If you share your computer with multiple people, who use the same user account as yours, or if you prefer to leave your user account unlocked when you get up from your desk, there is always a risk to your privacy, as you leave behind all sorts of information about your web browsing habits, application data, profiles, recently accessed files.
Protecting you privacy in such a scenario is very important. Black Hole is a freeware app for Mac OS X that makes this easy for you.
The first time you will launch Black Hole, it greets you with a disclaimer of sorts, which is a great description of what Black Hole is capable of, what it is meant to do, and what it isn’t meant to do.
That being said, Black Hole is a very thorough app in itself, and it aims to make your job of clearing up your account as easy as possible, with minimum work required. Black Hole can automatically –
- Quit Applications – Makes sure you close all applications which may contain some private data that you may not want to share with other users of the computer.
- Clean Recent Items – Clears the log of recently accessed items on the system.
- Empty The Trash – Any files that you moved to the trash, but forgot to permanently delete could result in somebody else retrieving it and viewing it. This option makes sure all those files are gone.
- Unmount volumes (discs, flash drives, dmgs, images) – Ejects any media that you mounted.
- Clear Clipboard – This is probably one of the most nifty features. You may remember to clear everything that is visible to you on your system, but the clipboard may contain some important or sensitive information that you would not like anybody else to have access to. Clearing the clipboard makes sure that nobody else accidentally (or intentionally) retrieves the content of your clipboard
- Delete Files and Folders – Any temporary files or folders that you created during your session, but you do not need any longer, can be massively deleted with one click using this feature.
- Close Safari Windows and Tabs – Lastly, this closes any opened tabs you may have opened, or any other Safari windows you may have.
Once you’ve marked all the data that needs to be cleared/wiped, you can press Clean. Black Hole has a very nice notification mechanism in place, which lets you know the status of each of the above marked operations. There is a black rectangle next to each operation. The color of the box indicates the current status of the operation –
- Yellow – Cleaning is in progress.
- Green – Cleaning was successful.
- Red – Cleaner failed. Errors are listed in the Results window.
Overall, Black Hole is a very useful app, and a must have for anyone who is worried about the privacy of their data.