Fresh MacOS installation

17-03-2021 / Edit on Github

This is my personal list of to-do things for a new Macbook.

👉 Note: Ubuntu / Pop!_OS fresh start.
👉 Note: Windows fresh start.

Check info #

# Current version of MacOSX
sw_vers -productVersion
# Check if XCode Command Line Tools is installed
xcode-select --install
# should return "/usr/bin/xcrun"
# check if running on ARM or Intel
# arm64 -> ARM
# i386 -> Intel (running with Rosetta)

Basic controls #

This is not the first things to do!

Keyboards #

  1. Delete: +
  2. Show hidden files/folders: + + .
  3. Move: +n C (Copy) > + + V (Paste as moving).
  4. to rename a folder/file.
  1. + L : clear screen (use as Ctrl key on Windows/Linux system!).
Chrome / Brave
  1. Focus to the adress bar: + L
  2. History: + Y
Capture Screen
  1. All screen + saved to clipboard: + + + 3
  2. All screen + saved to file: + + 3
  3. Selected area + saved to clipboard: + + 4
  4. Selected area + saved to file: + + + 4
  5. Screenshot + recording option: + + 5
  6. Screenshot + recording option: + + 5
  • Lock screen: + + Q
  • Hide window app on dock: + click or + H
  • Emoji: + +
  • Normal delete key: + D.

Trackpad #

1 finger
  1. Tap to click.
2 fingers
  1. Swipe up/down to scroll.
  2. Single tap to right click.
  3. Swipe left/right to switch between pages.
  4. Swipe from right edge to open notification section.
  5. Double tap to smart zoom.
3 fingers
  1. Touch and move left/right to drag the content of texts.
  2. Tap to search for definition of selected text.
4 fingers
  1. Swipe between opening fullscreen apps.
  2. Swipe up to show all opening windows.
  3. Swipe down to show all opening windows of current applications (app expose).
All fingers
  1. Pinch to open launchpad.
  2. Spread to show desktop.

Keyboard & Trackpad settings #

Go to Keyboard Settings and then,

Choosen the language and input source: Input Sources.

  1. Should choose "U.S." instead of "U.S. International" because with the latter, we have underline score below special symbols like "
  2. For Vietnamese input method, DON'T choose built-in VNese input options. Use GoTiengViet instead! (Because there will be unconfortable underline when we type if we)

Disbale auto correcting words when typing in Text. Untick all first 3 boxes!

Add more dictation (speed to text) languages: Vietnamese and French, choose VNese as default language.


  1. Touch Bar shows: F1, F2, etc Keys.

  2. Press ... to: Do Nothing.

  3. Press and hold ... to: Show Control Srip.

  4. Tick on "Use F1, F2..."

  5. Click on Customize Control Strip and change. Below are my customization.

    Brightness - Keyboard Brightness -- Media -- Volume -- Screen Lock -- Night Shift -- Screen Capture -- Dictation -- Siri

Map top-left keyboard to backslash/tilde symbols. Install Karabiner-Elements and setting up "non_us_backslash" to "grave_accent_and_tilde (`)". If you don't know the names of some keys, you can use installed Karabiner Viewer.

System Preferences > Trackpad: Choose all for all.

3 fingers to drag (choose texts): System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options... > Enable dragging (three fingers drag).

Install alt-tab (and use + which replaces the default method on mac, be careful!!!) to switch between windows (instead of apps) like on Windows/Linux: brew install --cask alt-tab

Open its preferences (We wanna show windows only on the screen containing the cursor):

  • General > tick on "Start at login".
  • Controls > Show windows from: "Screen showing AltTab" (on the 3rd option).
  • Appearance > Show on "Screen including mouse".

Installation unknown softwares #

Sometimes, you cannot install some app from the internet, just go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > There will be some warning line at below of "App Store and identified developers", just click "Open anyway"!

If you have some issue with .dmg file like "resource busy", open Disk Utility, then Images > Verify... > Choose the image file you cannot open then click "Verify"!

Git & Dev #

Install git (may be prompted automatically by the system to install it) and setting up git. Below are short things,

eval "$(ssh-agent -s)"
ssh-add -l # list current keys

# create ssh keys
ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]" # /Users/thi/.ssh/id_rsa.thi
ssh-add /Users/thi/.ssh/id_rsa.thi

ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "[email protected]" # /Users/thi/.ssh/id_rsa.ideta
ssh-add /Users/thi/.ssh/id_rsa.ideta

# list the current keys again
ssh-add -l

# Add public keys to Github or something else!

Clone repositories to /Users/thi/git/.

Install NodeJS, consider to install nvm before. Remark (2/2021), currently only v15 works native on Apple M1 chip.

Install Hombrew (missing package control for mac).

# after install, don't forget to add to PATH
echo 'eval $(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv)' >> /Users/thi/.zprofile
eval $(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv) # refresh

# problem with "old" cask
# instead of
brew cask something
# use
brew install --cask something

Install Miniconda (python): download bash version and then

bash <downloaded file>
# remember to run conda init after being asked

Printers & Scanners #

Setting up printers (if available). You may need Gutenprint for an alternative driver for printers on chip M1. After installing the drivers, turn on your printer (connect to a common wifi or via an usb cable), then System Preferences > Printers & Scanners > Add printer and choose your own printer, don't forget to choose Gutenprint as driver!

For scanner app: you can use VueScan (paid) if the current version of app doesn't support chip M1 yet!

For Canon MG2900 printer/scanner + apps: you may need to download and install drivers from this site. A backup files are here. You may find other useful drivers for other types of printers on this site also.

Scanner app: use Image Capture (built-in app on Mac) or install Canon IJ Scan Utility2.

Finder #

  1. Add necessary folder shortcuts to sidebar.
  2. Add recycle Bin to sidebar: + + . to show hidden folders > drag Bin folder to sidebar > + + . to hide hidden folders again.
  3. Customize some options in Preferences.
  4. Show status bar: View > Show status bar.

Copy files between Linux and MacOS #

Require: the same wifi network!

  1. On MacOS: System Preferences > Sharing > Tick on "File Sharing" > choose "Shared Folders" > on "Everyon", change to "Write & Read".
  2. On Linux: Nautilus, click on "Other Locations" > "Networks" > choose the Macbook (and type macos profile password) > choose the shared folders in previous step > Exchange files/folders you want.

Screen recorder #

Using QuickTime? (heavy output size)

Using QuickTime / built-in function. Open QuickTime or + + 5 to open screenshot/recording options. Weakness: big size + impossible (or possible??) to record system sounds.

Using OBS? (Free, suitable for streaming)

Using OBS (for recording app) + BlackHole (for bypassing system audio recorder, I chose 2ch to download).

  1. Check this article for setting up with OBS (not that, in this article, they use a different tool than BlackHold)
  2. Check this article for using BlackHole to capture system audio on Mac.
  3. Open Audio MIDI Setup > Click on "+" > "Create Multi-Output Device" > Check on (Use side) current using Speaker (ex. External Headphones) + BlackHole 2ch. Check also (Drift Correction) for "External Headphones". Rename to something to remember, e.g. "Screen Recorder". We wanna listen the system audio via 2 output, one is external heaphones, 1 is "virtual" BlackHole (so that it can recorder the sound).
  4. Open Sound setting and choose "Screen Recorder". Tip: you should adjust the sound before change to "Screen Recorder" because you will not be able to change sound level in this option.
  5. In OBS, Add screen, add 2 microphones, one for real mic, one for device BlackHole 2ch.
    1. Open Preferences > Audio: Mic/Aux 1, choose "External microphone", Mic/Aux 2, choose "BlackHole 2ch" > OK.
  6. Some settings for OBS:
    1. Turn off preview for screen (for comfortable)
    2. Video > Common FPS Values = 20

👉 My best choice: using Screenflick (paid, 35$).

Dictionary #

Dictionary: install Viettien (I use version 5.0b for Mac Big Sur chip M1). Alternative dictionaries can be downloaded from this link (I backed it up for personally using).

  1. Don't forget to open Security & Privacy and click on Open anyway many times!
  2. Another option is to install Tinhte's dictionary from this link, copy extracted folder (Tinhe_anh-viet.dictionary) to /Users/thi/Library/Dictionaries/.
  3. After installing successfully, open Dictionary app > Preferences... > Tick on the names which are corresponding to the installed/copied dictionaries.
  4. There are built-in LacViet dictionaries but they are not activated yet, don't forget them!

Goldendict: download installation here + dictionaries here.

Applications #

  1. VSCode + sign in to sync using Github account.
  2. Google Chrome and sign in to sync. I'm using Brave (chromium-based engine also)
  3. Disable Tab Hover Cards: navigate to chrome://flags/, search for "tab hover" and choose "Disable".
  4. Add a site to use cookies (enable third-party cookies for downloading files on Google Drive): Go to chrome://settings/cookies and then "Add" (tick on third-party...) in "Sites that can always use cookies" section.
  5. Custom keyboard shortcut: System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Application Shortcuts > "+" > Choose Chrome > Type the name EXACTLY THE SAME as the name in menu (for example "Inspect elements") > Add a custom shortcut.
  6. Password manager.
  7. Dropbox. We can "quit" the app on dock, the icon on menu still there!
  8. iTerm2 (check more in other section)
  9. Youtube Music App for Mac (unofficial)
  10. XtraFinder (additional settings for Finder)
  11. Communication: Skype, Zoom, Slack.
  12. VLC Player -- video player.
  13. GitKraken + sign in + clone some repos.
  14. CleanMyMac (paid) -- uninstaller + optimize your mac.
  15. Paragon NTFS (paid, 20$) -- Do everything with Windows drives on your Mac.
  16. Bartender 4 (paid, 15.37$) -- hide some icons on menu bar.
  17. Dropdown calendar with agenda: Itsycal. After installing, you have to choose manually the agenda profiles you wanna show.
  18. uBar (paid) -- disable default dock and make a windows-like taskbar. Be careful, it takes too much RAM!
  19. XDM Download Manager.
  20. Docker
  21. SelfControl -- A free Mac application to help you avoid distracting websites.

Appstore #

  1. The Unarchiver
  2. Communication: Whatsapp Desktop + Messenger App
  3. Skitch -- annotation for photos on Mac.
  4. Word and Powerpoint (in Office 365 suit, paid). You can buy a lifetime license on ebay (not your own email but you can integrate yours later).
  5. Magnet -- arrange window workspace (stick to edge like on Windows).
  6. Amphetamine -- Keep-awake your mac, an alternative to caffein on linux.
  7. TaskTab -- List of tasks right on menu bar.
  8. Bitwarden -- need to install desktop application to enable fingerprint unlock for browser extension. Restart both application and follow the instruction on extension to enable this feature.

Terminal #

(For chip M1 only)

# check if running on ARM or Intel
# arm64 -> ARM
# i386 -> Intel (running with Rosetta)

Copy /Applications/Utilities/ to Download folder, rename it to Move the new to /Applications/Utilities/ again. Right click on > Get Info > Click on "Open using Rosetta".

  • If you wanna run commands in Intel environment, use Terminal-Rosseta.
  • If you wanna run commands in ARM environment, use

Dropdown terminal with iTerm2.

  1. Create a new profile and make it default. Download my customized profile here.
  2. Click on new profile > Keys > Tick on "A hotkey..." > Set + ` for opening window.
  3. For "non profile settings": Keep default with,
    1. General > Window: Tick on "Smart...".
    2. Appearance > general > Tab bar location: bottom.
    3. Advanced: search "animation" > Hotkey: 0.05;
  4. Custom name of pane: Right click on the pane > Edit Session... > Tab General > Change the name in Session Name (eg. "WORKING") (also click on the "lock" icon on the right) > Session Title ONLY tick on "Session Name".

Zsh terminal: 👉 Note: Terminal.

# By default, iTerm2 comes with pre-installed zsh
# You can check current shell
echo $SHELL # should returns /bin/zsh
# Check zsh version
zsh --version

# install oh-my-zsh
sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"

# install spaceship theme
git clone "$ZSH_CUSTOM/themes/spaceship-prompt"
ln -s "$ZSH_CUSTOM/themes/spaceship-prompt/spaceship.zsh-theme" "$ZSH_CUSTOM/themes/spaceship.zsh-theme"
# Make spaceship as default
# Set ZSH_THEME="spaceship" in your .zshrc.
# Follow this (optional):
# Download (then open and install) font Source Code Pro:
# Open iTerm2 Preferences > Profile > Text > change font!

# If you wanna see the changes
source ~/.zshrc

Macbook keyboard symbols #

ALl symbols
&#63743;  Apple
&#8984; ⌘ Command, Cmd, Clover, (formerly) Apple
&#8963; ⌃ Control, Ctl, Ctrl
&#8997; ⌥ Option, Opt, (Windows) Alt
&#8679; ⇧ Shift
&#8682; ⇪ Caps lock
&#9167; ⏏ Eject
&#8617; ↩ Return, Carriage Return
&#8629; &crarr; ↵ Return, Carriage Return
&#9166; ⏎ Return, Carriage Return
&#8996; ⌤ Enter
&#9003; ⌫ Delete, Backspace
&#8998; ⌦ Forward Delete
&#9099; ⎋ Escape, Esc
&#8594; &rarr; → Right arrow
&#8592; &larr; ← Left arrow
&#8593; &uarr; ↑ Up arrow
&#8595; &darr; ↓ Down arrow
&#8670; ⇞ Page Up, PgUp
&#8671; ⇟ Page Down, PgDn
&#8598; ↖ Home
&#8600; ↘ End
&#8999; ⌧ Clear
&#8677; ⇥ Tab, Tab Right, Horizontal Tab
&#8676; ⇤ Shift Tab, Tab Left, Back-tab
&#9250; ␢ Space, Blank
&#9251; ⎵ Space, Blank

Error #

After updating

xcrun: error: invalid active developer path (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools), missing xcrun at: /Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/usr/bin/xcrun

Need to update Xcode Command-line Tools:

# option 1
xcode-select --install
# output:
xcode-select: note: install requested for command line developer tools
# option 2 (if option 1 doesn't work)
# Login + download from webpage

Sidecar #

Using Sidecar feature to turn your ipad to an external screen. It works normally with cable (you have to "trust" from both sides each other). In the case you cannot use Sidecar via wireless,

  1. Turn on Hardoff on both Mac (in General) and iPad (in General).
  2. Turn on Bluetooth and Wifi (connect to the same network).
  3. Turn off file sharing and VPN.
  4. Reset network setting on your ipad (General > Reset > ...) > restat > connect again to the same network with your Mac > wait 2 minutes > try Sidecar again!

Best practice: Using sidecar via a usb cable! If using wifi, we have latency with mouse cursor!

For ones who using mac's usb-c port. A direct hub (with an lightning output to charge ipad) may not work (not sufficient power to charge ipad). However, usign another usb-dock and connect to the hub is working fine. Other words,

  • Not working: mac - hub - ipad.
  • Working: mac - hub - usb doc - ipad

Others #

Log into email accounts on Mail app.

External screens #

I use 2 external screens. However, chip Apple M1 doesn't support more than 1 external one. That's why we need an adapter (having DisplayLink technology) + to install DisplayLink driver for Mac.