Best Utility For Mac

Posted By admin On 15.02.22
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Without a doubt VLC is the best media player for the Mac (and for that matter, Windows too).

As Apple has tweaked and improved its Mac operating system, the need for third-party utilities just shifted—it never went away. A lot of the fiddly missing stuff we used to need an app for is built in, but Apple aims for the simplest experience for the most people, which leaves more advanced users or those that want a choice of how they carry out a task looking for alternatives.

I’ve used many hundreds of Mac utilities over decades, and still rely on them to make my computing life better. Here’s the top 10 I recommend, a mix of free software, donationware, and inexpensive paid products. (I’ve cheated a little; I list more than 10 as I offer a couple of alternatives.)

Some of the paid products might seem pricey on their own, and the price tag altogether may be too much for many people’s budget to buy all at once: it’s over $300 if you purchase all my main recommendations. Opt for alternative recommendations of utilities below and omit a couple you don’t need, like file-transfer software, and the price tag comes down closer to $100. (Always look for discounts on the more expensive products: some appear regularly in charity and seasonal bundles, and some Apple-oriented sites offer significant membership discounts on popular software.)

However, I like to think of these utilities as having a return on investment, as I believe my time (as well as yours) has value. Some apps estimate how much time you saved, and others reduce clutter and frustration, which can make you work more efficiently. In some cases, you have to purchase a tool, because there’s no alternative. I’m confident I’ve saved hundreds of hours over a decade across in sub-second and multi-second increments.

Default Folder

I can’t remember how long I’ve been using Default Folder ($35), because it’s been a constant companion since I first discovered it years ago. Default Folder enhances every open and save dialog in macOS, as well as offering a system menubar item and options to add navigation in Finder windows.

You use Default Folder to navigate to standard macOS locations, frequently used directories, and recent folders without having to use an endless sequence of Command plus Up and Down arrows, Spotlight, or folder menu navigation. The app lets you more effectively organize items in folders, because you can so efficiently access those folders later.

The utility wraps itself around open and save dialogs, and offers buttons with drop-down menus. You can click and access the top level of any mounted drive and common Home folder areas, favorites that you’ve set, any window open in the Finder, and folders that you’ve recently opened items from or saved items to. Want to open the current view in a dialog as a Finder window? Press one keystroke. Another keystroke lets you rotate among recently used folders.

Default Folder seemed like it might be a casualty of System Integrity Protection (SIP) introduced in El Capitan, but the developer wrote a complete overhaul of the app to work within Apple’s limits, and the new version now exceeds the previous one. (Read our review.)

Whenever I have to use a Mac that doesn’t have Default Folder installed, I’m reminded of how frequently I use it and how much I rely on it. It has a very shallow learning curve.

TextExpander

Computers are meant to reduce tedious repetition, and yet we often find ourselves acting like a computer in our work. TextExpander is a text-expansion utility, letting you type a few keystrokes and have them “expanded” to be something else. It turns the computer back into a repetition-avoiding machine. I can type two or three characters, and TextExpander drops in my email address, phone number, or mailing address.

With wildcards and placeholders, you can also have TextExpander type out the current date and time, or use the clipboard’s contents alongside other manipulations, including a few keystrokes (like Tab and Escape) and cursor movements. It also allows you to create forms with pop-up options for standard replies.

TextExpander supports AppleScript and other system scripting integration, and includes a few scripts for things like turning the current contents of the clipboard into a bit.ly shortened URL. One of the app’s gimmicks is tracking estimated time saved. It’s apparently bought me 10 hours of my life back between July and December of this year.

TextExpander had a kerfuffle this year when its maker switched from flat-rate pricing for version 5 to subscription pricing for version 6 (including software updates, cloud sync, and snippet sharing). We have reviews of both version 5 and version 6. You can still purchase the fully featured version 5, compatible with macOS Sierra, for a flat $45 or subscribe to version 6 for $4.16 a month or $40 a year ($3.33 a month).

Utility Programs For Mac

While I’m a long-time TextExpander user, some people prefer Keyboard Maestro ($36), which has text-expansion features like TextExpander, but also can directly manipulate the mouse and menus in macro sequences and has clipboard-history management.

1Password

In these days of constant password breaches at major and minor websites, having unique strong passwords is a must. 1Password not only stores passwords, but creates them, and through browser plug-ins can create and drop them into a form and store them in just a few fluent clicks.

Because 1Password has extensions or plug-ins for all the major browsers, you never have to switch to it to drop passwords into a form to login. And it can also store in a structured form all sorts of other things, like credit cards, bank accounts, and licenses. 1Password can fill in credit-card information into forms. You can also save all the entries in a form from a webpage, which is invaluable in inventing fake answers to security questions and storing them so you can remember them later. (We reviewed version 6.0; it’s now up to 6.5.)

(Tip: You can use 1Password to create unique random gibberish for questions like “What is your first pet’s name?”, and as long as you store it, a hijack of that site’s list of such questions doesn’t compromise your accounts elsewhere that would otherwise share security answers.)

I like that its creator, AgileBits, added a few months ago the ability to generate multi-word passwords. These are easier to remember and to type, and as long as they are sufficiently random and long enough, just as resistent to brute force as the most ridiculous looking password with an unnecessary mix of letters, numbers, punctuation, and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

1Password added subscription-based options this year that include continuous updates and a family version that allows secure sharing of passwords. It’s $36 a year for a single user or $60 a year for up to five users in a family. This price includes free use of clients in macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS.

The standalone 1Password for macOS is $65; the complementary iOS version is free for everyone, but some not-critical Pro features cost $10 to unlock unless you’re subscriber, in which case they’re part of the subscription.

LastPass is a widely used alternative to 1Password, although LastPass stores passwords centrally. It’s been hacked once, but the care with which they secured their database rendered that theft essentially useless to the attackers. That resiliency is a plus. I prefer, however, using 1Password either on storage I control or with AgileBits’ partitioned cryptographic approach, which stores your data centrally in a way that the company never directly handles your password.

LastPass’ key advantage? The standard version is free across platforms; it’s $1 a month for a premium flavor that includes family sharing and priority tech support.

Bartender

My system menubar is a mess! I’ve tried scrubbing, I’ve tried washing, and nothing works! Bartender ($15), take me away!

If you’re anything like me, you have a slightly ridiculous number of drop-down and status menus in your system menubar from Apple and third-party apps and system components. Some of Apple’s items you can’t hide, even if you want to. Even on my wider of two displays, an app’s menu items often crowd out the leftmost menubar icons. (Read our review.)

Bartender 2 brings a delightful and simple management approach. With this app, you can choose to leave a menubar item alone, hide it entirely, or drop it into a secondary dropdown Bartender menu. Even if you’re hiding the item, you can set Bartender to show it whenever the icon displays activity.

The app was another one that people worried El Capitan’s SIP would render impossible to update, but the developer thoroughly revised it to work in the new model, and released a Sierra update in a timely fashion, too.

LaunchBar

I have many, many apps installed on my Mac, and my preferred way to launch them isn’t by invoking Spotlight and typing part of the name and selecting a result, or using Mission Control or the Applications folder. LaunchBar ($29) makes quick work: tap a keyboard command to bring it up and then type a few characters or use arrow keys to select from a set of options.

LaunchBar can be set to index all sorts of locations and all sorts of things, so it goes far beyond running apps. It can find system preference panes, contacts, AppleScripts, emoji, URL bookmarks, music tracks, and other items. You can use it as a calculator, to expose file metadata, keep a scrapbook of items pasted to the clipboard, and interact with reminders and events. It run queries on search engines, too. (Read our full review of version 6.0; it’s up to 6.7 now.)

Add your document folders and enable some indexing rules that are turned off at installation, and you can pull up files in those locations by name, too, or see a list that matches however much of a name you want to type.

For all that it’s a Swiss Army knife, you can turn off or leave disabled many features. Some people dive deeply into LaunchBar and use it constantly; others, like me, rely on it for a handful of very common uses.

It has a statistics window like TextExpander, and reports I’ve saved just over two hours in the last two and a half years. That’s too modest of the developers, though, because I can launch an app in LaunchBar in well under a second; it takes seconds to find and launch an app through any other built-in means.

Several launcher alternatives have their adherents; we published a roundup of several in early 2015, including one that’s free. The long-running DragThing app also has its staunch users and defenders, but it hasn’t had an overhaul in some time, and its developer hasn’t announced plans beyond the current compatibility updates and bug fixes that keep it working.

Whether you are a new Mac user or seasoned veteran looking to do more, here’s a collection of essential Mac apps & utilities that you must download on your computer. These apps, most of them are free and created by third-party developers, will help you get more productive and do things that are otherwise not possible on your Mac.

The Best Mac Apps & Utilities

Best Utility For Mac Os

The Mac collection includes mostly lesser-known apps so the usual suspects likes Evernote, Dropbox, OneNote, or Google Drive are all missing from the list. Also, all the apps listed below are compatible with Yosemite, the current version of Mac OS.

Let’s get started.

Mac Utility Apps

  1. Infinit.io – Easily send files and folders of any size from your Mac to another device be it a Windows PC, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or a Mac itself.
  2. Spectacle – This is a useful windows management app for Mac that lets you move and resize windows with configurable keyboard shortcuts. You can also move windows between multiple displays too.
  3. Duet Display – Use your iPad or iPhone as an extra display for your Mac. Connect the iOS device to the Mac with the USB cable and use the touch-screen to interact with your Mac apps.
  4. Knock – You can unlock your Mac by simply tapping your iPhone screen or your Apple Watch without having to type any passwords.
  5. ImageOptim – Always run your images through ImageOptim before upload them on to your website. The Mac app will crush the size of your image files without affecting the visual quality.
  6. HiddenMe – If your Mac desktop is cluttered with folders and files, you can hide all the icons with a single click or with a keyboard shortcut.
  7. Site Sucker – Download entire websites includes images, PDF files and mirror them on your local disk for offline browsing. Like wget but with a visual interface.
  8. App Cleaner – Deleting the .dmg file is not enough. If you are to properly uninstall any Mac app, you need to delete the residual hidden files as well and that’s where App Cleaner can help.
  9. Download Shuttle – A download manager for your Mac that splits the file into multiple parts and downloads the individual parts simultaneously for faster downloads. Can pause and resume downloads too.
  10. Toggl – Time tracking software for your Mac that sits in the status bar for quick access. Add #hashtags to tasks and your tracked hours are also synched with the web.
  11. Fluid – This will turn your favorite website into a real desktop app for Mac that will reside in the Applications folder and you can launch from Spotlight search.
  12. Transmit – The perfect FTP client for Mac OS X that just works. You can create droplets to instantly upload files to your favorite destinations from anywhere.
  13. Caffeine – It helps your Mac stay awake. Click the Caffeine icon in the menu bar to prevent your Mac from automatically going to sleep or from dimming the screen while you are watching videos.
  14. NoSleep – Your Macbook goes to sleep as soon you close the lid. The NoSleep extension will keep the screen awake even when the lid is closed so you can continue downloading files over the network.
  15. Air Browser – This will put your favorite websites in the menu bar so you can access them from any screen with a single click. The sites can be configured to auto-refresh on open.
  16. MacDropAny – You can easily sync any Mac folder with Dropbox or Google Drive without having to move them to a common folder.
  17. Self Control – Stop procrastinating. This open-source Mac app that will temporarily block access to time-wasting websites, emails and everything else that you find distracting.
  18. Gas Mask – This is a hosts file editor for Mac that can help you permanently block access to certain websites from your computer.
  19. Authy – Not exactly a Mac app but a Google Chrome extension that you cannot do without. It lets you log into online accounts that require 2-factor authentication without requiring the phone.
  20. Pixel Winch – An easy-to-use screen measurement app where you take a screenshot of an area and then use the built-in controls to measure the dimensions of any element inside no matter how tiny it is.
  21. Buffer – You can easily publish status updates, share links and photos to multiple social websites in one go from the menu bar itself.
  22. Hocus Focus – It helps keep your Mac desktop screen clutter free by automatically hiding app windows that are inactive or haven’t been used for a while. You can even choose to hide windows as soon as they lose focus.
  23. AirDroid – It connects your Android phone to the Mac. You can access messages, manage photos, transfer files and more, wirelessly.
  24. PushBullet – A universal copy-paste solution for all your devices including the Mac. Copy something on your phone and it instantly becomes available on the Mac’s clipboard and vice-versa.
  25. Unarchiver – A useful compression utility for Mac that can handle all the popular zip formats including RAR, TAR, MSI, EXE, GZIP and even ISO file. It can extract sounds and images from Flash and PDF files too.
  26. iBrowse – Access the files and folders on your iPhone or iPad inside this Finder-like app and copy images, videos and other files from the iOS device to your Mac easily.
  27. GIF Brewery – This helps you convert video files and screencasts into animated GIFs and offers tons of options to fine-tune your GIF images.
  28. Karabiner – A key mapping application for the Mac that lets you remap existing keys to perform a different command. For instance, the CAPS lock key can be configured to work as an Escape key.
  29. Better Touch Tool – It lets you easily configure the behaviour of existing gestures of your Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad or define new multi-touch gestures.
  30. Hazel – A folder monitoring app that lets you specify rules and the files added to these watched folders are automatically arranged based on your rules. You can run complex rules too, like run Apple Script, when a file is added.
  31. Also see: Print Files on Mac with Dropbox

  32. Helium – An Always on Top like app but for your Mac. The browser window will float on top of other windows and you can also change the translucency level.
  33. Dropzone – It make it easy to copy or move files to your favorite folders and you can also upload files to web destinations right from the menu bar.
  34. RSS Bot – Access your favorite RSS feeds from the Mac’s menu bar. Get notifications when new items are available and apply filters to only show articles that match certain keywords.
  35. XMenu – It provides Finder like access to your favorite folders and Mac apps from the menu bar. You can launch apps, access documents and files inside folder right from the menu bar.
  36. Flux – It automatically dims the brightness of your screen based on the time of the day – warm at night, bright during the day – so your eyes feel less strain. Also see the 20 20 20 rule.
  37. EVE – The app helps you learn Mac keyboard shortcuts. Every time you use the mouse to perform an action, the app displaying the equivalent shortcut as a notification. Also see CheatSheet, it display all the available shortcuts for the currently active app.
  38. BootChamp – If you have installed Windows on Mac through Apple Bootcamp, BootChamp will save you a few clicks. It adds an icon in the menu bar that will you restart your computer into Windows mode directly without having to press any keys during start-up.
  39. aText – A text expander program that accelerates your touch typing by replacing pre-defined abbreviations with corresponding phrases. For instance, say ;sig to add your rich signature in the Gmail window.
  40. Flashlight – It adds more power to Spotlight search on your Mac. You can search different, quickly add events to your calendar, create reminders, run terminal commands and more all from within Spotlight.
  41. Alfred 2 – Apple has vastly improved Spotlight with Yosemite but Alfred is still a better app at finding files both on your local disk and online.
  42. Disk Inventory – If your 256 GB SSD on the Macbook is running low on space, use the Disk Inventory app to quickly discover large files and folders that are hogging up the space.
  43. Sync – From the makers of BitTorrent, Sync helps you keep files and folders on all your computers and mobile devices in sync with each other but without using the cloud. There are no size limitations either.
  44. Bartender – If you have too many app icons cluttering the menu bar of your mac, Bartender can bring some order. It lets you hide the menu item you don’t need or you can push them to the secondary bar that will not show by default.
  45. Also see: Clean your Mac Open-with Menu

  46. CloudUp – From the company that develops WordPress, CloudUp lets you quickly upload and share local files and screenshots from the menu bar.
  47. Filepane – The invisible app improves your drag and drop workflow. Select one or more files and the app will offers a list of actions that you can perform from resizing the files to sharing via AirDrop to moving it to another destination and more.
  48. Unclutter – A clipboard history manager for your Mac that preserves snippets copied to the clipboard and also gives you quick access to your frequently used files and folders. Use ClipMenu or CopyClip if you only need a basic clipboard manager.
  49. TextBar – You can specify terminal commands and the app will add the text output of those commands to the menu bar that can also be configured to auto-updated at set intervals. For instance, ‘ipconfig getifaddr en0’ will print your current IP address in the menu bar. You can also have these as desktop widgets with Übersicht.
  50. Handbrake – Whether you are looking to convert videos from one format to another or need to extract videos from a DVD, HandBrake is probably the only utility you need. FFmpeg is powerful too but works only from the command line.
  51. Soundflower – If you are to record the Mac audio, like the sound coming out of the speakers, you would need SoundFlower to route that sound to the recording app instead of the speakers.
  52. QuickCast – Record quick screencasts of any area of your desktop screen and save the video files locally or publish them online. It can record mouse clicks and sound too. The other alternative is QuickTime.
  53. MuteMyMic – Like the speaker volume, you can now reduce the volume or completely turn off the mic from the menu bar or through keyboard shortcuts. Should come handy for online meetings and voice chats.
  54. Onyx – It provides access to hidden settings, you can perform system maintenance tasks and also configure system apps like Finder, Spotlight and Dock. TinkerTool is also a good alternative.

Also see: The Most Useful Web Apps

Best Utility For Mac

Wherever possible, I have included the Apps Store links because the store not only make it easy for you to install apps on your Mac but, in the case of paid apps, you also have an option for requesting refunds.

Best Utility For Mac Reviews

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