Blog Post

OS X : Unplugged(.prefpane)

I came across a comment about a small but useful utility I had not heard of before called Unplugged. This utility (in the form of a System Preferences panel) from Briksoftware watches for events related to your power cord being plugged or unplugged and notifies you via Growl (if Growl is not installed, the application will use an alert window).

You can choose whether it starts on login, whether you are given an extra notification when battery resources are at a level you define and can restrict display if designated applications are currently running:

You also have complete control over the information presented in the alerts:

With my Growl configuration, the notifications look like this:


It’s a very simple application that does not require a substantial amount of system resources (as shown below). There have been times when I have had the MacBook Pro become unplugged and not noticed the screen dim only to discover much later that I’m on 50% battery left. This utility would have definitely come in handy then and is now a part of my “must have” applications.

I had a bit of trouble trying to send a PayPal donation to the author via the link on the page, but managed to do so via the standard PayPal “Send Money” option. As always, I highly encourage folks to support independent development on the Mac.

If you use Unplugged or have suggestions for other small-but-useful utilities, drop a note in the comments.

12 Responses to “OS X : Unplugged(.prefpane)”

  1. ex2bot

    [Caution: Somewhat childish rant] Click Next to continue.

    Does anyone else think these Growl notifications tend to end up being a prettier version of Windows speech bubbles? Usually unnecessary and annoying.

    Examples from WinXP (imagine a yellow speech bubble):

    “Take a tour of Windows XP.”
    “Hiding your inactive icons.”
    “A cable is unplugged.”
    (pre-sp2) “Blah blah blah Passport blah.”

    In Win Explorer: something like, “You shouldn’t mess with these files. Click here to . . . ”

    In IE 7: “You’ve opened a new tab!” Congrats! You’re now special.

    I read somewhere where Windows was described as excessively chatty. IMO that’s one of the best features of OS X, it stays out of your way.

    I know some of my fellow geeks have very good reasons for running Growl. But I can’t help but feel that some people use it because they miss Windows’ goofy banter.

    Search doggie: “What kind of files are you looking for? It’s very important that I know. You can’t just type in what you’re looking for. That would require too few steps. Click Next to continue.

    “This message is now finished. Click here if you would like to configure your message options.”

    Click Finish to end this message

    ___ Check here to display the next message.

    ___ Check here to add a shortcut to your Desktop.


    Bot (and my apologies :-)

  2. What I’d like is a function that does something about those low battery features, like shutting down while there’s still enough juice in the battery to sustain it until I realize I’ve left it unplugged. There’s nothing worse than coming home from work and realizing that I’ve accidentally left the laptop on and unplugged, and now it’s totally drained the battery and I’ve lost my work.

  3. well for me the top icon was always there but i didn’t look at it. same for the power plug, it#s glowing, but i never realize when it stops glowing. when i developed unplugged i used my powerbook and it could be unplugged just by some power fluctuation, so i really didn’t notice it.

    UnPlugged also notifies every couple of percent of power loss. i have it on 5% here, the default is 10% i think. these are special notifications that happen separately from the unplugged notifications.


  4. chris richards was right: hardware growler already dose this with a note that also gives you current charge. the bonus is that you get the same notes for wifi, network and other system events that usually do not have a dedicated and easily visible indicator.

  5. Chris Richards

    HardwareGrowler already provides this functionality with percentages. It has the bonus that it also shows you many other hardware events, such as when drives are mounted/unmounted, wireless networks are acquired/lost, etc.