Anyone who has tried finding and optimising settings on their Mac will know what a pain it can be. Is it safe? If I change something will it break anything? Am I doing this right? How will I fix it?

It’s for this reason that we built an easy to use Mac utility that helps you safely change some of those annoying default settings. Rest assured, we’ve only included settings that we felt were relatively safe to modify.

Meet Arthur - the straight forward Mac preference pane application. Grab it here.

In this post we take a look at what Arthur can do and also provide the commands Arthur is executing.

1. Show all hidden and system files on this Mac (includes .DS_Store, .git etc)

There are many hidden files on you Mac that you don’t generally need, but sometimes you need to access those hidden files. Arthur helps you find see all those hidden files and directories in Finder.

The command is:

> defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES

2. Make the ~/Library directory visible

Your ~/Library directory is hidden by default, but there are times when you need to access it. e.g. when Microsoft Word keeps crashing and you are looking for the microsoft.Word.prefs.plist. file. True story!

In this case, Arthur doesn't run a special command in the background, but rather sets properties on the ~/Library directory to make sure it's visible to you.

3. Show all file extensions in Finder (eg. design.psd, hipster.dmg)

Finder’s default setting is to not show file extensions, which is a little annoying when you find yourself having to change a file extension.

The command is:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleShowAllExtensions -bool true

4. Turn off the warning dialogue when you change file extensions

If you know what you are doing when you sitting behind your Mac, this safety feature can be an irritation. Arthur helps you turn off the warning dialogue box that asks you to confirm that you really do want to change that file extension.

The command is:

> defaults write FXEnableExtensionChangeWarning -bool true

5. Show the full path bar in the Finder window

We suspect that the converts from Windows find the lack of this setting perplexing. Arthur helps these folks feel more at home. When the setting is enabled it adds the path at the bottom of the Finder window.

The command is:

> defaults write ShowPathbar -bool true

6. Show the full POSIX path as the Finder window title

By default Finder only shows you the name of the current directory as it's title. For some it is useful to see the full path to the directory they are in.

The command is:

> defaults write _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool true

7. Disable smart quotes and dashes globally

Smart quotes is the function of replacing curly quotes with the straight alternative. Word processors love curly quotes, the web - not so much. The issue of copying and pasting from a word processor to the web is fixed with the flick of a switch.

This function runs two commands consecutively:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticQuoteSubstitutionEnabled -bool false
> defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticDashSubstitutionEnabled -bool false

8. Disable auto-correct globally on this Mac

We suspect auto-correct contributes to our population’s divorce rate. As a public service we added a feature to disable auto-correct completely.

The command is:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticSpellingCorrectionEnabled -bool false

9. Automatically hide the dock on your Mac

Some people like to use the additional space taken up by the dock. Arthur provides a quick way to hide it.

The command is:

> defaults write autohide -bool true

10. Disable the warning when emptying your trash

We know people who store files in their trash, so it can be reviewed or restored at a later time. This setting is not for those people. It puts them in grave danger. But if you are the kind of person that means business when you empty your trash, this setting is for you. The warning Mac gives you every single time, goes away.

The command is:

> defaults write WarnOnEmptyTrash -bool false

11. Do not create .DS_Store files on network mounted drives

Your Mac creates hidden files called .DS_Store inside directories to save custom directory attributes. You don't need these files on network drives and Arthur helps make that hassle-free.

The command is:

> defaults write DSDontWriteNetworkStores -bool true

12. For the Programmers - set a blazing fast keyboard repeat rate

Your keyboard repeat rate is set for the average person on the street. Changing this setting to make it faster, makes typing feel faster. Go ahead, try it!

The command is:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain KeyRepeat -int 0

13. Enable subpixel font rendering on non-Apple LCDs

All monitors are not created equal. Sometimes you need to tweak it to get the best results. We've found that enabling this setting results in an amazing improvement to the font display.

The command is:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

14. Save documents to disk instead of iCloud by default

iCloud is great, but many people still prefer their old workflows to save documents. This setting turns off your Mac's default behaviour to try and save files to iCloud.

The command is:

> defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSDocumentSaveNewDocumentsToCloud -bool false

One Final Note

We have built Arthur to be safe to use and it should reverse any settings when you toggle the switches. Naturally we can't cater for every possibility and thus the use of the software is at your own risk. As with most things in digital, always make backups before fiddling with your machine.

Grab your copy here and give it a bash.