Googling for terminal tweaks shows sites this one which show how to tweak OS X via the Terminal. Are there any Apple or exhaustive lists of these settings anywhere on the net?

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    What problem are you trying to solve? I'm tempted to just close this since it's the equivalent of "what books can be written with a text editor" or "what programs can be thought up with Xcode". Terminal is so powerful and self-modifies the system, so the true answer is infinite. – bmike Mar 18 '12 at 16:42
  • Question seems straight forward enough - nathang pointed to one such list. 'Exhaustive'? Well, probably only Apple could answer that but 'comprehensive' is pretty darn useful. – JRobert Mar 19 '12 at 0:30

There is a pretty good database full of defaults write commands at http://secrets.blacktree.com/

They also have a PrefPane that allows you to use System Preferences to set these hidden preferences.

(This site is no longer available)

Still available here: https://hiddensettings.1984apps.com

  • +1 That's a really good resource I like to just skim through! – gentmatt Mar 18 '12 at 15:50

Mac Kung Fu Book

It's not a free resource ($23), but I believe it should be mentioned here.

About the book:

  • Many of the tips in this book exploit settings or experimental features never officially made public.
  • "exploit secret settings and hidden apps"
  • "tweak your system"
  • "learn valuable security tricks"

enter image description here


As it turns out, there appears to be a way to scout for these settings yourself. Neat.[1]

[1] Props to this user for linking the above article in this answer.


"Tweaking" the system, Terminal based: that seems to call for mostly settings, and especially hidden settings that are envoked via a defaults write command. The most comprehensive list of defaults write commands seems now to be available here.

The specific list of operating systems to choose from looks like it only covers 10.7 Lion upto 10.11 El Capitan but the site is still actively adding new command examples.

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