I've been using my new M1 MacBook Air for a few days now. Having NEVER used MacOS before, here are my first impressions.

@kev Cmd + Backspace should work for deleting files on external drives too, I think 🤔

@kev I use the builtin shortcut command + delete to move files to the bin without using the mouse. Also, one of the hidden features in Finder I find lacking in other file mangers is the ability to type the file name and Finder will select the first matching file instead of interpreting each key stroke individually

@kev Also I still don't get why one would go with MacOS full-time, just because of it looking more polished than your standard Linux desktop...
Having used a MacBook Pro for the last 10 months now at work, I still not at all feel like being free to customise it to my liking, due to the Apple devs having decided what's best for me.
Window management, security policies etc. still actively keep me from using my device efficiently on a daily basis.
Turns out I value freedom and usability over design

@totoroot it’s not about valuing design over freedom. Your perspective is one side of the coin. The other is those people, like me, who want same default and not have to mess around with the OS at all, which is what Mac provides.

@kev Great article. When I was using macOS I also found very frustrating not being able to paste a file or folder path into the Finder. If there is a way I have never found it in 15 years. I could only see or copy a path. On the perfect out-of-the-box operation and functionality of the UI I completely agree.

@kev Interesting read!

Have you tried cmd+backspace to move a file to the bin? 🙂

@kev As someone who also hadn't been on MacOS before my current employment, I am curious to see what you will think of working on the command line on MacOS since I didn't expect things like `sed` or `date` to work differently than I was used to.
Here is a link that helped me get my shell scripts working again:

@kev the European keyboards are odd indeed. I always order mine with a US (not US International) keyboard which has a fairly standard ANSI-layout. If you’re used to an ISO-layout it might also take some getting used to though.

@kev in finder, you can hit cmd+backspace on a file to move it to bin, and cmd+opt+shift+backspace to empty the trash. you can also hit cmd+opt+backspace on a file to immediately delete it, bypassing the trash. Gonna keep reading the article, but saw those two and thought you might be interested. Hope you didn't discover them further in the article... :ms_cat_joy:

@nathan @kev AFAIK Rectangle ( provides a similar if not just the same experience and does not cost eight quid.
At least I can say I'm quite happy with it.

@totoroot @kev yep. That looks cool. If not heard of that one. Thanks.

@kev If you don't mind a little bit of lua scripting, there is hammerspoon which is something you should definitely get. There are a few window manager-like scripts that people have made that may or may not help you with that. I was very surprised how powerful it is.
For example, I'm used to my screen reader playing beep sounds based on the indentation level of the current line under the cursor. The Mac screen reader, VoiceOver, doesn't do this at all. But thanks to Hammerspoon this is now possible.
As for moving the dock to the top of the screen, this should probably still work. Open a terminal and type:
defaults write orientation top
It might not, but it's worth a try. Just kill the dock process, or log out and back in, and it should move it if this wasn't broken recently.

@talon @kev wow
thanks for those tips!

do you have any idea how i can get a standard Unix compose key?

@meena @kev I believe for that, you would need an app like Karabiner. You can enter a lot of accented characters in MacOS though by pressing them with opt. For example, for umlauts, I believe it's opt+u, then a, o or u.

@talon @kev I've looked at karabiner, but there's no way to just import standard Unix compose keys

you have to define them all by yourself
actually maybe I'll just have to automate the conversion!

and yeah, you can enter accented characters by long-pressing the key

the problem is that this doesn't work everywhere and where it does work, it takes about seven times as long as using a compose key would

@meena @kev yeah, I don't bother with holding the key down. I just use the option key thing. It works much faster.

@meena @talon @kev Using option and option+shift shortcuts should get you almost, if not all, the characters you would need with the compose key. There's a keyboard viewer in the keyboard settings that will show you what characters you are typing while you type.

@redeagle @talon @kev i have discovered that keyboard view, but it doesn't have all the keys i usually use

keep in mind that i speak and write three languages. but I use the English keyboard as base, because it's most convenient for programming.

so English QWERTY keyboard + compose key has turned out to be the best combination for me, and I've used it for a good eight years now

@meena @talon @kev it's also quite laggy if something else is eating up CPU.

@kev for setting all open applications, slide 3 fingers up on the trackpad.

@kev Alt-clicking on maximize switches the button to a standard maximize! (At least it did in older OS versions, worth a try though)

@kev “I’m flipping from one keyboard layout to the other”

This will grant you superpowers as time flies. Your brain will thank you. :p

For windows maximization / positioning: Moom (5$) or Rectangle (open source, free:


Came here to share Cmd+Backspace and Cmd-Q but looks like the comments have got it covered many times over!

@kev cmd + backspace to delete a file, cmd + opt + backspace to permanently delete a file. Works everywhere, even USB drives.

There used to be cut for files in the Finder, but it's been gone for a bit. However, similar functionality exists. You can do cmd + c to copy the file then cmd + opt + v in another folder to move it.

@kev Window management is different in macOS, but I prefer it over everything else. Get used to these shortcuts:

cmd + h: hide application's windows
cmd + m: minimize window to dock
cmd + q: quit process
cmd + w: close window

The x on a window not closing a process is understandably annoying at first for people, but in macOS the window isn't the app. It's a window of the app. macOS will hibernate apps when you get close to running out of RAM, but you're better off learning the shortcuts above.

@kev There are more window management stuff like ctrl + down which will tile all the windows of the active application on the screen. The odd shortcut is because it's meant to be used in conjunction with spaces which use ctrl + left and right to cycle between spaces and ctrl + up to tile windows for moving between spaces (they should just combine up and down into one). Also spaces in macOS are per display like i3, awesome, xmonad, etc. so aren't useless when using multiple displays.

@dustin @kev I agree fully. This and text movement with keyboard shortcuts is the hardest transition when I use Windows and Linux.

@kev I'm genuinely curious to know why you didn't choose Linux. Would you share?

@kev sorry, just saw your post about that. Reading it. Thanks

@kev I've read your post about Linux. Basically instead of spending your time selecting the right working tools from the open source world you've outsourced it to companies at the price of loosing control over your working tools, part of your freedom/privacy, ending up feeding the system. I can't give away all that but I respect your choice. However if you'll ever rethink the situation be aware that the community helps a lot. Ex. Someone could have told you to use nextcloud notes or smtg else.

@kev can't you use command + backspace to send files to the bin? I don't think you need to create a new keybinding but it's been awhile since I've used one

@kev I’m very interested to read this when I have a chance. Thank you for sharing it!

@kev Great post, Kev! If you go into the Finder preferences (Cmd + , is the keyboard shortcut for preferences in any app) there’s an option to delete items in the trash after 30 days. This has come in handy a few times at work when I had to find a file I thought I was done with and had deleted.

@kev As for the command line tools, I highly recommend — that I also use on my work Mac — is MacPorts: This allows you to install and run more up to date Linux and UNIX software than either the BSD versions pre-installed in macOS, as well as a tonne of other software that would never be available otherwise.

I used to use Homebrew for this, but I find MacPorts much more stable and doesn’t require a security no-no to install.

@kev After years of using macOS I can say that frustrations will increase after the heat of polish goes away.

@kev Oh geez, I remember complaining about not being able to cut in the Finder when I was first exposed to MacOS, and people telling me that cut just wasn't something you were supposed to do.

Moving is perfectly sensible, and I hadn't expected to only learn about that now in an article like this. Thanks for sharing :)

@kev the only thing I was missing when I moved from Linux to macOS was package manager, I highly recommend you to install Homebrew for that : 👍

@kev As I mentioned before, I also made the switch, but am already back on fedora (defective part on my pc is now replaced),
Not sure about you, but what kept me from settling on osx was that there is no remote client able to handle the different keyboard layouts (I use remote a lot)
@ sigenes where nit transferred correctly, neither { [ also crtl + arrow which I often led to switching of desktops instead of hopping one word in the rdp session....

@kev On my mac, cmd+backspace sends a file to the bin and cmd+shift+backspace (IIRC) empties the bin. Maybe that helps 😊
If the selected file is on a drive, cmd+backspace directly deletes the file, no bin.

@kev let me know how it goes 😊 I have a French AZERTY keyboard so maybe the shortcuts are different on QWERTY though.

@kev Really cool article as always kev. I use a macbook air m1 myself & the one big thing that annoys me as well is the difference in keyboard shortcuts in windows/mac. Besides that I love this machine & would not want to switch to any other notebook. The fact that it’s so insanely fast (my old macbook pro 13 inch from 2018 got crushed in performance comparison), lightweight, has no freakin fan & has insane battery life is just awesome - for me the best notebook atm.

When o was young i used an ac a lot for school work. And now i have a fewacs in my possession. I pretty much deleted the os of all of them as i can not stand it. I find it kinda odd as i used it quite a bit as a cjild, but i just reaøly dislike it bow and find it really heavy to use. So i don't see myself making the switch at any time.

@kev Try Command-Delete for sending to trash/bin, and Command-Option-Delete for deleting permanently without passing through the bin.

Also, if you are unable to delete files on USB, maybe your USB is NTFS formatted? (MacOS doesn't like NTFS)

@kev another fun keyboard shortcut that may be of use for keyboard management would be CMD + ~

That will cycle through the open windows of the foreground application.

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