As the Mac platform grew, developers figured they needed to get compensated for their efforts, and they started to charge more. Fewer apps came without a price tag. Then Apple launched the Mac App Store, and now apps have subscription fees. Friday Freebies are gone.
Get. No Get.
So far I haven’t been able to get all the Mac360 writers onto my new bandwagon, but I want to implement an easier app review system. Get. No Get. Or, maybe, Buy. No Buy. How about Great, Good, Bad, Ugly? Too much, right?
Here’s another and this one requires some effort to use but if you’re at all concerned about applications that gather data on your Mac and phone it home to someplace in Neverlandistan or Turkmeniswana, then you are a perfect candidate for Little Snitch.
What Little Snitch does is exactly what you need if you’re the least bit paranoid about your privacy. After all, if everyone is out to get you, a little paranoia is a good idea. Here’s the deal. Once you install an app on your Mac it has permission to gather and send information back to who knows where. You’ll never know.
Little Snitch knows. Everything.
For every Mac app that decides to phone home through your internet connection, it gets stopped by Little Snitch and you get an option to allow or not allow, or to inspect what’s going on. Some alerts are obvious. Mail. Safari. Calendar. FaceTime. Yet, even Apple has background applications that phone home, too, and they get flagged by Little Snitch.
One of the absolute coolest features in Little Snitch is the Network Monitor. Think of it as Google Maps or Apple Maps but with lines that trace a connection from your Mac back to wherever an app is trying to send information.
Network Monitor is your window to the world of network connections. View your Mac’s network activity from three perspectives – a list of apps and servers, a web of connections across the globe and a one hour history of data traffic.
How cool is this?
Little Snitch is easy to set up, and easy to use, but there is a geeky component involved so you can dig into the weeds if you want. The Little Snitch community has blocklists you can use which makes setup faster, easier, and even more thorough than trying to figure out the intent of every pop up you get on the Mac’s screen.
So, Get? Or, No Get?