Hands Off! for Mac review

Control your system better by allowing or denying apps from accessing the Web or storing data using a convenient interface.

Hands Off! for Mac keeps track of every app, background process, and service you run and allows you to restrict hard drive and network access. In addition to set-and-forget rules, the app also features a network monitor that pops up every time a process or app tries to access the Web, providing detailed info. This premium app comes with a trial version.

Hands Off! for Mac requires an administrative password. After launch, it will ask you to choose one of three major presets: automatically allow all network and hard drive requests from apps, define access on a per-app basis, or decide access for all apps, processes, and services. The app features an easy-to-learn interface with a customizable toolbar for adding, editing, and removing rules, as well as a switch to turn them all on or off. Another interesting feature, which is off by default, is a network monitor that pops up every time your Mac accesses the Web. This provides useful information like IP addresses and traffic used, but its constant fading in and out can be quite distracting.

If you're concerned about your privacy and want to restrict unknown apps, Hands Off! for Mac will satisfy your needs. While the streamlined interface and stoplight metaphor are intended to make the software more appealing to casual users, denying network and disk access to system processes you're not familiar with will likely degrade the overall system stability. So use this app only if you know what you're doing.

Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Hands Off! for Mac 2.1.2.

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