Setting up Macbook Pro for Development

I have documented my setup for linux machines before before. However, lately I have been working a lot on my MacBook Pro. In this post, I want to document my setup for my macbook for my own future needs. I am always curious to see how other software developers are setting up their development machines so I figured it would be a good opportunity to share mine.

I am a research scientist in AI/Deep Learning and do some software development using Javascript, markdown, etc., so most of my configuration will be around programming. My current MacBook configuration is as follows:

  • 16 inch MacBook Pro 2019
  • Processor: 2.6 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7
  • Memory: 16 GB 2667 MHz DDR4
  • Disk: 500 GB SSD
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M

After getting a new Machine, first thing I do is re-install the OS with case-sensitive APFS disk, since by default it comes installed on a Case-insensitive APFS disk type. This can be done by rebooting the laptop with CMD+R pressed. Once it boots, use Disk Utility to reformat disk to the case-sensitive APFS format. Then re-install the OS that the laptop came with. Once the installation has finished, we can continue with the setup as usual.

I usually configure anything I can here like Wi-fi & Apple ID. The rest of the instructions will assume you made it through the setup and are on the desktop. Do not forget to select disk encryption via FileVault during this phase of the setup.

Now, please update your OS via System Preferences.

§ App Store Apps

Here is a list of App Store Apps that I use:

  • 1Blocker (Ad blocker for Safari)
  • Irvue (for Wallpapers)
  • Bear (for taking Notes)
  • Fantastical 2
  • Magnet
  • 1Password
  • Spark Email App: Setup Spark as Defult app in the Mail App preferences.
  • Amphetamine
  • The Unarchiver

§ Other Apps

Here are some of the other Apps that I download directly from their websites:

§ Command-Line Setup

I preferably use iTerm as command line tool. One thing I like to do is customize the colors and a great resource for that is In particular, I like following colorschemas:

  • ayu
  • Dracula
  • Monokai Vivid
  • Monokai Remastered
  • Oceanic Material
  • New Moon
  • SpaceGray Eighties
  • SpaceGray Eighties Dull
  • Tomorrow Night Eighties
  • Tango Adapted

Now, first thing I install is HomeBrew. Before you install HomeBrew though you need to install the Xcode command line utilities. Open a terminal in iTerm 2 and type:

xcode-select --install

The Command Line Tools Package is a small self-contained package available for download separately from Xcode and that allows you to do command line development in OS X.

Now, install HomeBrew:

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Once the installation finishes, run brew help to get all commands, and run brew update to update to the latest version.

I typically use BrewFile from brew bundle to maintain all things installed via HomeBrew on different machines. You can look at my BrewFile here.

I just run following command to install all desired things via brew:

brew bundle --file ~/.config/BrewFile

You can save your current BrewFile at current directory using:

brew dump

By the above bundle, I have installed all desired programs, fonts and casks like Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

Lastly, I make fish as my default shell and configure it. Please look at my detailed post on fish shell for this.

Few other small configurations for iTerm include:

  • set FuraCode Nerd Font in Profile Text settings
  • set desired ColorSchema in Profile Colors settings
  • set Columns to 154 and Rows to 44, under Profile Window settings
  • set Option keys to be used as Meta keys under Profile Keys settings. This is needed for ALT keys to work properly for fish shell.

§ Miscellaneous Setup

Following are details of my other additional configurations:

§ Configuring the Trackpad

To make the trackpad behave correctly, ensure that these settings are enabled:

  • System Preferences -> Trackpad -> Tap to click
  • System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Mouse & Trackpad -> Trackpad Options… -> Enable dragging

§ git Setup

BrewFile setup above installs git. My gitconfig can be found in my dot files repo at yadm-dotfiles.

§ ssh Setup

First enable ssh server by checking System Preferences -> Sharing -> Remote Login. You can also update the system hostname here.

If you do not have already from the older machine, new ssh keys can be generated as follows:

ssh-keygen -t rsa

Also, if you have any config for connecting to different servers, you can add a $HOME/.ssh/config file.

Finally, to enable password-less login to this machine, you will need to add keys of the machines to the $HOME/.ssh/authorized_keys file. Similarly, to allow this machine to have password-less access to other machines, we will need to add the public key of this machine to the authorized_keys file of those machines. Also, do not forget to update the public key on github to have password-less access to github repositories.

§ dotfiles

I use YADM to manage my dotfiles. My repo can be found at yadm-dotfiles.

§ Visual Studio Code Setup

Install VSCode from the official website. Add the binary location path /Applications/Visual Studio to the PATH. This makes code comand available from the command line.

I use Settings Sync extension to manage my VSCode settings across different machines. After installing VSCode, I just install this extension and sync it via my github gist. You can see all my settings at this gist.

This concludes our setup of MacBook Pro for development. Please do let me know, if you have some other interesting ways to setup your machine that could be useful to me and others.


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