Power User Guide macOS Catalina and Big Sur - Jason Savitt

Ctl-Up arrow Exposé
Cmd-backtick Switch app window

Enable Finder Views:


Add color to grep
alias grep="which ggrep--color=always"

alias ls='exa'
alias cat='bat'

Customize shell prompt with Git branch.

General Tips

Quicklook (Space) can be triggered with option for fullscreen mode.

Universal Clipboard between device (ipad, iphone, mac…) just be logged in the same iCloud account.

Right-click in the Dock --> "Turn Hidding On"

Switching App with Cmd - Tab then pressing Q will quit the selected App.

From the Preview App, you can annotate with "Show Markup toolbar"

Rename multiple files with selecting them, right-click "Rename".

Cmd - up/down after selecting a folder in the Finder to go up/down one level in the current directory

Select File --> Get Info --> Stationary Pad: It will make a copy when opening it.

Swipe up with four fingers to trigger Mission Control.

Resize Finder window with holding option: resize from the center.

Resize with "Shift" to keep the same proportions.

Drag a background window without giving it focus with holding Command

Dictionary: Select a word and press Ctrl - Command - D

System Preferences -> General -> Automatically hide the menu bar.

Shift + Option while pressing the volume keys to have more grannular control
Shift + Option while pressing the brightness keys to have more grannular control

Hold Command to move the icons from the top menu bar.

Option click on the notification center icon (menu bar) to turn it into DND.

System Preferences -> Screen Time

Intermediate Tips

screencapture -c -t jpg -i -x -U -u

pbcopy and pbpaste

chflags hidden and chflags nohidden

System Preferences --> Software Update --> Automatically keep + Advanced

Hold Option while browsing menu bar options to discover new features in any Application.

Shift + Cmd + 3/4/5 Take screenshots / video recording
Record Video Screen with QuickTime

Generate passwords:
LC_ALL=C tr -dc "[:alpha:][:alnum:]" < /dev/urandom | head -c 30 | pbcopy
with special characters:
LC_ALL=C tr -dc "[:alpha:][:alnum:][:punct:]" < /dev/urandom | head -c 30 | pbcopy

Advanced Tips

Scrollbars: Always, Automatic or WhenScrolling
defaults write -g AppleShowScrollBars -string "Always"
killall Finder

Min before going to Sleep
sudo systemsetup -getcomputersleep
Never sleep
sudo systemsetup -setcomputersleep Never

Remove the Dock auto-hide delay. Open the Terminal app, and type:
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0
killall Dock
Restore the auto hide delay
defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier

Shift + Cmd + . to hide/show hidden files and folders.
defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool TRUE

Display File Extensions
defaults write -g AppleShowAllExtensions -bool TRUE

Create a Terminal Login Message
sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowText 'Bonjour Yoric'
Delete login message
sudo defaults delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow

Change Default File Type for Screenshots
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type -string "jpg"
Change the Default Screenshot Location
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /path

Execute a Script at Login
sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginHook /path/to/script

Disable NotificationCenter
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist $ killall -9 NotificationCenter
Enable it
launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui.plist

Hide or Show Desktop Icons
defaults write com.apple.finder CreateDesktop -bool FALSE

Only Display Active Applications in Dock
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool TRUE

Enable or disable SSH remote login
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ssh.plist

Display the local IP Address
ipconfig getifaddr en0


Apps can also be launched from the Terminal.

Shortcut Keys

Cmd + G find the next occurence
Option + Cmd + Y start slideshow of select items
Cmd + 1 view as icons
Cmd + 2 view as list
Cmd + [ Move to the previous folder
Cmd while dragging to another volume: move instead of copying
Option + click triangle open all sub-folders in list view

To reset the Finder preferences:
rm ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.finder.plist

Command Line Tools for the Mac

Convert audio
afconvert file.mp3 file.mp4 --file m4af

Display audio file information
afinfo file.mp3

Play audio file
afplay file.mp3

Prevent the system from sleeping
caffeinate -u -t 1800

Snoop I/O events as they occur
sudo iosnoop

Manage daemons and agents
sudo launchctl list

Locate file
sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.locate.plist
locate *.jpg

Displays Spotlight Indexed metadata attributes
mdls file

open -a "Google Chrome" https://google.com

tracks any app (or system process)
sudo opensnoop -f /etc/passwd

Compiles Applescript code into an app
osacompile -o appName.app scriptName.scpt

Executes AppleScript
osascript -e 'quit app "safari.app"'
osascript -e 'set volume 7'

Convert the Clipboard contents to plain text
pbpaste | textutil -convert txt -stdin -stdout -encoding 30 | pbcopy

Convert the Clipboard contents from tabs to spaces
pbpaste | expand | pbcopy

Sort and strip duplicate lines from the Clipboard
pbpaste | sort | uniq | pbcopy

sudo scutil --set ComputerName "hostName"
sudo scutil --set HostName "hostName"

Scriptable image processing system
sips -s format png images1.jpg --out images2.png

To change SoftwareUpdate check interval from weekly to daily
defaults write com.apple.SoftwareUpdate ScheduleFrequency -int 1

System diagnostic
sudo sysdiagnose -f ~/Desktop/

macOS version

Set current time zone
sudo systemsetup -settimezone Europe/Paris

Convert text to another format
textutil -convert html file.txt


Using the Apple Diagnostics Test
Hold down D key during startup

Booting into Safe Mode
Hold down Shift during startup

Booting into Verbose Mode
Hod down Cmd + V during startup

Booting into Single User Mode
Hod down Cmd + S during startup

Built-in macOS Recovery System
Hod down Cmd + R during startup