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#843: Hiding Unwanted Apps, Custom Login Screen, Drag + Drop Mail Attachments


Hello all,

I’m not going to say much about the weather — anyone within a mile of a TV, radio, or computer knows about the current conditions on the east coast. We have been pretty untouched up here, lucky to be out of the reach of the bulk of the storm’s energy. I have heard from all the people I was concerned about, and hope you all have, too.

This week Carl and Jon have some not-so-obvious customization tips and Carl, making a double appearance, talks about a new way to use an old trick. If there is anything you’d like to know about or see an article on, please let me know — I’d like to start featuring a topic inspired by the readers every week.

Thanks for reading.


  Hiding Unwanted Apple Apps  

One of the most frustrating things I’ve found with iOS is that I haven’t been able to hide native Apple applications that I’m not using. In my internet wandering, while stuck in the airport in Washington DC, I found a website that gives you a way to hide these unwanted applications.

It’s not a permanent change; the applications will come back if you restart the device. Additionally, it does not require jailbreaking your device. This is great for me, since I hardly ever reboot my devices and I no longer jailbreak them since Apple gave us a bit more control over system sounds.

As always, in cases like this, proceed at your own risk. That said, I have not had any issues with this process. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Go to the following website on your iDevice:
Step 2: Tap on “Hide Apps without Jailbreak”
Step 3: Choose the App you want to hide and tap on it
Step 4: You’ll be asked to install a new App, so confirm that it’s what you want to do. The installation will not complete, but that’s ok — it’s supposed to do that. Just tap done.
Step 5: The App you’re trying to hide will turn grey and it will have the word “Hide” before its name. Just tap and hold until it starts jiggling and then tap the “X” in the corner to remove it.

From what I’ve seen, the site doesn’t let you do this with all the Apple apps; I still can’t get rid of Photo Booth on my iPad, but I can get rid of Newsstand and Game Center on my phone.

Should you want to get these Apps back, all you need to do is power off your device and power it back on again.

  Custom Login Screen  

In Tech Tails past I have written about ways to change the image behind the login window. In Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard, there was an image in the Core Services folder called DefaultDesktop. This was the image displayed both behind the login window and as the systems default desktop after logging in. Those rules no longer apply as Apple has made changes to the default desktop in Lion and Snow Lion.

The brushed metal background that is a unifying theme across the desktop and iOS operating environment is contained in System Folder much like DefaultDesktop was. The location and format has changed, though. The image is a PNG (portable network graphic) and is named NSTexturedFullScreenBackgroundColor.png. The file itself is located in a resources folder buried deep in the System.

The exact path to this folder is as follows: /System/Library/Frameworks/AppKit.framework/Version/C/Resources.

To change the background, you’ll first want to find a file of equal size to the the default resolution of your computer. (You can also use a 256 × 256 pattern and it will tile the entire space.) The image will have to be opened in Preview and saved as a PNG. The DefaultDesktop in systems prior to Lion was a JPG file. You will then need to rename the new file “NSTexturedFullScreenBackgroundColor.png”.

Navigate to the resources folder and first make a copy of the default that already exists. You may want to move the duplicate to another folder for safe keeping. Drag and drop your new image into the resources folder. The Finder will ask if you want to replace the existing item and you’ll be asked to authenticate to make changes to the System folder.

After logging out or restarting, the new image should become the background for the login window and the wallpaper behind Mission Control as well as Dashboard.

  Drag and Drop Attachments  

We’ve always been able to drag and drop files into a Mail message to create an attachment for that email.

I recently found out that you can actually just drag that file directly onto the Mail application and it will create a new message with that file already attached. Saves you a couple steps and you get a few seconds back. I’m not sure if this is a new feature in 10.8, it could very well have been around since 10.0…

These accidental discoveries are fun, aren’t they? Any others you can think of? Email me!

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