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Setting up a new Mac checklist (2021 Edition)

David Carr

Development Design Tools

Whenever I get a new Mac or decide to wipe it and start afresh the following are my go-to tools and software for both web development and general work.



Chrome -

My default browser I live in Chrome these are the extensions I always use

1PasswordPassword Manager for Families, Businesses, Teams | 1Password

AdBlockerAdBlock — best ad blocker - Chrome Web Store

Block popups on pages

Auto Form FillerAuto Form Filler - Chrome Web Store

Bill in forms with a click with random data

ChromeReloadPlusChromeReloadPlus - Chrome Web Store

Reload a page every x seconds

ColorZillaColorZilla - Chrome Web Store

Adds a colour picker

Font Awesome Icon PickerFont Awesome Icon Picker - Chrome Web Store

Search Font Awesomes database of icons

Grammarly for ChromeGrammarly for Chrome - Chrome Web Store

Improves spelling and grammer.

LoomLoom: Video Messaging for Work

Record and share videos with Loom

Json ViewerGitHub - tulios/json-viewer: It is a Chrome extension for printing JSON and JSONP.

Pretty print when viewing json data

Save Pinned TabsSave Pinned Tabs - Chrome Web Store

Added the ability to save and autoload pinned tabs

Window ResizerWindow Resizer - Chrome Web Store

Adds a list of breakpoints that can be selected to resize the browser to

Web Developer Web Developer

Add multiple options useful for inspecting the page

Vue.js devtoolsVue.js devtools - Chrome Web Store

Adds support for vue.js

For cross browser testing I also use:


Download Firefox — Fast, Private & Free — from Mozilla (UK)

Safari (comes installed)

Command Line Tools


GIT comes installed with Mac before using GIT it’s important to set your name and email address. This is important because every Git commit uses this information, and it’s immutably baked into the commits you start


$ git config —global “John Doe”

$ git config —global



Package manager for PHP, every project I work with uses Composer so it’s a much to install.


I love iTerm it’s a fantastic terminal interface, it’s easy to customise and add shortcuts keys to.


HomeBrew is a brilliant package manager for Mac, I use HomeBrew to install software such as PHP and MySQL.



I like to upgrade PHP using home-brew to install the latest version:

brew install php

at the time of writing this will install PHP 8

I also like to install earlier versions:

brew install php@7.4



To install MySQL again you can use home-brew

brew install mysql

The default will be a username of root and no password.

To access MySQL on terminal

Mysql -uroot



Oh My Zsh - a delightful & open source framework for Zsh

I prefer to install ohmyz over using bash, gives you more control over the look of your terminal

Once installed configure by going into .zshrc:

With VIM:

vi ~/.zshrc

Press I to enter insert mode so you can make changes, for example I always change the theme to fishy theme


Adding composer to your $PATH inside .zshrc add

export PATH=“$PATH:$HOME/.composer/vendor/bin”


Laravel installer

You can install Laravel using composer via the create command:

composer create-project —prefer-dist laravel/laravel blog

but with the Laravel Installer you can simply do:

laravel new blog



When working locally I use Valet to run my php projects Valet is a development environment that allows you to server custom domain for your local projects for instance instead of using http://localhost:8888/someproject I can use http://someproject.localhost

hub · an extension to command-line git

hub is an extension to command-line git that helps you do everyday GitHub tasks without ever leaving the terminal.


Hub is great to doing releases from terminal.




Adobe Photoshop

For all design needs Photoshop is my tool of choice


Alfred - Productivity App for macOS

Alfred is essential is miles better than spotlight in fact I turn off spotlight complexity. Alfred allows quick searching your Mac but also enter a search term press enter and your default browser will be opened to search the web. Also you can do calculations, see your clipboard history and store snippets and more.

Private Markdown Notes for iPhone, iPad and Mac | Bear App

My go-to tool for note-taking is Bear, it supports Markdown, themes, various export options, and an intuitive file manager and can sync with IOS with the paid version.

Setapp | The best apps for Mac in one suite

Setapp is a subscription service that provides access to lots of paid Mac software under a fixed monthly cost

CleanMyMac (included with SetApp)

MacPaw | Making Your Mac Life Simpler

A powerful tool for removing old files and uninstalling old apps

Bartender (included with SetApp)

Bartender 4 - Take control of your Menu bar

Gives greater control over your toolbar

CleanShotX (included with SetApp)

CleanShot X for Mac

I adore this app it replaces the default Mac shortcuts for taking screenshots, with this app its easy to take screenshots and easily share them.


Password Manager for Families, Businesses, Teams | 1Password

For storing passwords, 2FA keys and sensitive documents I love 1Password


Loom: Video Messaging for Work

Loom allows quick video recording and sharing perfect for recording and doing quickly.

Microsoft Teams | Group Chat, Team Chat & Collaboration

Team chat software also supports video calls

Video Editing and Screen Recording Software | ScreenFlow

Amazing software for recording your screens and powerful edit abilities

Video Conferencing, Web Conferencing, Webinars, Screen Sharing - Zoom

Video conferencing software



Download – Google Drive

As a Google user I heavily use Google Drive for cloud storage


Web Development

Email testing and debugging has never been easier – HELO

A local client to see all sent email from an application, perfect for testing emails on an application without actually sending them anywhere online.

Dump Debugging Evolved - Ray

Send dd like commands to an external app for inspection

GitHub - nicoverbruggen/phpmon: Lightweight, native Mac menu bar app that interacts with Laravel Valet. Helps you manage multiple PHP installations, locate config files and more. Written in Swift.

When you have multiple versions of PHP installed you may want to switch which version is being used. For instance, I often need to switch from PHP 7.4 to 8.0, you can do this via the command line but there is a Mac-only tool called PHP Monitor that gives you a GUI to make switching versions easy and gives you more options, PHP Monitor lives on your toolbar so it’s only a click away.


PHP Monitor describes itself as:

PHP Monitor(or phpmon) is a lightweight macOS utility app that runs on your Mac and displays the active PHP version in your status bar. It’s tightly integrated with , so you need to have it set up before you can use this. Laravel Valet

For installation instructions visit don’t forget to star the repo.

PhpStorm: The Lightning-Smart IDE for PHP Programming by JetBrains

A very powerful IDE for PHP

Download Postman | Try Postman for Free

API client for working with and testing API’s

GitHub - Sequel-Ace/Sequel-Ace: MySQL/MariaDB database management for macOS

A brilliant MySQL client

TablePlus (included with SetApp)

TablePlus | Modern, Native Tool for Database Management

A modern take on a powerful MySQL client

Sublime Text

Sublime Text - Text Editing, Done Right

A simple editor for all languages


Visual Studio Code - Code Editing. Redefined

The switch army knife of editors VSCode has great support for just about any language


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