Four Lion Terminal hacks

Lex Friedman
29 July, 2011
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Lion’s great, but some of us prefer mucking with the behind-the-scenes stuff with our operating systems. We’ve found a variety of Terminal tricks that can tweak various Lion behaviours. (Note that with some of these commands, Terminal may complain that a ‘default pair does not exist’ Fret not. Run the command a second time and the error will go away.)

Can you repeat that?

As part of Lion’s iOS-style auto-correction, pressing and holding down certain keys on your keyboard now brings up a palette that lets you choose an accented or alternate character. Because of that feature, though, you can no longer press and hold keys to make them repeat—making it a bit tougher to type woooooooohooooooooo, for example. To disable Lion’s ban on key repeating, fire up the Terminal and paste in this command.

defaults write -g ApplePressAndHoldEnabled -bool false

Press Return, and then log out and back into your account to start repeating letters with nary a care in the world. Revert back to Lion’s default key-holding behaviour by subbing ‘true’ for ‘false’ in that Terminal command.

Restore sanity by not restoring

Thanks to Lion’s Restore feature, all the windows you left open in a given application remain open when you relaunch it. That’s awesomely helpful in a web browser or a text editor. In certain apps, however—particularly those where you rarely need to revisit the same documents—the feature is more of an annoyance. Window resuming is actually configured on an app-by-app basis. Here are the Terminal commands to disable Resume in Preview and QuickTime Player X:

defaults write NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

defaults write NSQuitAlwaysKeepsWindows -bool false

Quit the apps before you try the commands. Again, swap ‘true’ for ‘false’ to reverse your change.

An animated discussion

When you open a new window in Lion, it launches with a ‘zoom’ animation effect that looks straight out of iOS. If you hate the animation—whether for the real or perceived delay it may cause, stylistic concerns, or something else—you can turn it off. Here’s the command:

defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAutomaticWindowAnimationsEnabled -bool false

You guessed it: Swap ‘true’ for ‘false’ to go back to zooming.

Reading Lost

Safari gains a new Reading List mode in Lion. Whether you want to use it or not, there’s seemingly no way to remove the Reading List icon—a pair of glasses—from prime real estate to the left of Safari’s bookmarks icon, just below the Back button.

Okay, just kidding. There’s totally a way—with the Terminal.

(Thanks to Hints reader nathanator11 for the tip!)

defaults write ProxiesInBookmarksBar '("Top Sites")'

To undo this one and bring the Reading List icon back, you use this command instead:

defaults write ProxiesInBookmarksBar '("Top Sites","Reading List")'


2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Jonathan says:

    What are you going on about with Reading List, the option for it is in the Bookmarks Tab of the Safari Preferences

  2. Shannon says:

    Thank you for the terminal code that fixes Preview. I just yelled “Huzzah!!” when it worked properly (as I am a first time Terminal visitor…!).

    You have made my night!

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