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11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

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Many macOS apps have a Preferences menu that lets you change their settings. You can too change Mac choices within the System Preferences panel.

However not all settings can be found within the Preferences or Settings dialog containers. That’s why you have to know concerning the defaults Terminal command. This lets you change hidden settings for apps and the Mac system utilizing the command line.

Immediately, we’ll present you some helpful hidden settings in your Mac you’ll be able to change utilizing the defaults command.

What Are Property Lists?

App settings and person preferences are saved in information referred to as property lists (PLIST information). However manually modifying PLIST information shouldn’t be beneficial. The defaults command lets you safely change the settings and preferences in PLIST information with out digging into them by hand.

PLIST information are saved in two areas in your Mac. Person PLIST information are saved in ~/Library/Preferences/. The tilde (~) character represents your property folder. System-wide settings are saved in /Library/Preferences/.

Names of PLIST information are domains and usually belong to particular person apps. For instance, the area for Clear My Mac three is com.macpaw.CleanMyMac3. So the property checklist file for Clear My Mac three is com.macpaw.CleanMyMac3.plist.

PLIST files in the Preferences folder on a Mac

View Person Preferences

You’ll be able to view the person preferences for an app utilizing the defaults command. Chances are you’ll need to do that earlier than making adjustments to preferences. That method you realize what the unique choices had been in case you need to return to them.

To view all person preferences, open the Terminal (within the /Purposes/Utilities/ folder), kind the next command on the immediate, and press Enter.

defaults learn

The output checklist shows within the Terminal window. This shall be fairly lengthy as a result of it consists of all settings for each app. You can too ship the output to a textual content file if you wish to reserve it. Merely add > [path and file name] to the top of the command. For instance, to avoid wasting all person preferences to a file on the desktop, kind the next command and press Enter.

defaults learn > ~/Desktop/userpreferences.txt

Running the defaults read command on a Mac

Chances are you’ll not care concerning the person preferences for all apps in your Mac. Fortunately, it’s also possible to view the person preferences for a person app utilizing its area and PLIST file. For instance, to view the preferences for the Encrypto app, kind the next command.

defaults learn com.macpaw.Encrypto

As above, you’ll be able to add a path and filename as above to put it aside to a file if you happen to like.
Running the defaults read command for a specific app on a Mac

Making use of Modifications Utilizing the Defaults Command

For those who change a setting for a at the moment working app utilizing the defaults command, the app gained’t see the change. It might even overwrite what you probably did. Thus, you must shut an app earlier than altering its settings with the defaults command.

Within the case of the Dock and Finder, you should restart them after making a settings change. To restart the Dock, use the next command in a Terminal window:

killall Dock

To restart Finder, use the next command:

killall Finder

For the preferences listed beneath, we embrace the suitable killall command the place wanted. That method, usually you’ll be able to merely copy the command and paste it right into a Terminal window (right-click on the immediate and choose Paste).

1. All the time Present Hidden Recordsdata in Finder

Always show hidden files in Finder on a Mac

By default, Finder doesn’t show all information. Some information are hidden from view—largely information you don’t must take care of. Hidden information have a dot at the start of the file identify. You can too hide your own files utilizing the identical technique.

To all the time present hidden information in Finder, enter the next command on the immediate in a Terminal window.

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE && killall Finder

To cover all hidden information once more, run the identical command however change TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE && killall Finder

2. All the time Present the Expanded Print Dialog by Default

Always show an expanded Print dialog box on a Mac

To get extra printing choices on a Mac, you should click on Present Particulars on the Print dialog field. For those who use these extra printing choices usually, you’ll be able to change a setting to point out the absolutely expanded Print dialog field each time.

Enter the next command on the immediate in a Terminal window.

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool TRUE

To return to the default dialog field with out the extra choices, enter the identical command, changing TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool FALSE

three. Change the Default Screenshots Format and Location

Change the default format for screenshots on a Mac

Your Mac’s system includes several handy shortcuts for taking screenshots, like Cmd + Shift + three to seize your entire display screen and Cmd + Shift + four to pick an space to seize.

We’ve lined find out how to use the defaults command to change defaults for screenshots, just like the default file format for screenshots and the place they’re mechanically save to.

four. Drag Dashboard Widgets to the Desktop

Dashboard widget on the Mac desktop

Many individuals both neglect or don’t know concerning the Mac Dashboard. It’s hidden behind a keyboard shortcut (F12). The widgets on the Dashboard are like devices in Home windows, and embrace objects like a clock, climate panel, and calculator.

You’ll be able to move widgets from the dashboard to your desktop utilizing a mix of a defaults command and the Dashboard shortcut.

5. Get Rid of the Dashboard

For those who don’t use the Dashboard in any respect, you’ll be able to eliminate it. In case you have an older Mac with a small quantity of reminiscence, you may need to disable the Dashboard so it’s not utilizing sources within the background.

Enter the next command on the immediate in a Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES && killall Dock

To convey the Dashboard again, merely re-run the above command, changing YES with NO:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO && killall Dock

6. Fully Conceal Desktop Icons

Icons hidden on the Mac desktop

Chances are you’ll discover your Mac’s desktop getting cluttered with information and folders, particularly in case you have a smaller display screen. You’ll be able to disguise all of the icons in your desktop to alleviate your self from the muddle. The information and folders are nonetheless obtainable within the Desktop folder in Finder.

We lined find out how to disguise the desktop icons as a part of cleaning up your Mac desktop to increase productivity.

7. Present System Information on the Login Display

System information on the Mac login screen

You’ll be able to view system data (laptop identify, macOS model, and IP handle) on the login display screen by clicking the clock, however this characteristic shouldn’t be on by default.

To allow it, enter the next command in a Terminal window:

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

To disable this characteristic, enter the next command:

sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow AdminHostInfo

eight. Reset Dock Customizations

Reset the Dock on a Mac to its defaults

Whenever you first arrange a Mac, the Dock accommodates a inventory set of icons. These present on the default measurement on the backside of the display screen. You’ll be able to customize the Dock, together with including app icons to the Dock, relocating it to a special place on the display screen, and having the Dock mechanically disguise.

A simple option to shortly reset the Dock to its default settings is to enter the next command within the Terminal window:

defaults delete com.apple.dock && killall Dock

9. Add the Give up Choice to Finder

Quit option added to Finder on a Mac

Do you know that you could really stop Finder? By default, there’s no Give up choice in Finder, however you’ll be able to add one.

Enter the next command within the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool TRUE && killall Finder

To take away the Give up choice, repeat the above command, changing TRUE with FALSE:

defaults write com.apple.finder QuitMenuItem -bool FALSE; killall Finder

10. Present One App at a Time

You’ll be able to have many apps displaying in your desktop at a time. However if you happen to work on a small display screen, it may be helpful to solely present one app at a time. With the single-app mode enabled, opening a minimized app will disguise all different open apps.

Enter the next command in a Terminal window to strive it:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool TRUE && killall Dock

To disable single app mode, change TRUE with FALSE on this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool FALSE && killall Dock

11. Change Rows and Columns in Launchpad

Change the number of rows and columns in Launchpad on a Mac

You’ll be able to customise Launchpad by rearranging the apps. However it’s also possible to change the variety of rows and columns displayed in Launchpad. By default, it shows seven columns and 5 rows of apps.

To alter the variety of columns, enter the next command in a Terminal window. Change X with the variety of columns you need:

defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-columns -int X

To alter the variety of rows, use this command, once more changing the X with the variety of rows:

defaults write com.apple.dock springboard-rows -int X

Then pressure a restart of Launchpad and restart the Dock with the next command:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool TRUE && killall Dock

To revert to the default variety of columns and rows, enter the next instructions:

defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-rows
defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-columns
killall Dock

To utterly reset Launchpad, together with the association of the apps, enter the next command within the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock ResetLaunchPad -bool TRUE; killall Dock

Be taught Extra In regards to the Defaults Command

That is only a sampling of what the defaults command can do. Take a look at SS64’s page about defaults for extra data. And herrbischoff’s GitHub page has tons of instructions to strive.

Don’t fear if you happen to’re not comfy utilizing the defaults command. You’ll be able to use a third-party tool to change settings on your Mac.

Learn the total article: 11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command



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