Securing macOS

Even though there are like one million guides on how to secure macOS properly, I decided to throw in my 5c on this topic. In contrast to many other guides, I’d just like to provide you with the best practices that I also use. This one is about the essential things that I always do when getting a new Mac to provide better security while preserving almost all macOS features like iCloud document saving or Time Machine usage.

Mount Time Capsule SMB from a Linux host

As it turns out, the Apple Time Capsule only uses SMB protocol version 1 and NTLM for authentication. While this works with macOS without any changes, it often creates problem when trying to mount the the Time Capsule’s SMB share on a Linux system. With this parameters, mounting should work out of the box, given you have the cifs-utils (Debian/Ubuntu) installed: sudo mount.cifs // /mnt/timecapsule/ -o password='yourpw',sec=ntlm,uid=<local user>,vers=1.0 If you have any problems or further insights, feel free to leave a comment.

macOS: Change wallpaper by CLI

Current macOS versions are weird… Often when I connect my MacBook Pro to the two screens on my desk, the wallpaper on one of that guys is either gone or changed to a different one. After many attempts to search them in my bunch of 2k wallpapers, I eventually gave up and wrote a script that sets the wallpaper on all my screens like this: osascript -e 'tell application "System Events" to set picture of every desktop to ("/some/path/wallpaper.

AirPods finally work as headset on the Mac

Just as a short update: Starting from the newest AirPods update, they also finally work as a headset on the Mac. Before there was a issue that caused audio quality to drop when using the AirPods both as headphones and microphones at the same time.

Show macOS notifications from shell scripts

macOS has the osascript command line tool that allows you to run embedded AppleScript right from within shell scripts. As AppleScript also has capabilities to show notifications, you can utilize this to show messages in the macOS Notification Center. Here is an example: osascript -e 'display notification "Something happened" with title "Test"' If you have any further tips that will help people supercharge their shell scripts on macOS, feel free to leave them as a comment.

Essentials on securing macOS

UPDATE 2018-06-02: I’ve created a new version of this article called “Securing macOS” available here:

iCloud Photo Sync stuck - how to force resume

Sometimes it seems that Apples iCloud sync seems to do not exactly the right thing. During initial upload of my photos I multiple times had the issue, that it was not possible at all to upload the photos. When looking at the sync pane of the Photos app, it was something like “18 hours remaining…” but nothing happened, even after two days. The system process responsible for managing the photo upload is called cloudphotosd.