MacOS Developer Setup


TODO: write an introduction

System Settings

These are some settings I immediately set:


There are a few tweaks to Finder that I think are necessary for it to be useable at all for a developer.

Check out this video at the timestamp provided for all of the updates: video

Install brew

I like to install all of my software via a package manager and brew is the best way to do that on a mac imo.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

echo '# Set PATH, MANPATH, etc., for Homebrew.' >> /Users/chris/.zprofile

echo 'eval "$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv)"' >> /Users/chris/.zprofile

eval "$(/opt/homebrew/bin/brew shellenv)"

brew analytics off

Install a terminal

I know that iterm2 is a popular choice but it doesn’t have fontfallback which makes it garbage, kitty is the superior choice:

brew install kitty

Install a browser

I’m not familiar with safari as a browser, coming from Linux I usually use brave or librewolf.

In this case I’ll install brave and pin it to the dock and remove safari

brew install brave-browser
brew install librewolf

Browser extensions

These are a few browser extensions I personally use:

Chat Apps

I use a few different chat apps to interact with friends/other developers:

brew install signal  # secure chat app
brew install discord # for my community and hackathons
brew install element # chat app that uses the open matrix protocol
brew install slack   # sometimes people still use this

Command Line Tools

xcode-select --install

Content Creation

Again coming form Linux I don’t know anything about the tools Apple provides for screen-recording, image-editing, or video-editing so I’m going to bring a few programs that I am familiar with:

brew install obs     # to record my screen
brew install gimp    # image editing
brew install blender # video editing

Improving the Launcher

Spotlight sucks. Alfred sucks less. Raycast is actually pretty good.

brew install raycast


For whatever reason when you toggle natural scrolling for your mouse it affects the trackpad as well. I like to use natural scrolling for my trackpad but regular up and down for my mouse. You can use the following to achieve this:

Window Management

Window management on MacOS by default is abysmal. I’m extremely disappointed in it.

For an immediate basic improvement I recommend installing rectangle. This program will allow you to snap windows to the sides of your screen, Apple should be ashamed of themselves for not including this basic functionality.

brew install rectangle

If you’re coming from a window manager only workflow you should checkout amethyst. It’s a half decent WM, and has a master/stack implementation.

brew install amethyst

CLI utilities

These are a few CLI utilities I can’t live without:

brew install tree    # allows you to see the outline of a directory 
brew install zoxide  # jump anywhere within your filesystem with z <foldername>
brew install ripgrep # blazingly fast grep
brew install fd      # blazingly fast find


fzf gets its own section because of how useful it is

brew install fzf
$(brew --prefix)/opt/fzf/install

After installation you will be able to press control-r to interactively search history

Also you can pipe any output in to fzf and fuzzy search over it for example:

brew list | fzf


Because mac apparently can’t do any of the basics right, you will need to install a program for launching programs.

The only one I was able to find is skhd, it works well enough.

brew install koekeishiya/formulae/skhd
brew services start skhd

Here is an example command you can set in ~/.config/skhd/skhdrc to open kitty with cmd+enter:

cmd - return : /Applications/ --single-instance -d ~

Terminal System Monitors

brew install htop
brew install glances
brew install lazygit

Android Integration

I don’t use an iPhone, currently using GrapheneOS. This helps transfer files.

brew install syncthing
brew install android-file-transfer

Web Tools

Some tools I use for interacting with the web.

brew install insomnia
brew install wget
brew install httpie
brew install jq
brew install ngrok
npm -g live-server


It’s nice to have examples for commands

brew install tldr


brew install authy


I don’t have time to pirate music anymore

brew install spotify

Programming Languages

Here is how I install and setup various programming languages I use.


btw python 2 isn’t even included in MacOs anymore.

echo "alias python=/usr/bin/python3" >> ~/.zshrc
echo "alias pip=/usr/bin/pip3" >> ~/.zshrc

Install miniforge for apple silicon:

wget -O ~/

sh ~/ -b -f -p  $HOME/.miniforge

rm ~/

Add the following in your .zshrc file:

if [ -f "$HOME/.miniforge/etc/profile.d/" ]; then
      . "$HOME/.miniforge/etc/profile.d/"
      export PATH="$HOME/.miniforge/bin:$PATH"

Open up a new terminal and the conda command should be available, if you don’t want to activate the base environment run the following:

conda config --set auto_activate_base false


I use sdkman to manage java and all things JVM based.

curl -s "" | bash

sdk install java


fnm is better than nvm, both are better than just installing node and running into endless permission issues.

brew install fnm

echo '"$(fnm env --use-on-cd)"' >> /Users/chris/.zprofile

fnm install 17


This should be all you need to install rust.

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSf | sh


This should be all you need to install go.

brew install go

I hate that they put a go directory right in my home directory. I personally change the GOPATH like this:

export GOPATH=$HOME/.local/share/go
export PATH=$HOME/.local/share/go/bin:$PATH

then remove the other one:

sudo rm -rf ~/go

Install Neovim

Neovim is my text editor of choice

I install Neovim from source you can probably just:

brew install neovim

If building from source:

brew install ninja libtool automake cmake pkg-config gettext curl
mkdir ~/Repos
cd ~/Repos
git clone
cd neovim
git checkout release-0.8
sudo make install
pip install pynvim
npm -g install neovim

Install Lunarvim

The best IDE layer for Neovim:

bash <(curl -s
brew install stylua


Rosetta will allow you to run software compiled for x86_64 architecture on Apple silicon.

softwareupdate --install-rosetta

I’m not really sure if this works yet since I get a weird error, but maybe you’ll have more luck:

Package Authoring Error: 012-40509: Package reference is missing installKBytes attribute


Follow the instructions at the following link to install docker desktop for Apple silicon.

brew install lazydocker

Make sure to stop docker desktop after installing and set it to not auto-start since it is pretty resource hungry.

Github CLI

Very convenient CLI utility if you use Github

brew install gh
gh auth login

Install my dotfiles

brew install stow
git clone

Nerd fonts

brew install fontconfig

kitty has font fallback so you can install whatever font you want as long as you have one installed that supports nerd icons

brew tap homebrew/cask-fonts && brew install --cask font-jetbrains-mono-nerd-font

Useful gist for install fonts: font gist

You can also download your own fonts and place them in ~/Library/Fonts

For instance try installing Cascadia Code