If you want more control over your Mac, Koingo’s powerful and easy to use MacPilot ($29.95) puts over one thousand tweaks at your command.
From changing the dock behaviors, showing invisible files, to optimizing your network for broadband connectivity, MacPilot, like preference changing utility Tinkertool, puts you in the pilot seat. Easily change the way different parts of your Mac operate without resorting to lengthy terminal commands or other under the hood changes.
Version 4.0 of MacPilot sells for $19.99 in the Mac App Store, but the latest version (6.0) sells for $29.99 on the Koingo website. It’s version 6.0 we’re testing here, which does come with a 15 day trial version.
Note: It appears that the Mac App Store version may have some limitations based on restrictions imposed by Apple, which may account for the two different versions. We have reached out to the developers for comment, but haven’t heard anything back as of publishing.
Making Basic Changes
First off I would say that MacPilot is for intermediate and advanced Mac users who know how and why they want to make changes to their computer, and who are familiar with many of the advanced features of the operating system.
MacPilot can make changes to nearly every area of your Mac, including the Dock, Finder, iTunes, Safari, Preview, System controls, and even a few third-party applications. If you feel a little overwhelmed by the all MacPilot’s controls, I suggest start by selecting Disk Utility in the sidebar, and then click the Advanced… button on the bottom-right.
The Advanced Features window provides a brief descriptions of a selected item, and if applicable the corresponding Terminal command line. I highly suggest you don’t change anything that you’re unfamiliar with.
As an example of MacPilot’s power, lets take a look at some of the changes you can make to OS X’s dock. Native OS X preferences allow for hiding the dock, positioning it on the left and right side of the screen, and resizing it.
But MacPilot provides even more changes, including the ability to fade icons of hidden applications, position the dock on the bottom-left or right side of the screen, enlarge the preview of minimized windows among many of the options you can see in the screenshot above.
There are over a dozen other advanced tweaks in MacPilot solely for making changes to your dock. I also enabled the control for hiding applications not currently open in the dock and now instead of having my dock cluttered with unopened applications, I open applications using the launcher and switcher macros in the Mac automation program, Keyboard Maestro, and the launcher program, Alfred.
MacPilot can also add a smart folder of recently opened items to the dock as well allow you to specify the amount of time your dock stays unhidden after the cursor exists its location.
When items are enabled, MacPilot will typically need to quit the application you are making changes to. This same process will occur when you disable an item you previously enabled. You can also enable multiple items for an application if you first quit that application, make your changes and then re-launch.
In order to enable items in the Advanced Features window you need to right-click on the item and select, Enable. You might also select to add enabled items to your list of favorites to keep track of changes you made. If you find that you will never use a feature, you can just as easily disable it here and never have it show up or bother you.
MacPilot also includes several dozen iTunes items you might find useful, including controls for adding half-star ratings in iTunes, automatically creating a playlist when buying a new song collection, and creating file names with track numbers when importing. Items in red refer to an older version of an application.
Some useful Finder tweaks include showing Quit Finder in the Finder menu, allowing text selection while viewing supported files in QuickLook, and setting the preferred file browser view mode for windows that do not already have a custom view set.
Stay In Control
MacPilot is not for everyone, but if you like tinkering with your Mac and customising the way applications and features work, you definitely owe it to yourself to download the trial version and see what’s possible.
The only documentation provided by MacPilot is this Wiki page, so if you’re not familiar with a hack and what changes it makes, you may want to avoid activating it (or at least searching the web first). Thankfully, MacPilot does allow you to restore original settings and remove all changes made.
Download: MacPilot 6.0 ($29.99)