Time Out

Questions specific to Time Out.

Are older versions available for download?

Yes. I recommend that you always use the latest version if you can, as it has the latest improvements and fixes. But if your Mac isn't using a recent OS version, you're curious what older versions were like, or you have some other reason to want an older version, they are still available. Just download the latest release that supports your OS version.

Can I change what appears during the break?

Yes! Simply become a supporter, if you haven't already, and choose a different break theme in the Break Appearance preferences. You can hide the Dock icon, too.

Can I get more info about idle detection and adding to Accessibility System Preferences?

Sure, check out this blog post, which includes a video showing the steps.

Can I have breaks more frequently than hourly?

Yes! The duration and frequency controls on the Break Schedule page are like date pickers.

Just click on the units, and you can change it to minutes or whatever else you wish. Click once to select the units, and either type or click again to show a menu.

Can I move the break controls?

Yes, the control panel with the progress bar and buttons, that appears during breaks, can be freely moved anywhere on the screen. The position will be remembered for next time.

Can I remove the buttons during a break?

Having difficulty with self control, skipping breaks too often?

No problem: you can disable the buttons during the break. Simply go to the Break Appearance page, and you'll find checkboxes to enable or disable each button, and change the number of minutes for the two postpone buttons.

Does Time Out have breaks while the computer is idle?

No, Time Out automatically pauses the breaks when you aren't using your computer. So when the screensaver is active, or the computer is otherwise sitting there without being used, Time Out won't do anything.

When you return to your Mac, if you've been away for longer than the interval set in the preferences, Time Out will reset the break timers, so the next breaks will be the full work interval from that time. You can change this amount or disable this feature in the preferences.

How can I add more sounds?

Time Out will list system sounds, or sounds in the Sounds folder within the data folder. The easiest way to get to that is to choose Reveal Themes in the pop-up menu on the Break Appearance page, then look at the adjacent Sounds folder.

You can then play the sounds via the Play Sound action, and even have them fade out later (e.g. at the end of the break) via the Fadeout Sound action.

See this related blog post for more information.

How can I automatically skip breaks when on a Zoom call?

Time Out has a handy feature to automatically skip breaks when specified apps are frontmost or running.

This works with most apps, including the Zoom teleconferencing app. However, if you find that it sometimes doesn't work, it is probably using an internal helper tool during a call, e.g. for screen sharing.

There's a solution, however. Follow these steps to stop breaks occurring during meetings:

  1. Locate the Zoom.us app in the Finder.
  2. Right-click it and choose Show Package Contents.
  3. Navigate into the Contents ▸ Frameworks subfolder, and find the Transcode app.
  4. Go to Time Out's Exclusions page.
  5. Click the + button to display the choose panel.
  6. Drag the Transcode app into the panel, and click Choose.

You should add both the main app and the helper one, and will probably want to set both to Skip When Open.

How can I avoid a break starting while doing a screen recording?

You can automatically skip breaks during screen recordings, if that's something you do frequently.

Here's how:

  1. Go to Time Out's Exclusions page.
  2. Click the + button to display the choose panel.
  3. Navigate in the panel to select this path from your startup disk: System ▸ Library ▸ Core Services ▸ screencaptureui, and click Choose.
  4. Change the added exclusion to Skip When Open.

That will prevent a break from starting while recording the screen via QuickTime Player, or taking a screenshot or screen recording via ⌘⇧5.

How can I have daily breaks at a fixed time?

You can have breaks for fixed times by setting the frequency to "1 day” and the Available option to start at the desired time, e.g.:

Break Schedule screenshot

Note that the Available option is a supporter reward.

How can I stop the window appearing after restarting my Mac?

The Time Out preferences window always appears when opening the app from the Finder, but when you restart your Mac, the window should not appear, even if it is launched via the Automatically start Time Out… preference.

If it does unexpectedly appear after you restart your Mac, the most likely reason is it was launched either by Login Items or the Dock.

To check the Login Items, go to System Preferences ▸ Users & Groups ▸ Login Items, and see if Time Out is listed. If it is, remove it.

If that doesn't solve it, check the Dock: show the Time Out icon in the Dock if it isn't already (via the General preferences), then click-and-hold on its icon in the Dock to show the menu, and look at Options ▸ Open at Login. Uncheck that if checked.

To ensure you don't miss your breaks, make sure the app is launched by checking the Automatically start Time Out… preference on the General page. (Note that this will only work if the app is within your Applications folder.)

How do I edit the break settings?

Simply click the break in the sidebar, to the left of the Start and Options buttons that appear when you hover over it.

The right side of the window will change to multiple pages where you can edit the name, schedule, appearance, and actions.

I bought via the Mac App Store, and it didn't update my supporter status

Firstly, try quitting and relaunching Time Out, and go to the "Support Time Out" page. That might make your purchase be recognized.

If that doesn't work, check if your purchase requires approval by another family member, or you need to update your billing information with Apple, or need to authorize your computer. Any of those will delay Apple's approval of the purchase, so Time Out won't recognize it until completed. Looking in the account settings in iTunes is often a way to check such issues.

Otherwise, please contact me for assistance.

I get a warning of another copy of the app

Look in your Dock and menu bar; does Time Out appear more than once?

If it's in the Dock more than once, you can long-click or right-click on the Dock icon to display the Dock menu for the app, then choose Options ▶ Show in Finder to reveal the app in the Finder. Do this for each to find the one that shouldn't be there — it could be in your Downloads folder, or in a subfolder of Applications if you installed both from the Dejal site and the Mac App Store.

Once you find the duplicate, quit that app (by double-clicking the app icon to bring it to the front, then press ⌘Q), then move it to the Trash and empty the trash.

I get an error updating the app

If you get an error when trying to update the direct edition of the app, saying that Time Out isn't in the Applications folder, try this:

  1. Quit Time Out
  2. Go to the Applications folder in the Finder
  3. If Time Out isn't there, copy it from Downloads or wherever it is to Applications
  4. Open Time Out
  5. Try updating again (via the Check for Updates command in the ⚙ action menu)

I hid the Dock icon and the status menu; how can I access the preferences?

Ah, the trick for people who want to make it hard to change the settings!

With both the Dock icon and status item hidden, the only way to access the preferences is to open the app from the Finder, then press ⌘, — i.e. the Command and Comma keys together; the standard shortcut for displaying preferences.

I want to donate more!

Thank you! You might be surprised how many people think that $2.99 or even $9.99 is way too cheap for the benefits Time Out gives.

If you want to donate more, to help contribute to development or just express your appreciation, you're certainly welcome to do so. You can purchase multiple 12-month supporter statuses, which will extend your supporter status by a year for each one — there is no limit how long. Buy 20 years or more if you want!

Another way you can give back is to buy other Dejal apps. You might find one or more of them useful.

Contract work is available: if you want a custom feature enhancement to Time Out or another app, or a whole new app that you can sell, David can help you make it.

You could also just give a gift; take a look at David's Amazon.com wish list and buy something nice.

Or buy Dejal merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, bags, stickers, and more.

Finally, if you want to do something else, just get in touch!

Whatever you choose, thank you!

Is becoming a supporter a subscription?

No. You don't have to pay more than once if you don't want to. You can become a supporter at whatever level you feel comfortable with, and not pay again unless you want to show your appreciation (kinda like a tip jar).

After your supporter status expires, all of the advanced features that you had when you were a supporter will remain available permanently.

Of course, I hope that people choose to support at the 12-month level, and choose to renew their support in the future, but there's no need if you don't think it's worth it.

My clipboard stops working after a while; what's causing that?

After much investigation with an Apple engineer, this issue appears to have been caused by the break web view not being cleaned up properly, due to an Apple bug. Time Out doesn't do anything with the clipboard, but the Safari WebKit-powered web view was leaving it in an invalid state (technically a lock that was left in place).

Time Out version 2.1 and later include a workaround for this issue. If you experience it while using version 2.1 or later, please contact me.

No breaks appear when I try to start one

If no break appears when you manually start one, or as scheduled, there may be a permissions issue.

Try this:

  1. Make sure Time Out is in your Applications folder.
  2. Paste the following command into Terminal:

xattr -d -r -s com.apple.quarantine /Applications/Time\ Out.app

If this gives a permissions error (e.g. "xattr: [Errno 13] Permission denied"), try it again with sudo before the command, to elevate the privileges. You'll need to enter your Administrator password. This command is safe to use with sudo:

sudo xattr -d -r -s com.apple.quarantine /Applications/Time\ Out.app

The app doesn't start, or isn't responding

If the Time Out app doesn't start properly when you launch it, or shows up in the Dock as not responding, the data might be damaged.

Firstly, try to restart your Mac. That might solve a temporary issue.

If that doesn't help, try this:

  1. Quit or Force Quit Time Out if it's running.
  2. Go to the Finder, and choose the Go ▶ Go to Folder... command.
  3. Paste in this path, and click Go:
    ~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.free
    (If you have the direct edition from this website, remove the ".free" on the end.)
  4. Drag the revealed folder to the Desktop.
  5. Re-launch Time Out; that'll use fresh data.

You'll need to reconfigure your breaks and other settings. You could drag breaks from the folder on the Desktop, but if they are damaged, that could cause the problem to recur.

If this solves the issue, or doesn't, please email me to let me know.

The break control panel (with progress bar and buttons) doesn't appear during a break

I've had a few other multi-monitor people report this. It seems like an issue that started with Catalina. Time Out should display the control panel on an available screen (you can choose which to use in the preferences), but on Catalina it seems to either think disconnected screens are still there, or isn't adjusting the position correctly, or something.

A workaround that has been successful for others is to Trash the break preferences: copy the following path and use the Finder's Go to Folder command to reveal it, then send it to the Trash:


Alternatively, you can use this Terminal command:

defaults delete 6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.free.break

That's for the Mac App Store edition; if you downloaded the app from the Dejal website, you can instead use this command:

defaults delete 6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.break

That won't affect any of your settings, but will reset the position of the control panel during the next break.

What are natural breaks, and how do I configure them?

"Natural breaks" are when the Mac is not being used; idle.

By default, Time Out will wait briefly then count backwards when you are having a natural break, to give you credit for not using your computer.

If you do a lot of reading on-screen, that doesn't cause keyboard or mouse activity, you can change the app to disable this behavior by choosing Continue Countdown from the popup menu on the Break Appearance page of the preferences.

Or if you'd prefer to have it just pause the countdown, instead of counting backwards, or reset the timer, those are also options.

What are the differences between the direct and Mac App Store editions?

The direct edition (available from this site) and the Mac App Store edition are very similar, but there are a few minor differences:

  • The direct edition will download to your Downloads folder, so simply drag it into your Applications folder to install.
  • The Mac App Store edition will be downloaded directly into the Applications folder.
  • The direct edition can be updated via an in-app updater.
  • The Mac App Store edition can be updated via the App Store app.
Beta releases
  • The direct edition supports beta releases to help test new updates.
  • The Mac App Store edition is not updated until the general release.
  • The direct edition offers optional in-app purchases via FastSpring (or from this site).
  • The Mac App Store edition offers optional in-app purchases via your Apple ID (iTunes account).
  • The direct edition provides 91% of the purchase price to the developer (after FastSpring's cut).
  • The Mac App Store edition provides 70% of the purchase price to the developer (after Apple's cut).
  • The direct edition is not sandboxed, to enable updating, though acts with the same limitations as a sandboxed app.
  • The Mac App Store edition is sandboxed, requiring extra steps to approve keyboard usage detection and install action scripts.
Data location
  • The direct edition stores its data in the path "~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout/", where "~" means your home folder.
  • The Mac App Store edition stores its data in the path "~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.free/", where "~" means your home folder.

That's about it. None of the differences are all that significant, so you are welcome to use whichever edition you prefer. Downloading and updating are about as easy for each, and purchasing is similar, it just depends on whether you want to buy with your credit card or PayPal account, or your Apple ID. Of course, purchasing is optional; you can use it for free if you don't want to become a supporter.

What do I do with the timeout://... thing?

When you purchase the direct edition of Time Out, a link starting with "timeout://" will be sent via email.

Click this link to automatically update the app with your supporter status.

If it doesn't appear as a link in your email client, you could copy and paste it into Safari.

Alternatively, you can click the Restore Previous Purchases button on the Support Time Out page within the app.

Where is the data stored?

The Time Out 2 data for the direct edition is in the path "~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout/", where "~" means your home folder.

The Mac App Store data is in a slightly different path: "~/Library/Group Containers/6Z7QW53WB6.com.dejal.timeout.free/".

Tip: you can copy one of these paths into the clipboard, then use the GoGo to Folder... command in the Finder to navigate to it.

You can also quickly show the data folder from within the app, by using the Reveal Themes item in the Theme pop-up menu on the Break Appearance page.

I have another question about Time Out; where can I find out more information?

Check out the Time Out Help Book; it includes lots of information about the application.

Or post to the Time Out forum to ask others for assistance.