The menus on the left in the OS X Menu Bar change when different app windows are selected but the Apple menu doesn’t go anywhere. That little menu gives you access to the System Preferences, Dock preferences, Network Preferences, the App Store, and options to sleep, restart, shut down or log out of the system. There is an alternative way to access most of these functions. The System Preferences, the App Store and the Dock preferences can all be accessed from the Dock itself or, by extension, from the System Preferences. However, there are no native shortcuts for the frequently used power and log out options. That is where Functional comes in. This free Mac app is a combo of four others. It is added to the Dock as a Stack that, when clicked, shows separate buttons for Restart, Log out, Sleep and Shut Down (the four apps in Functional). Clicking each button executes the corresponding action.
Once downloaded, drag & drop the app on to the Dock and click it. You will see the four buttons appear in the Fan view. Clicking any one of them executes the respective function with a slight delay.
The app has a fair concept behind it, but it appears to have a few flaws in its execution. For those wanting to use it on Mountain Lion or Lion, you will face some initial difficulty getting the app to run if you have Gatekeeper running on stricter settings. When executing one of the apps from the Finder using the open option in the context menu, the app returns the unidentified developer error. To get the app running, we had to change Gatekeeper’s settings to allow applications downloaded from anywhere, which certainly isn’t preferable.
Additionally, the app takes up space on the Dock. There are different apps in the Mac App store that pass on using both the Dock and the Menu Bar and utilize the few pixels of space between the edge of the screen and the end of the Dock. Given Functional’s purpose, this area of the interface seems more suitable than the Dock.
Though, even with all aforementioned issues set aside, what it comes down to is personal preference. A lot of users might not find using the Apple Menu to log out or shut down cumbersome, so while the app might make life easier for some, it might seem unnecessary to others.