A Mac is like an ant colony: an army of tireless workers perform tasks below the surface to keep the entire operation running, none of them having specific knowledge of the whole. The ants of macOS include agents, background daemons, scheduled tasks (called cron jobs after the cron tool), startup scripts, and more.
Lingon X8 is like the glass pane on the side of an ant farm, providing visibility into the apparent manic chaos that keeps the colony alive. The app lets you schedule recurring tasks to launch an app, run a script, run a command, or, in macOSMonterey, call a shortcut. This is a mix of options that can take advantage of everyone down to the most technically skilled. Creating recurring tasks in macOS and changing items can be a bear. Having a simple interface is a dream come true.
In Lingon, click the + icon at the top of the window and the app will walk you through four steps:
Name the scheduled action and choose whether to run it for your logged in macOS user only, all users, or as root. (The latter option may be necessary for certain low-level tasks and should be used with care.)
Enter the text for a script or command, or select an application or shortcut.
Control how and when it runs at one or more recurring intervals, whether it starts on startup, and whether it restarts when it crashes.
For example, if you always want a specific app to be running when you use macOS, setting it up as a launcher should work, but it might crash, you might accidentally quit it, or macOS might decide it’s not running . If you choose “Restart on crash” in step 4 above, you can make sure it’s always available.
Programmers and those who work directly with Unix commands, PHP scripts, shell scripts, and other code will find the ease of setting up and scheduling tasks vastly superior to working from the command line.
However, I was referred to Lingon by a colleague for a reason other than planning: to fix boot problems. While not the primary focus, Lingon X is the best tool I’ve found for beginners to advanced users. The app provides visibility into all apps, scripts, agents, and other software that launch when you start up your Mac and automatically restart if macOS detects that they are not running due to a crash or intentional user action.
The main Lingon window contains a list of items under Groups that let you see what macOS has set up to start at startup, restart after a crash, run in the background, or run on a schedule. You can choose View > Timelineand Lingon puts all upcoming actions in order, including how long it will take for them to happen again.
Of View > List You can browse lists and find items related to software you thought you didn’t use or removed years ago. One of the most common hidden causes of poor system performance, crashes, and unexpected disk operations is agents and similar items that constantly reboot themselves after failing because they contain outdated code, but macOS keeps restarting them.
Lingon comes in two versions: Lingon X ($14.99), downloadable from the developer’s site, with full system functionality, including root access; and Lingon 3 ($3.99), a still useful but more limited Mac App Store program. Creator Peter Borg offers a feature comparison on the Lingon site.
You can download Lingon X and use it for free to research settings, but a paid license is required to save or delete items.
Lingon X requires macOS Mojave 10.14.4 or later, but offers earlier versions from Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. Lingon 3 requires Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks or later.
Lingon X makes scheduling recurring tasks a breeze. But you can also remove unwanted repetitive actions and leftover clutter that can affect your Mac’s performance.
Lingon last appeared in Mac Gems in 2008 with the release of version 2.1.
With the Mac boom in recent years, we want to celebrate the tools we use and recommend to readers to get the most out of your macOS experience. Mac Gems highlights great pieces of Mac software, apps that are highly useful, have a sharp focus on a limited number of problems to solve, and are generally developed by an individual or small business. Stay tuned for weekly updates and send your suggestions to the Mac Gems Twitter feed (@macgems†