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Posted 18.10.19

5 Mac Tools That I Couldn’t Live Without

My job role requires me to be onsite with customers more often than not. Like most field based people I have my bag full handy cables, adapters and tools, back up and less used ‘what if’ cables, adapters and tools in my car and of course a host of apps on my Mac.

This is needed when you are out in the field because you never know what you are walking into here are 5 Mac tools that I couldn’t live without.

Network Utility

We’ll start at the very top and the most used app I have on my Mac, yes its an app that is shipped with macOS but it seems its never closed on my Mac. It’s simple and yet effective. It has a simple interface and can perform pings, lookups and port scans amongst other things.

When you are walking onto a brand new site or ‘the internet stops working’ this is app is a real life saver.

USB-C Hub

Although I do walk around with a whole heap of USB-C adapters for this and the other the fact of the matter is I often only use my one USB-C hub that has many ports such as USB, Ethernet, HDMI and USB-C power. Do spend the time in making sure you select a good one, some of the cheaper hubs don’t power multiple USB devices. I found this out the hard way, go for a well known brands instead of an Amazon special. Belkin do a rather good USB-C hub that give you all of the ports that you can ask for.

(Belkin USB-C Multimedia Hub – https://www.belkin.com/uk/p/P-F4U092/ also available from Sync and GBM)

LAN Scan

This is another Mac app and is available through the Mac App Store. There is a free and paid for version. LAN Scan simply scans the subnet that you are connected to and returns the results of devices connected to it. The details include, IP addresses, Hostnames and Vendor. It’s super useful when trying to find a device on the network, to check if you can find the device or if you just can’t remember the IP or Hostname of the device you need to connect to.

(App Store Link – https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/lanscan/id472226235?mt=12)

Code Runner

This App is really helpful when you are writing and testing scripts. It’s available through the Mac App Store and directly from the developers website. I find it useful as it keeps check of my formatting (depending on the interpreter I choose, it includes loads such as bash, python and swift), I can have multiple tabs and I can run the scripts directly from within Code Runner. No need to make my scripts executable so I can run them from terminal while testing.

(App Store Link – https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/coderunner-3/id955297617?mt=12)

(Direct Link – https://coderunnerapp.com)

iOS firmware

I work a lot with iPad on customers sites. 9 times out of 10 I need to update the iPads while I’m working on them. Since internet speeds vary dramatically from site to site and device models vary so much even at one site, I like to keep all of the current iOS firmwares with me. This way I’m not wasting time waiting for iOS updates to download!

When a new iOS is released I go over to iClarified.com (https://www.iclarified.com/8500/where-to-download-ipad-firmware-files-from) and download the ipsw files for all of the iPad models that support it and keep them on a USB drive.

If I need to update iPad onsite I then simple add the files into the Apple Configurator 2 cache before launching it and update device 16 at a time with my 16 bay hub.

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