Customizing Your Mac
There are a lot of adjustments you can make to the way your computer works. Sometimes this is wonderful.
If you overdo customization, it can eat up a lot of time and become a maintenance nightmare..
This lesson is oriented toward OSX 10.12, Sierra.
You will see icons for preference topics.
Click each one and you will see what you can change.
Mostly the default values are fine.
(When you finish with one topic, click the icon with the array of little squares to go back to the list of all topics.)
- Date and time. I like to flash the time separators.
Mission Control: Hot corners and Fkeys.
I set upper left to start the screen saver, upper right to prevent it.
Security: have a login password, and require it to wake the machine.
Turn on the Firewall.
Turn on FileVault.
- Energy saver. Set sleep time.
- Time Machine. Attach an external drive and turn on Time Machine so you have backup.
- Spotlight. You may wish to turn off "Spotlight suggestions" and "Bing web searches" if you have privacy concerns.
- Notifications. I turn off sound on most notifications.
Personally I hate the CAPS LOCK key: it does nothing but cause me trouble.
So I click
and set it to No Action.
Select the Text tab and turn off "Correct spelling automatically" to avoid comical mistakes.
I turn off "use smart quotes and dashes" because it screws up writing web pages.
- Trackpad (on laptops). Learn multi-touch.
- Sharing. Name your computer something short but distinctive, with no spaces or special characters.
- iCloud. Enable Find My Mac. Don't enable Optimize Storage. If you are concerned with privacy, don't store Documents and Desktop in the cloud.
- Network. Set your DNS servers for Ethernet and Wireless to 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168; or 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199; or 188.8.131.52.
- Internet Accounts. I don't use a lot of this stuff.
- Bluetooth. Turn ON if you have a wireless mouse.
- Print + Fax. Add your printer (see Lesson Two).
Accounts. Laptops should have a password.
Add your photgraph to your account.
Because of the many security problems with Adobe Flash, I don't recommend installing it.
If you must, be very careful about getting it ONLY from Adobe and keeping it up to date.
In Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, I make a folder in the bookmarks toolbar called "daily"
and add my everyday favorites to it.
Every morning, I click on the folder and select to open all the listed sites, each in its own tab.
Make sure "Open 'safe' files after downloading" is NOT checked in Safari preferences.
This is important for security.
Safari, Chrome, and Firefox support plugins, which you can add to your browser to change how it does things.
For Firefox, I have installed:
- uBlock Origin: strip out ads from web pages.
- Web Developer: tools for testing and debugging web pages.
It is useful to make a few changes from the default in the Finder preferences.
I choose "show all extensions" so that file names will show the full name of the file, e.g. "Mail.app" instead of "Mail".
I also disable the trash warning, to suppress a dialog box every time I try to empty the trash.
I select "Customize toolbar" and add the "Path" widget to the Finder toolbar:
it is helpful when you have several windows open and forget which is which,
e.g. is this on my computer or a remote computer on my home network.