Hacks For Mac OS X

The following are some hacks I've found useful for Mac OS X. This isn't meant to be a definitive list but rather a list of reminders to myself of the ones I have used to customize my setup, and shared here in case they are helpful to others. All work with Panther (Mac OS X 10.3) and most also work with Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2).

Invert iTunes arrow link behavior

By default, clicking on the arrows next to the name of the artist, album, etc., takes you to related pages at the iTunes Music Store, whereas option-clicking takes you to related pages within your own music library.

To invert this behavior so it's easier to browse your own library, type in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes invertStoreLinks -bool YES

Safari accidental quit protection

Unlike most applications, Safari doesn't confirm that you want to quit, so you may accidentally close all your open windows if you hit Cmd-Q instead of Cmd-W.

You can avoid this by changing the key sequence equivalent for Quit. For example, to change it to Cmd-Opt-Q, type in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.Safari NSUserKeyEquivalents {"Quit Safari" = "@~Q"; }

Obviously this can be adapted for other commands and other applications. You can learn more at

Change login window background picture

To change the login window's background picture, rename /Library/Desktop Pictures/Aqua Blue.jpg to something like Aqua Blue - original.jpg. Then copy your new background jpg file to this folder and rename it Aqua Blue.jpg.

Add text message to login window

Edit /Library/Preferences/com.apple.loginwindow.plist to include the following lines:

<string>Don't be frightened to display your talents</string>

(You can edit it manually by opening it from within a text editor such as Textedit, or you if you are comfortable with Property List Editor you can open it with that by double-clicking.)

Does anyone know a defaults command to do the same thing? sudo defaults write com.apple.loginwindow LoginwindowText string doesn't work.

Make hidden applications transparent in Dock

Applications that are hidden in the background look the same in the Dock as other running applications. To make them transparent, type in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool yes