TinkerTool System 4

TinkerTool System R2 to v4Staying ahead

Many competitors have tried to copy TinkerTool and TinkerTool System in the last 15 years. The applications became role models for a whole generation of numerous Mac system utilities. With their superior technologies, for example multi-version OS support with adaptive user interfaces, or full security integration, the TinkerTool programs have always been ahead, however. The fourth major release of TinkerTool System makes sure this technological advantage is continued, introducing new features for Mac administration:

  • When TinkerTool System 4 has to perform a job on files in no particular order, it will now adaptively parallelize the necessary operations, making full use of all processor cores and flash/SSD technology available in your system.
  • TinkerTool System 4 can visualize how the different security components of OS X assess the status of a selected application. See if an application has been curated by Apple's App Store review team, who has signed as the author of the program, how Gatekeeper judges the digital sealing, and what permissions are granted to a software product by the Application Sandbox.
  • TinkerTool System 4 works with the diagnostic features of Time Machine, allowing you to monitor what files have changed in a selectable time frame, comparing the contents of backup sets for a volume at two different points in time.

Of course, the renowned and innovative features which have been introduced by previous generations of TinkerTool System, such as using temporary file cache deactivation instead of the bad “cache cleaning”, or showing removal previews of files which are going to be deleted in a cleaning operation, do still work as before, just as you are used to.


Security IconTinkerTool System 4 is a “real” OS X application and does not make use of unsafe scripting mechanisms. The application follows Apple's latest security guidelines. The graphical user interface is strictly separated from the operational core which is capable of performing privileged system operations. This core is monitored by OS X's security subsystem which is responsible for allowing or denying each single operation and to ask the user for authentication if necessary. TinkerTool System itself never asks for user passwords, making sure that your credentials cannot be intercepted by malicious user programs. Administrators of large system installations can fine-tune the security policy of TinkerTool System, for example by giving different classes of administrator groups different permissions to perform certain operations. In order to do this, TinkerTool System integrates seamlessly into the authorization database of OS X.

TinkerTool System Context HelpSafety and Know-How

When resolving typical system problems, TinkerTool System attempts to follow Apple's official support guidelines. This does not mean that TinkerTool System will execute a certain troubleshooting procedure word by word. For example, the program will not simulate the entry of terminal commands if Apple lists them in step-by-step troubleshooting instructions. However, TinkerTool System will execute direct internal commands which will have the exact same effects. Users can press a special help button in TinkerTool System to check whether Apple offers official documents about certain system problems in their database. If such documentation is available, the user can click one or more Internet links to open up-to-the-minute information about the problem in question.

ManualPrinted Manual

TinkerTool System 4 comes with a detailed reference manual in Apple Help Viewer format. If you prefer a printed version of the manual, the documentation is also available as a PDF document (more than 200 pages). It can be downloaded separately.


Get a first impression of TinkerTool System 4 by looking at screenshots of a few selected features.

Features in Detail

TinkerTool System 4 contains all you need for Macintosh administration — and even more. The features marked with an asterisk (*) below are available without any restrictions even if the application runs in demo mode.

  • Repeat the system optimization procedure of the Apple Installer if necessary.
  • Clear the Directory Services cache and the cache of the name service (DNS) client.
  • Enable or disable the system's maintenance job for the locate database.
  • Let the system update the locate database immediately.
  • Troubleshoot application-related caches by the unique cache deactivation feature, avoiding the bad side effects of cache cleaning if possible.
  • Clear and rebuild the font caches of a single user account or the whole operating system.
  • Clear and rebuild the startup driver cache of OS X.
  • Rebuild the system cache for Cross-Program Communication (XPC helper cache).
  • Evaluate memory statistics to assess if the installed RAM size is appropriate for the computer's workload. (*)
  • Check if the current version of the OS X Finder is affected by certain defects which could lead to problems when copying files.
  • Inspect technical details of optical disk media, like manufacturer, recording type, session information, etc.
  • Let Time Machine compare the backup sets for a volume at two different points in time, allowing you to monitor what files have changed and how Time Machine is operating.
  • Check if Time Machine is operating correctly by comparing the current data on your computer with a backup set.
  • Install an emergency utility which can help you even if OS X is suffering from major damage (see below).
  • Verify when OS X has run its internal maintenance scripts and start scripts manually if necessary. (OS X Yosemite only)
  • Remove code support for unneeded processor architectures from Universal applications or other software components (“thinning”). (OS X Yosemite only)
  • Get information about the production date of your Mac. (*)
  • Get detail information about the exact Intel processor type in your Mac. (*)
  • Get information about components, expansion slots, jumpers and other details from the system management database built into your Mac. (*)
  • Create system inventory files or print-outs.
  • Display the current status of the operating system's anti-malware protection system. (*)
  • Show the current blacklist of OS X used to automatically deactivate App Nap and HiDPI functions ("Retina display mode”) in certain applications. (*)
  • Show the current blacklist of OS X used to automatically prevent the launch of certain applications or the used of specific kernel extensions. (*)
  • Get access to more than 100 types of log files and reports kept by OS X and its subcomponents. (*)
  • Create symbolic links and hard links as an alternative to classic Mac OS aliases or bookmarks in the file system.
  • Protect or unprotect files or a whole hierarchy of folders.
  • Make files invisible or change their type and creator codes.
  • Analyze and remove quarantine data of files or bundles.
  • Let OS X analyze the true contents of files, independent of type codes or file name extensions. (*)
  • Retrieve all Spotlight metadata the system has stored for a file. (*)
  • Enforce deletion of protected files or a hierarchy of folders.
  • Erase your own files safely on hard drives.
  • Perform an enforced “empty Trash“ operation, selectable by disk.
  • Remove Extended Attributes, including resource forks, from files.
  • Remove Finder view settings from folders (.DS_Store files).
  • Remove AppleDouble files (emulated forks or Extended Attributes on foreign file systems).
  • Remove log file archives.
  • Remove crash report files.
  • Remove orphaned files and folders from users who no longer have an account.
  • Remove broken aliases from a hierarchy of folders.
  • Clean Mac resources from external drives before the disks are given to users of foreign operating systems.
  • Remove Post Mortem Core Dump files.
  • Remove language support packages safely from the operating system or from third-party software.
  • Let TinkerTool System assist you in removing applications which have been installed by drag-and-drop operation. All user accounts can be cleaned from nearly all application-related files.
  • Deinstall widgets, screen savers, preference panes, QuickTime plug-ins or Internet plug-ins.
  • Show the security details of any native application, including “App class” status, Gatekeeper assessment, digital sealing, and individual definitions for the Application Sandbox. (*)
  • Check the signature of modern software distribution disk images (OS X 10.11.5 or later only). (*)
  • Detect and remove the most familiar types of ad-injection applications (adware)
  • Display and change the true permission setting of file system objects, getting full control over Access Control Lists (ACLs).
  • Sort entries of Access Control Lists canonically.
  • Remove inherited Access Control Entries.
  • Make inherited Access Control Entries explicit.
  • Propagate subsets of folder permissions onto a whole hierarchy of enclosed objects, including the feature to remove all ACLs
  • Let TinkerTool System compute the effective permissions for a user accessing an object. (*)
  • Get access to special permission settings of OS X.
  • Set the energy saver options for hard drives, specifying the exact sleep timeout.
  • Control whether OS X should mount secondary volumes before login.
  • Block disk volumes from automatic mounting and program execution.
  • Show the size of Spotlight index databases on all supported volumes.
  • Control operations of the Spotlight metadata stores per volume.
  • Block selected disk volumes from all Spotlight operations.
  • Define the default user for the password panel of the Finder when connecting to file servers.
  • Unlock outdated authentication methods to connect to old AFP servers
  • Disable support for IPv6 on selected network interfaces (OS X 10.10.4 or later).
  • Disable the Bonjour Sleep Proxy feature, independent of Wake On LAN (OS X 10.10.4 or later, not for systems where System Integrity Protection is active).
  • Unlock System Preferences to offer screen resolutions for HiDPI mode on standard screens, permitting to simulate Retina operation on non-Retina displays.
  • Activate OS X's advanced preference pane for the Archive Utility.
  • Remove custom preference panes from user accounts or the whole operating system.
  • Enable Trim support for third-party SSDs connected via SATA and AHCI (OS X 10.10.4 or later).
  • Control the permission filter that specifies which POSIX rights user applications are permitted to grant for new file system objects. (OS X 10.10.4 or later.)
  • Specify server and port number of the OS X Software Update Server.
  • Control the privacy guideline of the screen sharing feature of OS X.
  • Disable automatic login  even if FileVault 2 is enabled.
  • Control the local snapshots feature of Time Machine.
  • Control the job history policy of the OS X printing subsystem.
  • Enable or disable the web interface of the printing subsystem.
  • Switch off the Sudden Motion Sensor of portable Apple computers.
  • Control the energy saver wake-up settings for mobile computers with a display lid.
  • Manage the Safe Sleep and standby features of mobile systems and remove the sleep file if desired.
  • Enable verbose startup of OS X.
  • Disable the Dark Wake feature.
  • Let the power control for display screens behave similar to the policy formerly used in old Mac OS X versions.
  • Permit the use of unsigned kernel extensions. (OS X Yosemite only)
  • Enhance performance for server operation of OS X Server (OS X El Capitan or later only).
  • Control whether processor cores should remain powered up even if they are idle.
  • Reconfigure kernel panic logging in case automatic recording of logs does not work for a serious panic problem.
  • Let the system use only one processor core or a limited amount of RAM for diagnostic purposes.
  • Control the NMI feature of the power switch.
  • Disable the memory compression feature (only on specific operating system versions).
  • Force OS X to separate kernel memory and user memory more strictly.
  • Change the language setting for system startup and the login screen. (*)
  • Set the display style of the login screen.
  • Disable one or more power control buttons of the login screen.
  • Enable additional features and a text message in the login screen.
  • Control the screen saver of the login screen.
  • Enable Apple's basic screen saver for the login screen and set the message it should display.
  • Hide selected local accounts in the list of users on the login screen.
  • Launch multilingual applications in a language different from your usually preferred one.
  • Verify the integrity of preference files effective for a user account. (This includes actual checks on the preferences structure, not only simple syntactical checks of “plist” files.
  • Find preference files of network accounts, removing files which refer to decommissioned computers.
  • Let TinkerTool System verify the integrity of your login items.
  • Let OS X rebuild the Launch Services Database for a selected user account.
  • Edit the personal dictionaries of a user account created after learning unknown words via the OS X spell-checker.
  • Repair the System Preferences application when it behaves erratically.
  • Repair the OS X Help Viewer when it no longer works correctly.
  • Repair the translation of folder names in a user's home folder.
  • Get advanced information about a user account, viewing details not visible in System Preferences. (*)
  • Remove entries for recent items and recent servers from the Apple menu, the Finder, the Share feature, and all applications, protecting your privacy.
  • Clean your user account from privacy-related data collected by Safari (versions 8 to 10),
  • Clean the Spotlight data for finding words on web pages visited with Safari (versions 8 to 10),.
  • Clean all SQL databases or selected HTML 5 local storage databases created by Safari (versions 8 to 10),
  • Clean your user account from a selectable set of Flash® cookies (Local Shared Objects created by the Adobe® Flash® Player Internet Plug-In).
  • Clean your user account from site-specific Flash settings.
  • Access your personal Flash security settings.
  • Review and delete individual cookies in the shared cookie store of your user account (used by Safari and other OS X components; OS X Yosemite only).
  • Reset the privacy settings for selected domains that control which applications should have permission to access personal user data to factory defaults.
  • Integrate the control panes of TinkerTool directly into TinkerTool System, getting access to the full feature set in a single control window. (*)

tts Standalone UtilityFeatures of the Included Standalone Utility

TinkerTool System 4 comes with an additional emergency tool which can help you to troubleshoot OS X problems even if the graphical user interface is no longer starting, or the user account of the system administrator has been damaged. This standalone version of TinkerTool System 4 includes the following features:

  • Verify and repair the startup disk before startup.
  • Verify and repair the system's folder for the storage of temporary objects.
  • Verify and reset permission settings of operating system files, independent of the graphical user interface.
  • Perform an automatic quick check and repair procedure to ensure a sufficiently good state of the base operating system.
  • Deactivate corrupt preference files for a user account.
  • Delete user-related Input Managers.
  • Deactivate and reactivate cache contents of a user account.
  • Deactivate and reactivate all preference settings of a user account.
  • Deactivate corrupt system preference files.
  • Delete system-wide Input Managers.
  • Deactivate and reactivate the contents of system-wide caches.
  • Rebuild XPC helper caches.
  • Reset network-managed preferences (MCX).
  • Reset the login screen
  • Remove third-party startup objects.
  • Clean the swap space.
  • Disable automatic login.
  • Show hardware information, including processor details and the S.M.A.R.T. status of hard drives.
  • Uninstall the Standalone Utility, independent of the graphical user interface.