Our utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This past week there were updates with a number of maintenance and optimization utilities, in addition to an update for a useful multi-GPU management tool.
In maintenance utilities this week, both MacPilot and MacPilot Lite were updated. In the latest version of MacPilot, the developers addressed a problem where the log-in window desktop pictures were not working properly. In the Lite version, the program has been built using updated core classes, which is mainly under-the-hood optimizations. Both of these utilities offer a variety of hidden options in OS X, such as showing hidden files, tweaking the Dock, booting to a different kernel bitness, in addition to clearing caches and other temporary items. The Lite version is $5 for a license, and the full version is $19.95.
The second utility updated is FontDoctor, which is a powerful font management and problem diagnostics utility. FontDoctor is $69.99 and serves to address odd font conflicts and problems that can cause application slowdowns and UI problems. It also offers some font organization options for users. The latest version includes an updated interface and reporting features, in addition to faster diagnostics and repair, updated font cache cleaning, and a new font comparison tool for seeing large and minute differences between installed fonts.
The last maintenance utility is MacCleanse, which is one of the most popular all-around maintenance utilities for OS X that scans your system for unused files, logs, temporary items, and other clutter on your hard drive, and allows you to delete them. The program has been updated to fix a small authorization bug. As with most utilities, it comes with a 15-day free trial but then is $19.95 for a license.
In hardware utilities, the convenient tool gfxCardStatus has been updated to version 2.0. This free utility allows for you to specify the graphics card to use on Macs that come with multiple graphics processors. In early model dual-GPU systems, Apple requires you to log out and log back in order to change the graphics card being used, but gfxCardStatus allows you to do this without logging out, and does so quite well. The latest version fixes some bugs and issues with the program's preferences not saving, and also addresses some localization issues (offering more languages). The new version also adds automatic switching based on power source for users of older unibody MacBook Pro systems. For people with these systems, the current "n" status for "Nvidia" will be changed to "d" for "Discrete" graphics.