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.

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Combo updates

Posted in Troubleshooting

Did you know that many of the problems we are asked to solve can be traced back to a faulty system update or corrupt system files? While it may sound pretty serious there is usually a very simple way to fix it, reinstall the latest Combo update from Apple.

When Apple is testing macOS updates with its developers they are using the Combo update, which is a package that contains every single update from the day your macOS version was released. However, what they deliver to the end users is normally an incremental update which only contains the changes from say 10.14.1 to 10.14.2. Unless you have a clean install there is a chance that it will replace files it shouldn’t or, on the contrary, that it won’t replace files that have become corrupted and are now causing problems.

The best thing to do if you happen to experience these problems is to reinstall the update, but instead of using the Software Updates which will only give you the incremental update you use the Combo update. The Combo update will replace all the core system files and give you a completely fresh and up to date macOS install that will hopefully make your problems history. 

This is also how you fix your computer if an update was interrupted as the Combo update will restore all missing files and make sure they are up to date.

Terminal tricks

Here are two less-known tricks for those who use the Terminal a lot.

Ordinarily Terminal doesn’t obey the usual Option (Alt)+Delete keystroke that deletes a word behind the cursor in other apps. To make Terminal do so, hit Escape, then hit Delete. You will need to do this for each word you want to delete - Escape, then Delete; Escape, then Delete; etc.

If you’re editing a file in nano, emacs or vim, you can hold down Option (Alt) then click anywhere in the file to move the cursor there. It works at the command line too - you can jump to anywhere in the line you’re currently typing by holding down Option (Alt) and clicking there.

Take control over your browser plugins

Posted in Safari Security

Safari 7 now provides finely tuned controls over what websites can use which browser plugins.

This means you can have the Flash player installed on your Mac, but blocked for your wider web experience, while still being allowed on a few select sites that you trust the plugin to run on. This serves as a perfectly reasonable alternative to uninstalling the plugin in it's entirety, and it's easy to configure for all websites and selective websites in Safari for OS X.

  • Open Safari and then go to "Preferences", accessible from the Safari menu.
  • Choose the "Security" tab and look for "Internet plug-ins", then click the "Manage Website Settings…" button.
  • Select "Adobe Flash Player" from the left side to gather a list of websites that have used or attempted to use the Flash plug-in.
  • Pull down the menu alongside each URL to fine-tune Flash for that website, choosing one of five options:

Ask – Safari will ask permission to run Flash if it is encountered.

Block – blocks all Flash for the website from automatically loading, this is essentially like Click-To-Play and can be overruled by selecting a Flash object and choosing to run.

Allow – Flash will always run when encountered for that specific website.

Allow Always – Flash will always run when encountered for specific websites, even if the Flash plugin has been disabled due to being outdated or insecure.

Run in Unsafe Mode – not recommended, overrides any security preferences within Safari to give Flash free reign to run.