macOS Survival Guide

Create a Bootable Installer #

I created a bootable installer to install macOS offline, incase that something went wrong macOS can be installed from Internet in recovery mode, but it is unreliable and slow. I first tried a Sandisk 16GB USB drive, and it failed during copying the installer content. Then I tried a Toshiba 32GB USB drive, and the creation succeeded. I am not sure if 16GB is too small or macOS installer is fussy on USB drive models.

Install Linux #

I always feel that I can only own a computer truely after I have installed Linux on it. So after finishing the macOS initial setup (user account, etc.), I rebooted to the recovery mode (Command+R on Intel based Macintosh machines with a T2 chip).

Then I added a partition via disk utility in the recorvery mode. This partition is for Linux, so the format does not matter. Adding a new partition will automatically resize the current macOS partition, which is much slower if performed under macOS instead of recovery mode.

I also disable secure boot and enable external boot.

Then I just booted into the installation USB drive, and installed EndeavourOS. I chose the replace partition option with encrypted file system. The installer set up LUKS encryption and ext4 automatically. If I had choosen the "erase all" option, I can do some customizations, such as ext4/btrfs, swap partition/file, etc. However, I need a dual boot machine.

I started the mac holding down the option key. The startup manager displayed. I used the arrow key to select the EFI disk for Linux, then I pressed enter and booted into EndeavourOS sucessfully.

After finished intital setup of EndeavourOS, I started the mac holding down the option key again. While holding the Control key, I chose to boot into macOS, which also made macOS the default startup disk.

Enable TouchID for sudo #

Add auth sufficient in /etc/pam.d/sudo.

Set Timezone to GMT #

I am frustrated to dealing with timezones. Why not everyone use UTC+0?

sudo systemsetup -settimezone GMT

And got a -99 error. But it seems that the timezone has changed to GMT.

; sudo systemsetup -gettimezone
Time Zone: GMT

For safety, I untick the "Set time zone automatically using current location" option in "System Preferences > Date & Time > Time Zone".

Install Homebrew #

The Homebrew installer script will install Command Line Tools for Xcode automatically.

After installation, turn off analytics:

brew analytics off

With all the software I need listed in ~/.Brewfile, I typed brew bundle --global to install them all.

Install ExtFS #

I tried to install Paragon ExtFS for ext{2,3,4} read/write support via homebrew:

brew install paragon-extfs

Homebrew reports the installation succeeded, but I can not find the extF application. Thus I manually opened the installer in /usr/local/Caskroom/paragon-extfs/latest/ to install ExtFS. I allowed ExtFS in Settings > Security & Privacy, and restarted the system as ExtFS installer required. After that, I tried mounting a ext4 removable drive and succeeded.

Keyboard #

In System Preference > Keyboard > Modifier Keys, Control and Command keys can be swapped. However, under the terminal I'd like to use the classical ctrl prefixed shortcuts, thus I swapped them back again. As far as I know, iTerm2 is the only terminal emulator with this option.

I also installed AltTab to switch applications with alt-tab.

By the way, OS X has native system-wide support for some Emacs keybinds, e.g.

Command Key
beginning-of-line ^a
end-of-line ^e
previous-line ^p
next-line ^n
forward-char ^f
backward-char ^b
delete-char ^d
backward-delete-char ^h
transpose-char ^t
kill-line ^k
yank-line ^y
insert-line ^o
page-down ^v
recenter ^l

And there are some keybinds slightly different the orignal Emacs keybinds:

Mouse #

Unselect "Scroll direction: Natural" in System Preferences > Mouse. (The direction may be natural to touch screens, but it is not natural for mouses at all.)

Trackpad #

Select "Tap to click" in System Preferences > Trackpad.

Lock Screen #

Press Control+Shift+Power to turn off and lock screen. Alternatively, you can put the Screen Lock icon on touch bar (System Preference > Keyboard > Touch Bar) or configures hot corners.

Turn off Internal Display #

When the power adapter is connected:

  1. Close the lid to put laptop to sleep.
  2. Reactivate laptop via external input devices, e.g. keyboard.

Tiling #

Long press the restore button, then select tiling in drop-down menu.

Another way is activating mission control. Then move one window to another full screen window in another virtual desktop.

Drag the edge between two tiling windows to adjust the size of the two windows at the same time.

Virtual Desktops #

Press Ctrl-Left/Right to switch among virtual desktops.

Press Ctrl-Up/Down to show an overview of desktops or go back to normal mode.

Finder #

By default, ~/Library is hidden. To reveal it in Finder temporarily, hold the Option key, then click the Go menu, and the Library folder is revealed in the dropdown menu.

To permanently reveal the Library folder in Finder, run the following command:

chflags nohidden ~/Library/

BTW, most applications' user configuration files are in ~/Library/Application Support.

Safari #

To enable developer tools, select "Show Develop menu in menu bar" in Safari > Preferences > Advanced. You can also change the default encoding to UTF-8.

There are several vi shortcuts extensions for safari, for example, sVim.

sVim can be configured via sVimrc via the extension settings in Safari. I mapped d and D to close and undo close tab:

" Shortcuts

map "d" quit
map "shift+d" lastClosedTab

Google #

Google accounts can be added to the Besides gmail, other osx applications can also sync with Google account:

Chinese Input Method #

I use the built-in Double Pinyin Input Method. The built-in input method uses Caps to switch between English and Chinese mode. This is consistent with JIS keyboard layouts. For JIS keyboards without a dedicated alphanumeric key, usually pressing CapsLock is used to enter alphanumeric mode.