Mac users pick up on tips and tricks that can help keep their Macs running well. What about those hundreds of secret, hidden features in OS X Leopard?
MacPilot reveals the secrets and provides tricks to optimize and repair your Mac’s system.
There’s little doubt that our Macs, as enjoyable as they can be to use, so much so that we trust them with vital files and information, are complex beasts.
In fact, Mac OS X is so complex that the term operating system probably should not be used. OS X is more of a system platform. What do you do to keep yours running well?
OS X gives us a few tools to maintain system health. There are caches to be cleared, but those are handled automatically early in the morning each day. What if your Mac is asleep or turned off?
Disk Utility is there to help Mac users check the integrity of hard disks, or repair disk permissions when things go wonky. What most Mac users don’t know is that there are hundreds of additional features in OS X which are hidden; turned off.
One of my favorite utilities to unleash those hundreds of features is Koingo’s MacPilot. For most users, those hidden features are so hidden you need to know how to use Terminal, scout the web to find the proper commands.
MacPilot makes it easy. Point, click, unlock features, customize your Mac in ways you never dreamed.
Along the way, MacPilot also optimizes and repairs various aspects of Mac OS X, including running a number of maintenance operations which may not occur if your Mac is turned off overnight.
For example, you can enhance your Mac’s broadband capability, perhaps to speed up downloads. It’s point and click simple. MacPilot also disables certain menu items so you can secure your Mac.
Change the speed of window resizing, disable a processor, stop the Mac’s startup chime, or kill all the system animations (assumes that animations annoy you).
These hidden, secret features are embedded into the Mac’s Finder, in the Dock, in Safari, in Mail, in your network settings, and in File Sharing ability. Others are in the Mac’s System, the Login Window, in various OS X Tools, and elsewhere.
There are hundreds of these normally hidden features and functions which can be enabled, then disabled, and, for the most part, leave your Mac’s system intact. It’s like flicking on a switch to get something new.
For example, in the Finder you can add a Quit Finder menu item, show hidden folders and files, even restrict access to some Finder operations.
In the Dock you can disable the launch animation, Spring Load all items, Toggle icon transparency, limit the Dock to just applications which are open, and change the Dock’s position and orientation.
Other hidden tool settings let you toggle Spotlight access on certain hard drives, remove unwanted language files, slim your application’s binaries to either PPC or Intel only, erase unused preference files, or rebuild the Launch Services database.
There are over 50 additional Network settings which can be modified, and your Mac’s settings for broadband connections can be optimized.
You get the idea, right? MacPilot digs deeply into your Mac’s systems and opens hundreds of usually hidden settings. It does make you wonder why Apple has so many—hundreds and hundreds—of settings yet keeps them hidden from Mac users.
Whatever the reason, MacPilot does an excellent job at explaining each feature, and enabling or disabling, depending on your requirements. There are a number of Mac utilities which unlock certain features, but none that do anywhere near what MacPilot is capable.
The MacPilot interface is elegant and somewhat simple, considering how many features can but turned on or adjusted. The familiar toolbar runs across the top with basic features.
To the left, similar to iTunes and iPhoto, is a list of various sections of your Mac. Click on one and get the detailed features for each, complete with a button to enable, disable, or modify. It’s all point and click.
For the most part, our Macs just work. For those who are a little more adventurous, or, who just require more power, MacPilot is an indispensable tool.