You probably haven’t used Dashboard in years, but there is that one widget you wish you could just turn into an app. Guess what? You can!
A free program called Amnesty Singles lets you transform any Dashboard widget into a dedicated app, complete with its own dock icon.
This has a lot of great uses, if you have the right widget in mind. For example: I’ve long wished I could turn the XBMC remote widget – which lets you use your Mac’s keyboard to control XBMC on another computer – as a dedicated app. That way I could launch it without the need to ever touch my mouse, and find something to watch.
Here’s how I set that up for myself, and how you can transform any widget you like into it’s own app. This might prove useful, because it seems like the Dashboard will be going away in the next couple of years.
Turn Any Widget Into A Mac App
To get started head to Amnesty Dynamic’s website and download Amnesty Singles. Run the application and you’ll see the following screen:
Just drag the widget you want to use here. It’s probably easiest to simply re-download the widget you want, but if you prefer you can find any widgets you’ve installed in the following folder:
/Volumes/Macintosh HD/Users/[YOUR USERNAME]/Library/Widgets/
You’ll find the default widgets in a different folder:
Whatever widget you want to convert, simply drag it to the Amnesty Singles window. When you do you’ll see the following options:
I recommend checking “internally” – this means the app you create will continue to work even if you delete the original widget. Save you’re app when you’re done.
And, just like that, you’ve created a widget that behaves like a desktop app.
You can pin it to the dock, switch to it using CMD+Tab, and generally forget that it was ever a widget to begin with.
Great Widgets For The Cause
Like I said: I plan to use this primarily for the XBMC remote, but there are a lot of potential uses here. Believe it or not, there are a few Dashboard widgets that people actually use.
Leave this open and you’ll always know when to expect that important package (though some might prefer the more advanced Deliveries for Mac from the same company).
Another potentially useful widget is Symbol Caddy, which gives you a quick way to copy symbols to your clipboard – perfect when you can’t remember the proper keyboard shortcut.
And if you love sports, be sure to check out Sports Fan, which lets you see live scores from all four major North American sports leagues.
These are just a few, I’d like to know what you find. Let me know which widgets you convert into apps in the comments below.
How Does This Work?
Way back in 2009 we showed you how to place your widgets on the Mac desktop using a simple trick: developer mode. When Amnesty was first released, some assumed the program was a wrapper for that trick. Not so says Danny Espinoza, the man behind the app:
“Amnesty is a reverse engineered, feature complete version of Apple’s Dashboard server.”
Until 2013 Amnesty was a commercial program, but it’s since been open sourced and releasee to the public. Amnesty Singles is a stripped-down version of Amnesty, also free since 2013, that provides a single program to run a wide variety of apps from.
The End Is Nigh
Be warned, Dashboard fans: the end is coming. The new Yosemite Notification Center widgets make Dashboard irrelevant, which is why Apple included an option to turn off Dashboard entirely in that release.
This is why I’m glad Amnesty is around, and free. With it you don’t need to worry about losing your widgets, forever, when the next Mac OS X update comes around (because there’s a good chance that might happen).