Author Topic: TinkerTool lets you access hidden preferences settings in Mac OS X 10.4 - 10.10  (Read 2540 times)

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TinkerTool lets you access hidden preferences settings in Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

access to pro preferences in 10.4 and later!


TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.


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Mac OS X 10.4 or later
Users of previous operating systems can use TinkerTool Classic.

TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.

The tool makes sure that preference changes can only affect the current user. You don't need administrative privileges to use the tool. With this design, it is no problem to use TinkerTool in professional networks where users have restricted permissions. The program will never change any component of the operating system, so the integrity of your system is not put at risk, and there will be no negative effect on system updates.

All preference settings changed by TinkerTool can be reset to Apple's defaults, or to the state that existed before using the tool. No dangerous background processes are used for TinkerTool's operation.

TinkerTool is electronically distributed software. You can download the product free of charge.

Known Issues

Under certain circumstances, the iTunes 10 pane may not be visible when using the combination Mac OS X 10.5.x Leopard and iTunes 10.0.1: If you are using TinkerTool 4.3 Build 101011 with a version of Mac OS X Leopard when iTunes 10.0.1 is present, you might not see the preference pane iTunes 10 in TinkerTool.

Workaround: This problem is caused by a packaging problem of Build 101011. Download version 4.3 Build 101012 to fix this problem. Users of Tiger and Snow Leopard, or users who have iTunes 8 or iTunes 9 installed are not affected by this problem.
Release Notes

The are currently no known problems that require additional documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is TinkerTool?

TinkerTool is an application which gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications that come with the system.

TinkerTool does not provide any features itself. Its single task is to give you an extended interface to your personal preference settings. The tool will never change anything in the operating system. For this reason, the integrity of your system is not put at risk. All settings are restricted to the user accounts that launch TinkerTool. If you have multiple user accounts on your computer, settings of different users will not affect each other.

The feature set of Mac OS X varies greatly between different operating system versions. For this reason, TinkerTool must automatically adapt to the system it is running on. The settings available in each system version are listed at the official web page.

When you detect a preference setting that causes a compatibility problem with a third-party application, you can simply reset this or all preferences to their previous values.

Can I have a manual for TinkerTool?

There is no documentation other than this English FAQ list. Because TinkerTool doesn't provide any features, there is not much that could be documented. The tool has a single function: If you click on setting X, TinkerTool will change your personal preference setting X. Apple may change the meaning of setting X any time at their own discretion, so we have absolutely no influence on the effects each setting may achieve.

Is TinkerTool compatible with Mac OS X Server?

Yes, there is no difference between Mac OS X and the corresponding version of Mac OS X Server. The Server version only comes with additional administration and service software. So TinkerTool works the same on both system versions.

Could you please add feature "X" to TinkerTool?

In most cases, the answer is no. TinkerTool does not provide any features, so it cannot add any. The features you are seeing are provided by Mac OS X and controlled by Apple. TinkerTool is only a helper application to activate them.

However, if you know an additional built-in preference setting neither accessible in System Preferences nor in TinkerTool, suggestions are welcome. Note that we sometimes have to deny integration of a preference setting because the setting may have a negative effect on some applications (which is the reason why Apple did not make access to this setting publicly available).

I have enabled double scroll arrows at both ends of scroll bars. Why doesn't this work with iTunes?

All recent versions of iTunes use their own user interface which is basically not fully compatible with the Aqua design of Mac OS X. Unfortunately iTunes is not capable of supporting the preference setting to display four arrows in scroll bars.

Can the option Finder: Disable Desktop features have negative side effects?

Yes. Unfortunately, the Finder of certain versions of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger might crash when it is quit if the option Disable Desktop features has been activated. If you are affected by this problem, uncheck the option and restart the Finder. This will resolve the issue. Apple has fixed this problem in later versions of the Finder.

Are there alternative ways to restart the Finder?

Yes, in up-to-date versions of Mac OS X, you can hold down the option (alt) key while right-clicking the Finder icon in the Dock. An item to restart the Finder will be displayed in the context menu.

There are .DS_Store files everywhere! Has TinkerTool destroyed my system?

No, you just have enabled the Finder's show all files option with TinkerTool. The .DS_Store files are created by the Finder during its normal course of operation but they are invisible by default. The Finder will automatically put a .DS_Store file into every folder you have opened. These files are used to save the positions of icons, the size of the respective Finder window, the window's background, and many more view options. While professional users consider the .DS_Store files to be a design flaw of the Mac OS X Finder, a mechanism like this is necessary when opening Finder windows for exchangeable disk media to give former users of the classic Mac OS the same user experience they had in previous operating system versions. If you don't like to see the .DS_Store files, disable the Finder option Show hidden and system files in TinkerTool, or replace the Finder by a better file management application.

Why is the Application option Disk Images: Skip checksum verification when opening DMG files inactive when I use TinkerTool on my system?

This indicates that you are using an operating system version in which Apple has already defined more detailed preference settings to control the checksum verification of disk images. Just launch Disk Utility and open its preferences panel. You will find detailed settings there.

Why is the preference pane Permissions missing when I launch TinkerTool on Leopard or Snow Leopard?

All versions of Mac OS X Leopard have an internal defect which causes Apple's user preference for permission filtering not to work correctly. For this reason TinkerTool does not display these settings when Leopard is used. In Snow Leopard, Apple removed this setting completely.

Can I completely disable font smoothing?

No and yes. Although Mac OS X does not support a feature to disable font smoothing generally, you can use the simple trick to set a very high size limit for the smoothing of fonts. If you set the limit to 144 points, basically all fonts in the user interface will no longer be smoothed.

Why can't I disable font smoothing for the standard font of the Mac OS X user interface?

In all current operating system versions, Mac OS X has lost the feature to change the font smoothing settings for the font Lucida Grande, the default font used in most Mac OS X dialog windows. This problem is not restricted to TinkerTool: Apple's original System Preferences application shows the same problem if you are changing the font smoothing limit in the Appearance preference pane. We made Apple aware of this issue, but they don't plan to fix it.

All icons in the Finder become gray when I enable the Finder option Show hidden and system files using Tiger. Is this normal?

Unfortunately, this is a known bug in all versions of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. We made Apple aware of this problem and they fixed it in Mac OS X Leopard and later versions.

How can I drag Dashboard widgets to my Desktop?

To successfully drag a widget to your Desktop please use the following detailed instructions:

   1. Make sure the option Dashboard: Enable Dashboard developer mode is checked in the Applications pane of TinkerTool.
   2. Open Dashboard. If you haven't changed the default keyboard settings, this is done by pressing the F12 key.
   3. Select the widget you want to have on your Desktop. Click in the widget and keep the mouse button pressed.
   4. While the mouse button is still hold down, move the mouse slowly and close Dashboard (by pressing F12 again) at the same time.

The standard widgets will disappear but the widget you are moving will stay on screen. When you release the mouse button you can use the widget like a normal application. To remove the widget from your Desktop, hold down the option (alt) key and move the mouse cursor onto the widget. A close button will appear which allows you to remove the widget.

How can I remove TinkerTool?

Just drag the application to the trash. Because TinkerTool doesn't install or change anything in the operating system, that's all. You might consider resetting Mac OS X's preferences you have changed via TinkerTool to the pre-installation state before removing the tool. (See the next item.)

I used TinkerTool for a while, then I deleted it. But all of its settings are still effective, what should I do?

As mentioned above, TinkerTool just changes user preference settings of Mac OS X. Applications will respect their settings no matter if TinkerTool is on your disk or not. If you want to reset your configuration, just open the Reset pane in TinkerTool, choose one of the reset buttons, log out and log in.

Why did Apple include so many hidden features in Mac OS X?

Of course we cannot officially speak for Apple, but there are several reasons why some built-in preference settings of Mac OS X are usually kept under the hood:

   1. Settings for professional users: Some settings, e.g. the preference to show hidden and system files in the Finder, are official features of Mac OS X but Apple intentionally does not disclose them to normal end users. Those features are documented to developers or to professional users which read the technical manuals of Mac OS X. This way Apple can keep the user interface simple, at the same time not excluding particular user groups from using advanced features.
      Especially in professional networks, system administrators even don't like the graphical user interface but prefer shell scripts and the Terminal command-line. So there are also cases where Apple considers it too costly to develop a graphical user interface, thinking that most users would not use it.
   2. OPENSTEP settings untouched by Apple: Technically seen, Mac OS X is not a successor of Mac OS but of NeXT's operating system "OPENSTEP for Mach". This operating system contained several features which are still part of Mac OS X. In some cases, Apple does not want to touch some of the old features, because this could have the risk of unwanted side effects. For this reason, these functions have never been deactivated but are "sleeping" in the OS.
   3. Features hidden for design and marketing reasons: System developers usually think far ahead while designing their applications. For this reason they prepare or implement many features without a direct order. In some cases they "play" with some features or need them for temporary testing purposes. However, superiors or the marketing division might later decide that a feature is "too advanced", "not needed by most users", or "doesn't look right". Because it can be very expensive and time-consuming to remove program code, those functions are only deactivated, not deleted, and we have another "sleeping" feature.

This list of reasons is not necessarily complete. The strategy of hiding built-in features is not unusual, you can see the same on other operating systems as well. For example, Microsoft® has a tool called "Tweak UI" which does a similar job on MS-Windows® as TinkerTool does on Mac OS X.

TinkerTool Version Overview:

Find the right variant for your operating system
TinkerTool is also available in special versions for older generations of Mac OS X and OS X. Please use the following table to find the right application for you:

Name of special TinkerTool versionFor operating systemsCurrent version
TinkerTool ClassicMac OS X 10.1 Puma
 Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar
 Mac OS X 10.3 Panther
TinkerTool Classic Generation 2Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger
 Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard
TinkerTool 4Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
 Mac OS X 10.7 Lion
 OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
TinkerToolOS X 10.9 Mavericks
 OS X 10.10 Yosemite
5 or later

Categories: Utilities - System Features - Mac X Intel - Mac X PPC - Leopard - Snow Leopard - Tiger - Lion - Mountain Lion - Mavericks
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 08:26:10 PM by Software Santa »


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