10 of the Best Defaults Write Commands to Improve Mac OS

10 of the Best Defaults Write Commands to Improve Mac OS

So after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about 10 of the Best Defaults Write Commands to Improve Mac OS X. Most of the improvements in macOS Sierra are not directly visible to the regular macOS user. Especially under the hood, there are many improvements in performance and safety. Some users experience a slow Mac after installing macOS sierra.

Most Mac OS X preferences are managed through easily accessible control panels, but going behind the scenes with basic writing commands can lead to some really useful tweaks that can only be made from the command line. This list represents a compilation of some of the best basic writing commands out there, and even if you are not an experienced user you will find some of these tricks to be worth it.

10 Best Default Settings, Writing Commands for Improving Mac OS

To get started, launch Terminal from Spotlight or the/Applications/Utilities/directory and copy and paste the string into the command line. Keep in mind that all standard writes should be on the same line when executed, and many of these will automatically restart a service, such as the Dock, when used.

Remove the Auto-Hide Dock Delay

For those of us hiding our docks, there is a very short delay when they move to the bottom of the screen to reveal it. It might not be too noticeable at first, but removing the Dock delay makes that delay obvious, which actually makes your Mac feel faster.

defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0 && killall Dock

Speed Up Mission Control Animations

This is another one tip for making your Mac feel faster just by shortening the length of the Mission Control animation speeds.

defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0.12 && killall Dock

Make hidden app icons translucent in the Dock

Hiding open apps has long been a useful feature from Mac OS, but by default, there’s no easy way to see what’s hidden and what’s not. Fortunately, a simple command enables translucency for hidden apps, making them easy to distinguish from the rest:

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES && killall Dock

Prevent full names from being copied with email addresses in Mac OS X Mail

For whatever reason, when you copy an email address in the Mac OS X Mail app, the person’s full name is attached to it. This means that when you paste, you will get the person’s name with the email instead of just the email address. Annoying, but this can be turned off with a standard write command:

defaults write com.apple.mail AddressesIncludeNameOnPasteboard -bool false

Enable text selection in Quick Look windows

Quick Look is one of the most useful aspects of Mac OS X, and being able to select text from the windows seems like a good idea, so here’s how to make it possible:

defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool TRUE; killall Finder

Always show hidden files in the Finder

Hidden files are, unsurprisingly, hidden by default in the Mac OS X Finder. This is easy to change to always have hidden files visible, although it probably applies most to advanced users.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool YES && killall Finder

Hide desktop icons completely

If your desktop ends quickly up like a jumble of files on top of files, hiding all icons on the desktop provides instant relief and provides a minimalistic on-screen experience. The files can still be accessed from the Finder in the Desktop folder, you just won’t see them in your background all the time.

defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool false && killall Finder

Display system information on the login screen

With this enabled, you can see some basic system information from the login screen, including the MacOS X system version, hostname, and more, by clicking the clock in the login window. Most helpful to sysadmins and power users.

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow AdminHostInfo HostName

Change where screenshots are saved

If you take a lot of screenshots, you know how quickly your desktop gets cluttered with them. The best solution is to create a new folder in / Pictures / or ~ / Documents / and then set it to the new default save location for screenshots with a standard write command:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location ~ / Pictures / Screenshots

Change the default image type for screenshots

Speaking of screenshots, you can change the default file type from PNG to JPG or a variety of other options with a standard write command. JPG offers the best file size and compression while still looking good:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg && killall SystemUIServer

Bonus: Always show the User Library folder

A simple command will always show the user ~ / Library. This is not a standard write command, but it is very useful if you regularly poke around that folder, and you might as well make the change while in the terminal.

chflags nohidden ~ / Library /

Most of these commands will be usable in all versions of Mac OS X, although things that require something like Mission Control will of course only work in later macOS versions that support it features.

Have we missed essential writing commands for default settings? Let us know in the comments.

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