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Running SelfControl from the Terminal

Trevor Hartman edited this page Mar 10, 2017 · 3 revisions

In some cases, you may want to start a SelfControl block from the command line. This can make it much easier for advanced users to script their SelfControl blocks. This article explains how you can start SelfControl from the command line. If you're not familiar with the command line, this article is not for you.

  1. Install SelfControl into your Applications folder.
  2. Set your block preferences via the defaults system. The key values you'll need to set are BlockDuration (length of the block in minutes), HostBlacklist (an array containing the list of hosts to block/whitelist), and BlockAsWhitelist (makes it a whitelist instead of blacklist). For example, a 60 minute BlockDuration can be set as defaults write org.eyebeam.SelfControl BlockDuration -int 60. There are more preferences if you want them; you can see them by running defaults read org.eyebeam.SelfControl (or just configure them in the app's preferences panel). Don't set BlockStartedDate, that's handled by the program automatically.
  3. Run sudo /Applications/ $(id -u $(whoami)) --install to start a block. It will automatically run checkups to see if the block needs removal every minute.
  4. Wait for the block to expire. If you want to manually run a checkup to remove the block if necessary, you can do so with sudo /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/org.eyebeam.SelfControl $(id -u $(whoami)) --checkup. If that doesn't remove the block successfully, you can run our block removal tool with /Library/PrivilegedHelperTools/scheckup.

Example of configuring and running SelfControl:

  defaults write org.eyebeam.SelfControl BlockDuration -int 120
  defaults write org.eyebeam.SelfControl HostBlacklist -array
  defaults read org.eyebeam.SelfControl
  sudo /Applications/ $(id -u $(whoami)) --install
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