In freelance life you’re constantly learning new workflows, new equipment – and it can take a few moments to get used to everything. I like my mouse scroll set up fast. I like some Gestures and not others. I used to fix these things one by one, and then I made a list of all my favourite settings, so whenever I start on a new show I switch everything over at once! It only takes a few minutes.

This list is for OS X Yosemite, but should also work fine for everything from Mavericks to Sierra. In no particular order, this is my master list of OS X settings, for edit assistants, assistant editors & data wranglers:

Recommended

Change programs to launch on startup:
System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items –> Get rid of anything that doesn’t belong here

Disable update notifications: –> I will decide when updates are going to be happening!
System Preferences > App Store > uncheck all this stuff

Show Library folder: –> By default this folder is hidden, and eventually you’re going to need to need access it to fix something or configure something. Might as well enable it now!
Home folder > right click, show View Options > enable Library Folder

Show Battery %:
Click on Battery > show %

Set screenshot folder location: –> By default, screenshots in OS X (CMD+SHIFT+4+drag mouse) are saved to your Desktop. But as we learned in this article about stay organized, your Desktop shouldn’t be treated as a landing spot for random files and documents. So I prefer to send the screenshots to a specific folder which I then add to my Favorites in Finder so that I can see it. 
In Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /path/
killall SystemUIServer
where path is whatever. Example path : ~/Pictures/Screenshots

Enable copying of text in Quick Look: –> by default, Finder’s preview mode, Quick Look, does not allow Copying of text when you open it (pressing spacebar on a file in Finder). This command will allow copying.
In Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.finder QLEnableTextSelection -bool true
killall Finder

Set default Finder window: –> this will be the folder that opens first when you open a new Finder window. Set it to whichever folder you use the most.
Finder > Preferences > General > New Finders windows show (navigate to folder)

Disable Time Machine popup: –> disables that annoying popup when you plug in a new drive or reformat
In Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.TimeMachine DoNotOfferNewDisksForBackup -bool TRUE

Disable iTunes from automatically opening when you connect a phone:
iTunes > Preferences > Devices > select “Prevent iPods, iPhones from opening”

Disable Photos from automatically opening when you connect a phone:
Insert device > Photos > uncheck “Open Photos” in top right

Disable OS X startup chime: –> handy if there’s ever a chance you could wind up on set during a crying scene!
In Terminal:
sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80

Import Avid User Settings:
Copy from old system: Avid Users > copy entire folder with username
Avid > Import New User > navigate to folder

Set up your Favorites folder in Finder: –> Click and drag to create a permanent bookmark of folders you’ll access often. Good things to have would include Screenshots folder, Avid Attic (or wherever backup versions of your project are saved for your NLE), folder your exports get saved to, folder for manuals, and the folder for user settings & preferences in your editing program.

And then some more required settings that I wrote about in Data Wrangling for Beginners:

Disable Sleeping: –> Can cause problems with transcoding, working in Resolve/Premiere in general, and computer putting itself or limiting itself when you leave a transcoding job overnight

System Preferences > Energy Saver > Battery > uncheck “Put hard disks to sleep when possible”
System Preferences > Energy Saver > Power Adaptor > check “Prevent computer from sleeping automatically when display is off”
System Preferences > Energy Saver > Power Adaptor > uncheck “Put hard disks to sleep when possible”
System Preferences > Energy Saver > check “Show battery status in the menu bar”

Show Filename Extensions: –> You always want to quickly see what type of file you’re working with.
Finder> Preferences> Advanced> Show Filename Extensions

Set up Finder: –> Show information about the folders you’re working in.
Finder > View > Customize > Show Icon And Text
Finder > View > Show Path name
Finder > View > Show Tab bar
Finder > Advanced > Show Hard disks + External
Finder > Advanced > When performing a search > Search The Current Folder

Personal Preference

Changing mouse cursor size:
System Preferences > Accessibility > Cursor Size  –> I crank my mouse speed up, and the side effect of that is it can be hard to keep track of where it’s gone. So I make it huge.

Delete Trash without Delete confirmation: –> Not for the faint of heart
Finder > Preferences > Advanced > uncheck “show warning before emptying the trash”
Note: To delete on ISIS, no way to disable warning – just use cmd+ option + delete

Gmail: Change signature location:
Gmail > Settings > General> Signature, enable “Insert this sig before quoted text”
Add 3 linebreaks before the sig itself for best formatting.

Show file path in Finder: –> gets you another filepath to look at up top
in Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES;
killall Finder

Set default web browser to Chrome:
Safari > Preferences > General > select Chrome

Set Dock to only display open programs: –> quick reminder of what you’ve got running
In Terminal:
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool TRUE
killall Dock

Don’t like the above Dock setting? revert back:
defaults write com.apple.dock static-only -bool FALSE
killall Dock

And some more that were covered in Data Wrangling For Beginners:

Trackpad Settings: –> Faster is better
System Preferences > Trackpad > Tap to click
Tracking Speed > fast
Click > light
Scroll & Zoom > unselect “Scroll direction: natural”

Disable Mac Function Keys: –> Certain programs require function keys for important shortcuts
System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard > Check “use all F1, F2 etc keys as std function”

Show login name top right: –> Show which user you are logged into
System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Options > Enable Show Fast user switching menu

Customize Dock –> You shouldn’t be using Dock to access programs, use Spotlight, it’s faster (CMD + space). These settings make the Dock smaller and less annoying. On my personal laptop, I disable the Dock altogether. 
System Prefs > Dock > magnification 0, size towards small
System Prefs > Dock > check “automatically hide and show Dock”
System Prefs > Dock > uncheck “animate opening programs”

What are your favourite settings for OS X?