Mac Tips Tricks Hacks


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We all enjoying tweaking out Mac, changing the settings to get it just how we want. Today’s post is going to show you many hacks, tricks, and tips to alter your Mac, with specific focus on the way Finder operates and runs. These tricks use Terminal and a short command to change the preference settings. You can chop and change which commands you want to run. Not all commands work with Lion, however many do. If you don’t like the way a setting looks or works you can always revert them using the supplied reverse command. If you don’t want to change the settings manually I recommend you purchase an app such as MacPilot.

Using Terminal

All of these commands use Terminal. To use any of these commands open up Terminal in your Applications > Utilities folder. Then copy and paste any command you want to run and hit enter. Many need you to restart Finder so follow the command you want to run with the killall Finder command. This will restart Finder and show you the change you have made. Most of these commands are boolean, meaning a YES can be reversed with NO to turn the command on or off.

Hidden Files

One of the most popular commands you can run. If you want to view all the hidden files and folders on your Mac you can run this command. There are many files and folders that are hidden. This command works on Mountain Lion and older versions of Mac OS X.

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles true;
killall Finder

If you want to reverse this command type the following:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles false;
killall Finder

Disable Finder Preferences

If you have set the preferences of Finder and you don’t want them to be changed you can disable the menu option. This command will disable the Finder preferences.

defaults write ProhibitFinderPreferences -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To re-enable them

defaults write ProhibitFinderPreferences -boolean NO;
killall Finder

Play Media In Get Info Panes

One of my favourite commands that should be enabled by default. This command will enable movies, word documents, music and other files to run in a similar method to that of Quicklook. When you open up the Get Info window, there will be a small playable window that will allow you to play a movie, or flick through a word document.

defaults write AnimateInfoPanes -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To reverse this command;

defaults write AnimateInfoPanes -boolean NO;
killall Finder

The preview window will now animate the media you are looking at.

Disable Emptying Trash

One of the commands I would probably advise against using. This command will stop you from emptying the Trash.

defaults write ProhibitEmptyTrash -boolean YES;
killall Finder

And to allow you to empty the trash;

defaults write ProhibitEmptyTrash -boolean NO;
killall Finder


Disable The Warning When Emptying The Trash

When you press the empty Trash button, Finder will give you a warning saying do you want to do this action. If you want to disable this option use the following command.

defaults write WarnOnEmptyTrash -boolean false;
killall Finder

If you want the warning to re-appear the following is used;

defaults write WarnOnEmptyTrash -boolean true;
killall Finder

Disable Warning When Changing File Extension

One of the more interesting, or annoying, options you encounter when changing files extensions is the warning dialogue box asking if you want to change the extension. If you want to disable this option you can use the following command, this will automatically change the extension without giving you the warning.

defaults write FXEnableExtensionChangeWarning -bool false;
killall Finder

If you want to warning back again the following is used.

defaults write FXEnableExtensionChangeWarning -bool true;
killall Finder

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Disable Connect To Server Menu Bar Option

In the menu bar, Go option there is a variety of options which allow you to quickly jump to various folders on your Mac. One of these options is the connect to server option, this allows you to connect to a remote server and allow the Finder window to act as the interface to that server. If you want to disable this option use the following command.

defaults write ProhibitConnectTo -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To re-enable the option use the following command;

defaults write ProhibitConnectTo -boolean NO;
killall Finder

Just like that the Connect To Folder is gone.

Disable Go To Folder

If you want to remove the Go To Folder option, in a similar way to the previous command of removing the Connect To Server option you can use the following command.

defaults write ProhibitGoToFolder -bool true;
killall Finder

Like all the previous commands you can use the following to reverse the command and get the option back.

defaults write ProhibitGoToFolder -bool false;
killall Finder;

Disable DVD Media Burning

If you have a school or work computer and you want to disable media burning, such as that of DVD’s you can use the following command to prohibit media burning. If you want a permanant solution you can remove the DVD drive like I have.

defaults write ProhibitBurn true;
killall Finder

To re-enable the ability to burn DVD’s and CD’s use the following.

defaults write ProhibitBurn false;
killall Finder

Add A Quit Finder Menu Option

One of the more interesting commands, you can add a quit Finder option, where you can quite Finder. I don’t really see the point in this menu option other than for debugging and testing purposes.

Mac Tips And Tricks 2019

defaults write QuitMenuItem true;
killall Finder

To disable the option, which is usually a good option;

defaults write QuitMenuItem false
killall Finder

Disable Disk Eject

If you want to disable the ability to eject disks such as disk images or physical disk you can use the following command.

defaults write ProhibitEject true;
killall Finder

To re-enable this command use the following;

defaults write ProhibitEject false;
killall Finder

Disable Icons On The Desktop

If you want to remove the icons on the desktop you can use this command. Every icon on you desktop will disappear. It will not be deleted, just hidden. This is useful if you are making a presentation and you don’t want people to see the icons you use.

defaults write CreateDesktop false;
killall Finder

If you want to see all of the icons again;

defaults write CreateDesktop true;
killall Finder

Show Remote Disks

With the advent of MacBooks without disk drives there is a problem of being able to access CD drives. You can do this over the network. Simply allow remote disk on your Mac and you can access any DVD drive on another Mac. This option allows you to always see remote drives within Finder.

Mac Os Tips And Tricks

defaults write EnableODiskBrowsing -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To disable this option

defaults write EnableODiskBrowsing -boolean NO;
killall Finder

You can enable remote disk within Finder’s sidebar

New Window When Opening A Removable Disk

One of the more useful commands in my opinion. This command will open a new Finder window when a removable disk is accessed or opened.

defaults write OpenWindowForNewRemovableDisk -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To disable this option simply type the following:

defaults write OpenWindowForNewRemovableDisk -boolean NO;
killall Finder

Custom Icons For Removable Volumes

Another useful command is this, it allows you to have a custom icon for a removable volume. Normally a removable drive has that small white block, what ever it represents. With this command you can give it a custom icon.

defaults write ShowCustomIconsForRemovableVolumes -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To disable this option, simply type;

defaults write ShowCustomIconsForRemovableVolumes -boolean NO;
killall Finder

Enable Text Selection Within Quicklook

This little tip makes Quicklook a bit more useful. When you hit space bar to enable Quicklook, this command will allow you to select text within the Quicklook window. I like this command as it enables you to copy text out of a file without having to open it.

defaults write QLEnableTextSelection -boolean YES;
killall Finder

To disable this option

defaults write QLEnableTextSelection -boolean NO;
killall Finder

With this command you can select text within Quicklook

Enable Quicklook On Application Switch

Another great command which should be enabled by default. When you normally open quicklook and select a different application the quicklook window will disappear. Using this command, the Quicklook window will stay open. So you can view the contents while having a second application selected.

defaults write QLHidePanelOnDeactivate false;
killall Finder

To disable this command so the Quicklook window disappears when a different application is selected.

defaults write QLHidePanelOnDeactivate true;
killall Finder

Show The Path Bar

The path bar shows the current location of the Finder window. To enable it use the following:

defaults write ShowPathBar -boolean true;
killall Finder

To disable this command;

defaults write ShowPathBar -boolean false;
killall Finder

Show The Finder Pathbar In The Title

If you want to show the current path bar in the title of any Finder window, simply use the following command.

defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool true;
killall Finder

To disable this command use the following;

defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool false;
killall Finder

You can view the path of the folder you are in in the title bar

Show Stripes In Finder

Another cool little visual command. With this command every other line will be coloured blue. This makes looking down a list a lot easier as there will be a clear distinction between each line.

defaults write FXListViewStripes -boolean true;
killall Finder

To disable this command and remove the stripes;

defaults write FXListViewStripes -boolean false;
killall Finder

Slow Animations When Holding Shift

One of the slightly less useful commands for Finder. If you enable this command when you hold shift and minimise any window, or play the animation it will slow to a halt. A bit pointless but something you can enable all the same.

defaults write FXEnableSlowAnimation -boolean true;
killall Finder

To get animations back to full speed.

defaults write FXEnableSlowAnimation -boolean false;
killall Finder

Macbook Tips And Tricks

Disable Snap To Grid Animation

I am not sure if this command works in the later version of Mac OS X, however it will disable the the snap to grid animation.

defaults write AnimateSnapToGrid -bool true;
killall Finder

To re-enable the command;

defaults write AnimateSnapToGrid -bool false;
killall Finder

Using An App

There are many commands which you can choose from in this list. If you want to do this within an app and remove the need to do a lot of copying and pasting you can use something like MacPilot. It has many of these commands and more.


There are plenty of commands within this list. I have checked that most of these work within Mountain Lion. However, if many do not work you want do any harm to your Mac. If you have any more that you want to add, please leave a comment below.

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