How to disable built-in Trackpad on your MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

There are times when you might want to disable the built-in Trackpad on your MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. For example, you’re more used to using a mouse as an input device, you’re using an external trackpad device, or the trackpad is having issues and behave erratically.

To disable the trackpad, go to System Preferences > Accessibility. Select “Mouse & Trackpad” and check the box “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present”.

How to disable built-in Trackpad on your MacBook MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

You will notice that there is no way to permanently disable the Trackpad. You will need an external mouse or input device in order to make the built-in Trackpad non-functional.

How to reveal hidden files in macOS Finder

There are many hidden files and folders in macOS. Hidden files are used by the operating system and applications for their inner working. These files by default are not shown in Finder to keep things simple and to prevent casual users from messing with them. 

However it is occasionally useful to access hidden files especially for troubleshooting purpose. To reveal hidden files in Finder, open the Terminal app and enter the following commands:

$ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
$ killall Finder

The first command set the Finder default attribute AppleShowAllFiles to boolean YES in order to show files. The second command relaunch the Finder.

If you take a look at your desktop or Finder now, you can see that there are some new files that were previously hidden. A word of caution, hidden files are hidden for a reason. You can do serious damage to macOS if you don’t know what you’re doing making changes to hidden files.

To hide these system files in Finder again, repeat the same commands by changing the Finder default attribute AppleShowAllFiles to boolean NO, like so:

$ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO
$ killall Finder

You can hide the macOS Sierra upgrade banner in Mac App Store

You can hide the macOS Sierra upgrade banner in Mac App Store

If you’re still running an old version of macOS, you’re likely be annoyed by the big macOS Sierra banner that appears on the top of the “Updates” tab of the Mac App Store app. This is especially true for those with older Mac which technically is not able to upgrade to macOS Sierra. Fortunately you can easily get rid of the banner. Just right click on the banner and select the menu option “Hide Update”. The big banner will disappear.

Instantly add Finder item to macOS dock with a keyboard shortcut

Instantly add Finder item to macOS dock with a keyboard shortcut

Just about all macOS users are aware that you can add items to the dock by dragging the item from Finder into the dock. There is a quicker way by using a handy keyboard shortcut.

First select the item in Finder, be it an app in the Applications folder, a file or document, or even a folder. Enter Command+Control+Shift+T. The selected item will now be in the dock. Applications will be added to the left/top side of the dock, whereas documents or folder will be at the right/bottom end of the dock.

How to check if System Integrity Protection (SIP) is enabled on your Mac

System Integrity Protection (SIP) is a macOS feature that is designed to safe-guard malware by restricting the access to protected files and folders. You’re not able to edit or remove protected files and folders even if you’re a root user.

SIP is available since macOS El Capitan and is enabled by default. However it appears that SIP is turned off for some users of the new MacBook Pro late 2016. Apple is aware of the issue and will likely issue a fix in a future update.  

You can check the SIP status of your Mac using the following Terminal command:

$ csrutil status
System Integrity Protection status: enabled.

You should get back an “enabled” status. It is advisable to pay Apple Support a visit if SIP in your brand new Mac is disabled by default. 

How to enable the expanded file save panel as default in macOS

How to enable the expanded file save panel as default in macOS

When saving a file in macOS, it is common practice to click on the dropdown arrow to expand the save panel to make it easier to navigate and save the file to a different location. If this additional click annoys you, you can set the expanded file save panel as a default.

Open Terminal apps and enter the following two commands:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool true
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool true

That’t it. The next time when you do a File Save…, the expanded save panel will be displayed. To revert back, simply enter the same commands with the bool value set to ‘false’ like so:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode -bool false
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSNavPanelExpandedStateForSaveMode2 -bool false

How to enable the startup chime on late 2016 MacBook Pro

Apple is famous for its habit to remove ports and slots from your Mac and iPhone. For its late 2016 MacBook Pro, Apple killed off the startup chime that has been Mac’s signature tunes for years.

This chime is extremely useful when you try to troubleshoot boot problem. Lucky for us you can get the sound back with a Terminal command. Open up Terminal app and enter the following command:

sudo nvram BootAudio=%01

That’s it. The terminal sound will be back when you next boot your MacBook Pro.

Short summary on why the MacBook Pro late 2016 is not a good buy

Short summary on why the MacBook Pro late 2016 is not a good buy

This year is not a good year for Mac users. After the long delays of refreshes for Mac Pro, Mac mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Apple finally unveiled just one MacBook Pro upgrade for its entire Mac lineup. Many are upsets with the new MacBook Pro. You can see numerous online posts asking for MacBook Pro alternatives. Many long time Mac users are seen abandoning the Mac platform altogether. So whats wrong with the new MacBook Pro?

Many are upset with Apple’s decision to equip the new MacBook Pro with only Thunderbolt 3/ USB-C ports and one headphone 3.5mm jack. Gone are the USB-A, MagSafe, HDMI and SD card slot. And Apple even remove the optical out from the 3.5mm audio port. This force-your-throat early adoption of USB-C is making inconveniences for all users. Want to attach iPhone to debug your iOS app? Buy a USB-C to Lightning dongle. Want to use your new MacBook Pro for a presentation? Don’t forget to bring your dongle. Want to connect a USB thumb drive? You need a dongle.

In addition to losing ports, Apple is bringing the unpopular keyboard with butterfly mechanism found on the MacBook to its Pro series, all for the sake of making the MacBook Pro thin and light. Apple said the keyboard in the new MacBook Pro is an enhanced version, but early review suggests there isn’t much improvement. 

The price for the MacBook Pro is a lot more expensive compared with last year’s model. The entry level model, the one with the physical and function keys intact, is touted by Mr Phil Schiller on stage as the replacement for MacBook Air. The problem is it is $500 dollars more expensive than a MacBook Air. 

This late 2016 MacBook Pro is considered the first generation of a brand new design. From past pricing practice from the MacBook Air to Retina MacBook Pro, Apple tends to price the first generation model at a premium. This is more so in this years model as you’re paying for Apple’s investment in the Touch Bar, Touch ID, T1 chip, Thunderbolt3 and wide-color LCD. 

You can find 7th generation Kaby Lake processor in notebooks from Dell, Lenovo and Razer, but this new MacBook Pro is using last year’s 6th generation Intel Skylake processor. In addition, it is using a slower LPDDR3 memory module instead of the latest LPDDR4 tech. Apple is expected to use Kaby Lake and LLDDR4 in MacBook Pro 2017 refresh.

Depending on your usage, a Mac nowadays can easily last 3-4 years or even more. There is no need to pay for the new MacBook Pro premium if you’re in no need of an upgrade.