This is the Help documentation for the latest version of Mac App Blocker.
For the older version, please click here

Introduction



What is Mac App Blocker

If you share your Mac with other users, how can you prevent them from running certain applications? One solution is to create a separate user account. That would work, but what about those times when you leave your computer unattended?

Many Mac owners don’t want to create separate accounts for each user - especially for kids and occasional users. They leave their computer and applications completely open and available to anyone who uses the computer.

So, how do you keep your applications, settings, and documents secure and away from prying eyes and unauthorized users?

With Mac App Blocker you can password protect individual applications on your Mac.
The NEW Rules options will give you further control of how and when applications are available for use. You can also set a time limit value that will automatically close the application after the specified time of inactivity.

Mac App Blocker does NOT make any changes to the operating system or application files. If you choose to uninstall, simply drag the app to the trash.

Getting Started



Starting the First Time

When you start Mac App Blocker for the first time, you will be asked to provide a password. This password will be used to allow any of the apps added to your block list to execute and to access the Mac App Blocker settings.

Do not forget your password - KnewSense Support cannot reset your password if it has been lost or forgotten.
You must check the box that confirms you have read and you understand this warning.

You can set the option to Launch at System Startup. This will automatically start Mac App Blocker when you restart your computer.

Launching at system startup will provide the protection of Mac App Blocker and your apps will be password-protected - even if someone restarts the computer.

After setting your password, Mac App Blocker will continue to run in the background. You will need to add apps to the Blocked Apps List to provide the protection to these applications.

Launching MAB



Start Up

When you start Mac App Blocker, you will see this Startup dialog. You can uncheck the box to "Show this message at Startup" if you don't need to be informed every time it starts.

Note: Showing this Startup dialog can also be controlled from the Preferences window.

Menubar Icons

This icon will appear in your system menubar (the area at the top of the screen). Click the icon to access the menu options.

This icon will appear in the system menubar if the Mac App Blocker program is in temporary 'Disable for this session only' mode.

This icon will appear in the system menubar if someone has tried to access a blocked application and provided an incorrect password. Helpful when you want to know if someone has attempted to access one of your blocked apps.

This icon will appear in the system menubar if Mac App Blocker is in Temporary Lockdown mode.

Main Window



Accessing the Settings and Blocked Apps List

Select the lock icon from the menubar and provide your Mac App Blocker password to access the main interface window and settings.
The Main UI is divided into 3 sections with a Toolbar at the top of the window.

Blocked Apps List - Along the left side section
The list of apps controlled with Mac App Blocker

Details - The right side section
App specific details including a list of Failed Attempts to access the app

Toolbar - The top section
Set Rules to further control when apps are allowed to launch

Toolbar



Preferences - View/Edit all the options and setting

Help - This Help file

Quit - Close the Main UI Window or Quit Mac App Blocker

Blocked Apps List

Add Apps

To add apps to the Blocked Apps list, select the Add Button + at the lower, left Main Window.
This will open a folder dialog window allowing you to select the app or apps to add to the list.

Remove Apps

To remove an app from the Blocked Apps list, select it from the list to highlight and then select the Remove Button - at the lower, left of the Main Window.
A dialog will confirm the removal of the app from the Blocked Apps list.
Once removed, all the information associated with the app (Fail History, Rules, etc) will also be removed.

Adding Security Apps to the Blocked Apps List

Mac App Blocker will recommend that some additional apps should be added to the Blocked Apps list. To help Mac App Blocker do its job, it's suggested that you allow these apps to be added to your list.
The additional security apps are:

  • Terminal
  • Activity Monitor
  • System Preferences
  • Console

Details



The Details pane is divided into 5 sections:

You can drag-n-drop the sections to order them to your own preference. The top section (Info) can not be re-ordered.

Info



Display some basic info for the selected blocked app


Rule



Expand the Rule section by selecting the disclosure triangle to the left

Select/change/remove the Rule associated with the selected blocked app from the dropdown

Click here for help with each of the available rules.


History

History will display failed attempts to access the selected blocked app
The normal (non-expanded) view will display a summary



Expand the Rule section by selecting the disclosure triangle to the left to view a list of ALL history entries for the selected blocked app.



Double-click the image to view a larger version

Select 1 or more failed attempts from the history view:
Click the minus (-) button at the bottom left to delete the selected entries
or
Click the share button to save the images


Inactivity



Expand the Inactivity section by selecting the disclosure triangle to the left

Inactivity controls what happens when an app becomes inactive.
An app becomes inactive when it is no longer the focused app - when you switch to another app.
Inactivity is most helpful for apps that continue to run after you've finished using them ie. Mail, Safari, etc.

Select the 'Enable' checkbox to enable/disable Inactivity

Settings
Select a time value from the 'After' dropdown
This is the amount of time the app will be inactive before Inactivity is applied and the selected action will be performed.

Select an action value from the 'Action' dropdown
This is the action you would like performed when the app becomes inactive.

The action values are:

  • Hide - this action will allow the app to continue running and will minimize the app's windows. The app will continue to process in the background, but any attempts to access by opening the window will require your Mac App Blocker password.
  • Lock - this action will Lock the app in its current state. No background processing will occur and the app will be unresponsive. Accessing the app and providing your Mac App Blocker password will unlock the app and processing will continue normally.
  • Quit - this action will cause the app to quit. Any unsaved changes will be lost. However, it is the most secure action since the app will exit completely.


Usage



Expand the Usage section by selecting the disclosure triangle to the left

A summary of the amount of time the selected blocked app has been used over the past 7 days.
Expand the section to see a daily usage report

The usage statistics are the amount of time from the start of the app until it is quit - regardless of the actual time spent with the app active

Rules

Rule - Schedule



The schedule option allows you to set a schedule to unblock the selected app on specific days and times.
The unblocked app will not require the Mac App Blocker password to launch and run.
If the app is running when the scheduled end time occurs, the user will be notified the app will exit in 30 seconds. This allows for any last minute saves or preparation before the app is exited.

Add Schedule
You can add specific days and times to the schedule list by selecting the Add Button + directly under the Schedule List.

Edit Schedule
To edit an existing schedule, double-click the entry in the Schedule List.

Delete Schedule
To remove a scheduled day/time, select the schedule entry from the Schedule List and select the Remove Button - directly under the Schedule List

If rule is not met
Set this option to instruct Mac App Blocker what to do if the rule is not met
The option are:

  • Allow launch with password - This is the typical operation, the user is asked to provide the password to launch the app
  • Quit - DO NOT allow launch - This option will NOT ask for the password and will quit the app without launching

Add/Edit Schedule



To set the schedule day/time, move the sliders for the Start and End day/hour/minute
Click anywhere outside the settings pop-up to save your changes and close the pop-up

Optionally, set a Maximum Run Time
The Maximum Run Time will allow the app to run for the duration specified within the scheduled time period
example: If the schedule is set for weekdays from 3pm to 10pm with a Maximum Run Time of 60 minutes
The App will launch during this schedule time period but only operate for 60 minutes.

The Maximum Run Time is an accumulated value so, using the app for 15 minutes will count those minutes toward the run time.

If the Maximum Run Time is greater than the schedule end time, the scheduled end time will take precedence.


Rule - Network



The Network Rule option allows you to unblock the selected app when connected to specific networks.
The unblocked app will not require the Mac App Blocker password to launch and run.

Add Network
To add a network to the network list, you must be connected to the network you wish to add.
Select the Add Button + directly under the Network List to add the network.
You will see a dialog with the current network name and have the option to add to your network list.

Delete Network
To remove a network from the network list, select the network name from the Network List and select the Remove Button - directly under the Network List

If rule is not met
Set this option to instruct Mac App Blocker what to do if the rule is not met
The option are:

  • Allow launch with password - This is the typical operation, the user is asked to provide the password to launch the app
  • Quit - DO NOT allow launch - This option will NOT ask for the password and will quit the app without launching


Rule - Frequency



The Frequency Rule will limit the launching of apps to the specified frequency within a time period.

Settings
Select the duration value and the units (Hour, Day, Week) from the selection boxes.

Optionally, set a Maximum Run Time
The Maximum Run Time will allow the app to run for the duration specified within the frequency
example: If the frequency is set to 2 times per day with a Maximum Run Time of 30 minutes
The App will launch during this frequency time period but only operate for 30 minutes.

If rule is not met
Set this option to instruct Mac App Blocker what to do if the rule is not met
The option are:

  • Allow launch with password - This is the typical operation, the user is asked to provide the password to launch the app
  • Quit - DO NOT allow launch - This option will NOT ask for the password and will quit the app without launching


Rule - Minimum Time



The Minimum Time Limit Rule will limit the launching of apps unless the minimum time between launches has elapsed.

Settings
Select the duration value and the units (Minutes, Hours, Days) from the selection boxes.

If rule is not met
Set this option to instruct Mac App Blocker what to do if the rule is not met
The option are:

  • Allow launch with password - This is the typical operation, the user is asked to provide the password to launch the app
  • Quit - DO NOT allow launch - This option will NOT ask for the password and will quit the app without launching

Preferences

Select one of the tabs across the top of the window to view and/or set options related to that tab group.

General



Disable for this session only
By selecting the checkbox, you can disable ALL Blocked Apps authorization for the current session. The current session will end when the computer restarts or wakes from sleep. Using this option allows quick and easy access to all your apps without needing to provide a password. You’re safe in knowing - if the computer restarts or wakes from sleep, your apps will be protected.

Show dialog when Mac App Blocker starts
Select this option to display a notification dialog (Splash Screen) when Mac App Blocker starts.

Launch at System Startup

Select this option to start the Mac App Blocker process when the computer starts. This offers the best protection for your system as it protects against users restarting the computer to gain access to the blocked apps.

Exit Blocked Apps at Startup
Select this option to exit any and all apps on the Blocked Apps list when the Mac App Blocker application starts. Whether the application starts at System Startup or is started by selecting it from the Applications folder, if this option is selected ALL apps included on the Blocked Apps list will exit.

Exit Blocked Apps when waking from sleep (recommended)
Select this option to exit any and all apps on the Blocked Apps list when the computer wakes from sleep. It's recommended to enable this option to help secure your apps in the event that the computer becomes missing or if someone accesses your Mac while you are away.

PLEASE NOTE: If this option is set and the computer wakes from sleep, ALL blocked apps will be exited and any unsaved changes will be lost. This includes apps that have a timeout value. The reason, the Mac App Blocker process would have no knowledge of who is waking the computer from sleep. To offer the protection of unauthorized usage, the process will exit ALL blocked applications.

Capture Photo After Failed Attempt
After each failed attempt to access a blocked app, the date and time are recorded.
Select this option to include a photo of the person who tried to access the app.
If you have more than one camera, you can select which camera should be used with Mac App Blocker

Block Java (.jar) files
Some application may use Java - which are different to traditional Mac apps in the way they are treated by MacOS
To allow blocking of these apps, this option is included
*Unless you are sure you want to use this option, it's best to leave it unchecked.

Check Security Apps
Mac App Blocker will attempt to add some default applications to the blocked apps list.
These apps (Terminal, System Preferences, Activity Monitor, Console) could allow another user to bypass and/or terminate Mac App Blocker and leave your blocked apps open for usage.
Select this option to allow Mac App Blocker to check that these apps are included in the blocked apps list when Mac App Blocker starts

Change Password
Change your Mac App Blocker password


Lockdown



Sometimes, exiting an app is too much. Maybe you need to step away from your computer for a few minutes and don't want to close down the open apps. Temporary Lockdown allows you to quickly protect the apps in your Blocked Apps list by allowing them to continue running without allowing access to the app.

Simple Mode
Select Simple mode to allow apps to continue to function while in Lockdown.
This mode is less secure, but offers the options for apps to continue functioning while in Lockdown. ie Downloading of files, etc.

Secure Mode
Select Secure mode to completely disable operation of apps while in Lockdown.
This mode is more secure as the apps are completely disabled. However, once exiting Lockdown, the locked apps will continue from the point they were before locking.

Enable/Disable Temporary Lockdown
Select to enter/exit Lockdown. Additionally, you can use the Hotkey combination without opening the main window to access this checkbox.

Show dialog when entering/exiting Lockdown
Display a notification window when you enter or exit Lockdown

Require password to enter lockdown
When checked, this option will require entering the password to enter Lockdown
Exiting Lockdown and returning to normal mode will always require the password.

Lockdown Mode Hotkey Combination
Select the input box and enter your key combination to enable and/or disable Lockdown mode.


Stealth



Sometimes you may want the functionality of Mac App Blocker without broadcasting that you're using it.
Stealth mode will hide the icon in the menubar and (if selected) will present a fake error message dialog instead of the standard password dialog.

Activate Stealth Mode
Check the box to activate Stealth mode.
This is an added step to prevent accidentally entering Stealth mode with the Hotkey combination.
In order to use Stealth mode, it must first be activated from this preference option.

Use Stealth Mode
Check the box to enable Stealth mode. Additionally, you can use the Hotkey combination without opening the main window to access this checkbox.

Show dialog when Entering/Exiting Stealth mode
Display a notification window when entering or exiting Stealth mode.

Require password to enable/disable Stealth mode
When checked, this option will require entering the password to enter Stealth mode
Exiting Stealth mode and returning to normal mode will always require the password.

Start Mac App Blocker in Stealth Mode
If set to launch at System Startup, this option will start Mac App Blocker in Stealth Mode.

Stealth Mode HotKey Combination
Select the input box and enter your key combination to enter and/or exit Stealth mode. It's important to remember the key combination used. Once in Stealth Mode, you will not have access to the Lock icon in the menubar.
Press the key combination at any time to enter/exit Stealth mode.

Stealth Operation Mode (When Stealth is active)

Present password dialog (normal operation)
Select this option to use the standard password dialog when using Stealth Mode

Present fake error message
Select this option to use a fake error message when accessing a blocked app. The fake error message will look like a regular error message, but you must select the OK button while holding the selected key combination. Otherwise, the error message is dismissed and a failed attempt is logged without the user knowing.

Current Key Combination
When using the Fake Error Message option
This will list the keys that must be held while selecting the OK button on the error dialog.
The keys can be any combination of Control, Option, and Command.
To set a new key combination, hold the desired keys and press the Set button
To test the current key combination and/or to become familiar with the fake error message, select the Test button.
You will then see the fake error message and have the opportunity to test your selected key combination.


Register



During the trial period, this tab will display the day(s) remaining in the trial.
If you previously purchased Mac App Blocker, you can select the license file to unlock and register the app by selecting the 'Select License File' button.

Select the 'Purchase' button to be taken to the web page to purchase a license

Once Mac App Blocker is unlocked and registered, this tab will display the license information


Update



Display the current version of Mac App Blocker and the date last checked for updates

Select the 'Check for Updates' button to check for updates now.

Otherwise, set the 'Automatically check for updates' option to periodically check for new updates
If there are any new updates, you will have to option to install

Recommendations

A word about active/inactive apps

Many Mac OSX applications will continue to run after the last window has been closed. This could leave your computer potentially at risk for unauthorized use. Using Mac App Blocker can help defend against this unauthorized use by providing you with the option to automatically quit inactive applications.

However, to do its job, the application must not remain active after the last window has closed.

How to make sure the application is inactive.

As an example, start up Safari. Now, close the main window. It seems like Safari has quit and is no longer running. However, the program continues to run and remain active. Look at the upper, left side of the menu bar.

Notice that Safari is still running. When the application name appears in the menu bar, this is the currently active app. To allow Mac App Blocker to quit this application after the timeout value has been reached, the application must NOT remain active.

Simply click on the desktop or select another application to change the currently active app. This will cause Safari to become an inactive application and, if the timeout value is set to something other than 'Never', it will start the countdown to exiting.

Security

No computer security process is foolproof or impenetrable. There is always a way around any security measure or process.

Mac App Blocker is not intended to offer a highly secure method of protection. Used correctly, it can provide the kind of basic security needed for the typical home/small office user.

To allow Mac App Blocker to do its job:
Pick a password that is not easily guessed by other users.
Make sure your protected apps are not active when you leave your computer unattended.

Quit



To Quit Mac App Blocker, select the icon from the main window.
You will have the choice to Quit or Minimize

To allow Mac App Blocker to work in the background and protect your apps against unauthorized usage, select Minimize
Otherwise, select Quit

Uninstall

To uninstall Mac App Blocker, drag the app from the Applications folder to the trash

It is recommended to use an uninstaller app to remove all the files and settings
We recommend AppDelete from Reggie Ashworth