More updates for Ventura: App Tamer 2.7.4 and HistoryHound 2.3.3

July 29th, 2022

As Apple continues to refine macOS 13 Ventura before its official release, I’m getting all of St. Clair Software’s apps up to speed on it. While both App Tamer and HistoryHound worked on the latest public beta versions of Ventura, there were a number of details that needed to be addressed.

Version 2.7.4 of App Tamer understands Ventura’s new security restrictions for Login Items and will ask you to approve its helper application when necessary. This release also fixes a bug in App Tamer’s window handling, and corrects a problem with a checkbox not being enabled in the settings for slowing down an app.

Because someone’s going to ask, the now-correctly-enabled checkbox is the “Also slow this app when it’s in front” feature. Even if you’re familiar with App Tamer, you may not have seen this as it only shows up when you hold down the Option key. As its name implies, this checkbox will slow down an app even when it’s frontmost. That’s usually not something you want to do, as it can make the app harder to use, but there are situations where it does make sense.

HistoryHound 2.3.3 is also available now, adapting its prompts for Full Disk Access permission so they work smoothly on Ventura. This update also adds some features, including support for the Orion web browser and new filters that you can use to narrow down searches of your browser history.

Oh, and to be consistent with Ventura, any references to “Preferences” in both apps now refer to “Settings” when you’re running on Ventura, because that’s what they’re called in the new, modern Mac world. Full details and download links are available on the App Tamer release page and the HistoryHound release page. The updates are free if you’ve already got a license for the app in question.

Default Folder X 5.7 public beta 2 gets in sync with Ventura

July 27th, 2022

Among other things, the second public beta of Default Folder X 5.7, otherwise known as version 5.7b2, adopts Ventura‘s use of the term “Settings” rather than “Preferences.” Seems like that wouldn’t be a big deal, right? It turns out that those terms occur more frequently than you’d think in various dialogs and error messages, and have to be substituted on the fly to match the version of macOS you’re running. So I spent a couple of days bringing all that into conformance, then testing and localizing, and now it DFX fits in properly on Ventura.

Version 5.7b2 also adds a couple more interesting things, like support for Thomas Tempelmann’s Find Any File application. When you’re in an Open or Save dialog, you can now search with Find Any File from Default Folder X’s utility menu.

Find Any File can be helpful because it performs an exhaustive search based on a file’s name, modification date, and other filesystem properties. While Spotlight indexes these same properties as well as the contents of documents, it won’t always find all files – Spotlight omits the contents of some folders, as well as files contained within application packages and other special locations.

Default Folder X 5.7b2 also fixes a problem with its Recent File and Recent Folder tracking on Microsoft OneDrive that could result in files or folders being listed twice when they’re updated on OneDrive.

If you’re already running an earlier beta of Default Folder X 5.7, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar. If you’re not, head over to the Default Folder X Testing page to download a copy!

Default Folder X 5.7b1: Smoothing out the Ventura experience

July 8th, 2022

There’s a new public beta release of Default Folder X available: version 5.7b1. It’s compatible with Apple’s latest pre-release version of macOS 13 Ventura, and includes some fixes to work more smoothly with the new System Settings app, which is Ventura’s replacement for System Preferences.

System Settings is still rough around the edges, so there are a few quirks in the flow of granting Default Folder X the various privacy permissions it needs. Most notably, you’ll need to authenticate for each separate permission you give it (Accessibility, Full Disk Access, and Screen Recording). This is because System Settings doesn’t reliably set the state of the Privacy & Security controls if it’s already running when an app requests to be added. As a result, Default Folder X has to quit System Settings before it asks for each permission, or the little switch next to its icon will do nothing to the underlying setting when you turn it on and off. That means that instead of supplying your admin password or Touch ID once and turning on all the necessary switches all in one go, you’ll see the System Settings window go away, then come back, asking for admin permissions each time. Hopefully, this bug in System Settings will be resolved before Ventura ships and I can remove this little dance.

Default Folder X 5.7b1 also fixes a minor bug when running under Ventura and on older versions of macOS. There were circumstances in which Default Folder X could mistake your home folder for your iCloud Drive folder, showing the wrong name in the path menu that appears above the file listing in Open and Save dialogs. That’s been fixed.

Release notes and download links are available on the Default Folder X Testing page, or if you’re running a previous beta of Default Folder X 5.7, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.

It’s the little things: App Tamer 2.7.3 fixes icon spacing and kernel_task CPU usage

July 5th, 2022

Version 2.7.3 of App Tamer is now available, fixing a couple of problems.

First, my apologies to folks using versions of macOS older than Big Sur: Changes in the last App Tamer update tightened up the spacing of its menu bar icon to comply with modifications Apple made to Monterey and Big Sur. Unfortunately, it also did that on pre-Big Sur systems, often making its icon too close to adjacent ones in the menu bar. I’ve fixed that in 2.7.3.

Second, internal changes that Apple made in macOS resulted in App Tamer reporting the CPU usage of one particular process – kernel_task – incorrectly. App Tamer would show either zero or astronomical values for kernel_task’s processor use, neither of which was correct. In App Tamer’s defense, the system’s approved public API was supplying those numbers and it dutifully reported them without prejudice. Some hunting around in the macOS source code (thank you Apple for making darwin Open Source!) revealed an alternate method that correctly reports the CPU usage of all processes, including kernel_task. So that fix is now available in App Tamer, making it a reliable source of CPU information for all processes again.

As usual, release notes and download links are on the App Tamer release page, or if you’re already using App Tamer, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu. This update is free if you’ve already purchased an App Tamer 2.x license.

It’s that time of year again! Default Folder X 5.7d3

June 10th, 2022

It’s June, and you know what that means! Well, maybe you don’t… Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is held at the beginning of June every year, and Apple traditionally uses the conference to introduce the next version of all of its operating systems. This year is no different, so developers world-wide (see what I did there?) are downloading and running the first early test version of macOS 13 “Ventura”.

And because Default Folder X works so closely with the operating system, it needs to be updated to support each new version. So there’s now a public pre-release build of Default Folder X 5.7 that’s available for folks who are running Ventura. For those of you who are accustomed to Default Folder X’s quick navigation and file management, this will keep you from getting frustrated while testing or developing on Ventura 😁

A download link, release notes and a list of known problems are on the Default Folder X Testing page. I’ve also rolled in a few fixes for other issues that affect both Ventura and past versions of macOS, so check the release notes for details about those, too.

Default Folder X 5.6.5 improves Finder-click, compatibility with Path Finder and ForkLift, recent file tracking, and more

May 25th, 2022

Version 5.6.5 of Default Folder X is now available for download. It includes a number of improvements and bug fixes.

First, Default Folder X now recognizes files that you upload using a web browser or attach to an email as “recently used,” even if they haven’t actually been modified or opened. They’ll appear in DFX’s Recent Files menu so you can quickly get back to them.

Also, this release improves the way it handles Save As dialogs in Big Sur and Monterey. When a Save dialog is presented as a sheet, Default Folder X will emphasize the Finder windows behind it by drawing them darker as you mouse over them, but will leave the title-bar area of the sheet’s parent window unemphasized. This is done so you can still drag the window by its title bar to move it (and its attached Save dialog) around on the screen. It looks like this:

The “Downloads” window in the Finder is shown darkened behind a Save As sheet

Clear as mud, right? I’ll be the first to admit that it looks damned weird, but given that the Big Sur / Monterey implementation of sheets is a giant step backward in usability, I didn’t have a lot to work with. This method gives you the best access to your Finder windows while still allowing you to move the window (even though the new sheet UI implies that you can’t move it by graying it out).

And while we’re discussing Finder-click, version 5.6.5 fixes a problem with the way Default Folder X tracked the windows of Path Finder and ForkLift. They sometimes wouldn’t be recognized by the Finder-click feature because, in my drive to get the best performance, there was a case where I just optimized them out of existence. That’s been corrected.

Various bugs have also been fixed in the way Default Folder X handles Finder comments, cloud-synced folders, the icon of the Finder itself, and Save dialogs in macOS Sierra.

Release notes and download links are on the Default Folder X release page. Or if you’re already running Default Folder X, just choose “Check for Update” from its menu in your menu bar.

App Tamer 2.7.2 fine tunes its menu bar icon, fixes installation problem

May 11th, 2022

A new release of App Tamer is available for download! Version 2.7.2 incorporates a number of fixes to tighten up the layout of the text in App Tamer’s menu bar icon, and improves its compatibility with Bartender‘s multiple options for the spacing of menu bar icons. It also corrects a bug that could result in App Tamer’s helper app failing to install correctly on some Macs.

And relevant to App Tamer users using M1 Macs: Howard Oakley at The Eclectic Light Company has done his usual thorough benchmarking work and determined that the efficiency cores on Apple’s M1 processors use a shocking 70% less energy than the performance cores when doing the same amount of work (thanks Howard!). Why do we care? Because App Tamer lets you automatically run apps on those efficiency cores when they’re in the background, so can markedly reduce the amount of power used by your M1 Mac!

As usual, this update is free for anyone who already has a license for App Tamer 2.x. Details and download links are on the App Tamer Release Page.

App Tamer 2.7.1 fixes compatibility issues and bugs

March 31st, 2022

Version 2.7.1 of App Tamer is now available, addressing a number of issues and also providing localized online help for French-speaking users.

Compatibility has been improved with Bartender and Steam, and a number of user interface problems and window placement issues have been fixed. User interface glitches on older versions of macOS have also been eliminated.

There’s been a lot of interest in App Tamer’s new capability of running apps on the efficiency cores of M1 Macs, including requests to do so even when the app is frontmost. You can do that by holding down the Option key while clicking on an app in App Tamer’s process list – an extra “Also slow this app when it’s in front” checkbox will appear. Just turn on that checkbox (now that version 2.7.1 properly enables it).

Full release notes and download links are on the App Tamer release page.

App Tamer 2.7 is now officially available!

March 2nd, 2022

Version 2.7 of App Tamer is out of beta testing and available for download. Details and download links are on the App Tamer release page.

In case you missed the beta versions and accompanying blog posts, the marquee feature of this release is the ability to run an app on the M1’s efficiency cores instead of on the more power-hungry performance cores when you’re not actively using it. As with the rest of App Tamer’s capabilities, it’s a simple matter of selecting the running app and clicking on a checkbox:

App Tamer 2.7 also augments its interface with additional performance information to let you manage CPU and power consumption intelligently. In addition to showing overall CPU usage, it breaks it down by processor core type, giving separate stats for the M1 performance and efficiency cores. They’re included textually and graphically in App Tamer’s window, and also (optionally) as tiny ‘P’ and ‘E’ values in its menu bar display:

Conserving battery and limiting CPU usage is really as simple as clicking that checkbox, but there’s a lot going on under the hood. This blog post discusses how things operate in more detail.

App Tamer 2.7b2 fine tunes support for Apple Silicon

February 24th, 2022

Version 2.7b2, the second public beta release of App Tamer 2.7, is available on the App Tamer Beta Testing page. If you’ve recently downloaded beta 1, just choose “Check for Update” from its utility menu or in the Options tab of App Tamer’s Preferences window to get the new version.

The changes in beta 2 are relatively small, correcting interactions between the new capability of running apps on the M1 processor’s efficiency cores and several existing App Tamer options. In addition, App Tamer’s online help has been brought up to date, and a bug affecting the CPU usage graphs in beta 1 has been fixed. Details and download links are available on the beta testing page.

If you have any feedback or bugs to report on the 2.7 beta releases, please share them in the comments here or by emailing AppTamer@stclairsoft.com. Version 2.7 is on track for release soon, barring any further bug reports or changes.