With minimalism getting a lot of attention today, how would you customize your Mac to make it minimalist? You can stop using the Desktop as a storage location and use a simple background. You can virtually get rid of the Dock and menu bar. You can practice minimalism when storing, archiving and backing up your files too. Safari and Spotlight also have options that should appeal to minimalists. Choosing the perfect minimalist Mac is tough, as they all are appealing.
What about the opposite question: how to trick out Macs? Apple has made it increasingly difficult to modify our Macs. Yet, my students do everything they can to customize their Macs: they have rainbow-colored oscillating LEDs built into their keyboards and mice, custom sounds and desktops, of course, but they can't do anything close to what we did 30 years ago.
Yes, I am of the generation that loved the Banana Finder. ResEdit was my best friend. Not since Unsanity was there fun on Macs.
Brian: I disagree. Yes, the days of ResEdit (😀) are long gone, but you know why -- there wasn't any malware 30 years ago. Without Gatekeeper/XProtect/MRT/SIP it would be quite a mess. The last few version of macOS have actually added a lot of customization options. Apps like Photos have gained extensibility and macOS itself now has a formal way to add extensions. As for hardware, you can still get all sorts of keyboards and mice, and the gaming community commonly does. Using RedEdit to customize things was fun, but I think if you compared the number of settings in System Preferences today to 30 years ago, today would win by a mile. Think of all you can do in Accessibility, for instance. Plus, we have the Terminal and underlying command line system that does much more than OS 5,6,7 ever did.
Brian, people nowadays feel the need to customize everything, even their body. The idea behind the Mac is a tightly managed ecosystem. For people who use it as a tool, a clean environment is a good thing, not bells and whistles that become sources of distraction. That’s one of the reasons most designers and creative people choose Macs. Minimalism is good for production and creative work.
Excellent topic, I agree, many things that are not directly needed can become a distraction.
Look at the advent of BlueTooth and other wireless technology that free us from the clutter of cords, etc.
I've always had a clean desktop and cringe when I see someone's desktop covered with shortcuts and icons.
One item not covered is the toolbars in app windows. Minimizing the toolbar icons is another approach for a clean Mac screen. Safari with only the URL field sure looks great. However, there are some apps that cannot clear the toolbar for keyboard shortcut usage: Calendar, Books, TextEdit, iTunes. Is there any Terminal commands for clearing these toolbars?
Robert: No way to customize the toolbars in those apps, but if you use them in Full Screen mode, then you get rid of the toolbars (at least most of the time) plus the clutter of using windows. Perhaps a minimalist Mac should also use all apps Full Screen, with Control+Arrows to move between everything.