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Alvaro Montoro
Alvaro Montoro

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Installing my "new" Mac

Last week, I had to take the laptop to the tech support and, when I got it back, the hard drive had been swept clean. No files, no apps, no anything. I knew that was a possibility and had done a backup of the most important files (but not all of them 😭).

Now, I had to get everything ready again. These are the steps I followed and the applications I installed. I will install more apps later, but these are the ones I needed to hit the road and start doing what I wanted.

If you have any recommendations for apps/plugins/extensions I should check out and install, drop them in the comments.


  1. Updated the OS and apps

    This may take a while, but I prefer to do it first, just in case there's a compatibility issue with an app later.

  2. Cleared the taskbar

    Too many default apps in the taskbar, plus I needed to make space for my apps.

  3. Installed browsers

    I do web development, so I like testing with multiple browsers and tools.

    • Brave
    • Chrome
    • Firefox
    • ...and browser extensions:
      • WebAIM Wave
      • Accessibility Insights for Web
      • aXe: for accessibility testing
      • Chromevox / ScreenReader
      • Grammarly
  4. Installed development apps & tools

    I installed different IDEs, although I plan on mostly using just one (Visual Studio Code). But, unfortunately, installing Android Studio/Xcode is the easiest way to get essential SDKs and tools for development. And I want to go back to developing for mobile... we'll see how that goes.

    • Visual Studio Code + extensions
    • Xcode + iOS 14 simulator
    • Xcode Command Line Tools
    • Android Studio
    • NodeJS
    • Git Desktop
    • Cordova
    • XAMPP
  5. Installing utils

    This must be the first time I don't install Microsoft Office (I personally like that suite). So instead, I'll use Apple's default tools. Plus, adding some basic apps for photo and audio editions.

    • GIMP
    • Grammarly
    • Audacity
  6. Communication tools

    I'm not a big fan of Zoom (and have strong opinions about why it should not exist)... but people use it for meetings. Slack is a common open-source project communication tool, and WhatsApp is convenient to talk to my family and friends.

    • Slack
    • WhatsApp Desktop
    • Zoom
  7. Updated the OS and apps (again)

    After installing some of the tools, macOS realized that some of the apps were not updated and that the OS needed an update itself.

  8. Restored backed up files

    Old projects into the new computer, plus personal files. Here I realized that some of the files hadn't backed up correctly and were lost forever. When you do a backup, double-check the files 😢

  9. Cleaned the desktop and emptied the Trash

    After installing everything, there were a bunch of files in the Downloads and Desktop folders. So I deleted them and emptied the trash. The computer was then clean and ready.

Discussion (2)

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auroratide profile image
Timothy Foster

One technique I've found useful is actually maintaining a repo for setting up new machines. I personally only benefit from it every few years or so, but on teams it's incredibly useful for automating the onboarding process!

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equiman profile image
Camilo Martinez