Mac setup

Updated on Oct 24th, 2019

My preferred macOS Catalina setup for a new Mac. Install and/or configure items in the order they appear on this list. This assumes the computer is starting from a fresh Catalina installation.

Local machine name

Go to System Preferences -> Sharing and set the computer name.


Sign in to iCloud to sync bookmarks, email, etc.

Disable FaceTime by opening the app and signing out.


Install Xcode from the App Store which will also install Git.

Open Xcode to make sure developer tools are installed.


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Snazzy theme available at


See installation instructions at

Add the git module to .zpreztorc


Place the following settings in the ~/.vimrc file:

" Use Vim settings, which are much better than Vi settings. Vi is for grandpas.
" This must be first, because it changes other options as a side effect.
set nocompatible

" Enable file type detection and do language-dependent indenting
filetype plugin indent on

" Turn on syntax highlighting
syntax on

" Make backspace behave in a sane manner
set backspace=indent,eol,start

" Use the system clipboard
set clipboard=unnamed

" Allow switching buffers without saving currently modified file
set hidden

" Highlight search results
set hlsearch

" Enable mouse support
set mouse=a

" Show line numbers
set number

" Disable swap file creation
set noswapfile

" Always display status line
set laststatus=2

" Press jj to exit from insert mode
imap jj <Esc>

" change cursor to vertical bar in insert mode when using iTerm on Mac
if $TERM_PROGRAM =~ "iTerm"
  let &t_SI = "\<Esc>]50;CursorShape=1\x7" " vertical bar in insert mode
  let &t_EI = "\<Esc>]50;CursorShape=0\x7" " block in normal mode

Sublime Text

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To open Sublime Text from the command line add the following alias to ~/.zshrc:

# Open Sublime Text from command line
alias subl="/Applications/Sublime\"

Preferences for Sublime Text are given below. Go to Sublime Text -> Preferences -> Settings.

    "color_scheme": "Packages/Color Scheme - Default/Mariana.sublime-color-scheme",
    "hot_exit": false,
    "font_size": 13,
    "theme": "Adaptive.sublime-theme",
    "translate_tabs_to_spaces": true,
    "trim_trailing_white_space_on_save": true,

Install package control with Command-Shift-P.

Install SublimeLinter package, see instructions at

Install SublimeLinter-flake8 for Python, see

In Sublime Text, go to Preferences -> Package Settings -> SublimeLinter -> Settings and add the following linter options:

    "gutter_theme": "Default",
    "linters": {
        "flake8": {
            "args": ["--ignore=E501,W605"]

Vim key bindings shown below are for exiting Vim insert mode in Sublime Text. These settings are accessed from the menu Sublime Text -> Preferences -> Key Bindings.

        "keys": ["j", "j"],
        "command": "exit_insert_mode",
        "context": [
            { "key": "setting.command_mode", "operand": false },
            { "key": "setting.is_widget", "operand": false}

These settings are for the SideBarEnhancements plugin. The settings are available in the menu at Sublime Text -> Preferences -> Package Settings -> Side Bar - > Settings.

    "close_affected_buffers_when_deleting_even_if_dirty": true,


Configure Git in the terminal using the following commands (change name and email accordingly):

git config --global "John Doe"
git config --global ""

Use to create a Git ignore file at ~/.gitignore and set it as the global file with:

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore


Installation instructions are provided at


Installation instructions at


Installation instructions provided at


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Installer available at

To disable auto activate use:

conda config --set auto_activate_base False

To permanently enable Miniconda Python use the following in ~/.zshrc:

# Set Python PATH to Miniconda3
export PATH="$HOME/miniconda3/bin:$PATH"


Move the photos library ~/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary from the old Mac to the new Mac.


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Installation instructions at