Are people still using Cocktail, Onyx, TinkerTool?

I’ve been around Macs since 1984 when I bought my 128K Mac and later MacPlus. Over the decades, there are have been tons of “must have” apps and extensions that were “necessary” to add to the functionality or tweak the MacOS. Cocktail, Onyx, and TinkerTool are all apps that I used to use “back in the day”, but I’m now wondering how necessary they still are for the modern MacOS (Catalina, Big Sur)? Is anyone still using these? If so, why? What do you find compelling about them?


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Tall trees-
Exactly my story!

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I’m on Catalina by now. I still run OnyX fairly regularly, and especially if I feel something’s not quite right or my Mac is becoming a bit sluggish. I have little objective proof that it has helped (but on occasion it certainly did), but my subjective feeling is that overall it’s useful. (BTW, I also use CleanMyMacX pretty regularly, and TechTool Pro (which has indeed saved my tail big-time twice) once in a while, too. Same feeling: I’m doing something good, but little real proof.)

One thing seems to be definitely true, though: none of these has ever been harmful. So, since running them is pretty quick, even if it’s wasted effort it’s worth my peace of mind.

I tried Cocktail and TinkerTool years ago, but as I recall, I felt they allowed me to tinker with stuff on a deeper level than I was comfortable with.

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TinkerTool System is the maintenance app. Tinkertool is just preferences. TinkerTool System has been updated for Big Sur and Silicon. It is the only such app I have had on my machines for some years, though not used very often, and not yet in Big Sur on my M1 MBA.

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Ah yes, good ole TechTool Pro! I’d forgotten about that, but it was a staple on my machines “back in the day.”

I was under the opinion that these tools had kind of outlived their usefulness, and were no longer needed, as the contemporary OSes are so finely tuned, that they didn’t need any tweaking or fixing, beyond maybe Disk Utility. No?

As I understand it, TinkerTool’s key feature is a convenient GUI to access undocumented system and application preferences. You could do the same thing by editing plist files or by using the defaults write command (and then restarting apps, logging out or rebooting in order to activate the changes), but the GUI is easier and potentially less error-prone.

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I use Onyx whenever a Mac acts screwy or slow. Often helps. Or it doesn’t and I take a different approach.


I keep all three in my toolkit. For the most part they simply provide a GUI interface for a series of Terminal commands, but I have more confidence manipulating the GUI rather than typing the Terminal series. Note that Onyx and Tinker Tool are available at no charge while the cost of Cocktail is nominal.

With respect to TechTool, I have quit using it. Unfortunately, it is usually not updated to support the current Mac OS until late spring or early summer. As I tend to be an early adopter, that means that it is useful for only a. short period before I switch to an OS it doesn’t support.

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I haven’t used any of those apps in years. I don’t feel like I am missing anything.

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You certainly need them less.

I do run Cocktail on a monthly schedule however. There’s a built-in scheduler and I run their basic maintenance scripts using it.


Same here. I do very rarely run TinkerTool since sometimes I simply forgot what the defaults command is. But that’s it. Once a year max. Probably less.

I’m surprised to see that several of you are using these tools. That’s good to know, and instills in me more confidence in these tools.

Speaking of useful tools, has anybody else noticed that TimeTracker no longer seems to work with Big Sur and/or APFS Time Machine volumes?

I use Onyx on a 2010 iMac and 2011 MacBook Pro regularly, especially if either computer is acting “wonky” or if I get the dreaded beach ball of Death too many times. Onyx seems to clear it up.

Recently I bought Clean My Mac for both computers and run it, too.

Have Onyx on both my Catalina Macs. As others said above, if the Mac is acting a little “off” Onyx seems to help it fly straight again.

I use Onyx, Tech Tool and Disk Warrior in times of issues. AppCleaner to uninstall apps if there is no dedicated uninstaller. BlackMagic to check drives - I have a few.

Does AppCleaner work with Catalina?

Used TinkerTool and Onyx the other day as I was refurbishing old systems and I needed to find a botched “erase free space” sparse file.

I used these small tools on my new systems and os upgrades with some regularity over the years to make cosmetic changes and way back when (G3 G4 days) run maintenance scripts, up to maybe 5 years ago or so …

I still would like to find a tool that would allow me to fix the bland grey monochrome mess that Apple has turned OS X into.

It is so refreshing to install initial years of OS X and be presented with full color icons and higher contrast black text on white background.

Every time I switch back to my primary systems 10.15 it is just depressing. Different shades of grey. Tiny minimalistic grey icons with grey text. (even with high contrast accessibility option ticked)

Oh how I long for a full color OS again, with larger higher detail icons & higher contrast black text everywhere. As an option. Let people have their grey minimalistic, but provide the option to restore full color. We see in color. Color makes us happy. Let it be a bit skeuomorphic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with it.


I still use CleanMyMac X regularly, but these days I don’t use it much to tinker with my iMac’s workings. It can pick up detritus left over from removing apps, and I do a full malware scan once a week, but that’s about it.

Whatever else is true, as long as I’ve been using computers (since 1984, mostly, but not exclusively, Macs) there have always been bugs and other problems which the developers didn’t/couldn’t pick up or have not corrected. The maintenance and heavy-duty fixit apps we’re talking about here have always been useful, and in some form or other will likely continue to be so. Those who write the OS are mostly interested in knowing that their code works and is useful. Sure, they do testing and beta-testing, but then they mostly turn to other projects, maybe the next OS. The developers of the apps we’re talking about are eager to be of help, and their business is to look for problems which the original developers weren’t, maybe couldn’t’ve been, aware of. They, their predecessors and future ones, will likely continue to be useful, often even needed, to keep our machines working right. Rolls-Royce makes fine cars, but that doesn’t make Rolls-Royce after-market mechanics unnecessary or obsolete.

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