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5 Mac OS X terminal commands that users shouldn’t miss

Due to the fact the GUIs have made computer control so much easier, many users overlook the importance of the terminal commands, especially when it comes to Mac OS X systems. Many new users regard them with anxiety and despair, because they look code-related and advanced. However, there are several Mac OS X terminal commands that every Mac user should know and they aren’t difficult to learn at all. Basic commands are not just for tech geeks or experts and they can really enhance one’s experience of the OS X system. The operating system of Mac computers is based on the UNIX system, opposite to the Windows computers, which are NT based. Anyway, the terminal works off text based commands and before knowing any terminal command, an user should have knowledge of three main type commands: ls, which lists the contents of a directory, cd – which changes to another directory – and sudo, which enables users to gain extra security privileges by authenticating as super users.

5 Mac OS X terminal commands that users shouldnt miss

One of the most important Mac OS X terminal commands that users shouldn’t miss is changing the backup periods in time machine, which are, by default, of 1 hour. If you want to backup every 30 minutes, you will have to enter the following command:


“sudo defaults write /System/Library/Launch Daemons/ StartInterval -int 1800”


You can change the number 1800 with any other number of seconds if you want the backup to be performed more often or less often. When you hit enter, you will be asked to enter the system password and that will be it. Another useful command is the one that allows you to drag Dashboard widgets onto desktop. This is a very simple command and it looks like this:


“defaults write devmode YES”


After entering this command, you have to first log out and then log back in. Drag the widget you want onto the desktop by clicking on it and holding your click and then press F12 to dismiss it from the Dashboard. If you want to disable the feature, all you have to do is replace YES with NO in the command above. The third command refers to showing hidden files in Finder, because OS X hides some files by default and if you want to see everything on your device you have to type in


“defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE”.


To hide them again, just type FALSE, instead of TRUE. Another very useful command within the large array of Mac OS X terminal commands is changing the file format for screenshots. By default, Mac computers save screenshots as PNG files, but if you want them JPG or PDF, you can type in the following command in the terminal:


“defaults write type file-extension”.


Of course, instead of file-extension, you should write the actual extension you want the screenshots to be. Last, but not least, all users should know how to remote control their Macs. However, in order for that to be possible, you first need to enable remote login, which you can do by entering system preferences and then sharing. Select Remote Login and make sure it’s on by checking if the green light comes up. The IP address should appear also. The command you need to execute in order to log into your Mac from another one is:


“ssh -l username remote-address”, where instead of username you need to type in the name you use to log into OS X and instead of remote-address, you need to type in the IP address that appeared in system preferences. These are 5 of the most important terminal commands that all Mac users should know.