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Tips & Tools for Unlocking the Power of Your Apple Devices

Chris Seibold

How This Book Is Organized

While you can start reading anywhere in the book, it isn’t a jumble of unrelated hacks. If you have a specific interest, this is a good place to decide where to begin.
Chapter 1, Before You Hack
Chapter 2, Hacks for the Net
Chapter 3, Hacking Mac OS X
Chapter 4, Command-Line Fun
Chapter 5, Customizing the OS X Look and Feel
Chapter 6, Network and Security Hacks
Chapter 7, Hacking the iPod
Chapter 8, Maximize Your Mac with Multiple Operating Systems
Chapter 9, Hacking the iLife
Chapter 10, Hack the Apple TV
Chapter 11, Hack the Latest and Greatest: Leopard
Chapter 12, Hack the iPhone
Chapter 13, Hacks for Laps
Chapter 14, Multimedia Hacks
Chapter 15, Hack Some Hardware

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Book Details
 2.00 USD
 641 p
 File Size
 40,415 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 2008 Chris Seibold 

About the Author
Chris Seibold is an engineer, writer, and cartoonist residing in Knoxville, Tennessee. As an engineer,
he has tackled such diverse processes as powder coating and hot dog casing manufacture. As
a writer, he has focused on computing and written for a variety of online and traditional media,
including serving as senior contributing editor for the Apple Matters web site and contributing
hacks to O’Reilly’s iPod and iTunes Hacks, with a talent for making the complex accessible to the
interested but harried user. As a cartoonist, he has produced both cartoon strips and editorials.
Chris also managed to spend some time producing radio shows relating to sports. As soon as he
hits television, the trifecta will be complete. Chris lives with his wife, young son, and what is quite
possibly the world’s dimmest canine. He has a degree in physics from the University of Tennessee
but has yet to find work involving frictionless inclined planes.

Ostensibly, you buy a computer or gadget to get something done. The something might be as
simple as listening to MP3s you’ve ripped from your CD collection or as challenging as creating
a full-length feature film. Apple is happy to sell you products to meet your needs. The trouble is
your needs aren’t exactly the needs of the next guy, and that’s where hacking comes in. With a
little (or sometimes a lot) of effort, you can make your Apple gadgets and software perform in the
manner you wish them to. Apple stuff that does things exactly the way you want makes the Apple
experience that much better.
There are over 100 hacks in this book and a passel of quick tips and tricks. Some are simple
enough—you’ve probably already pulled them off—while others are a bit more challenging. All, to
the right person, can be fun and useful.
So what can you expect? There is a wide range of hacks here. If you’ve got an iPhone, you can learn
how to take your hard drive with you when you go. Tired of the look of OS X? Discover ways to tweak
interface elements. Want to watch your Apple TV on yesterday’s television set? You’ll learn how.
Worried about your Mac’s security? You’re covered.
This book covers Mac OS X, the iLife Suite of programs, the iPod, the iPhone, and Apple TV. Any
particular part of the Apple universe you carry in your pocket is in here.

How to Use This Book
This is a book about hacking, so deciding how to use this book is completely up to you. You could,
if the inclination hits you, use the pages for interesting origami projects. If you want to use the
book in a more traditional manner, just start reading, it doesn’t matter where. Each hack is as
self-contained as possible (and points to other hacks when not) so there isn’t any reason not to
crack open the book at random and start reading. Chapter 1 contains some hacks that provide
background for a lot of the other hacks in the book, so many will find that a useful place to start.
Others might leap to the specific chapter that seems most interesting. A lot of the hacks depend
on the command-line interface available via the Terminal program, so Chapter 4 is a good place to
start if you haven’t used that in a while.

Table of Contents
Preface . vii
How to Use This Book. vii
How This Book Is Organized . viii
Conventions Used in This Book. x
Acknowledgments. xi
We’d Like to Hear from You . xi
1 Before You Hack. 2
HACK 01: Back Up Now with Disk Utility . 2
HACK 02: Create an Emergency Bootable Flash Drive . 7
HACK 03: Install Developer Tools. 12
HACK 04: Understand Your User Account. 13
HACK 05: Become an Administrator for a Moment. 15
HACK 06: Behold the Power of PLIST. 18
2 Hac ks for the Net. 22
HACK 07: Change Your Browser. 22
HACK 08: Safari: More Than Meets the Eye. 29
HACK 09: Browser Agnosticism. 32
HACK 10: Enable Safari Debug Menu. 34
HACK 11: Roll Your Own Web Server. 40
HACK 12: Two Ways to Reset Safari . 47
HACK 13: Ditch That Hidden Data. 50
HACK 14: Scrape the Web for Images. 54
HACK 15: User-Initiated Privacy for Web Applications . 59
3 Hac king Mac OS X. 64
HACK 16: Know Your Cats. 64
HACK 17: Kill Dashboard. 66
HACK 18: Move a Widget to the Desktop. 67
HACK 19: Turn Your Desktop into a Font of Useful Information. 69
HACK 20: Tame the Finder . 72
HACK 21: Use That Software Restore Disk on (Almost) Any Mac. 76
HACK 22: Get Things Done with Automator . 87
HACK 23: A Context Menu for Moving Files. 92
HACK 24: Free Up Gigabytes of Space on Your Hard Drive (and Never Miss the Data) . 94
HACK 25: Create an Encrypted USB Drive. 98
HACK 26: Capture That Screen. 101
HACK 27: Launch in a Different Way. 105
HACK 28: Meet the Dictionary: Your Hidden Wikipedia Browser. 109
4 Command -Line Fun. 114
HACK 29: Meet Unix. 114
HACK 30: Getting Things Done with the Command Line . 118
HACK 31: Get More Out of Your Mac with Fink and MacPorts. 121
HACK 32: Make Life Easy With Shell Scripts. 125
HACK 33: Fun with MacFUSE, or Mount Nearly Everything as a Virtual Hard Drive. 129
HACK 34: Starting and Stopping Unix Daemons. 132
HACK 35: Image Management with ImageMagick. 136
HACK 36: Tapping Into Mac OS X from the Command Line . 140
5 Customizing The OS X Look and Feel . 142
HACK 37: Customize the Login Window. 142
HACK 38: Change Safari’s Error Page. 150
HACK 39: Convert Audio Files with iTunes. 153
HACK 40: Replace Mail Sounds. 155
HACK 41: Rename the Unrenameable . 158
HACK 42: Create Custom Screensavers . 161
HACK 43: Create Custom Icons. 170
HACK 44: Clean Up That Desktop with AppleScript . 180
HACK 45: Change the Boot Image . 184
HACK 46: Empower the Finder Window. 188
6 Network and Sec urity Hac ks . 194
HACK 47: Automate Your Download Folder. 194
HACK 48: Approximate a Static IP with NoIP for Mac. 197
HACK 49: Surf Anonymously . 202
HACK 50: Monitor the Data Leaving Your Mac . 205
HACK 51: Resurrecting the IPFW Firewall in Leopard. 209
HACK 52: Physical Security Measures for Your Mac. 213
HACK 53: Keep Your Traffic Private with Secure Shell. 226
HACK 54: Secure Your Wireless Network. 229
HACK 55: Share Your Wi-Fi . 237
HACK 56: Use Your Mac as an Access Point . 240
HACK 57: Hide Sensitive Files in OS X . 243
7 Hac king the iPod . 248
HACK 58: Home Folder to Go. 248
HACK 59: Boot from Your iPod. 256
HACK 60: Manage Your Shuffle Sans iTunes. 259
HACK 61: Uncap Your iPod’s Volume. 262
HACK 62: The 2¢ iPod Case . 264
HACK 63: The Ultimate Zen Hack: iPod Video Cable. 267
HACK 64: Good as New: Clean Your iPod. 268
HACK 65: Read Wikipedia on an iPod. 270
8 Max imize your Mac with Multiple
Ope rating Systems . 278
HACK 66: Nondestructively Partition Your Hard Drive . 278
HACK 67: Run Windows on Your Mac . 282
HACK 68: Suck Windows Onto Your Mac. 288
HACK 69: Move from Windows to Mac OS X Painlessly . 291
HACK 70: Panic Swap. 297
HACK 71: Using Windows Keyboards with OS X. 303
HACK 72: Boot Another OS Without Losing Uptime in Mac OS X. 306
HACK 73: Run Classic Mac Applications with SheepShaver and Basilisk II . 310
HACK 74: Build a Screaming Fast Darwin Machine for $935 (or Less)!. 319
9 Hac king the iLife . 328
HACK 75: Get More Out of iTunes . 328
HACK 76: Build a Custom Visualizer with Quartz Composer. 341
HACK 77: Get More Out of iChat. 356
HACK 78: Use a Chatbot with iChat . 365
HACK 79: Quick iPhoto Tips and Tricks . 368
HACK 80: Tips for Pics. 371
HACK 81: Get More Out of iWeb. 373
HACK 82: Fun with Photo Booth . 394
HACK 83: Optimize iMovie HD for YouTube. 396
HACK 84: Tips for Making Great Movies. 398
10 Hac k the Apple TV . 402
HACK 85: Use Your Apple TV with Standard Definition Sets . 402
HACK 86: Upgrade Your Apple TV Hard Drive. 405
HACK 87: Configure the Apple TV for Remote Shell Access . 412
HACK 88: Gain Remote Shell Access to the Apple TV (Running Take 2)
Without Opening the Case. 415
HACK 89: Browse from the Couch. 424
11 Hac k the Latest and Grea test: Leopa rd . 428
HACK 90: Make Mail Templates Yours. 428
HACK 91: A Brighter Spotlight. 435
HACK 92: Time Machine: How to Back Up Different Folders to Different Disks. 440
HACK 93: Two Ways to Make a Widget. 442
HACK 94: Tweak an Existing Widget. 448
HACK 95: Beer Goggles for Leopard. 450
HACK 96: Install Leopard on Unsupported Hardware. 457
HACK 97: Burn Leopard to a Single Disk; Install Leopard from an Image. 463
HACK 98: Approximate .Mac with Free Tools . 468
12 Hac k the iPhone . 480
HACK 99: Jailbreak Your iPhone. 480
HACK 100: After You Jailbreak. 490
HACK 101: Add a Hard Drive to Your iPhone (Kind of) . 492
HACK 102: The iPhone as a Mobile Educational Tool. 496
HACK 103: The iPhone as a Mobile Blog Machine. 497
HACK 104: Going Mobile with PasswordWallet. 500
13 Hac ks for Lap s . 502
HACK 105: Three Ways to Disable a Built-in iSight. 502
HACK 106: Two Hacks for the iBook. 504
HACK 107: Demobilize Your iBook. 506
HACK 108: Build a Perfect Laptop Cooler for Your Machine. 509
HACK 109: Dual Drive MacBook Pro. 515
HACK 110: Upgrade a Macbook Pro Hard Drive. 517
HACK 111: SmackBook: The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Beating Your ’Book . 527
14 Multimed ia Hac ks . 530
HACK 112: Let Your TiVo Meet Your Mac . 530
HACK 113: View AVI Movies on Your Mac. 534
HACK 114: Master BitTorrent with Xtorrent . 537
HACK 115: Legal Online Sources for Music (Besides iTunes!). 540
HACK 116: Play Songs Sans iTunes. 544
HACK 117: Play Classic Games on Your Mac with MacMAME. 546
HACK 118: Connect Your Mac to an Xbox 360 . 547
HACK 119: Grab and Convert Video from YouTube . 549
HACK 120: Keep Your iTunes Library on an External Hard Drive. 553
HACK 121: Building a Digital Movie Collection from Your DVD Collection. 556
HACK 122: Create a Screencast!. 560
HACK 123: Manipulate Audio From the Command Line . 562
15 Hac k Some Hardware . 574
HACK 124: Awesome Mini in a Car Hack!. 574
HACK 125: Repair Scratched DVDs and CDs. 584
HACK 126: Use Your Mac as a Weather-Monitoring Station. 586
HACK 127: No Lights? No Power? Still Got the Net! . 591
HACK 128: Hacks for Smart Homes . 594
HACK 129: Twittering Your Home. .  602
HACK 130: Create Custom Video Cables. 605
HACK 131: Clean the Mighty Mouse. 609
CREDIT S . 613
INDEX . 617

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The Big Book of Apple Hacks has a big list of contributors. This book wouldn’t have been possible
without the code, writing, and the patience of the following contributors.
Surya Buchwald, aka Momo the Monster, is an artist-programmer living in Portland, Oregon.
He’s an audiovisual community evangelist—always looking for ways to support and build this
crazy Nerd-Art AV Scene. His professional web/graphics/motion site awaits your perusal at
Bakari Chavanu is a baby boomer who grew up in Oklahoma City. He was a high-school English
teacher for 12 years, and in 2006, he started his professional wedding and event photography
business, Lifetime Video and Photography ( He leads workshops in
digital photography, and as a longtime Mac user, he writes articles and blog entries for MyMac.
com and O’Reilly Media. If you ask him about his future goals, they include getting into travel
photography and writing his own Mac-related book. He resides in Northern California with his lovely
wife and two adorable and Apple computer-learning children, Amara and Kobe.
Eric Cheng, a Stanford University graduate (BS ’97, MS ’98), was a computer scientist and
cellist before he took his first underwater photograph in 2001 and fell in love with the beauty of
the underwater realm. Since then, Eric has become known around the world for his expertise in
underwater imaging. He has meticulously documented his travels around the world and has been
published in numerous publications, both in print and on the Web. In 2003, Eric was awarded a
Greg Koenig is an industrial designer who lives in Portland, Oregon.
Rich Lefko lives in New Hampshire with his wife and three sons and has been hacking Macs for the
last 15+ years. He uses his Macs for video and photo editing as well as web programming. He writes
for and is a rabid weather enthusiast. You can find his web site at RichLefko.Com.
Gordon Meyer is a Chicago-based writer and speaker who has authored dozens of software manuals,
numerous articles for Macintosh users and technical writers, and O’Reilly’s Smart Home Hacks, a
leading book on do-it-yourself home automation techniques (
Ari B. Natal is currently a Ph.D. candidate in computer science at Brandeis University, where he
researches and develops games for peer-driven learning online. You can find more details about his
hack—along with some of his other notes on Apple computing and bicycle commuting—on his “Bits
and Bikes” blog (
Andrew Plumb is an engineer, musician, and parent living in Ottawa, Canada. When not embroiled
in the art of analog IC design, he can be found deep in thought shoveling snow off the front drive
or uprooting dandelions in the back yard. His scratch pad for sharing works in progress is
Chris Roose is a documentary radio producer, jazz/soul/funk DJ, and music-store slave living in
Brooklyn, New York. His first encounter with a Unix-like operating system was Linux Slackware 1.0
in 1993. It was Mac OS X, however, that inspired him to explore the full potential of Unix. He can be
reached at .
Guy Serle is a long-time Mac user (since 1987) who just wants things to work and will go to
extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming lengths to keep things simple. He’s originally
from€F lorida€and a product of that state’s educational system, which explains his penchant for
having things explained at least twice and veeeerrrryyyyy slowly. He’s regular writer for MyMac.
com and one of the cohosts of the podcast. 
He also enjoys talking about himself in the
third person and welcomes differences of opinion as long as they’re not too dissimilar from his own.
He now lives peaceably with his wife Tracey in€Virginia€and not so peaceably with his two boys Guy Jr. and Peter.
Tom Sgouros is a technical writer, freelance researcher, and performance artist based in Rhode
Island. He occupies space at AS220, writes and edits a newsletter about public policy in that fair
state, and occasionally hits the road with his good friend Judy, a robot (
Martin Smit is from Seattle, WA. His web site is
Hadley Stern is a designer and writer residing in Boston. Hadley studied creative writing and
western civilization and culture at Concordia University before studying graphic design at the
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Since graduating from RISD, Hadley has worked as a
professional designer at Malcolm Grear Designers, Rykodisc Records, and Razorfish. He has
worked on corporate-identity projects, CD packages, web sites, flash banner advertising, and a
wide variety of print collateral as well as Internet product development. Hadley has written for
WebMonkey, American Photo magazine, and PC Magazine, and is the author of O’Reilly’s, iPod and
iTunes Hacks. Hadley is also the founder of, a serious yet irreverent look at all
things Apple where Chris Seibold also happens to write. That’s where they met.
Chris Stone ( is a senior systems
administrator (the Mac guy) at O’Reilly Media. He’s written several Mac OS X-related articles for
the O’Reilly Mac DevCenter ( and contributed to Mac OS X:
The Missing Manual, Panther Edition (Pogue Press/O’Reilly). Chris grew up on the San Francisco
peninsula, went to Humboldt State University, and spent 10 years hidden away in the Japanese
countryside before returning to California and settling in the North Bay area, where he now lives
with his wife, Miho, and two sons, Andrew and Jonathan.
Matt Swann lives with his wife Amanda outside of Seattle, WA. When he’s not testing web
applications, he can be found writing code, tinkering with electronics, or taking photos around the
Pacific Northwest.
Chuck Toporek has been a Mac user since 1988, is the author of O’Reilly’s Mac OS X Leopard
Pocket Guide, Inside .Mac, Running Boot Camp, and is the coauthor of Hydrocephalus: A Guide for
Patients, Families, and Friends, and Mac OS X Panther in a Nutshell. He has written for MacAddict
and Macworld magazines, and pretends to be a photographer in his spare time.
Marco Triverio has been using Apple products since the Mac OS 7 era. He has written articles
about Mac OS X security, iPod, Objective-C and Cocoa, Open Firmware, Linux, and electronics. He
is a student of computer engineering at Politecnico di Milano ( and a member of the
Arduino User Group ( He dreams of working for Apple someday. You can visit
Marco’s web site at
Matt Turner is a professional fabricator and installer of mobile electronics. He has been working
in the industry for 14 years and has built numerous award-winning show vehicles for individuals
as well as for clients such as NOPI, Car Audio & Electronics, Davin Wheels, HiFi Buys/Tweeter,
Microsoft, Boston Acoustics, Kicker, Eclipse, JL Audio, General Motors and Select Products. Matt
built the year 2000 IASCA Novice Class First Place vehicle and was an integral part of the four-man
team that built the Car Audio Trifecta-winning Chrysler 300m project. His work has been featured
in and on the covers of many magazines, including Car Audio and Electronics, Import Tuner, Car
Sound and Performance, Honda Tuning, Macworld Magazine, Make: Magazine, Mac Format, and
Auto Media. Aside from building show cars, Matt specializes in the seamless integration of new and
exciting technologies into automotive interiors. He recently partnered with long-time friend and
coworker Randy Lively to form 2point5, a company that specializes in bringing these principles to
individuals as well as to the mass market via the spec.dock mobile iPod solution. He has helped
bring such innovations to the industry as rearview mirror-mounted radar detectors, docked iPods,
and mobile computing.
Glenn Wolsey is a teenage freelance content creator living in New Zealand. His personal
technology blog can be found at
Aaron Wright is a self-employed electrician living in London, England. His fascination with Apple
products began after a frustrating decade dealing with Windows computers forced him to look
for an alternative. The iPod he owned at the time certainly helped set his sights on a shiny white
iMac G5, and since purchasing the machine back in 2005, has not once gone back to his Microsoft
counterpart. With a Microsoft Xbox360 playing a vital part in Aaron’s home entertainment, it seemed
only right that he search for a way to connect his iMac and all the music, film, and photos it possessed
to the Xbox360. More of Aaron’s writing can be found at
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