This note describes the steps I take when setting up a new Mac. This process could be mostly automated, but I can’t get myself to do it. It takes me around 90 minutes to go through all the steps. Let’s get started!

Files to Import

  • .gitconfig
  • .zshrc

Apps to Install

Apps marked with “🌕” emoji are optional (it depends if it’s a work or a personal Mac).

App Store


  • HomeBrew
  • Alfred
    • Disable both shortcuts for Spotlight
    • Import preferences from /Users/$USER/Library/Application Support/Alfred/Alfred.alfredpreferences
    • Set global shortcut (⌘+Space)
    • Enable Clipboard History
    • Enable Features -> Snippets “Automatically expand snippets by keyword”
    • Enable Features -> Web Bookmarks -> Safari Bookmarks
  • Alfred workflows
    • Install node via homebrew (brew install node)
    • Install alfred-xcode

Make sure Alfred has all preferences enabled. Bear Notes workflow might require rosetta (softwareupdate --install-rosetta).

Dock Layout

System Preferences Settings

  • Set desktop background


  • Set accent color

Language & Region

  • Set English (United States) as primary language

I simply can’t stand Trash being called Bin.


  • Set display resolution


  • Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Use keyboard navigation to move focus between controls

This setting enables option selection with the Tab key.

  • Map Caps Lock to Esc

It’s a setting I got used to because of MacBooks with Touch Bar circa ~2016. Back then, Macs did not have the physical Escape key. Mapping it to the Caps Lock key was one of the solutions.


  • Trackpad -> Point & Click -> Tap to click
  • Trackpad -> Point & Click -> Tracking Speed (increase)


  • Change machine’s name

Login Password

  • Enable “Use Apple Watch to unlock you applications and you Mac”

Security & Privacy

  • Disable “Password Autofill”
  • Add fingers to Touch ID


  • Set Login Items


Content Blockers

I’ve been using this service for a few months. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a cloud-based privacy and security-focused DNS resolver that blocks ads, trackers, and malware while providing advanced analytics and customization options.

Archive Utility

  • Preferences -> After expanding: move to trash


  • Enable message forwarding on iPhone
  • Enable iCloud sync


Use steps from Manually sections

  • Install autosuggestions link

brew install zsh-syntax-highlighting

  • Install syntax highlighting link

brew install zsh-autosuggestions


  • Move to right
  • Adjust zoom and size
  • Rearrange apps
  • Enable “Show Percentage”


  • Take all accounts online
  • Rename and rearrange


  • Rearrange sidebar
  • Set “Search the current folder”
  • “Show path bar” (it’s in the menu bar)
  • Enable “Snap to grid” (right click on empty Desktop, Show View Options -> Sort By -> Snap to Grid)
  • Disable “Show warning before removing from iCloud Drive
  • Set Preferences -> General -> New Finder windows show … -> Desktop

Time Machine

  • Create backup


That’s it. That’s the entire setup process. I know there are tools to automate ~90% of it. I plan to do it someday. In the meantime, my next project is to automate syncing things like Alfred preferences and system settings across all of my Macs. Fingers crossed, I’ll sit down and do it this summer!