Mac Tutorial: How To Enable an App Extension

Starting with OS X 10.10 (Yosemite), Mac applications can include embedded app extensions. App extensions add custom functionality to your Mac. How you can use an app extension depends on what kind of extension it is.

At the time of this writing, there are four different kinds of app extensions available on the Mac:

Action: Action extensions can manipulate content in another supporting app. Action extensions often work in text editing applications like Text Edit.

Finder: Finder extensions add functionality to the Finder.

Share Menu: Share extensions allow you to share content with other

Today: These are widgets that can be added to the Today view in the Notification Center.

While there are several different kinds of app extensions available, every app extensions requires the user to enable them in System Preferences before they can be used. If you recently purchased an app and cannot figure out why you are unable to use a feature advertised in the app description, there is a chance that the feature you are looking for requires you to enable an app extension.

How to Enable an App Extension

To enable an app extension, open the System Preferences app on your Mac. In the System Preferences window, click on “Extensions.”

Screenshot of System Preferences on OS X El Capitan annotated instructions 'Go to extensions pane.'

Once you are in the “Extensions” section of System Preferences, you will see a list of all the app extensions you have on your Mac. To enable or disable an app extension, simply check or uncheck the box next to each extension in the list. That’s all there is to it.

App extensions pane in System Preferences on Mac.

Tutorial: How to Redeem a Promo Code for a Free Download on the Mac App Store

Sometimes, Mac developers are kind enough to give promo codes out so people can download a copy of their paid applications for free. A promo code is simply a combination of characters you can use on the Mac App Store to get the app for free, but how do you use them? It’s easy. First, open up the Mac App Store application. After the window has finished loading, you will see to your right a link that says Redeem. Click it.

Screenshot of the Mac App Store  window, annotated  with an arrow pointing to the 'redeem link'.

After you click the link a sheet will pop up asking you to log in with your Apple ID to redeem your code, so go ahead and log in!

Mac App Store screenshot of login sheet.

After you log in, you will be brought to a screen with a title that says “Redeem Code”. At the bottom, you will see a text field where you can enter your redeem code. Enter it and the application will start downloading! That’s it!

Mac App Store screenshot of the "Redeem Code"  window.