Check tutorial of 4 Essential Menu Bar Utilities for Mac OS X
So after a lot of requests from our users here is a guide about 4 Essential Menu Bar Utilities for Mac OS X.
Mac OS X includes a few system-level menu bar items that are incredibly useful, but if you’ve ever wanted to add a few extras to your menu bar, consider these four essentials. All free, they bring a wide variety of features to the menu bar, where you can quickly see the weather, make using your computer at night much easier on the eyes, control sleep and screen savers, and even toggle some really useful system functions.
Check them all out below, and don’t forget to let us know in the comments if we’re missing an essential menu bar.
Degrees – Weather in the menu bar
Maybe it’s because so many of us work in doors these days, but there’s something about the weather and the temperature that’s just hugely appreciated. You know whether to put on a jacket or that sweater before going out, and one of the easiest ways to determine what the outside temperature is is to use a simple menu bar utility like Degrees. With degrees you always know the current temperature (in celcius or fahrenheit) and the current weather conditions, as indicated by a small icon in your menu bar. Set it to discover your location and it will update automatically when you are on the go between locations. Simple, unobtrusive, free and hassle-free.
- Download Degrees from the Mac App Store
There are certainly other menu bar items and apps to show you the weather, but Degrees is fairly new, fairly lightweight, and probably has the best icons and thus won me over.
Flux – Save your eyesight by adjusting the screen tone for the time of day
In the early mornings and late evenings, the incredibly bright white light emitted from computer screens can be harsh on the eyes, cause eye strain, and this so-called ‘blue light’ can even disrupt sleep patterns and melatonin production – yes, seriously , there is a lot of research on this stuff. This is where Flux comes in, it automatically adjusts the color tone of your screen display based on the lighting conditions and the time of day. It can be a bit strange at first, but once you get used to it you’ll find that the sepia tones it throws on the screen at night is just so much easier to look at. You will have less eye strain and may even sleep better.
- Download Flux from developer
Flux is also best used to adjust brightness with it, so turn down your screen brightness a bit at night and in the early morning and you’ll get the most benefit. Flux is also available for other platforms, so if you have a PC you can use it too, and if you jailbreak an iPhone or iPad, you can even get F.lux on those devices through Cydia.
Caffeine or Wimoweh – Avoid Screen Savers & Sleep on Demand
Having your Mac screen automatically lock and require a password to use it again is simple, common sense security trickwhether you are now home, at the office, at school or wherever. But a lot of times we are still sitting at a desk and just not using the computer, be it because we are doing some other task, or even just reading hands-free, and in these situations it is a bit annoying for the screen saver to activate itself or the computer to put itself to sleep and then re-enter a password to use it again. This is where both caffeine and wimoweh come into play.
Caffeine is very straightforward, click on the coffee cup icon and the Mac screen will temporarily not go to sleep or activate a screen saver, click it again and things go back to sleep as usual.
- Grab Wimoweh from the developer
Wimoweh is similar, but slightly more advanced, allowing you to control sleep prevention on an app-by-app basis, in addition to the standard non-sleep mode feature.
- Grab caffeine from the Mac App Store
They’re both great apps, and they’re both free, so use the app that works best for your workflow. The screenshot shown is of caffeine.
Desktop Utility – Enable / Disable Convenient Desktop Features
With DesktopUtility you can switch 3 incredibly handy features right in your menu bar, without having to use the default settings, write commands and manually restart the Finder: hide desktop icons and show them again, show and hide invisible files, and show or hide the user library again. You no longer need to launch Terminal to toggle those settings back on and off, just pull down the gear menu, select what you want, and the appropriate command will run and the Finder will reboot itself.
- Download DesktopUtility for free from the developer (scroll down a bit to find it)
DesktopUtility is especially useful for advanced users who often need to access the user’s library and see files that are otherwise invisible, and can quickly make desktop icons disappear (they still exist, they just aren’t visible on the desktop). to clean immediately up a desktop without you having to do anything … of course we recommend other approaches, but when all else fails, hiding the clutter can often be enough to relieve the stress of a busy desktop full of file and folder icons to light up.
Do you have any essential recommendations for OS X menu bar items?
Did we miss an essential menu bar item that you use a lot? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget that you can easily delete items in the system menu bar by dragging them with the + command from the menu bar, but for third-party apps like the ones mentioned above, you have to exit the app itself individually.
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