Mac Setup


Jacob Jameson

Part I: Brew 🍺

  1. Install homebrew following the instructions at

  2. Open Terminal and check if git is already installed.

    git --version
  3. If not, install git using brew install git. Then verify, its installed by running git --version.

  4. Install sublime text: brew install sublime-text.

Part II: R and RStudio

  1. If R and RStudio already installed, skip these steps!

  2. Install R: run in terminal

     brew install R
  3. Install RStudio: run in terminal

     brew install --cask rstudio

Part III: Creating a GitHub Account

  1. Go to GitHub.
  2. Click the “Sign Up” button.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your account.

Part IV: Git Setup

  1. Configure git with your name and email address. Be sure to use the same email associated with your Github account.

    git config --global "YOUR NAME"
    git config --global "YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS"

Part V: SSH

In order to write code locally on our computer and be able to push to GitHub (or pull from GitHub) daily without constantly having to enter a username and password each time, we’re going to set up SSH keys.

SSH keys come in pairs, a public key that gets shared with services like GitHub, and a private key that is stored only on your computer. If the keys match, you’re granted access.

The cryptography behind SSH keys ensures that no one can reverse engineer your private key from the public one.


The following steps are a simplification of the steps found in GitHub’s documentation. If you prefer, feel free to follow the steps at that link. Otherwise, for a simplified experience continue on below!

Simplified Setup Steps

  1. Step 1: Check to see if you already have keys.

    Run the following command.

    ls -al ~/.ssh/

    If you see any output, that probably means you already have a public and private SSH key. If you have keys, you will most likely you will have two files, one named id_rsa (that contains your private key) and (that contains your public key).

    sidenote: Those files may also be named something like: or That just means you’re using a different encryption algorithm to generate your keys. You can learn more about that here if you chose to. Or, don’t worry about it and power on!

    If you already have keys, continue to step 3. Otherwise, read on!

  2. Step 2: Create new SSH keys.

    Run the following comamnd, but makes sure to replace with your own email address. Use the same email address you used to sign up to GitHub with.

    ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C ""

    You may then see a prompt like the one below. Just hit enter to save the key in the default location.

    Enter file in which to save the key (/Users/jacob/.ssh/id_rsa):

    After that, the system will prompt you to enter a passphrase. We’re not going to use a passphrase here, so just go ahead and leave that blank and hit enter twice.

    Enter passphrase (empty for no passphrase):
    Enter same passphrase again:

    Finally you should see some randomart that looks like this

    Your identification has been saved in /Users/jacob/.ssh/id_rsa.
    Your public key has been saved in /Users/jacob/.ssh/
    The key fingerprint is:
    The key's randomart image is:
    +---[RSA 4096]----+
    |                 |
    |       .     o * |
    |  E . = .   . B.*|
    | o . . X o . + =o|
    |      B S o . o =|
    |     o * + +   o.|
    |      . ..o =  . |
    |          o+.=o .|
    |          .ooo=+ |
  3. Step 3: Add your key to GitHub

    Run the following command to view your public key

    cat ~/.ssh/

    Navigate to and hit “New SSH key”. Paste the SSH key from the last command into the text box as shown below and then hit “Add SSH key”. Make sure you copy paste exactly. The key will likely start with ssh_rsa and end with your email address. You can give the key a title like “My Macbook Pro” so you know which computer this key comes from.

  4. Step 4: Verify that it worked!

    Run the following command to test your computer’s SSH connection to GitHub

    ssh -T

    If the connection is successful, you will see a message like this

    > Hi username! You've successfully authenticated, but GitHub does not
    > provide shell access.

Recap: What did we just do?

We just created a public/private SSH Key pair. There is now a folder on your computer called .ssh (it is a hidden folder, hidden folders have names that start with .). You can run this command to see the files in that folder.

ls -al ~/.ssh/ contains your public key, you can see what that looks like by running:

cat ~/.ssh/

id_rsa contains your private key, you can see what that looks like by running:

cat ~/.ssh/id_rsa

This public and private key pair are mathematically linked. As the name suggests, you can share your public key far and wide, but must keep your private key safe and secure. Since you have shared your public key with GitHub, your computer can encrypt files with your private key and send them to GitHub. Since GitHub has your public key, it can match that file and verify that it is coming from you. Your computer can now securely communicate with GitHub without needing a username and password every time.


Some of the work we will do will take place over the command line, for which you will need a terminal.

  • Mac OS and Linux have easily accessible terminals (the program is usually called Terminal, so that’s easy).

  • Windows’ default terminal (Command Prompt) uses different commands, so we do not recommend it for this workshop. Instead, you can use the Ubuntu terminal that you set up with your installation.

If you have no experience with the terminal at all, we recommend practicing with it for some basic folder navigation to start. This 8.5 minute video is a good introduction.