Matt Brown

Thoughts on programming, media, parenting and life.

My macOS Setup

31 October 2019

Earlier this month, Apple released macOS 10.15 Catalina, which brought many large changes such as support solely for 64-bit applications and allowing the use of an iPad as an external monitor with SideCar. Because of such large changes, I felt it was a good time for a fresh install on all my devices and an opportunity to track the install process and various apps I use regularly.

Note: This post will be focused on macOS apps and utilities, but in the future I may list out all the iOS and iPadOS apps I use as well.

Additionally, I’ve created a repo and will try to keep it updated as things change.



  • Xcode 11 - native IDE for Apple platforms
  • Cleaner for Xcode - easily clean up developer folder and simulators
  • Dash - offline API documentation browser
  • SnippetsLab - manager for code snippets with cloud sync
  • Atom - extensible text editor
  • Expressions - helpful tool for quickly creating regular expressions
  • Kaleidoscope - powerful file comparison tool


  • Alfred 4 - Spotlight replacement and productivity catalyst
  • Shifty - easily manage Night Shift
  • Magnet - organize workspaces by snapping apps to preset tile locations
  • Amphetamine - small utility for keeping your Macbook awake
  • ExternalDisplayBrightness - control brightness of external display(s)
  • iTerm2 - highly customizable Terminal replacement
  • Monit - system monitor widget for notification center
  • tmpNote - simple, accessible and persistent notepad on the menu bar
  • iStat Menus 6 - customizable system monitor for your menu bar
  • NordVPN - VPN client by one of the best providers
  • Radio Silence - network monitor and firewall
  • Transmit 5 - amazing FTP program that includes cloud connectivity
  • HazeOver - dim your screen except for active app window
  • AppCleaner - thoroughly and completely uninstall programs
  • Screens 4 - powerful VNC client
  • Screens Connect - companion application
  • DaisyDisk - beautiful visual interface for storage utilization
  • Toothpicks - handy Bluetooth device manager
  • HEIC Converter - free photo conversion tool
  • Overkill - prevents iTunes from launching when connecting iOS devices
  • GifCapture - quickly create GIFs by recording portions or elements of the screen


  • Enpass - multi-platform password vault with local and cloud sync options
  • Slack - searchable log of all conversation and knowledge
  • Discord - voice communication for gaming and other communities
  • qBittorrent - open-source P2P bittorrent client
  • Affinity Design - vector graphic design software
  • Affinity Photo - photo editing software
  • Typeface - beautiful font manager
  • IINA - modern, free, open-source media player
  • Plex - playback client for personal media server
  • Larry’s To-Do List - free, offline task management
  • cool-retro-term - fun terminal emulator that mimics old CRT monitors
  • Mactracker - provides detailed information on hardware created by Apple

Safari Extensions

  • Wipr - simple ad-blocker
  • PiPifier - adds picture-in-picture capability to any HTML5 video player

Atom Packages

  • trailing-spaces - highlights trailing (sometimes hidden) spaces
  • hex-view - convert text files to and from hex dumps
  • dash - Dash documentation integration

Command-Line Tools

iTerm 2 Configuration

  • Oh-My-Zsh - extensible, open-source framework for ZSH config
    • copydir - copies the path of your current folder to the system clipboard
    • copyfile - copies the contents of a file in your system clipboard
    • docker - adds autocomplete to Docker commands
    • encode64 - encode/decode using base64
    • extract - extract archives with single command
    • gem - adds completions for RubyGems commands
    • git - provides aliases and useful functions
    • history - examine and manage command-line history
    • jsontools - handy tools for managing JSON data
    • osx - helpful utilities for interacting with macOS
    • pip - adds autocomplete for Python package manager
    • sudo - prefix current or previous commands by pressing Escape twice
  • Afterglow Color Theme - dark terminal theme
  • Aphrodite Shell Theme - minimalistic shell prompt

HomeBrew Formulae

  • trash - moves files and folders to system trash; used instead of rm command
  • asciinema - used for recording terminal sessions
  • thefuck - suggests corrections for mistyped commands
  • archey - displays colorful system information
  • dark-mode - control system dark mode status via command-line
  • node - javascript runtime; also installs npm software registry
  • youtube-dl - downloads videos from YouTube and other sites
  • handbrake - includes HandBrake-CLI; dependency for video_transcoding
  • ffmpeg - video conversion tool; used for youtube-dl and video_transcoding
  • mkvtoolnix - tools for managing MKV files; dependency for video_transcoding
  • mp4v2 - tools for managing MP4 files; dependency for video_transcoding
  • speedtest-cli - execute bandwidth tests via command-line
  • wifi-password - displays password for connected Wi-Fi network
  • zsh-syntax-highlighting - provides syntax highlighting for zsh shell
  • ghostscript - dependency for ImageMagick
  • imagemagick - utility for manipulating images

Ruby Gems

Node Packages

  • vtop - graphical activity monitor for command-line

Alfred Workflows

Settings & Preferences

Favorite Screensavers

  • Fliqlo - animated flip clock
  • Brooklyn - animations from Apple’s October 2018 special event
  • Aerial - screensaver videos for Apple TV on your Mac
  • Drift - available within macOS 10.15 (Catalina)