An irregular collection of tiny but useful Mac features you may (or may not) already know about or which have been slightly hidden - this time round, let's take a look at Safari's Activity Viewer...

I'm quite taken with this recently-understood built-in feature. It's a not particularly well-documented ability, but it seems Safari's Activity Viewer is capable of downloading many file from many websites to your desktop.

You can test this for yourself by navigating to Window>Activity in the Menu bar. I chanced across a description of this feature first on the GoSquared website (, but that site seems to have gone offline since.

When you invoke the Activity Viewer in Safari, you'll see a little window which lists all the windows you presently have open. Each webpage you have is listed with an arrow beside it to the left of the name. Only pages you currently have open are listed.

If you click the arrow, you'll see that all the constituent elements that make up the page are listed under that webpage name.

Each element – graphics, text, multimedia – is named, with its file size also displayed.

What isn't so well known is that if you double-click on any element on that page, Safari will automatically download that element to your Desktop.

Now, you may not have a lot of use for images or HTML files, but when it comes to music and other kinds of multimedia it is invaluable.

On YouTube, for example, you can use the feature to download a video you particularly like to your desktop.

YouTube doesn't make it easy as files are distributed as relatively secure flash video files, and are given code names that don't relate to the movie title. However, the file size is a good indication of the bit you want to download – you just need to select the largest file from those listed and double-click it, and you'll have the video in flash format.

You may then have a chance to convert that video into a format for your iPod or Apple TV, but please be sure not to break any copyrights. (If you've read any of my previous opinion blogs, you'll know that while I don't consider the current copyright system to be perfect, or even particularly fair, I do believe artists deserve to be paid.)

In an obscure sort of way, this handy function is quite useful, I think. I'm interested in what you think...