Hacker Defaults for OS X Released on GitHub

Almost every Mac user has heard of terminal commands – short commands you enter directly in OS X’s terminal which can add little extras to existing Mac programs or help improve system functionality. Although Apple doesn’t boast about them specifically, they are simply little hacks designed to make using your Mac a more pleasant experience (a favourite of mine was the X-ray folders, where if you hit Space you could see the entire contents of a folder without having to go into it).

The best part about terminal commands is that you can easily deactivate them if you don’t particularly fancy them, and now, the Belgium-based web developer Mathias Bynens has released a new list of terminal commands for OS X (or “hackers defaults” as he likes to call them).


Mathias Bynens' page on Github

There are some old favourites on there, such as the 2D dock and the ability to enable iTunes song notifications in the dock as well as some new ones, such as my personal favourite:

[ -e "$file" ] && mv -f "$file" "$file.bak"
unset file

Which gets rid of that annoying green tick next to every file you’ve got on Dropbox.

For the full range of Terminal commands, head over to Mathias’s page on GitHub. And remember, if you want to deactivate any command you enter, just change the true string to false.

Happy hacking!


Add Yours
  • The name of the site is “GitHub”, not GitHubs

    • yeah right

  • The X-Ray folders trick is not working anymore under Lion… :(

  • “GitHubs”?

  • it’s spelled “deactivate”, not “disactivate”

  • Best practice isn’t to deactivate a feature by switching “true” for “false”. This could cause problems further down the line, in that it relies upon config files being perfectly formatted so that they never become corrupted by users writing new entries to them.

    The right thing to do is entirely delete the new entry you made, using the “defaults delete” command:

    defaults delete com.apple.whatever stringname