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MacOS Dev Environment Setup 2021

Hey there, welcome to my MacOS Setup guide 👋. Whether you have just got yourself a new laptop, or you’ve decided to wipe your machine and start over, congratulations on making the decision to improve your workflow. This guide is definitely not the best because there is no one-size-fits-all setup for everyone. However, this guide has been serving me well over the past couple of years and I am sharing this with you all, as well as myself when I need to set up my machine again in the future.

I use as my reference but this particular guide focuses more on Web Dev.

1. Stay Up-to-date

The first thing you would want to do is to keep your Mac up-to-date. Go to About this Mac -> Software Update to update to the latest version of MacOS. New versions of MacOS usually contains security updates and bug fixes. This might take a while so if you plan to go out, run the update beforehand, or take a walk 🏃‍

2. Xcode

Next tedious step is to install Xcode. Open AppStore, look for Xcode and install it. This, again, might take a while. However, a good thing is you can start working on step 3 while waiting on Xcode to finish installing.

After Xcode finishes, go ahead and run Xcode so you have Xcode setup for first time use. Next, open Terminal and run the following command to install Xcode Command Line Tools which is needed to install other tools.

xcode-select --install

3. System Preferences

Please check out this guide for your preferences on how to set up your Mac system-wide like Dock, Trackpad etc…

Whatever preference you might have/do to your Mac, I’d highly recommend adjusting Repeat Key speed in Keyboard. Turn Key Repeat to Fast and Delay Until Repeat to Short

4. Homebrew

Homebrew is a package manager for your systems. Think of Homebrew as npm but for your system instead of a NodeJS project. You can install Homebrew by opening the Terminal and run the following command:

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

After finishing installing, you can run brew doctor to ensure everything is installed correctly.

  • To search for a package (formulae/cask)
    brew search package_name
  • To install a formulae
    brew install formulae_name
  • To install a cask
    brew install --cask cask_name

At the moment, I have installed everything on my machine using Homebrew

5. Text Editor

The next step is to install some text editors. My choices are VSCode and Neovim

brew install --cask visual-studio-code
brew install neovim


Installing VSCode should allow you to use the code command from the terminal to open files and/or directories. If not, run VSCode then enable the Shell Command with Command Palette -> Shell Command: Install 'code' command in PATH

6. Iterm2

This is my preference for a terminal. You can use whatever you like


Install Iterm2 using Homebrew

brew install --cask iterm2


Again, every customization is my preference. Feel free to skip over ones that you are not interested in.

1. zsh

Since MacOS Catalina, zsh has been set as the default Shell.

2. Oh-my-zsh

Run the following command to install oh-my-zsh

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"

You’ll see the changes being applied to your terminal as soon as it finishes.

3. Powerlevel10k (p10k)

To install p10k, run the following command:

git clone --depth=1 ${ZSH_CUSTOM:-$HOME/.oh-my-zsh/custom}/themes/powerlevel10k

Afterward, open ZSH Config file by either VSCode or nvim and edit ZSH_THEME to have ZSH_THEME="powerlevel10k/powerlevel10k". Restart your terminal and you’ll be prompted to walk through p10k configuration wizard. Feel free to customize how you like.

4. Aliases

At this point, I usually set up some aliases for some of the shell commands that I frequently use

alias zshconfig="nvim ~/.zshrc"
alias zshsource="source ~/.zshrc"
alias ohmyzsh="nvim ~/.oh-my-zsh"

alias lg="lazygit"

alias c="clear"
alias rm="rm -rf"
alias ls="ls -lah"
alias nr="npm run"
alias nrs="npm run start"
alias nrb="npm run build"
alias nrc="npm run commit"
alias gpup="git push -u"

# list all available simulators
alias listios="xcrun simctl list devices"

5. Preferences

  • Turn on Natural Text Editing by Preferences -> Profiles -> Keys -> Select Presets -> Natural Text Editing. This allows you to use the Options/Command keys to move your cursor freely.
  • Setup some Status Bars by Preferences -> Profiles -> Sessions -> check Status Bar Enabled -> Configure Status Bar to select your favorite status bars.
  • Change the font of the terminal by Preferences -> Profiles -> Text. I use MesloLGS NF with 14pt font size
  • Last but not least, change to your favorite theme by Preferences -> Profiles -> Colors. Check for a collection of Iterm2 Themes

7. Alfred

Alfred is an awesome Spotlight replacement. And if you have Powerpack (if not, you really should get Powerpack), your workflow will never be the same.


We would need to disable Spotlight first. - Open System Preferences -> Spotlight and uncheck everything that you don’t want. - Click on Keyboard Shortcuts and uncheck Show Spotlight Search. While you’re here, click on Services, look for Search man Page Index in Terminal and uncheck it as well. - Run the following command to install Alfred

brew install --cask alfred


  • Check Launch Alfred at login and change your hotkey to ⌘ Space (or anything you’d like) then you should be good to go

8. Browsers

Use Homebrew to install your favorite browsers

brew install --cask google-chrome

9. NodeJS

To install NodeJS, we are going to utilize nvm which is short for Node Version Manager. This is the recommended way to manage your Node since it manages multiple NodeJS versions at once.

curl -o- | bash
  • Verify that you have nvm installed by running nvm --version in the terminal. Restart your terminal might help
  • To install the latest version of node, simply run nvm install node
  • To install the latest version of any specific major version, simply run nvm install version (eg: nvm install 12 will install the latest Node 12.x.x)
  • To use a specific Node version, run nvm use <version>
  • To list all installed versions, run nvm ls
  • To list all available versions, run nvm ls-remote

10. Python

Python is required as some tools are built with Python. Similar to NodeJS, it is recommended to use a version manager. In the case of Python, it is pyenv so go ahead and install pyenv with Homebrew

brew install pyenv

Afterwards, update your PATH

echo 'eval "$(pyenv init -)"' >> ~/.zshrc
  • To list all available Python versions, run pyenv install --list (restart your terminal if you run into issues)
  • To install a Python version, simply run pyenv install <version>. I usually pick the latest 2.x and the latest 3.x from the list.

11. Git GUI

A lot of people have their preferences for a GUI Client for Git like SourceTree, GitKraken, etc… In this blog post, I would like to introduce my favorite Git client lazygit that runs on your terminal (so you do not have to leave).

lazygit is fast, feature-packed, and extremely customizable. I’ve been using lazygit for a couple of years now and I haven’t needed to go back to a real GUI Git client.


lazygit can also be installed with Homebrew

brew install jesseduffield/lazygit/lazygit

Then you can explore how to use lazygit and how to configure it by visiting the Git repo.

Custom Pager

I use diff-so-fancy (a very good alternative is delta). Install it with Homebrew

brew install diff-so-fancy

then follow Custom Pager Configuration to set up diff-so-fancy as the pager.

Published on Aug 1, 2021