Simple macOS hacks I use

Some of us like to customise the user experience of systems and tools we use - changing themes, fonts, ordering etc. This is my current list of things I like to customise in macOS for even better day-to-day experience, and serves as an archive for me to remember what I changed.

the Hacks

disable Dashboard
This disables built-in Dashboard completely, I never use it, so why not reclaim a tiny bit of resources.
defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean TRUE; killall Dock

no delay Dock
When you use autohiding Dock, it hesitates a bit when you approach the bottom of the screen before showing up. I imagine this is so that casual users don’t get frustrated when they approach it accidentally, but I find it annoying, so I want it disabled.
defaults write autohide-delay -float 0; killall Dock

faster Dock transition
Applies for autohiding Dock again, the animation is a bit slow to my liking, so I adjusted it. My example here sets it to 0.3s, feel free to change it to your liking.
defaults write autohide-time-modifier -float 0.3; killall Dock

show full path in the Finder title
This does pretty much the same job as the built-in path bar, but I find that as ineffective use of space, and it’s possible to show the path in Finder title, so I why not use that.
defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES; killall Finder

Mojave non-retina displays font fix
This fixes font aliasing for non-retina displays on Mojave (needs a restart).
defaults write -g CGFontRenderingFontSmoothingDisabled -bool NO

disable boot chime
It’s so annoying in quiet places…I cannot believe Apple still does not allow to disable it in settings.
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%00

show library folder
If you like to dig into your Library files often:
chflags nohidden ~/Library

If this doesnt work, open Finder in ~, use View menu -> View Options -> Show Library Folder

allow tab in all modals
Using tab key to cycle through all buttons in modal windows.
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleKeyboardUIMode -int 3

enable Quicklook for unsupported files
markdown - QLMarkdown generator
yaml - Quicklook YAML

Download the plugins and put the respective *.qlgenerator in either ~/Library/QuickLook (for current user) or /Library/QuickLook (for all users).

Reload the plugins with qlmanage -r.

set ~ as default location for new Finder windows/tabs
defaults write NewWindowTarget -string "PfLo"
defaults write NewWindowTargetPath -string "file://${HOME}/"
killall Finder

honourable mentions
There were other settings that could be overridden, but unfortunately Apple changes these unofficial settings in every version, so some things get dropped. I used a setting to have Print and Save dialogues always expanded, alongside with some other settings, but feature I miss the most is text selection in Quicklook, that was awesome, especially when combined with extra preview generators mentioned above. Apple, give us QLEnableTextSelection -bool true back!


I found these settings in different places over time, some people write blogs about them, some create videos, some post big scripts on github that set everything for them. Here are some recent resources I used:

Do you have some suggestions, cool hacks, settings or other ideas how to get things even better? Write them in the comments please!