How I have macOS Set-up

Apps, settings, services, back-ups and tools

It’s always good to have a record and plan for if a machine is out of action. I’ve seen varied successes migrating accounts from machines. The quirks of permissions have often created long term issues.

Here is a run down of how I’ve got my Mac set-up right now.


Favourites is split into three custom folder sections, work personal and commonly used live project (sub)folders. I used a system of [0 Inbox], [1 Projects], [2 Areas], [3 Resources], [4 Archive] to file both work and personal.

Empty folders with a long string of dashes, emoji and name, book end these sections to show start and end. These are empty folders.

Finder Preferences are set to nothing shows on Desktop, no Tags are used, Sidebar has [Recents, Documents, Movies, Music, Pictures and User Home] folders all hidden. They are generally considered unused folders and not covered by a sync application.

Set all of these to True
[Finder > View > Show Path Bar]
[Finder > View > Show Status Bar]
[Finder > View > as Columns]

I use Moon application to control any window position and size, when sorting files this is essential to lock-up two Finder windows side by side on a screen.


The dock is always hidden, set to left view unless, small and has zero permanent applications. All task switching is controlled by Cmd + Tab and Cmd + Option + H for Hide Others to create focused views.


Next phase of this documentation will be getting the data below into a table that’s sortable and filterable. For now, here is a raw list and some basic notes.

  • 1Password 7 – secure password manager
  • Ableton Live 9 Standard – music composer
  • Alfred 3 – keystroke launcher, used for opening apps, workflows
  • AppCleaner – trashes all app folders, p.list, cache
  • Audio Cast for Sonos Speaker – play local music files through Sonos
  • Audio Hijack – capture audio
  • Backup and sync from Google – syncs selective projects to cloud
  • BatchImageResizer – simple image resize app
  • Blackmagic Disk Speed Test – test disk speeds
  • Chill Lite – white noise app
  • Clipgrab – video capture app
  • Clocker – timezone menubar app
  • Contrast – colour picker menubar app
  • CSSEdit – outdated CSS inspector app, I can’t give it up
  • DaisyDisk – disk space analyser, find what’s eating your space
  • Day One – diary app
  • djay Pro – DJ software for Spotify
  • Dropmark – create boards of images
  • Epic Game Launcher – gaming
  • Evernote – primary note database
  • Fantastical – menu bar calendar
  • Firefox – internet browser, to test and check sites
  • GIF Brewery 3 – gif exporter studio
  • GitHub Desktop – version control for coding
  • GoodSync – rsync app with simple interface for most cloud/nas set-ups
  • Google Chrome – browser of choice
  • Handbrake – convert and compress video
  • HEIC Converter – quickly saves down iOS image formats to JPEG
  • Helim – floating window for watching YouTube or local video
  • Helm – interface for blocking websites using .hosts
  • iA Writer – text editor
  • Image2Icon – make your own icons, folder icons
  • ImageOptim – quick compression for images
  • Kindle – read books
  • Loopback – audio re-routing across sound devices, cards, apps
  • MacMediaKeyForwarder – makes your keyboard work with Spotify
  • Macs Fan Control – set a fan speed manually
  • MAMP Pro – run a LAMP set-up locally
  • Menu Bar Controller for Sonos – adjust Sonos in the menu bar
  • MindNode – mind mapping app, taxonomy, brainstorming
  • Music Converter – saves down file formats mp3, wav and more
  • Notion – notes app, still testing if I switch from Evernote
  • Paparazzi! – saves webpages in image formats
  • PDF Squeezer – compresses large PDFs
  • Pocket – article reader for websites
  • RandomNote – loads up a note at random from Evernote database
  • Rotato – create advanced device screenshots
  • ScreenFlow – record and edit screen captures
  • Simple Date Calculator – easy to add/subtract sets of dates
  • Sketch – graphics editor
  • Slack – work messaging app
  • Snap Convertor – set images to batch convert to specific formats
  • Sonos – plays music through our ceiling speakers
  • Soulver 3 – quick maths in a list format
  • Spotify – music streaming
  • Sublime Text – coding editor of choice
  • Tag Editor Free – edit music file meta data
  • Team Viewer – dial into mums computer to fix it
  • TextMate – old coding editor, kept for nostalgia
  • Things – to-do list app
  • Timey 3 – used to set timers for focused sessions of work
  • ToothFairy – menu bar app for switching bluetooth devices
  • Transmit – FTP client
  • VLC – video player
  • xScope – interface tooling
  • Zoom – video calls


Bootable External SSD

I use a Samsung 500GB SSD in a travel caddy case as my personal back-up machine. This is set-up to be a bootable image, enabling me to plug into nearly any Mac, press Option on boot and pick the disk. The disk and interface into the machines appears to be fast enough for everything I use a computer for.