Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints Apps
If you're not aware of it, Secrets is a preference pane that makes it easy to implement the many different defaults write modifications that exist for both Apple and third-party applications. I haven't checked out every entry in the program, but I suspect that it has the vast majority of the defaults write hints we've posted here over the years. Once installed, you can see modifications by program, and easily update the list to show the newest additions. You can even add a secret to the database yourself, if you discover a new one.

The upside of using Secrets is that you don't need any Terminal skill to use it, and you don't need to remember any obscure defaults write commands. There's not really any downside to using Secrets, other than perhaps not having the knowledge of what the program is doing, in case it ever goes away.

In browsing the Secrets database, I've found a few entries that haven't been listed here on macosxhints over the years. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting the most interesting looking of those commands as standalone hints. Why, you might ask, if theyr'e in Secrets already? Because long ago, when I started the site, I wanted it to make sure it was a collection of data, and not just a collection of links to other sites and programs -- that way, regardless of what happens to other sites and/or apps, the raw 'how to' data would be here for those who wanted to use it. As I post these defaults hints, I'll include a link to this post, explaining that there is an easier way to accomplish what the hint does.

Going forward, if I receive any additional defaults hints, I'll try to remember to do the same thing -- so that not only is the "how to" knowledge collected, but those who want a simpler solution will have it at hand as well. But for now, if you haven't tried Secrets, give it a shot -- there are over 2,000 different defaults tips in the database, covering some 50ish applications.
  • Currently 1.89 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (9 votes cast)

Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints | 7 comments | Create New Account
Click here to return to the 'Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints' hint
The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: tempel on Dec 24, '08 08:27:34AM

The downside with Secrets is that maintenance is lacking. I've long ago found and reported mistakes in some settings, yet they didn't get fixed after days or even weeks (haven't checked lately, though. Would be nice to see that this has improved). While everyone can add new ones, we're not able to fix existing ones ourselves.

But in general, it's a great tool. Just don't trust them always, some are badly documented or even use wrong values for defaults etc (e.g, I've found some that would set an empty field where a 0 (zero) should be, or vice versa).

[ Reply to This | # ]
Acutally, MacPilot also has a lot of Default Write changes...
Authored by: VesperDEM on Dec 24, '08 10:15:57AM

In a recent update to MacPilot, users can do what Secrets does, and it's maintained. Of course it costs a few dollars too, but well worth it to save having to remember those default write hints.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: thyvillageidiot on Dec 24, '08 10:27:39AM

I'd love to see a "Default Writes" category that would be available for navigation.
Also, since you'll be going to all this work to document default writes, why don't you come up with a nifty template that so that all posts will be in a uniform format?

[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: robg on Dec 24, '08 02:57:28PM

You can run a search on the advanced page for the phrase "defaults write" to find them all; that's what my linked search above does.

As for a default template, since many are written and submitted by users, that'd be quite hard to enforce. We don't get a lot of these any more, so it's not a high-volume area.


[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: CyberSkull on Dec 24, '08 12:47:31PM
For all the Apple preferences, I have been Using TinkerTool.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: asmeurer on Dec 26, '08 10:10:02AM
Just looking through this, I can see that there are some errors and duplicates. For example, in Mail, there is a setting for Disable and Enable data detectors, and they seem to be the opposite of that it says. Also, iTunes contains several duplicate entries. Also, it doesn't seem to allow you to delete the default, which at least for this hint seems to make a difference in conjunction with the separate but similar option available in the spaces system preference. On the plus side, this program has many third party applications included.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Use Secrets to greatly simplify 'defaults write' hints
Authored by: xanadu420 on Dec 29, '08 08:38:31AM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is 10.5 only?

[ Reply to This | # ]