How to Setup A Mac

Morning Coffee 117: July 8th, 2024

Good morning. Just finished making a coffee and logging more details about last night’s dream in Apple Journal. If you ever wake up and remember your dream, I highly recommend writing it down somewhere. This week’s newsletter is a long one, breaking down how I setup a Mac. Time for breakfast and work. As always, I hope this letter finds you well.

Table of Contents

  1. Intro
  2. Table of Contents
  3. How to Setup a Mac
  4. Appearance
  5. Dock
  6. Dark/Light
  7. Heavyweights
  8. Foundational
  9. Previously
  10. Outro

How to Setup A Mac

In this week’s newsletter, I’d like to explain how I setup a Mac. I like to keep things as simple as possible. I hope this guide helps you do the same.


For wallpapers, I download Unsplash Wallpapers. This gives me beautiful wallpapers that rotate each day. When I come across one I really like, I usually set it aside for the newsletter, for those weeks when I don’t have a personal photo to share.


For the Dock, there’s a few settings that I change immediately. The first thing I do is remove almost all the apps from the Dock. All but the few that I use daily.

Next, I right click on the dock and go into Dock settings. In there I change a few things:

  • Turn on Minimize windows into application icon”
  • Turn off Show indicators for open applications”
  • Turn off Show suggested and recent apps in Dock”


For Dark and Light Mode, I have two shortcuts that help me instantly switch when needed:

Inside of the Shortcuts app, I add those two shortcuts to the dock, but then remove them from the dock right after. This makes them searchable without being visible.

Now, I either type Cmd+Space Dark or Cmd+Space Light and then press enter, and the Mac now goes light or dark. There might even be an easier way to do this, but this is what works for me.


The heavyweights are the two apps I use every day: Ulysses is my writing app, and Things 3 is my task manager. I’ve been using these the two apps for so many years now, and I couldn’t imagine using anything else when trying to tackle big projects.


As far as native apps, there’s only a handful that I use. Safari, Apple Notes, Photos, Finder, Freeform, Weather, and GarageBand.

In Safari, there’s two apps that I use. PiPifier and Downie. PiPifier allows me to open have a video playing in the bottom corner of the screen at all times. Downie allows me to quickly download a YouTube video.

There’s also a few apps that I download right away to make the Mac easier to use:

BetterSnapTool lets me drag an app to the top of the screen and that causes the app to snap into the very center of the screen, with a clean space on all side. This keeps all the apps in a uniformed clean look.

Alfred 5 is my favorite way to search the Mac. I replace the built-in Spotlight feature with Alfred, making it so cmd+space opens up Alfred to search. Spotlight is probably good enough for most people, but I like how clean I can get Alfred to look.

Bartender hides all the apps in the menu bar, putting them behind a little arrow. This gives the top of the screen a much cleaner look.

And last, Unnatural Scroll Wheel is one I found, if you use both a trackpad and a mouse, it helps scroll the right way.


  • July: On July 1st, I wrote about journaling.

  • June: On June 24th, I wrote about our time in Destin. On June 17th, I wrote about how to pack for a vacation. On June 10th, I wrote about how to make your iPhone screen dimmer. On June 3rd, I wrote about a new Reeder app.

  • May: On May 27th, I wrote about how I packed for a weekend vacation. On May 20th, I wrote about my new Gameboy. May 13th was a big recap of Kendrick v Drake. And on May 5th, I showed off the arcade machine we built.

This is Morning Coffee: a weekly newsletter that arrives in your inbox every Monday morning. I write about productivity, technology, and cool things I find on the internet. Buy me a coffee to keep it going.

Built an arcade cabinet. Made 100 coffees in a row. Released two books on Amazon. Celebrating Rose turning two. Working from home for a big company. Last updated: June 26th, 2024.

Morning Coffee

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