How to Tweak Mac OS X

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There are arguments claiming that Mac OS X is not configurable, and that Windows is a Power-Users’ dream come true. That could have been the case way back before OS X. However, Macs have been “tweakable” for years.

My favorite website for finding Mac OS X tweaks is Mac OS X Hints. Every day they post things that all Power Users love. I admit, some of it goes over my head. However, much of it is a lot of help to me. This site is one you would send to Windows users when they claim that OS X is not configurable. I want to share a few of my favorite Mac tweaks with you now.

MainMenu is full of powerful maintenance tools to keep your Mac running like new, within a slick, simple interface. Rebuilding your Spotlight library for faster searching, repairing permissions, cleaning caches to improve application performance, and even more advanced settings – such as enabling and disabling the Dashboard – are no more than two clicks away.

TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system. The tool makes sure that preference changes can only affect the current user. You don’t need administrative privileges to use the tool. With this design, it is no problem to use TinkerTool in professional networks where users have restricted permissions. The program will never change any component of the operating system, so the integrity of your system is not put at risk, and there will be no negative effect on system updates.

MacPilot is your digital savior. Easily enable and disable hidden features in Mac OS X, optimize and repair your system, and perform numerous routine maintenance operations with the click of a button! Optimize your network for broadband connectivity, completely customize Apple File Sharing, perform essential maintenance without having to remember mind boggling acronyms, and much more.

What are your favorite tweaks and customizations for your Mac? Leave a follow-up comment on this video, or email them to me at [email protected]


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74 thoughts on “How to Tweak Mac OS X”

  1. “how do you become a director?”

    Doesn’t really matter. They no longer offer that type of Director Account. There are other sites though where you can post videos as long as you like.

  2. No, that’s an exclusive feature that can’t be changed.

    I don’t know why you would want it off the menubar (hints the name), that saves the pixel space the menu would generate.

  3. That’s in the live feed, it just follows onto the recorded stream.

    It would be a hassle to disable it when he records, which is roughly 5 times a day.


  4. You honestly think that Mac OS X is such a terrible OS that Apple deliberately left a gigantic hole in it? It was probably patched in the latest Mac OS X update anyways. So what’s this “huge hole”? I really wanna know so I can prove you wrong and verbally abuse you for a couple hours.

  5. 1. IP’s can be changed in seconds. I can do it in 2 minutes on this Windows box I’m using right now.
    2. The firewall would probably block their attempt anyways.
    3. You know UNIX commands? Good luck getting very far.
    4. An IP doesn’t mean shit. Just because you see the door doesn’t mean you can get inside.

  6. You can change your IP by releasing it and shutting off your internet for however long I think. I know a security hole but I’m not telling anyone. It will take forever for anyone to figure out the flaw and by the time they do, they can’t reverse the damage I have already done! MWAHAHAHAHA

  7. Meh. It sounds like you just found some random ass shit off Google and copied and pasted it into notepad and hid it for safekeeping. It probably just involves deleting critical system files which could be reversed with Carbon Clone Copy or Time Machine anyways. You won’t explain this retarded “security hole” because you know that I know about Mac OS X security features and such.

  8. one word: “workflow”

    because if I have my app on the second monitor I would need to go to that monitor to select the app to “generate” that menubar on my main monitor, then go back to my main monitor to do whatever I need to do, then go back to the second monitor and so on and so forth

    I don’t see how you preffer to move your mouse all over the screen from top to bottom all the time just to save some pixels…

  9. The myth that MacOS is not “tweakable” just blows me away. Not only has it been configurable for a looong time, it’s configurability and personalizability surpasses Windows by far.

    Using IE and Firefox for several years, I recently download Safari and personalized it to the point I’m certain you could guess my favorite foods and movies just by looking at my configuration.

    MacPilot FTW.

  10. Being a Windows power user now on a Mac, I am looking forward to tweaking OS X and seeing what it can do. Having been a Windows user since the early 90’s, I am new to Mac’s and can’t wait to see what’s under the hood.

    I look forward to using some of these programs to tweak OS X and make it “my own”.

  11. OK Chris I get it. I got it months ago. You love your OS 10, and good for you, but didn’t subscribe to Windows Fanatics to hear about OS 10 and how much you love it or what you can do with it. I know what I’d like to do with it, but that’s another story.

  12. Thanks for the link chris I have been looking for somthing like this to tweak lepord thank you chris and keep up the good work.

  13. I think that the Mac doesn’t need to be configured because all of the hardware is standard, and for me the only OS which is fully configurable is not Windows but Linux, especially Ubuntu.
    But good look with your MAC pro, it’s a nice machine.

  14. I got chance to tweak with my new Mac. I got my Mac a couple of days ago. And I love it. I set up the dual monitors everything. Thanx for your help dude.

  15. Thanks for the tips chris I use Mac OS X as my main operating system and I have used some of the applications that you mentioned, like tinker tool, but I have not used all of them like Mac Pilot and will check them out thanks.

  16. The mainmenu software looks pretty cool. Though a question that i want to ask is, if i download it on pc, can it do harm?

  17. I prefer Quicksilver. It has the ultimate functionality, and essentially allows one to not use their dock or the file manager.

  18. This is another thing that pisses me off when people bash Macs…
    They say that it’s not customizable.. WRONG
    They say that you can’t play games… WRONG
    They say that it can’t do everything a PC can… WRONG
    They say that its a hard switch over to Mac… WRONG
    Anyone got anything else to say about Macs?
    -KY_Wildcat. =)

  19. I think this is really cool because of the large fight over apple and microsoft
    a lot of people think “oh windows is better you can tweak it” will thay can not
    say that any more because of the wide verity of OS X tweaking software no longer can the windows user say windows is better its all the same thing.

  20. Chris this helped me alot with my Grandpa’s machine and helped me figure out a lot of issues with it too. This is what makes me keep returning everyday for more and more help with technology.

  21. Hey Chris Nice Blog Man. I Use A Lot Of Mac Tweaks My Self. Some Of Them Are MainMenu, Mac Pilot And Tinker Tool Are Some Of The Better Tweaks For OS X I Use Them Daily On A Mac Book Pro. Mac OS X Hints Is One Of My Daily Used Sites I’m Always Up To Date With The Mac Software. But Thanks A Lot Chris For Another Very Nice Blog And I’ll Be In Chat As Normal.
    I’ll See Ya Soon

  22. i love these programs they help me fine agust my system so it works with me , thanks for letting me no 😀

  23. Unix not configurable???

    What a joke.

    Even Lloyd Case from Ziff Davis wrote something like this. You’ll have to search to find the exact quote. I read it a year ago or longer. I would think he would be more knowledgeable than that.

    Unix’ configurability is legendary.


  24. Hey Chris

    Have you tried Clix. It’s great for tweaking OS X without recourse to the command line. Available on versiontracker or from

  25. i find max osx hints to be very helpfull.

    but i find that just playing with your mac, and not being scared to go into it, the best way to reavel some sweet tweaks.

  26. Hey Chris, Thanks for posting this, I never thought you could tweak a Mac. I’ll have to try these things out. 🙂

    -Sam (TheCellist42)

  27. I believe that there is no need to tweak Mac OS X. Unlike windows, It is very hard to find something that you are not satisfied with in the Operating System. In windows, there are thousands of things that it cannot do and do things that annoy you, therefore people feel the need to tweak it. Also, it is very rare to find something really really great on MacOSXhints. This is a great site, but most of these tweaks are very small and are not very helpful. In conclusion, there is no need to tweak Mac OS X

  28. Macs are the best and i am thinking to by one macbook pro but i dont have the monney now i think they are to expencive at this time and the performance must be more i think for this money.

  29. Here’s a tweak for Safari that I think is pretty cool:

    Whenever you open Safari the blue bar in the URL shows the page loading progress.
    To change this to a pie chart indicator, enter this in the Terminal:

    defaults write DebugUsePieProgressIndicator -bool true

  30. Hey thanks chris for the website I had been looking for a website like this recently to tweak leopard


  31. Thanks alot chris these were gret im so glad we got you on our side us apple fanboys couldnt be happier lol

  32. TinkerTool is pretty good, but as Chris said either test it out on a test machine or see what other users have done. It will save you tons of time, trust me!!!! Curiosity can kill the cat!

  33. I’m kind of lost on what you mean about “tweaks” do you mean like the look, or just like personalizing the way it works? This whole “professional” way of using computer is confusing me, but that’s why I’m here–I want to learn more about this stuff! But I hope I can get a Macbook if I get all A’s. I’m working hard for it.

  34. Thanks a bunch, i never know i could tweak os x without a registry key. But i still dont want to buy the program.

  35. Thanks Chris this actually helped me with my Mac Because it used to be Junk Filled! This is actually the Best Tweak Page youve made it actually seems a hastle to keep your pc up to date. You have to have alot of time on your clock to actually tune your pc.

  36. Thanks for the programs, TinkerTool is very nice. Like the suck in animation. But does anyone know what happened to the ability to change the dock in 10.5.2? Nothing works now.

  37. Thanks for the tips! Ive been reading a lot about mac tips/tweaks because Im looking to make the switch this summer!

  38. back in 2007 I never knew there was a Mac I knew there was Apple cause I saw the Ipod but I never knew there was a Mac.

    In late 2007 I found out about Mac and more about apple at first I never liked it because I saw someone do a Mac vs PC video and he was bashing on widows saying it was crap and I started bashing on the Mac.

    Now I like all operating systems equaly I still prefer Windows but if I ever get the money to get a Mac I will just to try it out. I used Ubuntu but I never liked it.

  39. Do I hate the Mac today, no there is alot of features in Leopard that I really like like spaces there are more I just caint think of them. Now on Ubuntu I installed it but I like the interface and the cube 3d thing but migrating from Windows to this is not a good Idea it will not recognize my sound or video files so I dumbed and went back to Vista Ultimate which has gave me 0 BSOD’s or any other problem so I will stick with Windows till I can get a Mac but they are a bit expensive for me.

  40. 2.For anything that you can not find because it is hiden in the menus’ there is a search at the help menu that it will find it instandly for you. And defintely is different from the ordinary search that windows also have).

  41. I can backup my registry after Ive changed it on windows. Is this possible on a Mac? If so, can you please tell me how. Or show me…

  42. Is there a way to make my OSX Snow Leopard desktop (to include the dock) act as a program, namely time machine? It would greatly increase my personal productivity if my applications were not held hostage in the Applications folder or on the dock but rather stacked 3D on my desktop. Using the multi-touch track pad I would be able to essentially scroll or zoom 3D into the depths of the stacked apps to access them. Like a folder on your iPhone except the apps are stacked rather than grid locked. Please inform me if there is a tweak that fits the description. 

  43. Is there a way to make my OSX Snow Leopard desktop (to include the dock) act as a program, namely time machine? It would greatly increase my personal productivity if my applications were not held hostage in the Applications folder or on the dock but rather stacked 3D on my desktop. Using the multi-touch track pad I would be able to essentially scroll or zoom 3D into the depths of the stacked apps to access them. Like a folder on your iPhone except the apps are stacked rather than grid locked. Please inform me if there is a tweak that fits the description. 

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