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. 

Reset macOS Dock to default settings

Sometimes you might just dislike how you’ve customised your Mac’s Dock. When you look under System Preferences > Dock, there is no way to reset the macOS Dock to its default settings.

Fret not as you can use a Terminal command to quickly get back the default Dock. This will remove any apps you’ve added, bring back all the Apple’s default apps, reset the size of the Dock, its location and magnification settings.

Open Terminal app, copy and paste the following:

defaults delete; killall Dock

Reset macOS Dock to default settings

Hit the Enter key and the Dock will quit and relaunch with default settings. 

Remap Escape key to a modifier key in macOS Sierra

Apple removed the hardware Escape key with the newly launched MacBook Pro. The Escape key is still readily available on the Touch Bar, but you might prefer a dedicated hardware key if your workflow uses Escape a lot. 

With macOS Sierra 10.12.1, Apple has added the option to remap the Escape key to a hardware modifier button (Caps Lock, Control, Option or Command). This remapping feature isn’t new, but the latest macOS Sierra release is the first time you can attach an Escape action to a modifier key.

To remap, go to System Preferences > Keyboard. Click on the Modifier Keys button at bottom right corner. Click the drop down menu next to the modifier key to remap.

Remap escape key to caps lock in macos sierra

Caps Lock is generally the least used key thus is a good candidate to use it for Escape function.

Escape key mapping is only available in macOS Sierra, Apple is evidently building this feature for those using the new MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar.

Quick and dirty way to bypass content blocking using Google Translate

Quick and dirty way to bypass content blocking using Google Translate

Google Translate does not just translate words and phrases. You can use it to translate a web page. The translated page is hosted under Google’s domain, and this effectively makes Google Translate a quick and dirty web proxy.

One side effect, benefit or loophole (depending how you look at it) of this service is that you can use it to access content that is block by your school or company. If you encounter the error “The page you have attempted to translate is already in English”, try to set the target language to your second language or any random language. 

As Google Translate is not intended to be a real web proxy or VPN, not all sites will work. And some images and videos will not load. But it is a quick way to gain access to blocked content if you have no other better options.

Use TextEdit as plain text editor in macOS

If you’re looking for a plain text editor in macOS, you can use the TextEdit app that comes with the operating system. TextEdit’s default file format is rich text. But you can change it to use plain text.

Use TextEdit as plain text editor in macOS

Go to TextEdit > Preferences and change the Format settings to “Plain text”. That’s it.

Some people likes to keep their notes in plain text format rather than rich text, as plain text file can be easily open in all computer systems and there is no worry of format obsolescence.

You can also use a plain text editor to remove text formatting from documents and web pages. Copy the rich text from Notes, Pages or web page into the clipboard. Then paste it into plain text editor to remove all formatting.