Automate setting up new Macs
I recently erased my MacBook Pro to set it up fresh, then soon after, got a work laptop. Setting up a new Mac, with all the tools one needs as a developer, is a nontrivial process, & ripe for automation.
After being a longtime fan of the Thoughtbot Laptop project to automate installation of various development tools, I wanted to customize it. I forked the project to set up all the tools I use, enable hidden files on macOS, & then documented the manual steps I take as well. Since I continue to update that project, check out its README for an up-to-date list of what it sets up, but it includes Homebrew, Git, Node, Yarn, Ruby, & a ton of other developer tools.
My macOS setup process
During setup, skip Siri & Screen Time, enable all the other default settings
In System Preferences, turn on DND, 5:00am–4:59am (then Cmd-drag DND out of the menu bar)
In the Keyboard settings:
- Modifier Keys. Remap Caps Lock to Escape
- Customize Control Strip. Remove Siri, add Sleep
- Shortcuts. Enable "Use keyboard navigation"
- Input Sources. Disable "Show Input menu in menu bar"
Download my Laptop script & execute it:curl --remote-name https://raw.githubusercontent.com/lachlanjc/laptop/main/macsh mac 2>&1 | tee ~/laptop.log
In the Internet Accounts settings, add Google account
In the Sharing settings, set the computer name
In the Security & Privacy settings:
- Enable "Use your Apple Watch to unlock"
- Enable Zoom’s components to allow screensharing
Download Craft, iA Writer, Things, Drafts, Dato, & Xcode from the App Store
Open 1Password, sign in, enable its default settings
In Safari settings:
- Enable Extensions > 1Password
- Enable Advanced > Show full website address
- Enable Advanced > Show Develop menu in menu bar
In FaceTime settings (Cmd-,), disable "Calls From iPhone"
- Configure Prettier as the default formatter, set its formatting settings
- Turn up default text size
- Disable View > Appearance > Show Activity Bar
Install fonts (mine are stored in iCloud Drive)
Set up code folders (
~/src, then grouped by GitHub org)
srcto Finder sidebar
- Switch Finder to Column view
Before I factory reset my Mac
(Note: I’ve only used Intel Macs. Not sure if anything is different on M1 machines.)
- Back up the whole computer. (I use the Samsung T3/T5 drives, alongside ChronoSync since it verifies checksums after backing up, but I know people like SuperDuper as well. Time Machine works in a pinch, as does dragging your user folder to the drive in Finder.)
- Because one is none & to make it easier to bring the files you need to the new OS installation, copy the files you want to migrate to another drive as well. For me, I just dragged my code folder (
~/src) to a secondary drive, since that’s what’s really valuable on my Mac. (I have some old projects that aren’t on GitHub.)