What software do you install first on a new computer?

Inspired by this tweet:

chrismessina's avatar
2 years ago

I just shared this with a friend who just bought a new MacBook Pro...! It's kinda rough, but my personal init script...

System Preferences

Security & Privacy

  • Turn on Firewall
  • Turn on FileVault


  • Set computer name


  • Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar


  • Disable Spotlight > Show Spotlight search
  • Disable Screenshots > Save picture of screen as file
  • Disable Screenshots > Save picture of selected area as file

Input Sources

  • Hide Input menu in menu bar


Create Locations
1. Google DNS
3. 2001:4860:4860::8888
4. 2001:4860:4860::8844

  1. Cloudflare DNS
    2. 2606:4700:4700::1111
    3. 2606:4700:4700::1001


Show Volume in menu bar


  • Disable Calendar and Reminders notifications
  • Disable FaceTime notifications
  • Turn on Do Not Disturb:
    • From 11pm to 7am
    • When the display is sleeping
    • When the display is locked
    • When mirroring to TVs and Projectors


  • Turn off FaceTime


  • Disable non-english fonts


Remove Apple apps

My set:

  • 1Password
  • Chrome
  • Brave
  • Spotify
  • Sonos
  • Superhuman
  • Messages
  • Messenger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Slack
  • Things
  • CleanShot X
  • Paper
  • Atom
  • Bear
  • Fantastical

Unsplash Wallpapers
Customize Touch Bar (Under Keyboard)

Configure file storage

  • iCloud
  • Dropbox Download
    • Choose folders to sync
  • Google Drive
  • Time Machine Backups


  • Hide Tags

Communications & Social


  • Enable Develop menu (under Advanced Preferences)
  • Enable 1Password, Rakuten, Bear, 1Blocker, uBlock extensions


  • Day One
  • Bear
  • Rocket
  • TextMate
  • Atom



  • play/pause: ^⌥⌘-\
  • next: ^⌥⌘-left arrow
  • prev: ^⌥⌘-right arrow

  • Enable Show controls in menubar

  • Spotify download

    • Enable high quality streaming
    • Turn off announcements about new releases
    • Turn off Friend Activity
    • Advanced Settings: Don’t launch Spotify after you log into the computer
  • Soundcloud

  • iTunes

    • Turn off “Automatically sync when this phone is connected”
    • Devices > Enable Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically
  • Boom 3D Download or App Store

  • Sonos Download

  • Softorino YouTube Converter



Set Preferences folder to Dropbox location
Features > Default Results > Applications > Options
Turn on “Match Applications’ keywords in default results”
Set up Spotificious


  • Go to Calendar -> General, select Fantastical 2 as default calendar app
  • Go to Birthdays calendar setting and turn off alerts

Fantastical 2



  • Set Text Size to small
  • Disable “Show reminders…”
  • Disable “Show completed reminders”
  • Enable “Show multi-day events in all-day section”
  • Enable “Use color menubar icon” #### Accounts
  • Add Google account
  • Reminders > Disable Show Reminders #### Advanced
  • Open Maps in Google Maps
  • Disable Go to Today after adding items

  • Add Calendar sets


- Set shortcut to ⌘-\
- Launch on Startup
- Install Paste Direct helper


Sign in to June Cloud
Turn on Update in Background
Add deliveries to calendar




Sketch - Download Sketch
* Install Apple iOS UI Library




CleanShot for macOS
- Set Toggle Desktop icons shortcut to ^⌥⌘-\



Security and Identity


Download the installer from here
* Disable Lock 1Password shortcut
* Disable Show 1Password shortcut
* Advanced > Enable Spotlight and 3rd party app integrations (i.e. to enable Alfred integration)
- Change Fill Login shortcut to shift-command-\


Cocktail - A perfect mixture for macOS

Misc apps



iTerm2 - macOS Terminal Replacement

Misc tips

  • Setup Profile Photos Dropbox Folder
  • Enable Archives prefpane
9 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @chrismessina )
2 years ago

@chrismessina That's an incredibly detailed list, thanks for sharing!

Are you using CloudFlare DNS as a Google DNS backup, or using different DNS in different locations?

I'm surprised I hadn't gotten Crunch before, as it seems like almost every day I'm browsing through app file contents (in Alfred) to find apps' .icns file, then converting it to PNG in Preview. This will shorten that workflow—thanks for sharing!

1 point
chrismessina's avatar
@chrismessina (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Cloudflare tends to be the fastest but it's less reliable, so in those cases I switch to Google DNS.

For captive Wi-Fi (when I was traveling more) I often couldn't set my own DNS, so then I'd have to revert to "Automatic" (no custom DNS).

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @chrismessina )
2 years ago

Ahhh clever on auto-switching to no custom DNS when traveling. That's the best way to make sure those wifi popups on public wifi show up.

1 point
maguay's avatar
2 years ago

The first things I install are Dropbox and 1Password. Dropbox start syncing files, and brings in my 1Password library, which makes installing and signing into everything possible.

I'll typically then install Alfred, as I use it both to launch apps and expand text, and the latter quickly gets annoying to live without.

iA Writer as my notes app comes pretty quick after that, along with things like Slack, whatever my current email app is (Superhuman and Hey, for work and personal, at the moment), Spotify, Notion, Airtable, and more. So much of the rest of my software is web apps where I may or may not install their native app.

One thing I always end up forgetting about, missing, then installing later on are fonts—especially the monospaced fonts I enjoy using to write.

3 points
Thirstylizard's avatar
@Thirstylizard (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I would add at least one more as a must have app for Mac OS, that is ( “Alfred”). It is so cheap compares to what it can do.

2 points
siddxxvii's avatar
@siddxxvii (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I have exactly the same list. 1password, dropbox and then mailing app which i am using or trying at that specific time (at present hey & superhuman). Notion for notes, then Mindnode for mindmaps

1 point
siddxxvii's avatar
@siddxxvii (replying to @siddxxvii )
2 years ago

Another very important app for my workflow which i cant live without is cleanshot X, hands down the best screenshot application out there.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @siddxxvii )
2 years ago

I finally started using Cleanshot X after @chrismessina mentioned it in a discussion about best apps to record your screen and turn it into a GIF, and it really is a nice tool!

1 point
optemization's avatar
2 years ago

My essential stack regardless of what activity/function I am going to be doing is:
- Brave/Firefox
- Notion
- Dropbox
- 1Password
- f.lux
- Superhuman
- Alfred
- TextExpander
- Pastebot

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @optemization )
2 years ago

@optemization Interesting you're still using Flux—do you find it better than macOS' built-in Night Shift?

On Alfred, do you have any default workflows you install?

1 point
optemization's avatar
@optemization (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

i use flux and night mode and dark reader and night owl lol! i take my evening computer time seriously 😂

with alfred, the spotify, calm notifications, and lorem ipsum i'd pre-install

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @optemization )
2 years ago

Is lorem ipsum just to write filler text? I use an Alfred text expander for that where I type =lorem and it expands a paragraph of lorem ipsum text for testing.

1 point
Sivan's avatar
2 years ago

-Chrome (access to all my sites, folders, saved logins)
- Spotify
- Zoom

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @Sivan )
2 years ago

@Sivan That's a nice concise list! Do you use web apps in Chrome for most of your work tasks?

2 points
Sivan's avatar
@Sivan (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

TBH I do most of them with Spike. I pin important emails to the top of the Inbox so there's in front of my eyes. And I create little tasks and reminders for myself there too. I'm not the most organized person, so having everything in 1 app helps me.

1 point
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