find my Mac feature. Disable automatic login and set a system password. Navigate through System Preferences, Security & Privacy, General tab, and click on Allow apps downloaded from: App Store and identified developers. Besides, enable Show a message when the screen is locked: myWebsite | my eMail | myPhone.

  2. FireVault is macOS build-in disk encryption feature. It encrypts and decrypts files associated with your profile on the fly using a password that you set. Navigate through System Preferences, Security & Privacy, choose the FileVault tab. Click the lock at the left bottom, enter your password, and tap on Turn on FileVault… to enable this feature.

    Choose Allow my iCloud account to unlock my disk (it is a convenient way to protect your local files on your mac) or Create a recovery key and do not use my iCloud account (if there is very sensitive information on your Mac, this is your safest bet). Finally, save the recovery key in a secure location (e.g., KeePassXC).

  3. Turn on the Firewall. Go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Firewall, and smash the Turn On Firewall button. macOS Firewall  Then, click Firewall Options to fine-tune the firewall settings, Enable Automatically allow built-in/downloaded signed software to receive incoming connections (it adds stock apps -iTunes, Mail, Messages- and downloaded apps that are signed by a valid certificate authority to the list of allowed apps) and stealth mode (it prevents your macOS from responding to probing requests or queries to reveal its existence from the network). macOS Firewall 

  4. Back up your computer with Time Machine. System Preferences, Time Machine. Select Back up Automatically on the left pane. Click Select Disk… and chose the disk you want to use to store your backups. Time Machine 

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