Terminal

How to add custom text to a Mac login screen

Today I’ll show you a simple little modification, one which will allow you to display a custom message on your Mac’s login screen. The text can be any custom string of text of your choosing, and could provide essential information to users on shared machines, or simply greet you when you start up the computer.

How to change the default search scope in Finder

You may have noticed when opening a Finder window to search for a file that the default setting is to search through the entire Mac. Although this may be precisely what many people want to do, I personally tend to find myself clicking again to refine my search to the current folder.

This guide will outline the simple process to customise the default scope for Finder window searches, so that you no longer have to trawl through your full hard drive for a file which you know is in the folder you’ve already navigated to.

How to show basic system information on your Mac login screen

If you’re one of those who love to tweak every little facet of their Mac experience, then this guide is for you. It brings several system information items such as computer name, your current IP address, and your macOS version right to your login screen where they can be easily referenced.

For this modification, all we will need is the Terminal application and a few minutes, so let’s get started!

How to show the expanded Save dialog by default on Mac

By default, the behaviour of macOS upon saving a file is to open a simple dialog window, with only a single drop-down menu showing possible save locations. These locations can vary based on the program settings, your most-used save location, or your last-used save location.

Although this is fine for quickly saving documents to common folders such as Documents or Downloads, it is cumbersome to use the drop-down menu when saving regularly to multiple hard drives and previously unused nested folders. Luckily, there is a way to always show a full file browser in the save dialog for more granular control.

How to SSH into your device from a Mac and change your root password

Sometimes it is necessary to connect to your mobile device from a computer, for troubleshooting purposes or to use a tool which runs from the computer. For example, tihmstar’s Prometheus suite downgrades your device by sending commands to it from the computer on which it, and the files it uses, are stored. The connection used to do this is called SSH, and is normally provided by the OpenSSH package (or an equivalent client such as Dropbear).

In this guide we will show you how to use SSH to connect to your device from your computer. We will also go through how to change the default passwords on your device, because once you have installed OpenSSH, anyone can log in using the default passwords if you do not change them. This is a major security risk, and so everyone who has OpenSSH installed should follow this procedure.

How to fix TinyUmbrella v9.3.4 crashing on launch

Many jailbreakers will be familiar with the program TinyUmbrella, which has traditionally been one of the best ways to save SHSH blobs for their iOS devices onto their Macs for safekeeping. What SHSH blobs are, their function, and how to save them is outside the scope of this article, (I will put something together soon on this), but suffice to say that saving these blobs is of some importance to many jailbreakers and that TinyUmbrella has been the go-to application for doing so for a long while.

Whilst the application was updated as recently as August by its creator Semaphore, many Mac users (myself included) have noted that the new version, 9.3.4, gives an error on launch and cannot be used at all. This guide will walk you through the fix to get your umbrella back up again on Mac, so you can carry on wishfully saving those blobs.

How to enable AirDrop file transfers between unsupported Macs and over Ethernet

The AirDrop file transfer protocol, introduced with Mac OS X Lion and iOS 7, is a fast and convenient way to transfer files between Apple devices. The current version of the service is interoperable between iOS and macOS, but requires both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to be active in order to work. It also requires Mac OS X Yosemite or newer and a hardware model from 2012 or later.

However, the version of AirDrop that shipped as standard with OS X between 10.7 (Lion) and 10.9 (Mavericks), whilst unable to send files to iOS devices, works without Bluetooth and on Mac models going back as far as 2008. Luckily, alongside the newer version, this legacy mode is still included on all Mac models to date, and as this guide will show, can be modified to have an even broader functionality.

How to hide mounted volumes from your desktop and the Finder

We’ve already covered how to completely prevent partitions from mounting under macOS but, as one iDB reader pointed out, sometimes you want a partition mounted and ready to use but still want the benefit of it not cluttering up your desktop and the Finder sidebar.

The example our reader enquired about was Time Machine, and that really is a perfect case in point. Many people want their Time Machine partition constantly mounted and backing up throughout the day but don’t need it to be visible at all. Finder’s preferences allow for hiding all volumes from the desktop but offer no control on a volume-by-volume basis, and though drives can be manually removed from the Finder window sidebar, this is an inelegant extra step and the drives still show elsewhere.

Luckily, there is a way to leave specific volumes mounted whilst hiding them from both the desktop and the entirety of the Finder in one fell swoop.

How to extend Quick Look preview functionality on your Mac

If you’re not familiar with the Quick Look feature on macOS, try selecting a picture, folder, or text document on your computer and pressing the space bar. The rich preview that pops up is Quick Look working its magic. Apple introduced Quick Look in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and it has since gained support for many more file types natively, such as Microsoft Office and Adobe Suite documents.

I use it daily and it has become an automatic part of my workflow, a natural response to wanting to inspect a file without waiting for a program to launch and without leaving off what I’m doing.

However, the problem that Quick Look faces is support. It requires a plugin for each file type it can preview, and out-of-the-box only a handful are supplied. More obscure file types are neglected, and display only a blank pane with the file icon, name, size, and date modified. In this guide, I will detail how to add plugins to Quick Look for a richer and more useful preview experience.

How to prevent partitions from mounting when you boot up, log in, or connect drives to your Mac

With the exception of partitions in unreadable formats and certain hidden partitions such as EFI and Recovery HD, the default behaviour of macOS is to mount all partitions of a drive on boot-up, login, or on connecting an external drive.

Whilst this behaviour is useful for the novice or for those connecting a single USB stick to copy some files, it can become unwieldy and even annoying if you have many multi-partitioned drives attached to your Mac.

For example, my desktop Hackintosh has three internal drives, each with at least two partitions, and one of these drives is not even needed when booted under macOS – it is for Windows 10 and Linux. Add to this a couple of external hard drives with partitions for storage, OS installers and Time Machine backups for other computers, and your desktop and Finder sidebar can begin to look a real mess. It also takes time for the drives to mount on every boot and unmount on sleep or shutdown.

This guide will detail how to ensure only the drives of your choosing mount automatically, leaving the rest unmounted within macOS.

Force quit not working on your Mac? Try this

When an app is dragging its feet on your Mac, you can force quit the app and try opening it again and usually this clears the problem. On the other hand, there can sometimes be circumstances where even trying to force quit an app doesn’t seem to work. Bummer, right?

If you’re having trouble trying to force quit an app on your Mac, we’ve got some ideas you can try to kill that app and re-launch it.

How to stop the new MacBook Pro from automatically turning on when the lid is open

Aside from the marquee Touch Bar feature and other hardware advances, the new MacBook Pro introduces a tweaked boot process where the machine automatically starts up when you open its lid or connect it to power. To avoid forcing users to listen to the startup chime every time they open the lid, Apple’s also decided to disable the boot chime on the new notebook by default (you can easily re-enable it).

But what about the mentioned auto-boot features? Unfortunately, Apple does not provide user-facing switches in System Preferences to control the new boot on power and boot on lid capability. With a little help from Terminal and smart folks over at Pingie, you can manually stop the late-2016 MacBook Pro from automatically powering on when you lift the lid or connect it to a power adapter or an external display.

How to bring back the classic boot chime on the new MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro has ditched the iconic boot chime that’s been a signature part of the Mac startup process over the last 17 years. Pingie discovered that the sound is not gone entirely. Apple’s just disabled it and it’s possible to bring it back should you want. In this quick tutorial, we’ll show you how to re-enable the boot chime on your late-2016 MacBook Pro with a simple Terminal command.

How to disable the startup tone on your Mac

Whenever you turn on your Mac, you typically hear a startup tone just before your computer boots up. The tone is there to let you know your computer has passed a pre-boot test and its hardware is working properly.

Some people, however, prefer to boot up their computers in silence. If you’re one of those people, we’ll show you in this tutorial how you can disable the start-up tone on your Mac.