Note: A high level of technical knowledge will be required to understand and answer this question comprehensively. I would have posted in stackoverflow or linux/unix but the question seemed off topic for both. Could be migrated to superuser, but since this is specifically an OS X question that would not seem sensible.

I would like to know where I can find a list of all possible defaults write terminal commands. (Core OS X related commands, not any due to user installed software.)

Apple themselves must have a manual or technical specification for OS X operating systems and such commands.

Here is an example command (which doesn't work in El Capitan by the way) which demonstrates

defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse MouseHorizontalScroll -bool NO

I assume such commands simple write to various configuration files hidden in the OS. It would alternatively be useful to find a document describing all such files and their location on /.

Solution (which was posted in the comments) is defaults read

  • These commands write to the property list fines inside of ~/Library/Preferences. – At0mic Sep 2 '16 at 18:22
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    There is no such list. The documentation for preferences is here developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/MacOSX/Conceptual/… – mmmmmm Sep 2 '16 at 19:05
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    You can believe whatever you'd like. It's possible Apple has an internal document like this, but no such public document exists. These are hidden settings that are not intended to be set by the user, hence the fact they require a Terminal command to use. "Big companies like Apple" generally don't write manuals of hidden commands that they don't intend for the user to access. – tubedogg Sep 2 '16 at 19:45
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    Thing is, if you start with the wrong attitude ie, expecting that no-one knows as much as you do & it is almost beneath your dignity to even have to ask us - then you're not going to get much in the way of happy responses. Having got that off my chest, try this... apple.stackexchange.com/a/195290/85275 - I can claim nothing but half-decent Google Fu. – Tetsujin Sep 6 '16 at 18:21
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    defaults read – Cees Timmerman Jul 11 '17 at 9:01

This is like asking for a list of all possible websites or all possible registry settings. These commands write to Apple and non-Apple software, and will vary depending on the apps/services installed and their versions.

Since this isn't a single unified settings database, I wouldn't assume Apple maintains a single document or manual on the settings.

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  • Well it's not is it. There are some core commands for OS X El Capitan. Those are the ones I am interested in. – user3728501 Sep 2 '16 at 18:53
  • Well that's very specifically not what you asked. – samh Sep 2 '16 at 18:54
  • See the above - it says explicitly OS X El Capitan – user3728501 Sep 2 '16 at 18:54
  • There are multiple versions of El Cap, depending on point-updates and security patches. But the point is, OS X isn't a single piece of software. It's a lot of components written across many teams. And, in any case, I don't believe such a list as you have requested is available. Your insistence that there must be does not make it so. – samh Sep 2 '16 at 19:18
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    @user3728501, Apple is known for not openly publishing considerable reams of documentation and it has absolutely nothing to do with users coping abilities. The defaults command first appeared in NeXTStep before Steve Jobs came back to Apple and its purchase of NeXTStep. – user3439894 Sep 2 '16 at 19:46

Things like this aren't always documented. I've seen keys change between minor versions as well as major ones, which adds to the difficulty in creating/maintaining such a document.

In this case, the key you're using MouseHorizontalScroll is still correct it's not working in the latest version. :( I've heard this is working in the latest seeds of macOS Sierra, though.

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