How I set up a new Mac

Because I regularly review Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops, I’ve developed a setup routine for to make them my own for the brief period I have them. It’s similar to what I do when I get a new Mac for myself, though that takes place over a period of days and includes copying over data that I don’t have stored in iCloud.

Yeah, I know, I could use Migration Assistant or other tools to automate this, but I like the idea of a fresh start, and being able to ponder, then pick and choose what I want to keep or discard.

Of course, there are steps I’ll forget, so I wanted to write the process down. This is as much for my convenience and forgetfulness as it is for your geeky voyeurism. Anyway, here’s how it goes:

  • In the initial setup process, I typically just keep the default selections. If I want to change something, I can always do it later.

  • Go to Settings > Trackpad, turn on Tap to click

  • Open Finder, drag Applications, Utilities, Documents folder to the right side of the Dock

  • Settings > Display, set to More Space on a laptop, Default on a desktop

  • Finder > Settings, add Hard Disks and Connected servers to the desktop, remove CDs, DVD, iPods
    In Sidebar, add user folder
    In Advanced, performing a search to Current Folder
    In Finder > View in the Menu bar, turn on Path Bar, Status Bar, Tab Bar

  • In the Dock remove Keynote, Numbers

  • Open Safari, download and configure Microsoft Edge, set as Keep in Dock (Sorry, Mac purists, but I fell in love with Edge when I saw its vertical tabs implementation, and I’ve never looked back.)

  • Settings > Desktop and Dock, enable magnification, set Edge as default browser

  • Download, install and configure iStat Menus

  • Download, install and configure AirBuddy

  • Download, install and configure Spark Desktop, set as Keep in Dock. (After a disastrous version 3.0 release, Spark has redeemed itself with its latest, 3.5 update. Just don’t expect too much from its ChatGPT integration.)

  • Download, install and configure the Mona Mastodon client

  • Open Messages, turn on Messages in iCloud

  • On iPhone Settings > Messages > Text Message Forwarding, enable messages from the new Mac

  • Set Weather, Text Edit to Keep in Dock

  • In Automator, create “Get to work” application to launch Spark, Edge, Mona and Messages, put alias on the desktop

  • In Automator, create “Quit all apps” application, put alias on the desktop

That’s it for now. I’ll tweak this over time.

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