Hack Your Mac With These Simple Terminal Commands: Part 1

Hidden within the confines of the elegant Mac OS X, is a powerful Unix based terminal that allows you to fully utilize your system and its resources. This tutorial is aimed at helping you  become familiar with some useful commands that will help you customize your OS, secure your system and entice you to dive deeper into the operating system. All that’s required is Mac OS X, and a little curiosity.

 This tutorial will be broken up into four parts. The first part will explain how to utilize and explore the terminal, which will be used to enter commands. The second part will consist of security related commands or commands that can be used to secure your system. The third part will deal with the customization of your operating systems, and some useful commands you can use to impress your colleagues and friends. Lastly, this tutorial will explore some of the tools utilized to test your Mac and it’s performance. Just to reiterate, all that is required is Mac OS X and a little curiosity.

Section 1 Opening the Terminal:

 The easiest way that I’ve found to open the terminal is to click on the Spotlight icon located in the top left corner of your Mac and enter “terminal.”

Alternatively you can access the Terminal in the Applications/Utilities directory.

For accessibility once you have the Terminal open, right click on the icon located in the Dock and select (Options – Keep in Dock) , this will make it much easier to access in the future.

This next tip isn’t an actual terminal command however, it’s included because it offers the opportunity to make your interaction with the terminal a little more enjoyable. By selecting a theme that is visually more appealing and easier on the eyes your more incline to use it more.

Enable Command:

Terminal Menu – Preference – Settings

 Note: By selecting a theme and clicking Default, it becomes your default theme. You can also customize the colors etc in the right panel. Don’t worry you can always undo your changes by selecting the round settings icon and selecting restore defaults.

 Customizing Terminal MOTD (Message of the day)

Typically the MOTD or Message of the day is empty, so you don’t see anything. However you should be aware you have the option to tweak this setting to display any text information you prefer.

Enable Command: sudo pico /etc/motd

Enter password

Type your message and click control+x to save

Then press Y (yes)

Reversal Command:

Simply clear the box and resave.

In Part 2, we’ll explore security.

~ Rasheen

5 thoughts on “Hack Your Mac With These Simple Terminal Commands: Part 1

  1. Excellent. Gives me a good start on Mac secrets. Would like to see more Mac stuff, particularly Mavericks.

  2. I’m having difficulty following your instruction formats in my mental programming (nothing goes physical until it passes mental).

    Example: “Enable Command” (mind you you’re having non-UNIX people explore here, so if this is high level / obivous UNIX keystrokes, you might as well give instructions in Sanscrit: only the secret society know what you’re saying)
    Puzzle Issue: Does ‘Enable Command’ mean “Please enable the command that follows:” or does it mean “of the commands availabe, do the Enable dance that makes the Command active”, or is this the name of the cursor field?

    Please consider the level of your audience with your instruction.

    Last, your prompt line, while effective as your name, is overly complex and not proper for a base level tutorial. I’m trying to figure how much I have to enter vs. how much to ignore when I look at your screen.

  3. Jim,

    Sorry your having problems following certain parts. “Enable Command” just means type the following in order to get achieve the desired results. “Reversal Command” simply means type the following if you want to undo the changes.

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