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Some macOS config tips, you won't believe the last one!

Sep 05, 2022
4 minutes
mac tips
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Some macOS tips I discovered not long ago.

Disable .DS_Store files

.DS_Store files are created for each folder you browse using Finder.
They contain metadata associated with each folder, for instance the size and orientation of icons, background images, and so on.
In practice, I very rarely use Finder to navigate and rather open a terminal and cd into my destination.

defaults write com.apple.desktopservices DSDontWriteNetworkStores TRUE

Speed up the dock

I’d rather have the dock on the left of my screen, eating less relative pixels than at the bottom of the screen.
Then obviously auto-hide the dock, making it reappear only when your mouse is on the left side of the screen.
Now I find the default animation time pretty slow. The following commands reduces animation time.

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 0
defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.4
killall Dock

Optionnaly I also like to reduce the default size of the dock, but increase the “magnifier” effect.
All this can be set up under Settings > Dock.

Increase cursor size

Settings > Accessibility > Display > Cursor > Size
Moving the slider to the first tick makes the cursor slightly bigger and easier to spot, especially when you have `extra monitors.

Mission control: disable auto rearrange

This one took me soooo long to find, I supposed it was introduced in the macOS Monterey update:
I usually spread my applications over several “Virtual Desktops” and switch from one to another using the 3-fingers movement on the touchpad.
After a little time of using this setup, I assigned each application its own specific desktop.
But after the Monterey update I sometimes found my desktop order messed up, only to discover it’s actually a Mission Control feature… Settings > Mission Control
Uncheck automatically rearrange Spaces based on recent activity
I’m sorry Mission Control, I don’t want you to rearrange my desktops for me, thanks.

Microphone volume auto-adjust

I don’t know if anyone else’s headphones microphone is as bad as mine, but I have resort to using the default microphone for my calls.
macOS has the bad habit to adjust everything automatically and to decide that my input level is too high, when in fact my recipient can’t hear a word I say.

The easy solution is to go to Settings > Sound > Input and raise the slide to 100%, but you’ll notice a few minutes later it’s back to a lower percentage.

Thanks to this StackOverflow answer I’ve added a crontab to gradually raise back the volume to 100%.

crontab -e # edit crontab file
# Add the following line to check the input volume every minute and raise it gradually to 100%
* * * * * while (( `osascript -e "input volume of (get volume settings)"` < 100 )); do osascript -e "set volume input volume (input volume of (get volume settings) + 3)"; sleep 0.1; done;