macOS: Setting up my Mac for Development

Seems like I’m setting up a new MacBook Pro a couple of times a year (between work and personal). This guide is to help remember all those things you need to get a good development (test) environment set up! Automating the good things.

Getting Started

First things is to update macOS to get the latest security patches and updates.


  1. This is for macOS Big Sur
  2. Make a ~/Development folder
  3. Install Command Line Tools for Xcode


Install Homebrew package manager to install most apps from the command line.

/bin/bash -c "$(curl -fsSL"

Make sure everything is up to date

brew update

Install my programs (note: I’m constantly adding to this list)

# GUI programs

brew install --cask \
    alfred \
    brave-browser \
    google-chrome \
    docker \
    dropbox \
    firefox \
    iterm2 \
    lastpass \
    microsoft-edge \
    notion \
    postman \
    rectangle \
    slack \
    spotify \
    tableplus \
    visual-studio-code \


Catalina comes with zsh as the default. Let’s install Oh My Zsh because it’s better.

sh -c "$(curl -fsSL"


Install Node Version Manager (nvm)

curl -o- | bash

Restart terminal and install the latest version of Node

nvm install node

Run the final command to confirm node is installed

nvm use node
node -v && npm -v #confirm the install worked


Make and set git config

touch ~/.gitconfig

Copy from my dot files

Pull the following repos from GitHub:

  1. dotfiles
  2. testing-guides
  3. testingconferences
  4. images-catalog


Make and set ssh config

mkdir ~/.ssh && touch ~/.ssh/config

Copy from my dot files
Copy keys from my place


  • Copy .zshrc from dotfiles repo
  • Set theme to be Minimal

macOS Settings

  • Enable Battery Percentage. Dock & Menu Bar > Battery
  • Enable Put Display to sleep using Hot Corners. Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hot Corners. Use the lower left to put display to sleep.

Visual Studio Code

  • Copy over settings from .vscode in dotfiles repo

Install Other Apps

  • EOS Webcam
  • Google Chrome Canary
  • MacPass
  • Spark Email
  • Xmind
  • Zoom
  • VirtualBox


This sums up nicely my settings for a MacBook Pro. Hopefully it helps speed you (and I) along on our journeys.

Inspired by (and taken with a lot of credit from) Tania Rascia. I’ve used her Guide a few times before deciding to make my own version.