10 top Yosemite extensions

OS X Yosemite introduces the concept of extensions, which can be used to enhance Notification Center's Today section, the Share button system, the Finder and any app that allows actions. Here are ten of the best.

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  • brightness Brightness Widget
  • cloudapp CloudApp
  • niceclock Nice Clock
  • tvtoday TV Today
  • pixelmator Pixelmator
  • istat iStat Mini
  • memordiag Memory Diag
  • dropbox Dropbox
  • myphotostream MyPhotostream
  • dockphone DockPhone
  • More stories
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Brightness Widget

Available in the App Store for £3.99, this widget extension not only lets you control the brightness of your Mac’s display from Notification Center and the menu bar, but it also adjust the overall colour balance to reduce blue tints.

The idea is that using your screen late at night means your circadian rhythms, which respond to daylight-like colours, get screwed up. In other words, using Brightness Widget could mean you sleep better!

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Available in the App Store for £3.99, this widget extension not only lets you control the brightness of your Mac’s display from Notification Center and the menu bar, but it also adjust the overall colour balance to reduce blue tints.

The idea is that using your screen late at night means your circadian rhythms, which respond to daylight-like colours, get screwed up. In other words, using Brightness Widget could mean you sleep better!

 

CloudApp

Cloud storage is ideal for sharing things with colleagues or mates but it’s a chore uploading something and then generating a URL so others can grab it.

Available in the App Store for free, CloudApp is one solution that integrates with the OS X Share system so you can instantly share files from apps like Finder or Preview, or via a menu bar icon. Once you do a URL is automatically added to your clipboard for pasting into emails or iMessage etc. You can subsequently monitor access to the shared file within Notification Center.

 

Nice Clock

Although the Notification Center includes a World Time widget, there’s no way of quickly viewing the time in a big, friendly way, as you can with the date. As you might’ve guessed, Nice Clock fixes this (£2.29 from the App Store).

You can set one of three styles of clock and more are being developed by the developer. Even better, using Nice Clock means you can turn off the system clock in the menu bar, making more space to menu bar icons (an option you’ll find via System Preferences > Date & Time > Clock).

 

TV Today

How long until the next episodes of your favourite TV shows are broadcast? That’s the itch TV Today scratches (£2.29 in the App Store).

It appears in Notification Center showing what’s being broadcast today, what’s coming up soon, and dates for the most recent broadcasts. The app aims to track mainly when internationally popular shows are first broadcast anywhere in the world, and is US in origin.

In other words, you can track The Big Bang Theory and Family Guy, but not Songs of Praise. However, popular UK shows like Top Gear and Dr Who are included. TV Today is perhaps of most use to those who download or stream their TV shows.

 

Pixelmator

Pixelmator has been making waves for some time as an inexpensive yet powerful alternative to Adobe Photoshop and the latest version includes an Action extension that lets its clever repair tool be used outside of Pixelmator in apps like Mail and TextEdit – anywhere the existing Markup tool is usually available, in fact.

Perfect for quickly removing those pimples on family snapshots you’re emailing to the folks. Note that only the App Store version of the app, available for £22.99, features the extension.

 

iStat Mini

The Dashboard is dead. Long live Notification Center. While Apple might not be as blunt, this is undoubtedly the case in Yosemite and future releases of OS X, and iStat Mini (£1.49 in the App Store) literally brings car dashboard-like dials to the Notification Center.

You’re able to discover CPU load, the percentage of physical memory and disk that’s free, and network activity (sent and received), all updated every second or so.

 

Memory Diag

Like iStat Mini, Memory Diag adds an entry to the Notification Center to let you monitor memory usage, but with two major differences: You get to see which apps are particularly memory-hungry, and Memory Diag is free of charge in the App Store.

Run the app that’s installed alongside the widget and you’ll see a cool pie-chart style display of memory usage.

 

Dropbox

We had to search high and low to find an example of a Finder extension and, to our knowledge, the Dropbox cloud service is the only current example.

Dropbox has used the superpowers offered by an extension to add overlay icons indicating cloud syncing, plus sharing, linking and previous version look-up options on the right-click menu. It also adds a suitable icon to the Favorites section of the Finder, and a toolbar button that you’ll need to add by right-clicking the toolbar, selecting Customize Toolbar, and then dragging it over from the dialog box that appears. 

 

MyPhotostream

The guys behind MyPhotostream think that, by limiting access to the iCloud Photo Stream for iPhoto and Aperture, Apple has made a mistake.

Their solution is an app that provides very quick access to Photo Stream, although you’ll still need to have iPhoto or Aperture installed in order to activate Photo Stream on your Mac. However, the latest update includes a “Recent Photos” Notification Center widget showing your latest snaps – handy for at-a-glance browsing and ultra-quick access.

 

DockPhone

Also introduced with OS X Yosemite is the ability to make phone calls if you’ve an iPhone signed into the same iCloud account.

DockPhone spins-out this feature into a dedicated app, along with a Notification Center widget that allows quick-call access to the people you’ve most recently dialled (although not those that’ve recently called you, sadly). It’s just 79p in the App Store at the moment – a bargain!

Curious about adding more Extensions to Yosemite? Here's how to use OS X Yosemite Extensions

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