New role, new laptop, new Operating system — Having come from Windows & Linux desktops, I found MacOS to be extremely jarring when it came to a number of simple but crucial tasks, it was time-consuming to find the equivalents and workarounds for many typicalß developer tools.

I’ll summarise my approach here and update as and when I find improvements.

A quick summary on what I need; Git, Code editors, Linux CLI, Linux containers, productivity shortcuts.

⚠️ Tested on MacOS 13.5 “Ventura”

Keyboard Layout

Setting the keyboard up is a good start, by default you will have a MacOS layout, but I recommend trying the “PC” variant.

System Settings → Keyboard → Input Sources

Add the “PC” variant for your language, in my case: British → British - PC

This moves the #, ~ & | keys to sensible places that don’t require odd key-combos to reach.


Homebrew is a free and open-source software package management system

Go to and run the install command.

Homebrew packages

There are two types of Homebrew packages; Kegs & Casks.

Kegs are custom software packages bundled up for MacOS, they install in the Cellar ( /opt/homebrew ).

Casks are native MacOS apps that can be installed by Homebrew, they end up in the Applications folder.

Install Linux-like utils

MacOS bundles a lot of BSD CLI tools, but for a Linux developer this can get pretty frustrating since while the commands look the same, their features and flags vary.

We cannot replace these utils as MacOS requires them, so we install the GNU version alongside with the prefix g, this turns sedgsed, targtar, grepggrep, etc..

brew install bash bash-completion tmux qemustall coreutils findutils gnu-tar gnu-sed gawk gnutls gnu-indent gnu-getopt grep watch

To use the brew version of Bash, set your shell to /opt/homebrew/bin/bash in your terminal app.

In iTerm2, this is set under:

Preferences → Profiles → Default → General Tab → Command → Custom Shell = /opt/homebrew/bin/bash

More utils

brew install fswatch git go hugo jq tmux tree vim zsh
  • fswatch - utility to watch for file modifications, similar to inotifywatch

Clipboard History

brew install clipy

Remember to open the app Preferences and Exclude sensitive apps like password managers.

I recommend disabling “Input ⌘ + V after menu item selection” and increasing “Number of items to place inline” so you see the most recent items without opening a folder.

Alt-RightClick resize window

Allows moving and resizing windows with Modifier+RightClick dragging, instead of only by dragging the window decoration.

brew install --cask easy-move-plus-resize


iTerm2 brings the terminal into the modern age with features you never knew you always wanted.

iTerm2 is preferred over the MacOS because it provides more customisations and integrations with tools like tmux.

brew install iterm2

Alt-Backspace to delete last word

Alt-Backspace to delete last word

Thanks to

Trackpad settings

Disable Dictionary popup when highlighting

Ever trying to highlight some text and accidentally click that dictionary popup? Yep, me too.

Settings → Trackpad → Point & Click → Look up & data detectors: Disable

Scrolling speed with non-Mac mouse

Apple seems to be making it painful for people to use non-Apple hardware, such as my USB Mouse.

Fix scrolling with Accessibility settings

The idea with this fix is to reduce the “Springiness” from scrolling, which looks nice but with a normal mouse results in scrolling significantly more to get the page moving.

Go to System Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control:

Disable Spring-loading delay

Click Mouse Options... and set Scrolling Speed to Fast

Fix scrolling with MOS

This app further improves the scrolling experience with a normal mouse.

brew install mos

Set Step to 100

Set Speed to 3

Set Duration to 3

Control volume of HDMI devices

This app allows control of HDMI audio devices; such as integrated monitor speakers.

I found the system volume slider does not affect these types of devices on MacOS, this might not be the case with all devices.

brew install MonitorControl

Home and End keys behave like Windows on Text

By default the Home/End keys scroll to the top and bottom of the page, even when text is selected.

The expected behaviour is for Home/End to move the cursor to the Start/End of the line, the following Key Mappings should help.

Set ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict to:

  /* Remap Home / End keys to be correct */
  "\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLine:"; /* Home */
  "\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLine:"; /* End */
  "$\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfLineAndModifySelection:"; /* Shift + Home */
  "$\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfLineAndModifySelection:"; /* Shift + End */
  "^\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfDocument:"; /* Ctrl + Home */
  "^\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfDocument:"; /* Ctrl + End */
  "$^\UF729" = "moveToBeginningOfDocumentAndModifySelection:"; /* Shift + Ctrl + Home */
  "$^\UF72B" = "moveToEndOfDocumentAndModifySelection:"; /* Shift + Ctrl + End */


MacOS natively supports QEMU and containerd containers.


Docker Desktop works on MacOS.


Podman is a container runtime which is CLI-compatible with Docker.

Podman requires a Linux kernel to run containers, so on MacOS we run an extra step to provision a persistent VM from which the containers run:

podman machine init  # first time only
podman machine start
podman run -it

The machine needs to be manually started whenever you reboot MacOS. There are more flags available to define the size and characteristics of the VM.

nerdctl + Lima

Lima is a MacOS-native approach to containers, Lima servers a similar role as WSL for Windows.

nerctl is the docker-compatible CLI for Lima’s containers.

brew install lima
limactl start
lima nerdctl run -d --name nginx -p nginx:alpine

The machine needs to be manually started whenever you reboot MacOS.

QEMU via libvirt + virt-manager

QEMU is the only native platform for running Virtual Machines, you can manage and interact with these via virt-manager.

brew install virt-manager
brew services start libvirt
virt-manager  # Launches GUI

I hope this saves you some of the headaches this laptop has caused me!