Mac configuration

Posted on Oct 29th, 2018

Notes about selling a Mac, configuring a new Mac, essential apps to install, and useful command line tools.

Before you sell or give away your Mac, follow the instructions at The article guides you through the process of backing up your computer, disabling features and services, and erasing the hard drive.

When you get a new computer, don’t forget to update the operating system.


Thoroughly uninstall unwanted applications. In the Preferences panel, turn on “Check updates automatically”. Download at


Sign in to iCloud in System Preferences to restore email, bookmarks, system settings, etc. Check devices associated with your Apple ID at


Useful extensions to install for the Safari web browser include NoMoreiTunes, Wipr, and Save To Pocket.

Sublime Text

This is a great text editor for code and markup. Download at

See the prefs repository for my Sublime Text preferences.


Build iOS and Mac apps with the Xcode IDE. Download via the Mac App Store.


Git is already installed in macOS; however, the username and email for commit messages need to be set. See my git notes to learn more about Git and GitHub.


Git Large File Storage (LFS) replaces large files such as audio samples, videos, datasets, and graphics with text pointers inside Git. It can be installed with Homebrew.

brew install git-lfs


A terminal emulator for macOS that does amazing things. Download at

Save your settings by going to “Preferences -> General” and at the bottom of the window enable “Load preferences from a custom folder or URL”. Then choose a location with the Browse button. And finally select the Save Current Settings to Folder button to save your preferences to a plist file. This file can be loaded on a new Mac to restore your preferences in a new iTerm installation.


The missing package manager for macOS. Installation instructions are provided at


Install Vim via Homebrew using the command below to override the system vim.

brew install vim --with-override-system-vi

Use the vim-plug manager to install and update plugins. Use the solarized8_dark_high color scheme.


A greate universal document converter. Install via Homebrew.

brew install pandoc

Install the “citeproc” filter for citations and bibliography formatting. Also, install the “crossrefr” filter for referencing figures, equations, and tables

brew install pandoc-citeproc
brew install pandoc-crossref

GNU Units

An excellent command line unit converter that can be installed with Homebrew. Documentation at Invoke the unit converter with the “gunits -v” command.

brew install gnu-units


A next generation download utility. Documentation is available at The command line tool can be installed via Homebrew.

brew install aria2


Install the MacTex or BasicTex distribution from

Miniconda for Python 3

Easily install Python 3 and other packages. Follow instructions at After installation, update conda to the latest version with “conda update conda”. Then use the conda command to install some essential Python packages such as ipython, numpy, scipy matplotlib, and pandas.