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11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

11 Hidden Mac Settings You Can Unlock With the Defaults Command

Many macOS apps have a Preferences menu that lets you change their settings. You may also change Mac choices in the System Preferences panel.

However not all settings can be found in the Preferences or Settings dialog packing containers. That’s why you must find out about the defaults Terminal command. This lets you change hidden settings for apps and the Mac system utilizing the command line.

At present, we’ll present you some useful hidden settings in your Mac you possibly can change utilizing the defaults command.

What Are Property Lists?

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

PLIST information are saved in two places in your Mac. Consumer PLIST information are saved in ~/Library/Preferences/. The tilde (~) character represents your house 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 listing file for Clear My Mac three is com.macpaw.CleanMyMac3.plist.

PLIST files in the Preferences folder on a Mac

View Consumer Preferences

You can view the consumer preferences for an app utilizing the defaults command. You might need to do that earlier than making modifications to preferences. That means you already know what the unique choices have been in case you need to return to them.

To view all consumer preferences, open the Terminal (in the /Purposes/Utilities/ folder), sort the following command at the immediate, and press Enter.

defaults learn

The output record shows in the Terminal window. This shall be fairly lengthy as a result of it consists of all settings for each app. You can even ship the output to a textual content file if you wish to reserve it. Merely add > [path and file name] to the finish of the command. For instance, to save lots of all consumer preferences to a file on the desktop, sort the following command and press Enter.

defaults learn > ~/Desktop/userpreferences.txt

Running the defaults read command on a Mac

You might not care about the consumer preferences for all apps in your Mac. Fortunately, you may also view the consumer preferences for a person app utilizing its area and PLIST file. For instance, to view the preferences for the Encrypto app, sort the following command.

defaults learn com.macpaw.Encrypto

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

Making use of Modifications Utilizing the Defaults Command

Should you change a setting for a at present operating 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.

In the case of the Dock and Finder, you have to restart them after making a settings change. To restart the Dock, use the following command in a Terminal window:

killall Dock

To restart Finder, use the following command:

killall Finder

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

1. All the time Present Hidden Information 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—principally information you don’t have to cope with. Hidden information have a dot at the starting of the file identify. You may also cover your personal information

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utilizing the similar technique.

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

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

To cover all hidden information once more, run the similar command however substitute 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 further printing choices on a Mac, it’s essential to click on Present Particulars on the Print dialog field. When you use these further printing choices typically, you’ll be able to change a setting to point out the absolutely expanded Print dialog field each time.

Enter the following command at the immediate in a Terminal window.

defaults write -g PMPrintingExpandedStateForPrint -bool TRUE

To return to the default dialog field with out the further choices, enter the similar 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 consists of a number of useful shortcuts for taking screenshots

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, like Cmd + Shift + three to seize the whole display and Cmd + Shift + four to pick an space to seize.

We’ve coated the way to use the defaults command to vary defaults for screenshots

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, 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 overlook or don’t find out about the Mac Dashboard. It’s hidden behind a keyboard shortcut (F12). The widgets on the Dashboard are like devices in Home windows, and embrace gadgets like a clock, climate panel, and calculator.

You can transfer widgets from the dashboard to your desktop

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utilizing a mixture of a defaults command and the Dashboard shortcut.

5. Get Rid of the Dashboard

Should you don’t use the Dashboard in any respect, you possibly can eliminate it. When you have an older Mac with a small quantity of reminiscence, you may need to disable the Dashboard so it’s not utilizing assets in the background.

Enter the following command at the immediate in a Terminal window:

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

To deliver 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. Utterly Disguise Desktop Icons

Icons hidden on the Mac desktop

You might discover your Mac’s desktop getting cluttered with information and folders, particularly in case you have a smaller display. You can cover all the icons in your desktop to alleviate your self from the muddle. The information and folders are nonetheless obtainable in the Desktop folder in Finder.

We coated the right way to cover the desktop icons as a part of cleansing up your Mac desktop to extend productiveness

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7. Present System Information on the Login Display

System information on the Mac login screen

You can view system info (pc identify, macOS model, and IP tackle) on the login display by clicking the clock, however this function just isn’t on by default.

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

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

To disable this function, enter the following command:

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

eight. Reset Dock Customizations

Reset the Dock on a Mac to its defaults

If you first arrange a Mac, the Dock accommodates a inventory set of icons. These present at the default measurement at the backside of the display. You can customise the Dock

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, together with including app icons to the Dock, relocating it to a special place on the display, and having the Dock mechanically cover.

A simple option to shortly reset the Dock to its default settings is to enter the following command in 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 which you can truly give up Finder? By default, there’s no Give up choice in Finder, however you’ll be able to add one.

Enter the following command in 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 can have many apps displaying in your desktop at a time. However for those who work on a small display, it may be helpful to solely present one app at a time. With the single-app mode enabled, opening a minimized app will cover all different open apps.

Enter the following command in a Terminal window to attempt it:

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

To disable single app mode, exchange 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 can 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 vary the variety of columns, enter the following command in a Terminal window. Exchange X with the variety of columns you need:

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

To vary 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 following command:

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

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

defaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-rowsdefaults delete com.apple.dock springboard-columnskillall Dock

To utterly reset Launchpad, together with the association of the apps, enter the following command in the Terminal:

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

Study Extra About the Defaults Command

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

Don’t fear should you’re not snug utilizing the defaults command. You can use a third-party device to vary settings in your Mac

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