MacPilot: Easy Access to Advanced OS X Preferences

If you’re an AppStorm reader, then there’s a good chance you are a Mac user. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you’re pretty happy with the experience. You’re probably wandering about this site, checking out a few cool Mac applications and maybe looking to learn a thing or two about your fancy machine.

The Terminal is the command line for your Mac and can be used, among other things, to really fine tune the Mac OS experience. Many are aware of this capability, but are a little scared to deal with the Terminal.

But what if there was a way to make all of those little system tweaks and changes while steering completely clear of Terminal? Well, read on to find out more about MacPilot!

What Does MacPilot Do?

There are a plethora of hidden features available to all of us Mac OS X users. Unfortunately, many of these are only accessible through the Terminal which I know a lot of folks are frankly just not excited to deal with.

MacPilot is here to help. It will allow you to enable and disable hidden Mac OS features, normally reserved for a Terminal command, with the click of a button. All of the options available for the software you have installed are available to browse and try out.

MacPilot also has a host of other Mac maintenance and system capabilities. There is actually a staggering number of features available. Everything from simply supplying information about your system, to helping you easily complete routine maintenance, to adjusting system preferences and debugging. It is a pretty serious utility.

The Interface

MacPilot is not a flashy piece of software – and that’s fine. It’s a utility, and it needs to be functional first. Core categories are laid out on top and sub menus appear to the left depending on the category selected.

The software is organized in a way that makes all of the features pretty easy to find.

Functionality

As I’ve mentioned, MacPilot is a burly utility capable of a lot of different things. That said, I’d like to point out a few features that I find especially useful to the average Mac user, and also some that may be more beneficial to the more advanced user.

Run Terminal Commands

This is probably the biggest draw for anyone new to this piece of software. MacPilot gives you all of the power of the Terminal to enable and disable hidden Mac OS features and organizes them in a super easy-to-use manner.

On the General tab, you’ll see a list of the software installed on your machine along with the corresponding options available for adjusting. You’ll also see a mix of options that are only available to change via the Terminal, and others that are more visible within the software preferences.

Here’s a simple example. Let’s say I’d like to revert to the 2D Dock icons more familiar to older Mac OS versions. I could open up Terminal and enter this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES
killall Dock

Or I could open up MacPilot and check this box:

Dock settings that can be modified

Dock settings that can be modified

You’ll see a description when you select an option of exactly what the feature does or doesn’t do.

If you don’t like the change, just uncheck the box! It’s a flat-out simple way to make this type of adjustment. It’s certainly not a complicated process (even with Terminal), but something that many users will avoid simply because it requires the use of Terminal.

System Maintenance

MacPilot brings many system maintenance options into one tool. From something as simple as clearing your user cache, to something more complicated like verifying your HD volume structure.

So not only is it easy to find system maintenance items, you’ll also be more likely to spend more time on those regular maintenance tasks that are very easy to just forget about.

An example of system maintenance options

An example of system maintenance options

System logs are also accessible via the MacPilot interface. Logs are a great tool to troubleshoot problems, and having them so quickly accessible is a handy feature.

Settings Management

MacPilot also serves as an aggregate of system preferences. Network settings can be adjusted. Power settings can be tweaked. Login and start up items can be managed. All of these settings are viewed and managed in one central location.

Start up options screen

Start up options screen

Other Notable Features

An Information tab shows a few more options for generating information. Clicking the System information button will literally generate more information about your Mac than you’ll likely ever need.

The Key Combos button will create a searchable list of all the shortcut key combinations available to you as a part of your Mac OS installation. As many of you know, these can be incredibly helpful. The trick is remembering them. Problem solved.

System Information

System Information

Finally, a Save Point can be created to save a group of settings you have configured. It can be helpful to revert back to a previous state or quickly apply on a fresh Mac OS install.

Pricing

The individual license comes in at $19.95 (student $9.95) and is meant for one user and one computer. I’d say this is a completely valid cost for the capabilities you’re getting.

Volume pricing is also available to accommodate those multiple machine environments, and to make the system administrators happy.

At that price point, the software is incredibly affordable and completely worth it. A fully featured 15 day trial is available so you can give it a test run before you purchase.

Conclusion

There are other utilities that do similar things to MacPilot, but I have yet to find one that is nearly as feature packed.

The usefulness of this utility is really second to none. I would say that it would be especially handy in multiple machine environments, and maybe more specifically for a system administrator.

But don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of very useful features for the average user. In fact, I’d say it could turn an average user into a power user rather quickly.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think!


Summary

Scared of the terminal or can't be bothered to remember those commands to customize your system the way you want? MacPilot is your digital savior. Easily enable and disable hidden features in Mac OS X, optimize and repair your system, and perform numerous routine maintenance operations with the click of a button!

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