Unlocking Hidden macOS Features with Terminal Commands


As macOS users, we are always on the lookout for hidden features and shortcuts that can enhance our productivity and overall user experience. While Apple provides a polished and user-friendly interface, there are still plenty of hidden gems that can only be accessed through the Terminal.

Terminal is a powerful command-line tool built into macOS that allows users to interact with the operating system at a deeper level. In this article, we will explore some useful Terminal commands that can unlock hidden features and customize your macOS experience.

1. Show Hidden Files

By default, macOS hides certain files and folders to prevent users from accidentally modifying or deleting crucial system files. However, there are times when you need to access these hidden files, such as when troubleshooting or customizing your system.

To show hidden files, open Terminal and enter the following command:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles true

Then, restart the Finder for changes to take effect:

killall Finder

Now, when you open Finder, you can see hidden files and folders by pressing Cmd + Shift + .. Repeat the process with the same command, replacing true with false, to hide the files again.

2. Customize the Dock

The Dock is a central part of the macOS interface, providing quick access to your favorite applications. By default, the Dock sits at the bottom of the screen, but with Terminal commands, you can customize its position and appearance.

To move the Dock to the left side:

defaults write com.apple.dock orientation -string left

To move the Dock to the right side:

defaults write com.apple.dock orientation -string right

To reset the Dock back to the bottom:

defaults write com.apple.dock orientation -string bottom

After entering each command, restart the Dock for the changes to take effect:

killall Dock

3. Enable Night Shift

Night Shift is a feature that adjusts the color temperature of your display to reduce blue light exposure at night, which can help improve sleep quality. While Night Shift is easily accessible through System Preferences, there is a Terminal command that allows you to schedule it.

To enable Night Shift and set a custom schedule, use the following command:

sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/com.apple.CoreBrightness.plist BlueLightReductionEnabled -bool true

You will be prompted to enter your administrator password. Once enabled, you can adjust the schedule settings from the Display tab in System Preferences > Night Shift.

4. Speed up Animations

macOS includes various animations and transitions that give the operating system a sleek and polished feel. However, these animations can sometimes feel sluggish, especially on older hardware. By reducing animation duration, you can make your macOS feel faster and more responsive.

Enter the following command to reduce the animation duration:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime -float 0.1

To revert back to the default animation duration:

defaults delete NSGlobalDomain NSWindowResizeTime

Changes take effect immediately, and you'll notice a snappier user experience.


These are just a few examples of the hidden features and customization options that can be accessed through Terminal commands. As you explore the world of macOS, don't be afraid to experiment with different commands and settings.

However, it's essential to exercise caution when using Terminal. Make sure to double-check the commands and their effects before running them, as some settings can have unintended consequences. Happy exploring and unlocking the hidden potentials of macOS!

Mac Commands

Master your Mac with ease with our ultimate command reference.