Psst… Want to Know Some Secrets?

My friend the irresistible @tsmarsh just reminded me of the wonders of custom preference panes for OS X, with this delectable tweet:


Sweet! Now I can break my mac with the same impunity as the freetards.

I’ve been using Secrets, the preference pane he’s referring to, since March 2008 after I first stumbled across it via the renowned site shortly after I believe it was released. It is a cheats way to change ‘secret’ settings in both the OS and other programs for those of us who are sometimes too timid to resort to the terminal or just want to be able to tick a box to apply or more importantly sometimes unapply a secret setting.

It’s exactly the sort of program I love: simple, clean, straightforward, and community driven. It’s open source so if you stumble across a new secret whilst browsing an obscure blog, then you can post it to the site and once verified (I presume) it’ll be added to the program forthwith. If you want to refresh your secrets just click the handy update button and off it goes… reporting back new secrets under the new secret option at the top.

Secrets Preference Pane

The fact that Secrets even exists is proof positive for me that many Apple users don’t always believe the Apple way is the right way and want the ability to easily change some basic fundamental settings of their favourite programs to perform the way that is best for them rather than they way Apple or other program writers have decided is best by default.

So let me let you in on a few of my secret preferences (in no particular order)

  • Mail – Send Windows friendly attachments (why this isn’t activated by default beats me!?)
  • Dictionary – Reuse dictionary definition window (I use dictionary alot, so I like not to have dozens of dictionary windows open, just the one…)
  • Dock – Dim hidden apps (absolutely essential, Apple should have added this feature as a default years ago!)
  • Finder – Enable finder quit menu item (yes finder sometimes I’d like to be able to just quit you, especially when my keyboard is not responding :-()
  • Finder – Use .DS_Stores on network (uncheck and bye bye pesky .DS files!)
  • iTunes – Allow half star ratings (for those songs that just don’t quite make a full five stars!)

These are just a fraction of the customisations I’ve activated so trot along to the Secrets website and join the Mac personalisation revolution now!

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