Isolator
Isolator
4.76beta
4.9
0.0
Isolator free download for Mac

Isolator for Mac

11 February 2011

Menubar app hides cluttered desktop, helps you concentrate.

What is Isolator for Mac

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 in Isolator

Version 4.76beta:
  • Fixed code signing
Isolator for Mac Old Versions

Related articles

How would you rate Isolator?
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0.0
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GeoffB4577
GeoffB4577
May 21 2017
4.76beta
0.0
May 21 2017
0.0
Version: 4.76beta
Ben I LOVE Isolator. However, I use Dark menu and the icon being as it is is driving me nuts. any way that we can get a white Dark Menu icon?
Jim-Leff
Jim-Leff
May 9 2017
4.76beta
0.0
May 9 2017
0.0
Version: 4.76beta
Note that developer website link is wrong. Should be https://www.willmore.eu/software/isolator/
anonymous-tapir-4715
anonymous-tapir-4715
Mar 15 2016
4.76beta
0.0
Mar 15 2016
0.0
Version: 4.76beta
Is it somehow just me, or when you enlarge MacUpdate’s “View Larger” window, does it pop up just fine … but no larger that I can see.
anonymous-heron-1309
anonymous-heron-1309
Feb 10 2015
4.76beta
5.0
Feb 10 2015
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
This app works well on OS X Yosemite (10.10.2) despite not having been updated in years and offers useful options. Big thanks to the developer for making it free.
braunnizo
braunnizo
Nov 26 2014
4.76beta
5.0
Nov 26 2014
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
It works.
momijigari
momijigari
Oct 13 2014
4.76beta
5.0
Oct 13 2014
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
Stable and useful.
DovTodd
DovTodd
Apr 7 2014
4.76beta
5.0
Apr 7 2014
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
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.
Leftblank
Leftblank
Nov 8 2013
4.76beta
5.0
Nov 8 2013
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
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 ....
PeterWood3054
PeterWood3054
Jun 18 2013
4.76beta
5.0
Jun 18 2013
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
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!
Leftblank
Leftblank
Mar 30 2012
4.76beta
5.0
Mar 30 2012
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
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-)
cemil-alyanak
cemil-alyanak
Mar 15 2012
4.76beta
4.5
Mar 15 2012
4.5
Version: 4.76beta
I love Isolator for its simplicity. Thank you!! A wish list item for me would be application exclusions.
taja
taja
Jan 16 2012
4.76beta
4.0
Jan 16 2012
4.0
Version: 4.76beta
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.
tfigs
tfigs
Sep 16 2011
4.76beta
5.0
Sep 16 2011
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
Really nice app. Does what it says and does it well. Lots of options to adjust to your liking.
Randy-Crawford
Randy-Crawford
Jun 4 2011
4.76beta
5.0
Jun 4 2011
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
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?!
Eelco-Deuling
Eelco-Deuling
May 26 2011
4.76beta
4.0
May 26 2011
4.0
Version: 4.76beta
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!
JasonE
JasonE
May 21 2011
4.76beta
5.0
May 21 2011
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
Perfectly simple, exponentially beneficial.
gcoghill
gcoghill
Apr 25 2011
4.76beta
5.0
Apr 25 2011
5.0
Version: 4.76beta
Excellent little utility!
Cocoanut
Cocoanut
Feb 12 2011
4.76beta
0.0
Feb 12 2011
0.0
Version: 4.76beta
I've used Isolator in the past to fill the gap when Menustrip was unavailable but now that Menustrip has been resurrected from the dead it does this and much more and much better. Yes, it's 10 bucks and this is free but I think it's worth it.
Peterpan23
Peterpan23
Dec 3 2010
4.5beta
0.0
Dec 3 2010
0.0
Version: 4.5beta
Does not work properly with TotalFinder
Ecbrown
Ecbrown
Oct 10 2010
4.5beta
5.0
Oct 10 2010
5.0
Version: 4.5beta
Fantastic Program. It does exactly what the author says it should. I've had no problems with the software.
Emile100
Emile100
Sep 9 2010
4.5beta
5.0
Sep 9 2010
5.0
Version: 4.5beta
2 suggestions : - Fixing the rare spaces glitch would be nice - I understand hiding the menu bar is dangerous, how about changing its color to the same color as the background color ? To black ? Cheers ! Emile
Emile100
Emile100
Sep 9 2010
4.5beta
5.0
Sep 9 2010
5.0
Version: 4.5beta
Great app. I got it in order to hide my desktop when teaching with a projector. Now i find myself using it much of the time, I find it makes the UI more relaxing.
Fishscale
Fishscale
Jan 7 2010
4.5b
0.0
Jan 7 2010
0.0
Version: 4.5b
It's very easy to have single application on... but you need a third party app unless you can do it command line. I can't so I checked out multixfinder, application wizard, macpilot, secrets... I like this app and is different from single app mode, but it could be better or good, as the dev stated. You use it if you want to have those features. Sorry for the misplaced post. I know it's not really that related with isolator.
Mathias-Rhein
Mathias-Rhein
Oct 15 2009
4.5b
0.0
Oct 15 2009
0.0
Version: 4.5b
I am wondering what the advantage of all these concentration and focussign apps is to single application mode? Honestly, this never got me into even spaces, since single app mode and an intelligent app switcher like with do the job for me... Can someone convince me of the opposite?
IslandApe
IslandApe
Sep 17 2009
4.4
0.0
Sep 17 2009
0.0
Version: 4.4
4.0: Added blur and other effects to background windows; suspend Isolator when Finder is frontmost; multiple bug fixes. 4.02beta: Update for Snow Leopard; add desaturate effect 4.03beta: Fix glitch with selection of desaturate filter 4.04beta: unreleased 4.1beta: Snow Leopard support, desaturate filter 4.2: Snow Leopard support, desaturate filter 4.3: Fix Sparkle problems. NB This version is not compatible with OS X 10.4 -- I hope the next version will be. 4.4: Fix auto-update problems. NB This version is not compatible with 10.4 -- hopefully the next version will be.
LeMerlot
LeMerlot
Sep 12 2009
4.03b
5.0
Sep 12 2009
5.0
Version: 4.03b
Wow, after years of using Think I discovered Isolator now - and it does nearly all I liked to have with Think. It even hides the dock! If it could hide the menu bar too it would be perfect for me. Nevertheless I'm very impressed.
Pjot
Pjot
Jul 10 2009
4.0
5.0
Jul 10 2009
5.0
Version: 4.0
Indeed, a wonderful app, thanks Ben!
Bumbleb
Bumbleb
May 14 2009
4.0
5.0
May 14 2009
5.0
Version: 4.0
Thank you, dear developer Just what I need. Such niceness;-)
JamesHarrisPhoto
JamesHarrisPhoto
Apr 24 2009
4.0
5.0
Apr 24 2009
5.0
Version: 4.0
This has already become an indispensable item in my menu bar. The app works flawlessly and, unlike other utilities that try to do similar tasks, handles multiple apps and Apple's Spaces intelligently. The only feature that I can see that I'd like to have added is an applications exception area in the prefs. That way when I bring up calculator while looking at an Excel spreadsheet, I can have it so that calculator doesn't trigger Isolator, and I can still see the spreadsheet info in the background. Other than that small feature request, this utility rocks!
Mr-amnesia
Mr-amnesia
Mar 25 2009
4.0
5.0
Mar 25 2009
5.0
Version: 4.0
It is a remarkably simple app, that instantly shows its use and benefits. It is perfect if you want a screen shot of a broken app but have something that you do not want seen. You can use it to block out everything else so can concentrate. Features 5 simple does what it says and well. Ease of use 5 on or off simple as that. Value 5 free enough said. Stability 5 never crashed in all the time I have used it.
gcoghill
gcoghill
Jan 22 2009
3.40b
5.0
Jan 22 2009
5.0
Version: 3.40b
Excellent utility! great for not only concentration, but also screenshots and screencasts to keep the background private and/or non-distracting.
Dnem41
Dnem41
Jun 12 2008
3.39b
5.0
Jun 12 2008
5.0
Version: 3.39b
i already posted comments on this, but forgot to rate it. its not exaggeration that i gave this all 5's. this is a simple little app that lets you focus on the front window. i have used DooDim, Backdrop, and Think 1.2. DooDim was my first love, but dumped it when i accidentally crossed paths with Isolator's arsenal of features. Isolator did everything DooDim did, but was sold on the one-button dim. Didn't like backdrop because the icon shows up in my command+tab window. plus i feel like my machine ran a little slower. Think 1.2, was going the wrong direction because i dont want another window when im trying to focus on the task at hand. One last thing about this app (and other like these) is that i love using it in conjunction with Menu Eclipse. menueclipse is a small app that dims out your menu bar (the last frontier of Mac screen real estate). menu eclipse is good enough for now, but i would like something with a few more options and MenuShade doesnt work yet for Intel iMacs. furthermore, (and maybe this is a little too much to ask, but) i would like the ability to have windows occupy the top where the menu bar would be. it would be neat if i could have something that would auto-hide the menu bar (just like I can autohide the dock). i have a lot of things going on (like iStat) so the menu bar's distracting, and its good that i got a little app that covers it up. but i would like to be able to have windows where the menu bar would be. does anyone have any suggestions? Isolator developers - you rock!
Chansirip
Chansirip
Jun 10 2008
3.38b
0.0
Jun 10 2008
0.0
Version: 3.38b
Isolator 3.38b doesn't run on my PPC 10.5.3, tired to restart,but no luck. It seems a good stuffs. Any idea for this issue?
Frankfx
Frankfx
Jun 5 2008
3.3
4.0
Jun 5 2008
4.0
Version: 3.3
Version 3.3 is running fine again on Tiger 10.4 Thanks for the quick update, Isolator is back on my menubar.
Benw
Benw
Jun 4 2008
3.3
0.0
Jun 4 2008
0.0
Version: 3.3
3.2 was incompatible with 10.4 (Tiger), hence the freezing problem. Hopefully this is fixed in 3.3. If not, please let me know (email on website).
Programhappy
Programhappy
Jun 4 2008
3.3
0.0
Jun 4 2008
0.0
Version: 3.3
The "Check for updates" feature does not work. Also, does 3.3 fix the system freeze?
Guntis
Guntis
Jun 4 2008
3.3
0.0
Jun 4 2008
0.0
Version: 3.3
Oh, I still prefer much cheaper Command+Option+H …
Frankfx
Frankfx
Jun 4 2008
3.2
4.0
Jun 4 2008
4.0
Version: 3.2
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.
Veryvito
Veryvito
Jun 4 2008
3.2
5.0
Jun 4 2008
5.0
Version: 3.2
Just what I needed. Works as advertised, and feels less clunky than Backdrop or other solutions I've tried.
Dnem41
Dnem41
Jun 3 2008
3.2
5.0
Jun 3 2008
5.0
Version: 3.2
Yea, I used this for about 4 minutes and decided this was a keeper. Prior to Isolator I was using DooDim. I needed something to block everything out and DooDim was just the first one I stumbled across. It was good enough until I saw this on the front page of MacUpdate. Tried it out and really liked the one-click dim feature. Also, I really like the blur. Very simple, but I never thought of it myself, and therefore didn't know I wanted it. Also tried out Backdrop (which is shareware), but didn't like that the Backdrop icon showed up in the command+tab window.
Babyfett
Babyfett
Apr 23 2008
3.0
0.0
Apr 23 2008
0.0
Version: 3.0
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!
Macsterdam
Macsterdam
Mar 18 2008
1.5b3
5.0
Mar 18 2008
5.0
Version: 1.5b3
Being a big fan of Isolator, I was wondering if you might consider the following: currently the new betas allow you to either hide all but the forefront window or dim all but the forefront window. As I love both options, I'd really love to see you ad a shortcut for both, so I can choose either depending on what I need.
Easer
Easer
Mar 11 2008
1.4b8
5.0
Mar 11 2008
5.0
Version: 1.4b8
Woops, let me take that back. I hadn't tinkered with the preferences settings properly. Indeed, this works as well as Focus Layer, if not better. (I couldn't get Focus Layer to work with the "Applications" setting under 10.5.2; it would only work with the "Windows" setting.) Indeed, let us give this 10 stars. Nice program. The developer obviously read our minds in terms of what we needed. My apologies for the previously hasty words.
Macsterdam
Macsterdam
Mar 8 2008
1.4b8
5.0
Mar 8 2008
5.0
Version: 1.4b8
Oh Yes!!!!! 1.4b8 is the new FocusLayer!!!!!! I seriously can't thank you enough. Absolutely wonderful and as of now my number one essential utility on my Mac. As far as I'm concerned, this deserves 10 stars!!!
Easer
Easer
Mar 7 2008
1.4b5
5.0
Mar 7 2008
5.0
Version: 1.4b5
I prefer FocusLayer. It gives me several additional customization features. But I do appreciate what the developer of Isolator is trying to do.
Guest
Guest
Nov 18 2007
1.3b
0.0
Nov 18 2007
0.0
Version: 1.3b
prefer using spaces (i'am old unix man :) ) or virtue in 10.4
Rwatts
Rwatts
Oct 27 2007
1.0
0.0
Oct 27 2007
0.0
Version: 1.0
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).
Wwater
Wwater
Jun 28 2007
1.0
0.0
Jun 28 2007
0.0
Version: 1.0
First of all, I love this little app. It has helped me focus on tasks at hand and unclutter my palettes. I am a great fan of monitors that can be turned to vertical mode and 90 degrees display in OS X. It seems that there is a limit in Isolator on height, as in vertical mode, it only blends half the screen.
Msadesign
Msadesign
Mar 1 2007
1.0
0.0
Mar 1 2007
0.0
Version: 1.0
I'm surprised how much I like this little critter. The only thing I wish it would have? A single click to toggle the on/off condition rather than selecting a menu in the manner of Show desktop, another incredibly handy little app. I'll donate anyway, though.
Allanlibunao
Allanlibunao
Mar 1 2007
1.0
0.0
Mar 1 2007
0.0
Version: 1.0
However, this messes with the "view all windows" exposé functionality, whereby background apps need to be brought to the front before their windows show up when hitting F7. This occurs with Isolator turned off in the menubar after using it, and this behavior sticks around after quiting Isolator altogether.
Eelke
Eelke
Feb 26 2007
1.0
0.0
Feb 26 2007
0.0
Version: 1.0
Very nice little app! I've been working with macs for quite some years, but just a week ago I did the 'real big switch' by finally buying one myself. And now this little program makes my one problem with osx (incidentally clicking next to the program I'm using, because of no fullscreen options like windows has) completely disappear! Thanks!!
Free
4.9
0.0
App requirements: 
  • Intel 32
  • Mac OS X 10.7.0 or later
This app is no longer supported by it's developer. You can find similar apps here.

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