Apple have a range of features built into Mac OS X and iOS to enable people with disabilities to use their devices, for more information on these, check out


Located within System Preferences on machines running 10.6 or earlier, used to create or delete local accounts on a machine, give or remove admin rights on a local account, from 10.7 this was renamed Users & Groups

Apple Remote Desktop

One of the best applications for managing multiple Macs, across multiple sites, for full information on its uses, check out Apples page on it,

Boot Camp

Apple’s method for running Windows on a Mac (although why you’d want to do this is beyond me), The Boot Camp is located in /Applications/Utilities and will take you through the process of partitioning your hard drive, creating a Windows drivers disk and finally into installation of Windows, once a machine has been bootcamped you can hold down ALT to choose the OS to boot from, or by using the startup disk from System Preferences on a Mac or Control Panel on Windows

Daisy Disk

This is a very useful application for tracking down exactly where your hard drive space is being consumed, particularly on newer SSD Macs as they have lower capacities than traditional mechanical hard drives, on one machine I managed to track down 85GB of space that had been hidden in the root account after an Archive & Install installation on an older version of Mac OS X, this is now available for a much cheaper price on the Mac App Store, for more information on this application check out their website


Not everything you do on your Mac requires a heavy-duty application. For
those smaller tasks, Mac OS X features Dashboard. Dashboard provides
access to mini applications called widgets, for more information on this check out

Disk Utility

This Application can be found at /Applications/Utilities/Disk and is used for checking hard drive S.M.A.R.T. status, verifying/repairing directory structure, verifying/repairing permissions, creating disk images, scanning system images for restoration, partitioning & formatting hard drives, setting up software R.A.I.D., burning images to disc, restoring images to drives


DiskWarrior is by far the best utility for rebuilding a corrupted directory structure, if you are getting random errors like Invalid node structure” and “Keys out of order” and no one else can help, and if you can find it, maybe you can buy, the DiskWarrior!

(hint – you can find it here


The main GUI application for navigating the system and files, everyone who uses the Mac OS will use the Finder

Firmware Password Utility

This utility is located on all Operating System disks and also on the Recovery HD partition on 10.7, this is used to add a Firmware Password, this adds to the system security by preventing someone from booting from an Operating System disk and resetting any passwords, or reformatting the machine, to boot from an external device once this has been set, simply hold down the ALT key and enter the password that you set

First Aid

Run from the Disk Utility application, used to verify/repair permissions or directory structure, also used to run a Repair Disk

Login Items

This is located within the Accounts or Users & Groups item in System Preferences, but only for the currently logged in account, click on the user name and there will be a Login Items tab in the main window, click on this to view all applications that run at startup, and if there are any that you do not wish to run then click on them and then the minus button to remove it, you can also drag mounted drives into this window to make them mount on login.

Login Options

This is located within the Accounts or Users & Groups item in System Preferences, from here you can enable/disable automatic login, password hints, fast user switching and join or remove a Network Account Server

Mac App Store

This is a new addition to the Mac OS since 10.6.6, and enables you to purchase a lot of software in a similar way to the App Store on iOS, Updates for this software are also handled by the Mac App Store application, again very similar to the way updates are handled on iOS, from version 10.8 all software will be updated through the Mac App Store, rather than using Software Update

Macintosh HD

The regular ‘off-the-shelf’ name for the System volume on a Mac, the Operating System will usually be installed on this volume, it can be located at /Volumes/Macintosh HD/

Mac OS X

Carlsberg don’t make Operating Systems, but if they did……..


If you have a NetBoot server set up, then you can hold down N when the machine is powering on to force a network boot rather than booting from a local hard disk


OnyX is a multifunction utility for Mac OS X which allows you to verify the Startup Disk and the structure of its system files, to run tasks of system maintenance, to configure some hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, Mail, iTunes, Login window, Spotlight, and many of Apple’s applications.

This is also very useful and can be downloaded from , just make sure you pick the right version for your Operating System

Recovery Mode

This is a new feature in 10.7, it normally allows you to boot into a recovery partition on the hard drive, or if you’re using a machine released after 10.7 then you will be able to perform an Internet Recovery, where your Operating System will be re-installed from Apple’s servers, for more information on these check out the following link

Repair Disk

This is used to repair minor directory corruption, if you are still getting some red warnings after running this then you will need to run a more specialized utility, such as DiskWarrior to resolve the problem, to run a Repair Disk, you will need to boot from an external device, usually and Operating System DVD or the Recovery HD partition on 10.7, and then you will need to open up Disk Utility and choose your volume from the left hand menu, then click on the First Aid tab in the main window and click on Repair Disk

Repair Permissions

This is run by selecting the First Aid tab in the Disk Utility Application, this should be run regularly, once a month is usually fine, and after every major software installation/update/upgrade

Safe Boot

Used when troubleshooting a Mac, only essential services will run, and if your Mac is not booting this can be essential in gaining access and repairing the system, this is enabled by holding down SHIFT whilst the machine is powering on


The iOS equivalent of System Preferences, used to conifgure iOS devices

Single User Mode

Single User Mode is commonly used to troubleshoot issues with a Mac, when accessed, this will run a pre boot environment and enable you to run some utilities to fix the issues you are having, you can access this by holding down CMD S when powering on the machine, providing a firmware password has not been set

Software Update

This application is used to check if your version of the software is the latest and greatest, normally this will contact Apple’s servers unless you have set it to collect updates from your own server, you can run a software update by clicking on the apple logo in the top left hand corner of the screen and then choosing Software Update


Used for connecting securely via the command line to remote macs, to find out more check out

System Preferences

Used to customise a lot of system options, create new users accounts, amend security options, configure network cards, languages, power options, printers, sharing, remote management, date and time, software updates, time machine, parental controls.

Can be accessed by clicking on the Apple logo in the top left corner and then choosing System Preferences, or at /Applications/System

Target Disk Mode

Historically the best way of troubleshooting a Mac, hold down T whilst the machine is powering on to enter Target Disk Mode, which essentially makes the Mac work as an external hard drive, and plug it into another Mac via FireWire and you have full access to either recover data or troubleshoot any issues, more popularly used to create full system backups or migrations to new machines, recently this now has the option to connect to Macs via Thunderbolt as well, although never by USB


The Command Line application, located at /Applications/Utilities/Terminal, used for a lot of admin tasks, connecting to other machines via SSH, pretty much anything that you can think of can be accomplished with the right commands in this application


Apple’s notepad application, fairly simple text editing, I prefer to set this up for plain text (it is set up for rich text by default), it can be found in /Applications

Users & Groups

In essence, exactly the same as Accounts, but renamed Users & Groups for 10.7

Verbose Mode

Verbose Mode allows you to see what exactly is going on whilst your machine boots, this is useful in troubleshooting as it enables you to spot any services that are having problems starting, or any permissions issues with certain startup items, you can access Verbose Mode by holding down CMD V whilst the machine is powering on

Verify Disk

This is used to check for directory corruption, usually if you get some red warnings after running this then you will have some form of directory corruption and will need to run a Repair Disk, to run a Verify Disk, open up Disk Utility and choose your volume from the left hand menu, and then click on the First Aid tab in the main window and click on Verify Disk

VM Fusion

This application enables you to run a Virtual Machine on your Mac, most commonly used for running Windows on a Mac but it can also be used to run various flavours of Linux, as well as Mac OS X Servers


Part of Apple’s Accessibility features on both iOS and Mac OS X, used to make it easier for those with vision impairment to use their devices, for more information on all of Apple’s Accessibility features check out this website


Xcode is Apple’s suite of developer tools, mainly used for developing software for Macs and iOS devices