bookmark_borderCan you remove the default screen savers in Mac OS?

Spoiler: Don’t.

This applies to Mac OS 10.15.3

By default, Mac OS comes with the execrable “Album Artwork” screen saver. When activated, this thing tiles any album artwork that it finds in your Apple Music (formerly iTunes) folder across your screen. That’s fine, but if you happen to click on your mouse while it is running, it starts Apple Music and tries to play something from whatever album you clicked on.

I usually click the mouse to deactivate my screen saver, and I don’t want to open Music all the time, so this behavior completely sucks. You can not disable this behavior in the screen saver settings, which also completely sucks.

Because I’m an exciting devil-may-care kinda fellow who lives on the edge, I like to set my Mac to use a random screen saver. But I don’t want the Album Artwork screen saver to run, and Apple doesn’t let you choose which of the default screen savers are randomly used. You either use one screen saver, or all of them. This also completely sucks.

All that suckage lead me to the question “Can you remove a default screen saver from your Mac?”

The shortest absolute answer is “Yeah, but it’s not simple.”

The shortest workable answer for most people is “Nah.”

The best answer is “If you want to use a screen saver, use Xscreensaver.”

The actual answer is “You can, but I decided not to, and you probably will too.”

Everything from here on pertains to bad decisions. Your life will be better and simpler if you just leave this page now and go learn how to make cheese.

But if you are determined, here is what you need to know in order to make a bad decision about the default screen savers on your Mac.

I warn you now that I am not going to explain how to do each step. Knowing what you are doing is the cost of entry here.

If you don’t understand what you are reading, I STRONGLY suggest you stop doing it and either go learn more or give up entirely.*:

The default screen savers are located in /System/Library/Screen Savers.

Doing things in Terminal

  • CD /System/Library/Screen Savers
    You will need to tab-complete or escape the space in “Screen Savers.”
  • ls or ls -la to see all the screen savers. Yep, they are directories.
  • You can then nuke the directory of the screen saver you hate.

I recommend you copy it somewhere else first, in case your plan to delete a system file doesn’t work out as smoothly as you’d planned. Because you planned this, right?

Doing things in Finder

  • Open Finder, hit CMD+shift+g and type in the location of the screen saver folders.

The directory will show up as empty. That’s because it contains system files, which are hidden by default.

  • Hit CMD+shift+. and you can see the hidden files.
  • You can then nuke the directory of the screen saver you hate.

I recommend you copy it somewhere else first, in case your plan to delete a system file doesn’t work out as smoothly as you’d planned. Because you planned this, right?

If you are now asking yourself “Why can’t I just right click and move the directory to the trash?” then you have more research to do. I do hope that dissuades you from continuing.

*This is some pretty solid general life advice

bookmark_borderToday’s Mac Keystroke of the Week for July

1.5 handed typingI prefer to use the keyboard to do things on the computer, rather than having to move one hand over to the mouse, which interrupts my typing. If you’ve ever been in a conversation with me, this will make sense to you, as I also hate the part where I have to stop talking to breathe, listen, eat, or take a punch to the mouth.

Here’s a really basic set of keystrokes that I should have looked for long ago.

When you are using the Finder to look at/for files on Mac OS X, you can use one of four views. Most people find that 3 of those views are annoying, and only like one. I have, in the five or so years since I got a Mac, spent a total of 24 years and five months switching the Finder window to the view I prefer.

You can switch between views by clicking on the view buttons, or choose a view from the “View” menu, or you can use keystrokes.

  • Cmd+1 gives you the classic icon view, which I have always hated
  • Cmd+2 gives you list view, which is not as useful as it should be
  • Cmd+3 gives you column view, which I find most useful, and is a pain if you have a lot of nested folders
  • Cmd+4 gives you “Cover Flow” view, which is only ever used when Macs are on display for sale, because it is otherwise pointless

There IS an unnecessarily dumb-ass way to tell Finder to use your preferred view as the default, but Finder has its own funny way of defining “default,”  so it is much less of a pain to just use the keystrokes to set the view to what you want each time.

All of these keystrokes are shown right there in the “View” menu when you use Finder, but I’ve been ignoring them for years. Please be better than me.

BONUS KEYSTROKE: In 10.5 or higher, if you have a file highlighted in Finder, and you hit the spacebar, you will get a quick preview of the file–if Preview is able to open the file.  This is a quick way to look into a text document, or preview a music file, or look at an image, without opening a big application.  This is one of those obvious keystrokes that is somehow easy to miss.