Frequently Asked Question

Why don't you document all of your apps' hidden preferences?
Last Updated 7 years ago

As you may be aware, many of our apps have hidden preferences—these are preferences that can change how the app behaves, but they're not visible in the app's settings panels. Some hidden prefs are documented here, as in How can I make Escape cancel out, as it did in Witch 3?. But many are not, and are only provided to individual users as a result of their contacting us with a question about one of our apps.

You may wonder why we don't just document all of these hidden preferences, so that you could browse and choose which to implement. The reason we don't just list all of our hidden preferences is that many are hidden for a reason.

They may implement a feature a user has requested, and we need a way for that user to test the feature. Or they may change the way the program does something, and we're interested in a user's reaction to the new way versus the old way. Or they may be us testing some new feature for possible inclusion in a future version, and we don't want that feature yet known in the wild. Some may change the way the app works, and not necessarily for the better.

That's why we don't document every hidden preference. If we, for instance, documented some experimental feature, but then decided not to include that feature going forward, we'd have to keep supporting it because we'd have no idea who implemented it. But if we've given that pref to only a handful of testers, then we know exactly who we need to talk with.

So what does get documented? We tend to publish hidden prefs when there's a lot of user demand for a given setting or feature. For example, Witch 4 changed the way fast-switching works, and some users wanted the old behavior back. Because we created a w4_hidden_prefs_reveal preference to do just that, we chose to document it for anyone to use.

Please don't write us asking us to document every hidden preference in our apps, because we're not going to do that. But if you have an idea for a feature, or wonder if an app might already be capable of doing something, feel free to contact us via email or through our ticket system—maybe you'll get a hidden pref answer as part of our reply!

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