Fast Toggles: Make Your Mac Work Better For You

I always want to make working on my Mac easier, and I’m never disappointed when I find an application that does that. Fast Toggles isn’t itself really an application, though, but a collection of small applications that each performs one small function each. These are all things that are often used but can take some digging to reach. Fast Toggles puts them in one place and makes them a lot easier to get at. Is Fast Toggles that much faster, though, or just a waste of time?

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Just Toggle It

There are a couple of functions that I go for a lot and can already easily find in my menu bar, but frequent readers know that my menu bar can be a pretty crowded place. I like to hide a lot of stuff, and sometimes that comes at the expense of functionality. The Bluetooth and Wifi toggles in Fast Toggles keep me from looking to hidden menu bar icons or, worse yet, opening System Preferences to quickly turn those functions on and off.

The Fast Toggles icons fit right in with the rest of Mac OS X.

The Fast Toggles icons fit right in with the rest of Mac OS X.

Then there are the toggles that just make it easier to use my Mac. The Logout, Restart and Shutdown toggles are probably useful to someone, but I can just as easily click to my Apple icon. More practical are the Quit All Apps and Lock Screen toggles. Sometimes I’m just ready to get out, and I don’t want to go through and close and quit all of my apps manually, and Fast Toggles can handle that for me.

The Lock Screen toggle just makes good security sense when I’m working in a shared space, because I can hit that, and my screen locks up. No one can see what I was working on without my login name and password.

I keep my Downloads folder close at hand on my Dock, but that’s not everyone’s bag, and the Open Downloads Toggle gets me there just as quickly. There’s a toggle for opening the Dropbox and Home folders, too. No more burrowing required to get to these often accessed files. The only thing I’d ask for in addition to this is an Open Documents toggle, since I find myself there a lot, too.

I often forgot just what all of the icons were for, but a quick hover tipped me off.

I often forgot just what all of the icons were for, but a quick hover tipped me off.

The last of the toggles are a mix of useful one-off tasks. My favorite is the Desktop Icons toggle, because it hides the mess of my desktop, making all of the files and screenshots and everything I’ve collected invisible. I just click that toggle again, and it all comes back to the desktop. The Hidden Files toggle is a help, too, because though I rarely need to get at anything OS X doesn’t want me to see, when I do, it’s important, and I don’t want to be slowed down by a System Preferences maze.

Is It Just More Clutter?

Okay, so what are you supposed to do with your toggles? There are a bunch, and it just doesn’t make sense to slap them all on your Dock like I did in my screenshots. I’ll tell you that after the fact, I kept my favorite, Desktop Icons, in my Dock, because I use it all the time to clean things up before I take a screenshot.

All of those toggles will probably do best in a folder, with only the most used on the Dock.

All of those toggles will probably do best in a folder, with only the most used on the Dock.

Everything else is in the Fast Toggles folder next to my Trash. I can get to anything I need quickly, but it doesn’t have to takeover my whole display. If it’s nothing you go to often, Fast Toggles can live in your Applications where it will be accessible from Launchpad. The important thing is that it has to be easy to find, or it defeats the purpose.

Final Thoughts

There are certainly some useful toggles here, but there are a few I just don’t get. Why do I need a special mini-app to empty the Trash? It’s right there on the Dock and in the Finder’s menu bar. Failing that, there’s a keyboard shortcut that will take care of business just fine. If none of that works, I’m going to be looking at a third-party app to fix my issues or moving to Terminal to take care of the problem, not the Fast Toggles Trash script.

My favorite toggles stayed on my Dock.

My favorite toggles stayed on my Dock.

That’s the thing. These are essentially AppleScript applications in a really nice package. I’d bet you could make most of these on your own with a bit of knowledge. I’ll admit I haven’t attempted all of these, but I’d already tried my hand at creating a few similar applications in Automator in the past when I was just looking for an easy way to get things done on my Mac. If you know what you’re doing, where to look, or feel like learning a bit, it’s not that difficult.

So why would you pay for these when you could likely cobble them together on your own? A lot of people could make them work, but not everyone will, and Fast Toggles is for them. Also, there is some effort in creating them, and that’s already done for you here. Plus, they come with some attractive icons that all match, which is more than you’ll have if you make your own set from scratch.

That said, if you’re only interested in a couple of the toggles, you might be better off looking into creating your own. If all fifteen seem like the business to you, though, it’s probably worth it to fork over the ten bucks for a full set.


Makes your Mac easier to use, but you may not need them all, and some of them could be DIY projects if you have the knowledge.