Activating Secret Settings via Typed Commands – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Activating Secret Settings via Typed Commands

Some tips involve typing configuration commands within a Terminal window in order to activate secret or experimental settings. Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid this, but don’t worry—it’s not as difficult as it might sound, and it definitely isn’t dangerous.

Using the command line is surprisingly straightforward. Just type what you see on the page, and then hit Return. Make sure you type the command exactly as it appears, and read through a second time to check. Of course, if you’re reading Mac Kung Fu as an ebook on your Mac,[1] you can simply copy and paste the command straight in.

Most of these commands make changes only to your user account. Other users won’t be affected. Tips that affect the entire system are clearly marked!

After hitting Return when you are typing commands, you won’t see anything like “Command completed!” or “OK.” If you see no feedback, that’s a good sign—it means everything worked. If there’s an error, it probably means you’ve mistyped. OS X is usually clever enough not to make any changes should that happen. Just try again.

Sometimes commands are too long to fit on one line of the book—an inherent limitation of both printed and electronic books. In such a case, the remainder of the line is indented beneath it, and you should type the entire line, hitting Return only at the end of the last line. You should usually type a space after the end of each line that overflows to the next, but it’s always clear when you shouldn’t. Using your common sense will once again provide dividends.

Usually you’ll be shown the command that activates the secret feature discussed in the tip, followed by the command that turns it off again should you want to do so.