Mastering The Terminal To Use New Features On Unsupported Macs [OS X Tips]

Finder-Terminal

So far this week, we’ve spent time hacking our Macs via the Terminal, the best darn behind-the-scenes app you can find in Mac OS X. We’ve talked about tweaking the Finder, the user interface, security and privacy, and the Dashboard.

Today, let’s look at a few of the newer features of the OS X world, and how to make them work on older, unsupported Macs using some Terminal magic.

Enable AirDrop Over Ethernet
You can do it!

You can do it!

AirDrop is one of those newer features, introduced in OS X Mountain Lion, that lets you share files to other supported AirDrop Macs on the same WiFi network as yours. Other folks can do the same thing to your Mac, as well. Unfortunately, AirDrop doesn’t work on older Macs, nor over Ethernet, by default.

If you’d like to try to make it work on your older Mac, simply past or type the following into your Terminal app:

defaults write com.apple.NetworkBrowser BrowseAllInterfaces -bool true

Then, log out of your Mac and log back in to check and see if it worked.

Now, AirDrop should work on your older, unsupported Mac as well as over Ethernet. If you ever want to turn this ability off for any reason, simply replace ‘true’ in the command above with ‘false.’

Enable Time Machine For Unsupported Network Volumes
I wish I had a real time machine.

I wish I had a real time machine.

Time Machine rocks, mainly because it backs stuff up on our Macs without us having to do much of anything to make it regular and consistent. One issue, hoever, with Time Machine is that it only works with supported drives on the network. like Apple’s own Airport Extreme with Time Machine. What if you have a network-attached storage device that you want to back your data up to? These drives tend to be a lot less expensive per storage unit than anything Apple sells, but they aren’t directly supported by Mac OS X.

To make it so you can see these unsupported drives within the Time Machine system, all you need to do is launch Terminal and then issue the following command:

defaults write com.apple.systempreferences TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1

This tweak isn’t officially supported by Apple, and as such won’t have any guarantee of working as well as an Apple solution. However, if you’re willing to risk it, this might be a great thing to try.

  • Altonymous

    I’d love to see a way to enable AirPlay on Hackintoshs without using Integrated Graphics. My Graphics Cards + Integrated Graphics don’t play nicely together. :-P

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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