Top 5 Amusing but Pointless OS X Mods to Try

Top 5 Amusing but Pointless OS X Mods to Try

During my recent exploration of OS X modifications, I encountered numerous dead ends for every practical tweak I discovered. Many settings managed by the OS X preferences system, such as those accessed via CFPreferencesCopyAppValue, often serve little purpose for the average user, primarily existing for internal application functions or as leftovers from Apple’s development stages.

From this exploration, I’ve compiled a selection of tweaks that are intriguing but generally lack practicality. Here are five tweaks that caught my attention during my search through system defaults and one I found while navigating an application.

Top 5 Amusing but Pointless OS X Mods to Try

1. Reset the Dock

It’s common for the OS X installer to leave behind various applications in your Dock, such as Mission Control, Safari, and Photo Booth, among others. With a straightforward terminal command, you can reset your Dock to its original state, which includes all the applications you might have previously removed.

Before executing this tweak, it’s wise to back up your file located in ~/Library/Preferences.

In your Terminal, type:

defaults write version -int 0 ; killall Dock

After restarting, the Dock will revert to its default setup, filled with applications. You might spend some time customizing it again to your preference.

2. Prevent edits to the Dock

If you feel mischievous and wish to lock the Dock’s contents (on a system that isn’t yours), this tweak will prevent any further modifications to the Dock.

defaults write contents-immutable -bool yes ; killall Dock

To allow modifications again, you can disable the immutability:

defaults write contents-immutable -bool no ; killall Dock

3. Reveal desktop background paths

This modification is for showing the file paths of your desktop backgrounds on each screen. It might be useful if your backgrounds change regularly, but for most, it’s an unnecessary addition.

defaults write desktop-picture-show-debug-text -bool yes ; killall Dock

To hide the paths again:

defaults write desktop-picture-show-debug-text -bool no ; killall Dock


Remove pane icons from the main System Preferences window

The System Preferences application is typically a grid of icons that users click to access various settings. Interestingly, you can customize which icons appear.

To hide certain panes, go to View > Customize and deselect any items you don’t want to show. These panes remain accessible from the View menu. Alternatively, selecting View > Organize Alphabetically rearranges the icons in alphabetical order rather than by category.

5. Add a useless debugging menu to iBooks for OS X

This tweak adds a debugging menu to iBooks, which might be appealing if you enjoy hidden features.

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Patricia is a well-respected author and tech enthusiast who has made significant contributions to the Apple community. Writing for TUAW, Patricia brings a wealth of knowledge about Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. Her insightful articles and guides help readers navigate the ever-evolving world of Apple technology. With a knack for breaking down complex topics into easy-to-understand content, Patricia has become a trusted voice for Apple fans everywhere.