Shortcuts for OS X System Preference Panes

These shortcuts are activated by using Option (alt) + one of the Function (F1, F2, ..) keys.

If you have changed the function keys in the system preferences to actually be F1 instead of decreasing brightness, and you need to press Fn + F1 to lower brightness, then you will need to add the Fn to every shortcut below.

For example, the Keyboard Preferences Pane can be reached by using Option(ALT) + F5 or F6. If you need to use the Fn to access the out-of-the-box function of the function keys, then the Keyboard Preferences pane shortcut is Fn + Option(ALT) + F5 or F6.

The correlated preference pane for each Fn button is:

  • F1 Brightness- Function key: Display Preferences Pane
  • F2 Brightness+ Function key: Display Preferences Pane
  • F3 Mission Control Function key: Display Preferences Pane
  • F4 Dashboard Control Function key: Display Preferences Pane
  • F5 Keyboard Brightness Function key: Keyboard Preferences Pane
  • F6 Keyboard Brightness Function key: Keyboard Preferences Pane
  • F10 Mute Function key: Audio Preferences Pane
  • F11 Volume- Function key: Audio Preferences Pane
  • F12 Volume+ Function key: Audio Preferences Pane

How to configure Apache/MAMP to any rails server to avoid adding the port after the name

I used this tutorial to proxy to 8080 because I use unicorn. You can use 3000 to work with “rails s” (webbrick) and also alias “unicorn -p 3000″

This means I no longer need to suffix all my local web app URLs with :3000, :8080, etc.

And this acts primarily as a proxy and does not mess with the asset pipeline.

For those not using MAMP Pro, you need to add the ProxyPassReverse lines on the above page to your Apache virtual host (probably in /etc/apache2/ or the sites-available folder.)

 ServerName *.dev
 DocumentRoot ""
 ProxyPass / http://localhost:3000/
 ProxyPassReverse / http://localhost:3000/
 ProxyPreserveHost On

Setting App To Open ALL Files of That Extension

On OS X, it’s simple to change the application file associations. This means choosing which app opens which file type or file extension. For example, you can have all your .TXT files open up in another editor, or have all .HTML files open up in a different app than the default browser (say, another browser or in an HTML or text editor)

To do this, highlight one file of that extension and press CMD+i to open up the “Get Info” panel. (You can also right click the file and choose “Get Info.”)

Now collapse the “Open with:” field on the Get Info panel and choose the app you wish to open this type of file. Under “Use this application to open all documents like this one.” be sure to click “Change All…” otherwise only this specific file will open with your chosen application.

Fixing Cmd+tilde (~`) shortcut to Switch Between Application Windows

If Cmd+` stops working on OS X Snow Leopard, Lion or Mountain Lion, enable it again by:

Top Left Apple Logo > System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts > ChooseKeyboard & Text input” in left list > Enable “Move focus to next window”

By default, this is set to Cmd` – to reset the actual shortcut key, double click “Move focus to next window” and hit Cmd + ` on your keyboard. Enables feature right away.

Normally in OS X shortcut Cmd + tilde (~) or Cmd + back tick/grave accent/backquote (`) lets you switch between windows in the current application.  For example, if you have multiple Chrome, TextEdit, MacVim etc windows open, you can press Cmd+ Tilde (~)  or Cmd + Shift + Tilde (~) and move to the next or previous windows only within the same app.

Tips for Speeding Up OS X

The following are tips for speeding up OS X. First let’s get the common tips out of the way:

1) Stop/remove all animations (window opening/closing/minimizing, etc.)

2) Get CCleaner for Mac and run “Analyze” then do a full run and let  CCleaner get rid of caches and such.

3) Limit folders/filetypes that Spotlight indexes and re-index Spotlight.

4) rm ~/Library/Preferences/

5) Delete the Quarantine files here:


by prefixing the above with “rm<space>” using the Terminal application. To find that, use Spotlight (CMD + Space.) and type “Terminal<Enter>”

OS X Basics For (Ex) Linux/Windows Users

Close Button: The usual behavior when using the close button on a window is to close that window only, not the entire application. When you open an app, it is loaded into memory, and when you are minimizing or closing the main window, you are only dealing with that window and not the entire app. To quit the entire app (unload it from memory), use the app menu (the top bar running across the screen). Click the application’s name, next to the Apple logo, and select Quit. Or you can press CMD+Q.

Maximize Button: In Windows and most Linux Window Managers, there is a minimize and a maximize button. Minimize works as you would expect in Mac, but there is no traditional “maximize” button. The Zoom button will resize the app in order to make it take advantage of available screen space (usually*), but this doesn’t necessarily mean taking up ALL the screen space. A generally vertical app might just increase its height vertically, for example.

This behavior is annoying. Over time I began to like it, except for the fact that the behavior is not consistent along all apps. iTunes turns into a mini player when you hit Zoom. It’s Zoomed by default. It makes sense, but I don’t expect a large window to turn into a mini one when I hit “Zoom” or a button with a “+” on it.

Some apps do nothing with the Zoom button. The Ecto window I’m typing this in is one of them.

The gray button on the right side: This removes the toolbar. A subtle change but nice when you want to save screen real estate, especially when you have a window open only for a specific reason. i.e., you’re listening to a song on YouTube over and over, and you’d only like to see the play button, without the entire Firefox toolbar, since you aren’t using it.

Ctrl + Alt + Delete: Go to Apple Menu -> Force Quit, or use the Alt+CMD+ESC sequence to bring up the menu. If you’d like an actual process list, use the Activity Monitor (CMD+Space to bring up Spotlight, then type Activi<Enter> (or press Enter whenever you do see Activity Monitor as the selected option).

The App Menu will list the name of the currently active app. The currently active app will accept hotkeys, so always check to make sure the active app is the one you intend on quitting, when hitting the CMD+Q shortcut, else you might close the wrong app.