Mac OS Extensions

Posted by

There are all kinds of features Apple has placed inside the macOS. One of those features is Extensions either built into an App like Safari or available to all Apps through System Preferences. Extensions are a  cool feature, let’s look at how they can enhance your computing experience.

App Extensions

An Extension is something that “extends” the capability of the macOS or an Application. This thinking has been around a long time in the MacOS. In days gone by this was an “Init”. Extensions contribute to the robustness of the macOS, but you have to avail yourself of them. The End User can control which and how Extensions work with the system.

Let’s look at Extensions in two macOS Apps, Safari and Photos. Here is where Extensions are controlled and added inside Safari Preferences:

Safari Extensions
Safari Extensions

Here you can activate and deactivate Extensions. You can change some Settings in Extensions and also get more Extensions. These Extensions enhance the functionality of Safari and also help other Applications interact with Safari.

Here is how the Photos App uses Extensions:

Photos Extensions
Photos Extensions

Photos uses Extensions to connect to Third Party photo editing software. In this way you can edit a photo in another App and it will save the editing back into the Photos App.

System Preferences Extensions

Besides Apple Apps like Safari and Photos, the macOS provides for the Extensions capability of third party Apps. You access the macOS Extensions in the System Preferences area. Here is the “All Extensions” window when you first open it:

Pref Pane Extensions
Pref Pane Extensions

It lists the Extension type in the left column. How that Extension can interact with a third party App displays in the right column. Most Apps have this “Share Menu” capability, but some Apps have additional Extension feature.

Here is the list of Extensions from Apps available to Photos:

Photos Extensions list
Photos Extensions list

If you wish to edit an image inside of the Photos App you would check the box for that Extension in this area.

The Share Menu is one of the more important Extensions areas:

Share Menu
Share Menu

If you wish to share items from an App in another App on your Mac, you can check the box for the App in question; if the Share function is coded into that App.Here is the Finder Extensions area which comprises Quick Actions:

Finder Quick Actions
Finder Quick Actions

Certain Quick Actions will become available in the Finder depending on what type of file you have selected.

Conclusion

The Extensions capability of the macOS contains a lot of power and functionality. It would behoove you to go in there and activate some of these items which might fit into your workflow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.