Isolator
Isolator 4.76beta
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(22) 4.863636363636363

Menubar app hides cluttered desktop, helps you concentrate.   Free
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Isolator is a small menubar application that helps you concentrate. When you're working on a document, and don't want to be distracted, turn on Isolator. It will cover up your desktop and all the icons on it, as well as the windows of all your other applications, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.

Isolator is similar to, but not the same as Think and Backdrop. The difference is that it works exactly how I want it to. Maybe you'll like it too.
What's New
Version 4.76beta:
  • Fix code signing
Requirements
Intel/PPC, Mac OS X 10.4 or later



MacUpdate - Isolator




  • Think
    +7

  • Camouflage
    +4

  • Spirited Away
    +3

  • HazeOver
    +3

  • FocusMask
    +2

  • Backdrop
    +2
Isolator User Discussion (Write a Review)
ver. 4.x:
(22)
Your rating: Now say why...
Overall:
(28)

sort: smiles | time
burypromote

-11

DovTodd reviewed on 06 Apr 2014
Just installed this, I'm on Mavericks (Mac OS 10.9.2), works just great! Entire screen (except for menubar) turns totally black, including even the desktop wallpaper. Very easy and simple to use.

You can change the color from black to another solid color of your choice, if you want. The color can be total, or it can let the actual background leak through, and you can decide the strength of that leakage, that's your choice too. You can also decide the fade speed. I left that at the original setting, at nearly immediate.

Whatever you want to focus on has to be selected first before you turn on Isolator. Isolator's icon appears only in the menubar. To turn on Isolator, you click its icon, then within its drop-down menu you click "on." When you're done, again click Isolator's icon, click "off" in its drop-down menu, then regular screen returns. That's it.

If you want to use the keyboard instead of the mouse, you can use the hotkey of your choice to turn Isolator on and off from the keyboard. The icon showing in the menubar is optional, you can still access it through the hotkey.

I see no bugs; it seems totally stable. This doesn't feel like it's a beta at all.

I did have two questions I couldn't resolve. In Preferences, under the tab titled "Background windows," there's something called "Filter type" where you have the choice of: None, Blur, Bloom, Crystals, Desaturate. I tried them all but couldn't determine what these options actually did. So I left this at the original setting, None. There's also something called "Filter radius," which you can change along a continuum from small to large. Tried this out as well, didn't seem to do anything either. I left this alone at the original setting as well. There's nothing on the developer's website that explains these two options either.
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+1

Leftblank reviewed on 08 Nov 2013
Phew!! Still seems to work fine with Mavericks OS 10.9 ... clearing the visual clutter of other applications.

Although the downloaded disk image claims to be a 4.9 beta, it contains the 4.76 beta ....
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

PeterWood3054 reviewed on 18 Jun 2013
I have only recently started using this app, so ratings for stability should be taken with a grain of salt. But it does what it is supposed to very effectively. It stops me from being distracted by the web and allows me to get along with my work. It is very simple to use, and flexible - it is simple to add new web pages to block.

I think this may be the most useful 'productivity improver' that I have installed! I am very excited by this!
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+1

Leftblank reviewed on 30 Mar 2012
Simple. Very helpful. Wonderful. Thank you.

Easiest way to shut out the necessary clutter of other apps in order to concentrate on a single task ....

8-)
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+2

Giray reviewed on 15 Mar 2012
I love Isolator for its simplicity. Thank you!! A wish list item for me would be application exclusions.
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+78

taja reviewed on 16 Jan 2012
The cleanest, simplest and least memory-hungry of the 'concentration' apps.

But for some reason, since I upgraded to Lion, when the app is set to load as a startup item, it doesn't activate with the hotkey; I have to go and open it again, which is mildly annoying.

Still, that minor issue, aside, this is a fantastic app.
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+6

tfigs reviewed on 16 Sep 2011
Really nice app. Does what it says and does it well. Lots of options to adjust to your liking.
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+36

Randy-Crawford reviewed on 04 Jun 2011
I've been blessed to find a few really great pieces of software lately. Isolator is one of them. It is useful to me because I run many applications concurrently and it can be difficult to keep up with which is the front app. I run 4 monitors which compounds the problem. Frequently I run 3-4 copies of 4D and I have modified the wrong code many times because of losing track of which is which. Isolator solves that perfectly. You can dim out the background apps so that you can see them, but also know they are not the front app.

One recommendation I would make is to turn of the "Filters" which control the look of the background apps. Filters cause a significant slow-down with no real benefit.

To make things even better, Isolator is Free! Can you beat that?!
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+18

Eelco Deuling reviewed on 26 May 2011
This is a great tool, but I did have some troubles with it.

I do not like a lot of things in my menu bar, so I switched this option off. I use a (very huge amount) lot of software at the same time, so I erased the keyboard shortcut so it could not interfere with some other app.

...and now I could not control the app anymore and had to quit it in Activity Monitor (clicking the app icon did not do anything).

But it did help me to focus, works very well and the 'filters' to hide the desktop are great!
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+72

JasonE reviewed on 21 May 2011
Perfectly simple, exponentially beneficial.
[Version 4.76beta]


burypromote

+31
Peterpan23 had trouble on 03 Dec 2010
Does not work properly with TotalFinder
[Version 4.5beta]


burypromote

+4
frankfx had trouble on 04 Jun 2008
Oops, previous versions worked fine but now after turning on Isolator the whole computer becomes useless and only holding down the powerbutton can get me out of it. Could be I'm doing something wrong but for now Appzapper made Isolator move to the trash.
[Version 3.2]

3 Replies

burypromote

+106
siamlotus replied on 04 Jun 2008
Same problem here as previous comment.
burypromote
Ben Willmore (developer) replied on 04 Jun 2008
Sorry about this. If you're on 10.4/Tiger, it should be fixed in Isolator 3.3. If you're on Leopard, it's a problem I haven't heard about before, in which case please let me know. My email is on the Isolator web page.
burypromote

+4
frankfx replied on 05 Jun 2008
Version 3.3 works as fine on 10.4 now, guess the problem was the blur effect which is now Leopard-only. :)

And that was a really fast update!
burypromote

+7
babyfett had trouble on 23 Apr 2008
I would imagine a lot of people would want to use this with word processors, so they can concentrate, but while using Word I needed to access another window within Word and when I did, it automatically hid the first document and the only way I could get back to it was to turn off Isolator. Also, it gives you the option to Hide Dock, I assumed it meant that it would disable it while you were working so when you got to the bottom of the page it wouldn't pop back up, but there it was. If it just hides the Dock, you can set that up in your regular OS X preferences. I was really hoping this product would be for me. If I'm doing something wrong in Word, I'd love to give this bad boy another shot. Thanks!
[Version 3.0]

2 Replies

burypromote
Ben Willmore (developer) replied on 15 May 2008
Hi Babyfett -- I think you are just looking for a different set of features. Isolator keeps one application in the foreground, and obscures the rest. So when you switch away from Word (say), your Word windows will be obscured. You might be interested in Think, which works differently.

The idea of the 'Hide Dock' option is that you can have the Dock displayed during normal use, and just have it hide when you turn Isolator on. If you normally have the Dock on auto-hide, that feature won't be useful to you.
burypromote

+403
MacUpdate-Lon replied on 15 May 2008
BTW, "Think" is available here:

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/23972
burypromote

+1
rwatts had trouble on 27 Oct 2007
Seems to be broken under Leopard. Any one else having problems?

BTW This is a fantastic app... and I am very surprised that it is not better known (a great replacement MenuStrip which offered a simliar functionality but which was never updated for Intel Macs).
[Version 1.0]



+8

Dawda rated on 11 Dec 2012

[Version 4.76beta]



+85

Paulnojustpaul rated on 29 Apr 2011

[Version 4.76beta]



+65

James-D rated on 25 Mar 2011

[Version 4.76beta]



-2

Losmuertos rated on 04 Dec 2010

[Version 4.5beta]


Downloads:24,569
Version Downloads:4,993
Type:Utilities : Desktop
License:Free
Date:11 Feb 2011
Platform:PPC 32 / Intel 32 / OS X
Price:Free0.00
Overall (Version 4.x):
Features:
Ease of Use:
Value:
Stability:
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Isolator is a small menubar application that helps you concentrate. When you're working on a document, and don't want to be distracted, turn on Isolator. It will cover up your desktop and all the icons on it, as well as the windows of all your other applications, so you can concentrate on the task in hand.

Isolator is similar to, but not the same as Think and Backdrop. The difference is that it works exactly how I want it to. Maybe you'll like it too.


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