Little Fingers

Yesterday, after a quick Google, I wondered aloud on Twitter if there was a Mac app that could disable all keyboard and trackpad input via key command. There wasn’t so I made one. I call it Little Fingers.

Lincoln’s been under the weather and fussy so we’ve temporarily eased our no-screens approach to parenting and were watching some videogame and anime orchestral concert videos on YouTube. It was pretty chill except for when his little fingers would hit the trackpad or space bar pausing the video—or when he’d three-finger-swipe us out of fullscreen entirely.

During his next nap I did some digging and found some potentially promising APIs (CGEventTapCreate() and kCGEventMaskForAllEvents) and got to work. An hour or so later I had the foundation for Little Fingers. We tried it out a bit after dinner and success! I spent last night and a little time during his afternoon nap today putting together a basic 1.0.

Because Little Fingers intercepts all input to lockdown the keyboard and trackpad it requires explicit permission to use system-level Accessibility features. Apple doesn’t provide an especially user-friendly way to request this permission so the first launch experience leaves a bit to be desired. Sorry! (Working around this lacking workflow got Dropbox in a bit of hot water last year.)

I’d like to add a Launch at Login preference à la Day-O and tidy up and open source the code too (so people who might not be so familiar with my work can see for themselves that I’m not doing anything nefarious with the permissions the app requests). But that will all have to wait for another nap.

Update Little Fingers 1.1 introduces a Launch at Login preference. It also only listens for the events required to detect the global keyboard shortcut when not locked. And there’s now a public repository on GitHub so nervous nellies can confirm I’m not doing anything nefarious while listening for those events (and to point and laugh at my good-enough Swift code).

Little Fingers is offered free, as-is. I won’t be offering support or taking feature requests. That said, I hope Little Fingers treats you well.

Download Little Fingers.

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