Installing MacOS X Better:
I find MacOS X to pretty much be a unusable operating system right out of the box, even if Apple says it’s easy, it’s not. It’s confusing to new users, power users and Windows switchers. The UI interaction design choices are less functional and I believe are to just make them different for no apparent reason which make them neither easy or familiar to anyone who has used any other system or version of MacOS X before Yosemite. Every time I install or re-install MacOS X these are the first things I do to make it a useable system. Hope some of them inspire you to make your system better too.
Post MacOS X Install Tweaks:
- I always fix the scroll direction. Natural by default is a poor UX choice and beat to death on other parts of the internet so I won’t do it here. Basically it’s backwards from EVERY other operating system in the world.
- I disable all iCloud features except for find my Mac. Because I don’t want anything in the cloud or on NSA servers. Plus iCloud being enabled for Apple Apps make the open and save dialog UX a hot mess.
- Use the Terminal to disable the notification center. Waste of space and drives me crazy. Plus, anyone standing over your shoulder or clients during a presentation are getting play-by-plays of all your email, skype and text notifications in the upper right hand corner. Not always a good thing if you have sensitive subjects and messages. I know you can make it inactive for a period of time, but I just like to kill it altogether.
- I disable ALL notifications on the lock screen. That is a security or personal nightmare waiting to happen. Go to lunch and come back to find someone has messaged or skyped a private or sensitive conversation and your Mac has proudly displayed it on your lock screen for an hour while you where gone. No thanks.
- Use the type input to add “Save As..” back into the menu. Duplicate is stupid and is a cheap work around to make iCloud work while connected to the web. No matter the amount of Jedi mind tricks Apple tries i’ll never be convinced and still remove the “Duplicate…” command and add the “Save As..” back in.
- I use the Terminal to show the User Library folder by default. I get this for average users who don’t know what they’re doing, but I access this all the time.
- I change the finder preference to show all file extensions. Windows 10 Started doing this now too and this is pissing me off. I like to know what extension a file has so I can CHOOSE the app that I want to open it either by right clicking and choosing the app or by dragging it onto an icon in the dock. I don’t trust file types and I want to control them not let the system or god forbid let Apple decide.
- I disable the global auto correct so I can program css ID’s like #rightalign without the system changing it to #Right Align
- I immediately delete iTunes and all .plist files that reference iTunes as the audio file app of choice. I’ll record my music and listen to it how I want. How I listen to it will never be in that crap proprietary application called iTunes.
- I un-check re-open applications at launch on restart AND click close all windows when I quit an application from the general preferences. You can never really quit an app if it’s giving you trouble without doing this because It just saves and application state and is always the same session.
- I lock the “Saved Application State” folder to stop apps from turning into unrepairable cached monsters. Part of the previous comment. This will force apps to actually quit and restart upon restart and when quitting apps.
- Remove “All My Files” as the main view in Finder and change it to my home folder view. All My Files is a hot mess and being a power user I still see no valuable use for this view other than to confuse users on where their files are hiding. The home folder view was logical and a correct choice pre-yosemite. Why they changed it (other than to be different) is beyond me.
- I uncheck “minimize windows into application icon” in general settings so I can actually see my open windows and close them when I want. Window management in MacOS X is a total mess. Hiding windows and right clicking with extra steps to find what you are looking for is not a solution to the problem.
- I install Little Snitch and turn on the firewall to make my computer anonymous and invisible. Blocking unwanted ports and applications from accessing the internet and calling home or receiving data can help secure my mac above and beyond what Apple provides out of the box.
(Alternatively, you could wipe your MacBook or MacPro and just install Linux or Windows too. Both will boot and install and replace MacOS X on Apple Hardware.)