Clean install of OS X


I’m not sure there are many people who do a clean install of OS X these days, but I’m still a fan of a clean start every once in a while. Today was that day when I re-installed OS X Mojave on a clean disk.

These are my set-up notes. I’d welcome feedback, comments and suggestions.

The Install

  • Encrypted APFS is not the default, select it
  • Don’t use iCloud for Desktop and Documents
  • Don’t enable feedback or crash reports for Apple
  • Don’t allow your AppleID to reset your password
  • Safari: starts with new private window
  • Safari: new tabs/windows show empty page
  • Safari: Clear history after one week
  • Safari: show full address in smart search box
  • Desktop: screensaver after 5 mins
  • Dock: right, auto-hide
  • Dock: one size above the smallest
  • Security: require password after 5 minutes
  • Security: enable firewall
  • Finder: show file extensions
  • Finder: remove from trash after 30 days
  • Finder: keep folders on top
  • Finder: search this folder
  • Finder: hide everything from the desktop
  • Finder: open home folder by default
  • Photos: enable iCloud photos

Essential Applications

  1. 1Password & Safari extension (link)
  2. Dropbox - disable notifications (link)
  3. Alfred (link)
  4. iTerm2 (link)
  5. VSCode (link)
  6. Homebrew (link)
  7. Go* (link)
  8. VSCode Go extension* (link)
  9. Magnet (link)
  10. GPG (link)

At this point I was able to commit a productive change to a project I’ve been working on and push it to GitHub.

  1. Freedome VPN (link)
  2. Hugo* (link)
  3. Spotify (link)
  4. Things (link)
  5. Docker (link)
  6. Python3 (link)
  7. Chrome (link)
  8. BarTender (link)
  9. Arduino (link)

* Note: these items are specific to particular projects or languages that I’m working on. They are my essentials, but probably wouldn’t make the cut on a generic list.


I always put Alfred in my list of essentials, but realise that’s a matter of preference


i just finished this:


Thanks for that, discovered a couple of new things in there that I’m going to try using:

  • ReadKit (or equivalent)
  • Brew Bundle
  • Cleaning up the Services menu

Always nice to discover a fellow Pinboard user.


This is definitely a WIP, I need to add the config files, and update the Atom plugins.
Here’s my dev software list

Chrome plugins


I just got a new computer so this entire forum post is amazing, thanks!


I don’t think I’ve installed anything else other than homebrew packages since. Was there anything missing?


Two additional things I did which helped a lot:

1/ I copied over the contents of my ~/.ssh folder into an external hard drive and cp -red it into the new computer.

2/ I had to manually install pip ( and the request library. But that’s Python-specific, heh.


I do something very similar to (1).

On (2), I think a whole document could be dedicated to getting Python set up on a Mac.