Cocktail is a general purpose utility for OS X that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. It is a powerful digital toolset that helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world get the most out of their computers every day.

Get Cocktail here

Arrange, remove and add menulets

Posted in Tips & Tricks

Most Mac users have a clock and some other small icons in the upper right corner of their screen. Apple calls these Menu Extras but Mac users generally refer to them as menulets. What many people have not learned is that those menulets can be repositioned, deleted and customized.

Simply hold down the Command key and your mouse button and drag a menulet to a new position. The other Menu Extras will scoot out of the way as you drag. Release the mouse button to drop the menulet in its new position.

Removing is the same process as moving, with the exception of you drag downward and release the mouse. On release, a poof of smoke animation will appear, to let you know you have removed the item.

Apple provides Mac users with over two dozen handy menulets. Go to your startup disk and select System > Library > CoreServices > Menu Extras. The menulet names should give you an indication of their intended function. Double clicking a menulet will automatically add that menulet to the main menu.

Prevent others from discovering your Mac

Posted in Security

Your Mac is pretty safe on your private home network, but what about when you're surfing the Web in coffee shops? Anyone with a computer and rudimentary hacking skills could target you, which is why it's important to make sure your Mac's built-in firewall is enabled and that stealth mode is turned on.

macOS's firewall feature blocks unwanted network traffic coming into your computer, and stealth mode makes your Mac essentially invisible to hackers snooping for computers to target. They aren't foolproof features, but they will keep most people from finding and attacking your Mac on public networks.

First, you need to make sure your Mac's firewall is enabled:

• Go to Apple menu > System Preferences.
• Choose Security & Privacy.
• Select the Firewall tab.
• If the firewall is active you’ll see a green dot and "Firewall: On." If not, click Turn Firewall On. You may have to click the padlock icon and authenticate with your Mac's password to change the setting.

Next, enable stealth mode:

• Click Firewall Options. It's below the button for turning the firewall on and off.
• Check Enable stealth mode.
• Click OK.

"Automatically allow built-in software to receive incoming connections" and "Automatically allow downloaded signed software to receive incoming connections" should already be checked. Those settings let the apps you already have communicate through the firewall without you having to take any extra steps. Leave those checked unless you know what you're doing and plan to manage app network access manually. You should leave "Block all incoming connections" unchecked too, unless all you're doing is surfing the Web.

 

Quick print from Finder

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

Despite the promise long ago of the paperless office, we still need to print documents from our Macs at times. The usual launch an app to print a document routine works fine for that, but you can save a little time by printing your files directly from the Finder.

Printing a document without first launching the app that created it is easy. Just select the document and use the Command-P keyboard shortcut (or go the the File menu and choose Print). The default app for the file's format will launch, and in most cases will send the document to your default printer without any interaction.

Applications that expect more user input before printing, like professional design apps, will wait for you to configure your print settings before putting ink on paper. It adds back in an extra step, but for file formats that default to Preview, it's as simple as select-and-print.

Essential keyboard shortcuts for the Open and Save dialog

The next time you end up in an Open or Save dialog window, try out a few of these helpful keyboard shortcuts to make navigating around the dialog and filesystem much faster.

Command+D
Selects Desktop as the destination.

Command+Shift+H
Sets the Home directory as the destination.

Command+Shift+A
Sets Applications directory as the destination.

Command+Shift+.
Toggle invisible items.

Command+Shift+G
Bring up Go To Folder window.

Command+R
Open the selected item in the Finder.

Command+F
Move the cursor to the Find field.

Command+.
Close the Open/Save dialog window.

Spacebar
View the selected item in Quick Look.

Tab
Tab key auto-completes paths and file names from the aforementioned Go To Folder window.

Keep folders on top when sorting by name in Finder

Posted in Finder Tips & Tricks

macOS Sierra introduces many new features and refinements to Apple's desktop operating system platform, but one is particularly appreciated by Finder fans. As has been long offered in Windows, Sierra now lets users keep folders at the top of a Finder window when sorting files by name.

In OS X El Capitan and earlier, Finder sorts everything by name, mixing files and folders together. In macOS Sierra, there's a new option in the Finder preferences. With Finder selected as the active application, head to Finder > Preferences in the menu bar (or press the keyboard shortcut Command + Comma) to open the Finder preferences window and click on the Advanced tab.

You'll see a new option labeled "Keep folders on top when sorting by name". When this option is checked, Finder will sort folders by name separately at the top of the list and sort the remaining files by name at the bottom.

This is how File Explorer in Windows operates and it may be a preferred way to manage files in Finder for many people. Pre-Sierra users could still separate files and folders by configuring Finder to sort files by "Kind”, but this method sorted all files by their file type and wasn't always ideal. For longtime Mac users who prefer the old sorting method of mixing everything together, Apple thankfully retains the option to switch back. Just uncheck the "Keep folders on top when sorting by name" box in Finder preferences and file sorting in macOS Sierra will work like it used to in El Capitan and earlier.