tinyapps.org / blog

macOS: Export Contacts to CSV #

While Contacts.app does not include an explicit CSV export option, one can be easily effected by:
  1. highlighting desired contacts,
  2. dragging them into a new Numbers spreadsheet, and
  3. exporting the spreadsheet to CSV

/mac | Oct 16, 2017

Taking screenshots in macOS Recovery Mode or within a bootable installer #

  1. Boot into Recovery Mode (Cmd+R) or via a USB bootable install disk
  2. Utilities > Terminal
  3. If you have access to the existing macOS install, you can use the copy of screencapture located at /Volumes/Macintosh\ HD/usr/sbin/screencapture for the following. Otherwise, copy /usr/sbin/screencapture from another macOS install to a USB flash drive (e.g., SANDISK) and run from there.
  4. Open desired application(s) from the Terminal, e.g.,
  5. Open another tab in Terminal and run /Volumes/SANDISK/screencapture /Volumes/SANDISK/screenshot.png


/mac | Oct 01, 2017

High Sierra's Disk Utility does not recognize unformatted disks #

unless you click View > Show All Devices, quit Disk Utility, then relaunch it (thanks to xenadu02 for the workaround!)

macOS 10.13's Disk Utility 17.0 (1626) does not recognize raw drives. Here is an example while booted from the installer, attempting to prepare a new internal drive:


However, as seen in the blue Terminal window, diskutil does recognize the drive. We'll use it to perform a quick, cursory format (e.g., diskutil eraseDisk JHFS+ NewDisk GPT disk0) to make the disk appear in Disk Utility, where further modifications can more easily be made:


Plugging in an unformatted external drive produces the usual alert, "The disk you inserted was not readable by this computer. Initialize... | Ignore | Eject", but clicking Initialize just opens Disk Utility without the disk appearing:

High Sierra Disk Utility

As shown above, clicking View > Show All Devices does not cause the raw disk to appear.

UPDATE: Fans of Disk Utility's last classic version (13 (606) from OS X 10.10 Yosemite) have got it running in El Capitan and Sierra:

Disk Utility version 13 was the last to support:

However, in light of APFS and other changes, it may be wiser to simply use diskutil and hdiutil instead.

/mac | Oct 01, 2017

Breathing new life into a 2006 MacBook #

/mac | Sep 17, 2017

Menu bar firewall status indicator #

BitBar (open source) can be used to display an emoji of choice in the menubar depending on the built-in Application Firewall's state: off (0), on for specific services (1), or on for essential services (aka stealth mode) (2):

Firewall status in menubar via BitBar

  1. Install and launch BitBar
  2. Create a new directory (e.g., ~/bitbar/) to store plugins when prompted
  3. Save the following Bash script as ~/bitbar/firewall_status_indicator.10s.sh and make it executable (chmod +x firewall_status_indicator.10s.sh):
    state=$(defaults read "/Library/Preferences/com.apple.alf" globalstate);
    if [ "$state" -eq 2 ]; then
      echo "🔒"
    elif [ "$state" -eq 1 ]; then
      echo "❗️"
      echo "‼️"
    echo "---"
    echo "Open Firewall preference pane| href='x-apple.systempreferences:com.apple.preference.security?Firewall'"

GeekTool (free) can display a tiny red or green status LED on the desktop or in the menubar to indicate the firewall status:

Firewall status in menubar via GeekTool

TextBar ($2.99) can be used to display a shield icon and the firewall state (0, 1, or 2 as explained above) in the menu bar:

Firewall status in menubar via TextBar

  1. Install and launch TextBar
  2. Disable the default items
  3. Click the plus symbol to add a new item
  4. Replace echo 'Hello' with defaults read /Library/Preferences/com.apple.alf globalstate
  5. Check the far left box to enable and select the shield image

/mac | Sep 10, 2017

Particulars: BgInfo for OS X / macOS #

Sysinternals' BgInfo has been around for ages, displaying key system info on the Windows Desktop for convenience (especially handy for admins supporting remote users).

Glencode's Particulars offers similar functionality for Mac users, including a lab mode to help ease mass deployment.

/mac | Sep 10, 2017

Recovering saved macOS user passwords #

Users who have (inadvisedly) enabled automatic login often forget the password. It is merely encoded with an XOR cipher and stored in /etc/kcpassword.

A number of sites suggest this Ruby one-liner to recover it:

sudo ruby -e'key=[125,137,82,35,210,188,221,234,163,185,31];IO.read("/etc/kcpassword").bytes.each_with_index{|b,i|break if key.include?(b);print [b^key[i%key.size]].pack("U*")}'

However, only the first four characters were returned in my limited testing.

Joaquin Moreno Garijo's Python script, kcpass.py, did the trick:

  1. Copy /etc/kcpassword via target disk mode, single-user mode, etc.
  2. curl -O https://raw.githubusercontent.com/jjarava/mac-osx-forensics/master/kcpass.py
  3. chmod +x kcpass.py
  4. ./kcpass.py $(xxd -p /path/to/kcpassword)
        Kcpasswd: 0x09e03c5ab3ccad998dd66d1a89b165ae7e8912b851f8f0ff.
        Magic Xor: 0x7d895223d2bcddeaa3b91f.
        Used Magic Xor: 0x7d895223d2bcddeaa3b91f7d895223d2bcddeaa3b91f7d895223d2bcddeaa3b91f.
        The password is: "tinyapps.org".

See also:

/mac | Sep 07, 2017

OS X: Undelete iMessage messages #

/mac | Jul 17, 2017

Renaming files in OS X for Windows or Unix compatibility #


While the above approaches should cover most use case scenarios, none of them address all of the possible naming issues in Windows.


/mac | May 16, 2017

Apple Keyboard (A1243) - Function Keys Not Working #

The Apple Keyboard (A1243) was introduced in 2007 and rechristened Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad in 2009. Almost a decade later, it is still sold under the same name and model number.

However, there have been two different order numbers for this keyboard with separate system requirements:

The only cosmetic difference between the MB110LL/A and MB110LL/B is the icons on the F3 and F4 keys:

MB110LL/A F3 & F4 keys MB110LL/B F3 & F4 keys

/mac | Apr 29, 2017

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