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Witch 4.3 gains Touch Bar support

Monday, September 24th, 2018

Witch 4.3 is out, with a couple new features as well as the usual bug fixes and improvements. You can read release notes page for the full list, but here are a few highlights…

  • Touch Bar support: If you have a Touch Bar equipped Mac, you’ll notice a new application switcher in your Touch Bar when the Witch panel is onscreen.
  • The ‘e’ key will open the selected item in the switcher, making it easy to use the switcher with just one hand.
  • Restored support for tabs in Chrome, which Chrome broke with their new UI in Chrome 69.
  • Search is now always active, but not included when cycling through listed entries in the switcher. (There’s a new pref that lets you include Search in the cycle—but pressing ‘s’ always works to bring up the search field.)
  • Witch 4 is now Mojave-ready, as we tweaked a couple things to make Witch work better in Apple’s latest macOS release.

Update from within the app (About panel, Check Now button), or by downloading a fresh copy from the Witch web page.

Witch 4.2 released

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

Witch 4.2 is now in the wild, and it contains a lot of goodies for a little “dot one” release. The release notes page has a summary of everything, including some nice new features. Here’s a brief summary on how to use a couple of the new features—the help file has more detail, including screenshots.

See active app’s icon in the menu bar: If you’re using the “Show in menu bar” checkbox to see Witch’s actions in the menu bar, you can now have the icon reflect the frontmost app, in place of the standard Witch icon. Hold down the Option key when selecting the Witch menu item, and the Preferences entry will change to Reflect Frontmost App. Select that to see the frontmost app’s icon in the menu bar (and a checkbox next to the frontmost app in the list).

Control frontmost window’s tab handling: Hold down the Option key while clicking the Mode pop-up in the “List tabs” section of an action, and the pop-up menu changes to indicate that the selection will only affect the frontmost window.

For example, if you want the frontmost window to always treat tabs as windows (i.e. list them separately in the switcher), hold down the Option key, click the Mode pop-up button, then select Frontmost Window: Treat Tabs as Windows from the pop-up menu. You can then select a different behavior (by not holding the Option key) for non-frontmost windows.

On the bug fix front, Witch 4.2 should resolve the occasional crash issue that a small number of users were seeing, gets rid of the annoying phantom Login item some of you were seeing, and greatly—and I do mean greatly—improves the quality of the mini window previews, if you use that feature. There’s lots more goodness in this release, so check for updates and install Witch 4.2 today.

Witch 4.1 released

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

Witch 4.1 is out, and the big news here is badges: You can now see Mail’s unread message count on Mail icons in the Witch switcher panel. Witch also has a soon-to-be-public API that other developers can use to make it simple to send badge data to other apps, including Witch—hopefully we’ll see more badges coming to Witch in the future.

In addition to the badges, we did a ton of work to improve Witch’s speed when working with slow-to-respond (to Witch’s queries) apps. We’ve also improved cross-Space window switching, and we found and fixed a memory leak that could make Witch’s RAM usage balloon if you used a lot of window previews.

You can find other goodness in the Witch release notes, and you can update to Witch 4.1 either via the in-app updater, or by downloading a fresh copy from the Witch page (you won’t lose your settings).

Witch 4 switches out of beta

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

As of today, the public beta is over, and Witch 4 is officially released. Witch 4 has been on pre-sale for $10 ($6 for Witch 3 upgraders) since the beta started, and those sale prices will continue through Sunday, April 9th, 2017. After the sale, Witch will be $14 (and $8 for upgraders).

So what’s new in Witch 4? A whole bunch of stuff, but here are the highlights:

There’s a ton of other good stuff in there, but rather than list it all out in boring text form, why not download the demo and give it a try yourself?

Buying Witch 4

Buying Witch 4 is easy, though there are slightly different paths depending on whether you own Witch 3 or not, and where you bought it.

Recent Witch 3 purchaser: If you purchased Witch 3 directly from Many Tricks after October 1st of 2016, you already have a valid license for Witch 4—you can start using it as a fully licensed user with your existing license.

If you bought Witch 3 from the App Store after that date, you too have a direct license waiting: You just need to permanently crossgrade to the direct version.

Less-recent Witch 3 direct customer: Buy a Witch 4 upgrade for $6 ($8 after April 9th).

Less-recent Witch 3 App Store customer: First, permanently crossgrade your App Store license to a direct license. After that, you too can buy a Witch 4 upgrade for $6 ($8 after April 9th).

New Witch customer: Buy the full version for $10 ($14 after April 9th).

If you have any questions on the buying process, please don’t hesitate to contact us via email, or using our ticket system.

Announcing the Witch 4 public beta

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

It’s been a long time since we released a major update to Witch. How long has it been? It’s been 27 minor updates long, that’s how long (nearly seven years, if you count like a normal human).

But the long wait is (nearly) over…


Hey, are those tabs in Safari or separate windows?

Say hello to Witch 4. You can try it out for yourself, today, via the Witch 4 public beta (with special pre-release pricing, too).

And yes, Witch 4 has learned more than a few new tricks…here’s just one…

If the above images have you convinced you need the beta, well, give it a try! But you should also keep reading, as there are some important details about the new features, the beta itself, and the pre-sale.

The pre-sale? Glad you asked: During the public beta, new users can buy Witch 4 for just $10 (normally $14); users of prior versions of Witch can upgrade for only $6 (normally $8). And yes, this includes App Store buyers. There are more details on the pre-sale at the end of this post.

What’s new?

Horizontal switcher

Obviously, Witch now has a horizontal mode. And anything you can do with “vertical Witch” you can also do with “Horizontal Witch.” But more on that in a bit…

Switch to tabs

That’s right, tab support! Witch can now switch directly to any tab in many apps, including the biggie, Safari…

Switch between tabs

“What other apps’s tabs will work?,” I can already hear you asking. Any app that uses the built-in support for tabs in macOS should work just fine. So all of Apple’s apps work, obviously, but so do Chrome and Opera. (Firefox, iCab, OmniWeb, and Vivaldi don’t use the system-provided tab feature, so their tabs won’t show in Witch. If you want browser tabs with Witch, use Safari, Chrome, or Opera.)

Switch to non-standard windows

If you’re like me, your toolbar is full of useful add-ons, things like Moom and Keymo, and maybe even some stuff from other developers.

The windows that open from these menu bar apps aren’t normal—they don’t show in the Command-Tab switcher, for instance. But they do show in Witch 4:

No more window shuffling to find that one settings window!

Multiple switchers

Witch 4 lets you have many switchers—one vertical and one horizontal, for instance:

Each switcher can be set to show windows or just apps. Each can have a different sort order. Each can separately list tabs or not. You get the idea. There are many actions to choose from, too:

These were all choices in the old version of Witch…except for that first one, which when used with a horizontal switcher, gives you a nicer-looking alternative to the built-in Command-Tab switcher. And now you can easily add and remove any of these actions from your collection of active switchers.

Search window titles

Even with Witch, switching between many open windows can be time consuming—you have to find that one particular window in a potentially huge list of windows. But with Witch 4, it’s easy…

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Switch via the menu bar

Witch 4 includes an optional menu bar mode that can be added to any and/or all actions you create.

Switch apps via the menu bar. Switch windows and tabs via the menu bar. Switch just the frontmost app’s non-minimized windows and tabs via the menu bar. The possibilites are endless…well, no, that’s a cliche, they aren’t endless. But they are many!

Lots more

There are other new things, too, but we’ll leave them for you to discover during your explorations of the beta. Speaking of the beta…

About the beta

Please download the beta and put it to use, and send us feedback. We’d prefer it if you could use the Witch Talk Google group (so everyone can see what’s being discussed), but feel free to use any of the other support methods. We welcome all feedback—bugs, feature requests, and how-do-I questions are all fair game.

Note that Witch 4 will only be available directly from us, because it cannot be sandboxed, which is a requirement for the App Store. (We have a migration process for App Store customers…keep reading.)

About the pre-sale

Witch 4 will be available at the same price as Witch 3—$14 for new customers, $8 for upgraders.

During the public beta period, however, the price is just $10 for new customers and $6 for upgraders from older versions of Witch—including App Store users.

Also, anyone who purchased Witch 3 after October 1st already has a valid license for Witch 4 —you can start using it as a fully licensed user with your existing license.

App Store buyers

Because Witch 4 cannot be sold in the Mac App Store, you’ll have to purchase directly from us in order to use Witch 4. The good news is that as an existing customer, we’ve figured out a way to get you the upgrade pricing, too. Here’s how:

  1. Permanently migrate to the direct version of Witch 3 by following these instructions.
  2. Purchase an upgrade license for Witch 4.

If you purchased Witch 3 from the App Store after October 1st, you only need to do step one—the license you’ll receive will work with Witch 4.

If you have any questions on the beta or the pre-sale, let us know! Otherwise, enjoy the beta, and please, send us your feedback!

How-to: Make Witch (indie) launch on login in Sierra

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

We’ve had a few reports of the direct version of Witch not automatically launching at login after upgrading to macOS Sierra. While we haven’t seen this issue here, if it happens to you, here’s how to resolve the problem. (There have been no reports of troubles with the App Store version, so the following is only for our direct customers.)

First, open System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, then click the Login Items tab. Scan the list of items and see if witchdaemon is listed. If it is listed, and Witch still isn’t running at login for you, please open a trouble ticket for one-on-one assistance.

If you don’t see witchdaemon then—leaving System Preferences open—switch to Finder.

In Finder, navigate to your user’s Library folder (or to the top-level Library folder, if you installed Witch for all users). Your user’s Library folder may be hidden; if so, hold down the Option key and choose Go > Library from the Finder’s menu.

Once inside the Library folder, navigate into PreferencePanes. There you will (hopefully) see Witch.prefpane. (If you don’t see it, it’s probable you installed Witch for all users, in which case you need to navigate to the top-level /Library > PreferencePanes folder, then follow the rest of these instructions.)

Right-click on Witch.prefpane and choose Show Package Contents from the contextual menu; this will display a Contents folder. Navigate into Contents > Helpers, which should show just oen entry, witchdaemon.app. Leave this window open.

Now drag witchdaemon.app from the Finder window into the list of login items in System Preferences, and drop it there. Make sure witchdaemon now appears in the list, then close System Preferences. You should now be good to go—Witch should now launch properly at login.

If you need additional help with this process, or Witch still isn’t launching at login after even though it’s listed in login items, please open a trouble ticket for additional support.

A few minor (non App Store) updates…

Tuesday, August 9th, 2016

We’ve released updates to a few of our apps. These are all quite minor changes; you can read the release notes for each if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty.

We did add a new AppleScript command to Resolutionator, if you’d like to control your display’s resolution via AppleScript … and Witch includes a blurred-translucent background option. To see it, either select the Default item on the Presets pop-up on the Appearance tab, or uncheck the Background color box on that same tab.

  1. Butler 4.1.21 4.1.22 [release notes]
  2. Desktop Curtain 3.0.7 [release notes]
  3. Resolutionator 1.1 [release notes]
  4. Witch 3.9.9 [release notes]

Why aren’t there any App Store updates for those apps that are in the App Store? Because these changes only affect the direct versions of Desktop Curtain and Witch (we fixed some stuff related to the new crossgrade feature). Witch’s blur background may come in a future App Store update, though, if the App Store review team doesn’t deem it a new feature. Remember you can freely crossgrade to the direct version of Witch today if you want the blur!

As always, you can update via the in-app updater, or just download a fresh copy of the app from our web site. (If you happen to be running the macOS Sierra public beta, you’ll need to download Butler and Resolutionator from our site this time only, as we had to fix a Sierra-specific update issue.)


Update: Butler just got bumped to version 4.1.22 to fix two bugs in 4.1.21. Sorry about those!

Desktop Curtain 3.0.6 released

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

Today’s release of Desktop Curtain 3.0.6 marks our second straight update that removes a feature for App Store users. And just like the Witch 3.9.8 update, the App Store version of Desktop Curtain has lost Spaces support. (See the linked Witch 3.9.8 post for the nitty-gritty on why we had to do this … and keep reading this post to see how you can regain Spaces support.)

Other changes in this update are mainly behind-the-scenes, but there is a nice new retina menu bar icon and Desktop Curtain now uses our new in-app help system. Direct users can update via the in-app updater, or by downloading a new copy from our web site. App Store users should see the update in the App Store app shortly, if not now.

To help those who use the App Store version of Desktop Curtain and rely on Spaces, Desktop Curtain has gained a new skill, just like Witch did: The ability for App Store users to freely and permanently crossgrade to the direct version of Desktop Curtain, which continues to support Spaces.

If you’d like to freely crossgrade to the direct version, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Install and run the App Store version of Desktop Curtain at least once. (You’ve hopefully done this many times, given you bought the app at some point.)

  2. Quit the App Store version, and install the version from our site. As long as you’ve run the App Store version once, you can replace the App Store version with the direct version, or you can install the direct version in another location if you’d prefer to keep both around.

  3. Launch the direct version of Desktop Curtain, and display its license window. If you run Desktop Curtain as a normal app, go to Desktop Curtain > License in the menus. If you run in menu bar mode, as most do, click the menu bar icon then select License. If you happen to use Faceless mode, you’ll need to temporarily switch to one of the other modes first.

  4. When the license window appears, it should state that the app is licensed to Anon McAppStore. This is our normal “temporary” license for App Store users, as explained in this blog post.

  5. Right-click (or Control-click if you’re old school) on the license file image, and you’ll see a single contextual menu item:

  6. Select “Request permanent crossgrade…” and a new dialog will appear:

    Enter your name and email address, then click Submit.

  7. After a bit of processing time (Desktop Curtain is talking to our server to verify your App Store license and generate your direct license), you’ll get a confirmation dialog, telling you that your license is enroute.

  8. When the license email arrives, follow its instructions to license Desktop Curtain in your name—all you need to do is click the link in the email, double-click the resulting downloaded file (if your browser doesn’t unzip it automatically), and then drag the now-unzipped license file to the “Anon McAppStore” license window in Desktop Curtain, which should still be open.

You should now see the license in your name; if so, you’re done! If not, well … if you have any difficulties with the crossgrade, please use any of the methods (support ticket, Twitter, email) on the Desktop Curtain support page to get in touch with us, and we’ll help you complete the crossgrade.

Witch 3.9.8 released

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

Witch 3.9.8 is now out, with some bug fixes and behind-the-scenes updates for macOS Sierra. You can read up on all the changes in the official Witch release notes. Direct users can update via in-app updates, or by downloading a fresh copy from our site.

App Store users should see the update shortly in the App Store application. However, for App Store users of Witch, there’s more that we need to discuss: We had to remove Spaces support from the App Store version of Witch.

If you don’t use Spaces, this change won’t affect you at all. If you don’t use the App Store version of Witch, this change won’t affect you at all. But if you do use Spaces and the App Store version of Witch, you’re probably pretty angry with us right now. Thankfully, we have a free and easy solution for those of you in this bucket: Migrate to the direct version with a full in-your-own-name license file.

Read on for the details on why we had to remove Spaces support, and for how to migrate to the direct version of Witch.

Why Spaces support went away

Why did we have to remove Spaces support from the App Store version of Witch? In order to support Spaces, Witch uses a private API to list windows on other Spaces. Using private APIs is a no-no for App Store apps. We knew this going in, but also knew that Spaces support was important for our users. We had gotten away with it for a while, but an older Witch App Store update was rejected due to the private API usage.

Since that rejection, we’ve been looking for a solution to providing Spaces support for App Store Witch users … and unfortunately, we couldn’t find one: The only way we can get the window information we need from other Spaces is to use the private API. And that means that only the direct version of Witch supports Spaces, because we can use the private API. But App Store Witch no longer supports Spaces.

How to migrate to the direct version

First off, this migration isn’t like the temporary crossgrades we’ve provided for many of our App Store apps; it’s a full real license for the direct version of Witch, complete with Spaces support.

If you’d like to migrate to the direct version (any App Store customer can do so, not just those who use Spaces), here’s what you need to do, in both condensed and expanded form…

Condensed form

Run the App Store version of Witch at least once, then download Witch and install it. Once installed, open the Witch System Preferences panel and right-click on the “Anon McAppStore” license on the About tab. Select the only entry in the menu that appears, enter your name and email address in the dialog that appears, then click Submit. When you receive your license email, follow its instructions to install your permanent Witch license.

Expanded form

  1. In case you haven’t done so before, install Witch from the App Store and run it once. If you’ve already done this (more than likely, you have), open Witch’s settings and uncheck the “enable Witch” box, so that Witch isn’t running.

  2. Quit Witch.

  3. Download Witch directly from our site, and install it. (Please see the footnote on using the direct version of Witch if you’ve never installed a third-party System Preferences panel before.)

  4. Open System Preferences and click on the Witch icon near the bottom of the window. Once Witch’s main window appears, click on the About tab.

  5. You should see a temporary “Anon McAppStore” license image, as long as you’ve run the App Store version of Witch once. Right-click (or Control-click, if you’re old school) on the image, and a single-line contextual menu entry will appear:

  6. Select “Request permanent crossgrade…” and a new dialog will appear:

    Enter your name and email address, then click Submit.

  7. After a bit of processing time (Witch is talking to our server to verify your App Store license and generate your direct license), you’ll get a confirmation dialog, telling you that your license is enroute.

  8. When the license email arrives, follow its instructions to license Witch in your name—all you need to do is click the link in the email, double-click the resulting downloaded file (if your browser doesn’t unzip it automatically), and then drag the now-unzipped license file to the “Anon McAppStore” window in Witch’s About tab, which should still be open.

If you have any difficulties with the crossgrade, please use any of the methods (support ticket, Twitter, email) on the Witch support page to get in touch with us, and we’ll help you complete the crossgrade.


Footnote

The direct version of Witch isn’t a standalone application; it’s a third-party System Preferences panel. Once installed, you manage Witch’s settings and on/off state via its icon in the System Preferences window; Witch will appear at the end of the list of Apple-provided panels:

If you’ve never installed a third-party System Preferences panel before, here’s how to do it…

Start by downloading Witch from our site; you’ll wind up with a disk image (.dmg) file. Double-click the disk image, and it will mount in Finder like an external hard drive. Double-click the Witch disk image in Finder’s sidebar, and you’ll see this window:

Double-click on Witch.prefpane, and OS X will ask you how you’d like it to be installed:

If you’d like to use Witch across all user accounts, make sure you choose “Install for all users of this computer.” Once installed, click the “Enable Witch” checkbox, and you’ll see this dialog:

witchdaemon is the actual process behind Witch, and you’re granting it permission to run. If you don’t click Open, Witch will not work.

Witch is now installed, but to get it fully functional, you also have to grant accessibility system access to both the System Preferences application itself and to witchdaemon. The process for doing this is detailed in the Tips and Tricks section of Witch’s help; just click the ? icon on the Witch System Preferences panel, and go to the Tips and Tricks page. For Mavericks and newer, read the section labeled “Enabling Witch in OS X Mavericks.”

The new Many Tricks’ end user license agreement

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

Ever since Peter and I relaunched Many Tricks in 2010, we’ve never had an official software license agreement. The closest thing we’ve had is this blog post, which explains limits on the use of our apps across multiple Macs (tl;dr: Use them on as many Macs as you personally use). However, we’ve never had an actual end user license agreement (EULA) that spells out the legal license you agree to when you purchase one of our apps.

Well, we have one now—it’s also permanently linked in the sidebar here, and will be accessible from within our apps. And a really big thanks to Rich Siegel at Bare Bones Software, who generously agreed to let us use his document as a starting point. I found the Bare Bones EULA to be well written, brief, and easily understood; hopefully our version, which has only minor changes, is still all of those things.

After six years, why did we suddenly need an EULA? The truth is we probably should have had one from day one, but never really felt the need. Recently, however, we’ve received inquiries from government agencies and larger companies interested in buying our apps … and many of these customers aren’t allowed to purchase our apps unless we have an actual legal license agreement. So now we do.

Note that this doesn’t change anything relative to the usage of our apps; we still allow you to use one license to install our apps on as many Macs as you personally use. We just needed to have a formal legal software license for larger customers and government agencies.