This alternative word processor has many of the features, but less of the bloat, found in Microsoft Word. It can read and write industry standard document types, and is able to put together quite a spiffy layout.
Keep track of how much time you spend doing different kinds of things on your computer — apps, windows titles, browser domains, categories, and more.
Adapter promises to convert anything to anything — at least among image, audio and video formats. And they’ve got a long of file types to prove it. You can convert in batches, and do trims on audio or video.
A free instant messaging app that can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more. Under active development and highly recommended.
Keep a selected window floating above the others, move or resize it from any edge, turn it into an overlay, pin it to the desktop — and more.
Accounting software for small businesses to manage finances and cash flow. Takes care of invoicing, accepting online payments and keeping track of expenses. Can be installed on your host/server.
Quick-launch app saves you time when searching your computer or the web. Launch apps with shortcuts, get quick access to web searches and bookmarks.
Create 3D models and learn programming with an easy drag-and-drop method designed for students.
Switch focus to any open window — like command-tab for programs, but for windows. Once you’re in focus, you can minimize, close or full-screen the window. Customize the app’s appearance and trigger shortcuts.
Automatically tiles windows for you as they are opened. Lots of options for how this is done, plus you can have different setups for different Spaces.
An alternative to the dearly departed Caffeine, this menu bar app overrides energy saver settings to keep your Mac awake. This one has a boat load of features and is being actively developed.
Delete not only the app, but also all those pesky files that are associated with it.
Open source text editor from GitHub is “hackable to the core.” Supports themes for customized look and feel, plus modules can be added for various types of development work. Designed to be easy to learn.
Audacity records and edits sounds with aplomb, with tons of new features constantly being added.
It’s weird, but I’ve seen it happen — your Mac’s sound balance drifts from the centre. This app stops that from happening.
An open source word processor that does more than TextEdit and is much speedier than Office-style software. (No longer being actively developed.)
Put pretty much anything you want in your Mac’s menu bar, using extensible plug-ins — plenty of which have already been created.
Open source password manager has a nice interface, easy search, and plenty of ways to organize your items.
Open-source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback.
Note-taking app for programmers features markdown and syntax highlighting for dozens of languages. Choose your own themes and hotkeys. Syncs with Dropbox.
Three times faster than Chrome, plus protection from Google, plus a secure crypto-wallet — that’s what they promise, but you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.
Burn data disks, audio disks (MP3, audio CD), video disks (VCD, SVCD, DVD-Video, DivX), images and disk copy — just about anything you can think of. And all with great ease.
Manage e-book libraries, convert e-books in a huge number of formats, sync to readers (including iPad), view e-books with support for many features, and use a content server for online access to your book collection using a browser from any computer.
Change the system icons in Mac OS X, including the trash can, volumes, default folder, and more. Due to its uncertain future, CandyBar is now free but unsupported.
Set up folders with related files as projects that can be opened in the app of your choice from the menu bar.
Display and interact with a remote computer screen as if it were right next to you.
If you use and trust Google apps such as Gmail, Google Pay, and Google Assistant, then this is the browser for you. Just keep in mind that you pay with your data.
A multiplatform music player inspired by Amarok 1.4 that focuses on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing music.
The most full-featured of the free clipboard managers you’ll find. It stands out with lots of options in the preferences. Plus you can store and easily access snippets.
Keep track of time zones in the menu bar with custom labels — say, the names of family, colleagues or friends. Also features a time scroller and upcoming events.
Keep track of all the details of what’s happening with the battery in your portable mac as it happens.
Text editor features syntax colouring for 26 languages, powerful find and replace including regular expressions, outline menu, split views, macros and keybindings.
Hide your cursor at any time with a global hot key. Handy for those times it gets in the way when you’re watching a video.
This Mac stalwart has a nice interface and can take on most jobs without any trouble. A free version of the app can be downloaded from the Cyberduck website using the link below. Donations are requested.
This open source alternative to Adobe’s Lightroom manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable light table and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.
The free version of this video editor has so much going for it that it might be all you ever need. Capabilities cover cutting, keyframing, color grading and audio tools.
A simple menu bar clock replacement with a simple calendar for your Mac. Installed on all Macs at thriftmac headquarters.
If you can’t get enough of tweaking your Mac, then go deeper and customize the Dock, Finder, Spotlight and login screen, plus make changes to Safari, Mail, QuickTime and iTunes. A personalized login screen might just be what you’re looking for.
Deal with a messy desktop by highlighting the active window and covering the clutter on the desktop. Colours, wallpaper and pictures can be customized.
Dim your desktop or hide it completely so you can focus better on the front window where you’re working.
This online drawing tool can be downloaded and used as an app on your desktop. Plenty of sample charts and diagrams get you started. Easy and intuitive to use.
Photo management app rivals Lightroom with ability to organize and optimize. Can handle libraries of more then 100,000 images. Processes raw files, edits JPEGs and publishes to social media
Get your menu bar items under control by hiding the ones you don’t use often. Display them with a click of the Dozer icon.
Sync and share your files online. Can also be used for automatic backups with a history going back 30 days. The free version allows two gigabytes of data.
Turn an iPad into an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable.
Finds files and folders by name or content using advanced Boolean operators, wildcards, and phrases. It does not require indexing, is fast, and uses very little memory. Also shows previews.
Simple program helps you keep track of expenses and your bank balance. Good idea if you’re wondering where all the money went. Site is in French, but an English version of the app is available.
Adjust the sound coming from your Mac’s headphones or speaker.
Create dynamic macOS wallpapers (a.k.a. desktop pictures) based on solar calculations, the time of day or system appearance — one for light and one for dark.
Type a keyword with a colon in front, and it expands. Includes special triggers for dates, emojis and shell commands, plus several expansion packages. You need to be comfortable with Terminal for installation.
Display details of your system configuration that can be copied to the clipboard. The information can be used at Apple support communities so people can help you with troubleshooting your Mac. Personal identification is automatically removed.
Stats for CPU, memory, network, battery, Bluetooth, disk and GPU in a nice dark-mode compatible interface.
Adjusts the colour of your computer’s display to the time of day — warm at night and like sunlight during the day — automatically taking into account where you live and the type of lighting you have.
Get all your messaging apps in one place with unlimited accounts. Features include no login required, private notification, password lock, quick switch between services, and scheduled do-not-disturb.
Open source FTP program good for those who prefer access to local files in the same window as remote files.
The non-profit open source effort from Mozilla, often updated, with a huge collection of add-ons. Fast, private and secure.
Make Spotlight do more than you ever dreamed possible with a set of plug-ins that covers web searches, creating notes and reminders, sending messages, plus hundreds of other things.
Create site-specific mini-web browsers for your web apps, so that they launch like desktop programs in your dock. Great for checking Gmail, for example.
Open source fork of Jumpcut pops up a bezel containing recent items that you’ve copied. You can go through them with arrow keys to find the one you want and paste it. Default hotkey is Shift-Command-V.
Collection of image editing tools includes white balance, exposure, brightness, color contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Also, straighten, crop, rotate, and manipulate the image.
Create stop-motion animation videos using any webcam/video camera connected to your Mac, including iSight. Just take some pictures and soon you have a stop-motion QuickTime movie.
A mind-mapping software written in Java designed to be a high productivity tool. Useful for keeping track of projects, brainstorming, small databases, and more.
Batch rename files and extensions — just tell it what folder you want to modify, what about the filename you need to change, and what you want to change it to.
Create custom desktops with time, date, calendar, the weather, to-do lists, system monitors and more. The catch is that you really do have to be a geek to be able to use GeekTool. Luckily there are plenty of examples and tutorials.
Find out who is tracking you on the web — ad networks, data providers, publishers and other companies. Learn more about them and decide who you want to block.
Take a video or screen recording, then crop it, set the frame rate, apply filters and add captions. A nice change from the clutter of web-based GIF makers.
Convert videos to high-quality GIFs.
Have you ever wished there were a free version of Photoshop? Well, there is — kind of. It’s called GIMP, and it does a good job of such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. OK, it’s is not exactly Photoshop, but it you may find it comes close enough. And in case you were worried, GIMP no longer requires that X11 be installed on your Mac.
Capture videos, or anything else that moves on your screen, as an animated gif with one-click stop and start. Allows for precision editing and sharing with friends.
Personal and small-business financial-accounting software, freely licensed under the GNU GPL. Allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional accounting principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports.
Scan your folders to get a colourful view of what is inside them. Then hover with your cursor to see what files are represented. It’s a great way to see what’s taking up all the space.
A spreadsheet that specializes in crunching numbers. There are plenty of functions, similar to the ones in Excel, but not nearly as many. Supports DIF, CSV and RTF.
A simple — but not too simple — app for people who want a word processor with the features they actually use. Everything is easy to find in a format panel that includes a multitude of features.
Multithreaded video transcoder supports most common multimedia files and any DVD or Bluray-like source that is not copy-protected. Outputs to several popular file formats, including the one for Apple TV.
Calculator with easy-to-see numbers fades from view when not in use. You can input complete formulas, including parentheses, before hitting the equal sign. Handles copy and paste.
Simple and effective way to hide the icons cluttering your menu bar. Decide which ones you want to hide, then use an arrow icon to reveal them when needed. They’ll hide themselves again after a time that you set.
A super simple way to show and hide system files. Just use the toggle on a semi-transparent bezel.
Automatically hides application windows that have been inactive for a certain period of time (you decide how long), leaving only the apps you’re using visible. Keeps your screens clutter free and your mind focused.
Get easy access to your apps and scripts from the menu bar. Or skip the mouse and use custom keyboard combinations.
Assemble a mosaic of photographs into a complete immersive panorama, stitch any series of overlapping pictures and much more.
A beautiful and extensible command-line interface, built on open web standards. Lots of potential for innovative additions.
Create and publish multi-touch books for iPad with this free tool from Apple. Start with a template and use drag-and-drop to customize it with photo galleries, movies, slideshows and 3D objects. Preview it on an iPad, then submit it to the iBookstore.
Set up shortcuts for virtually any Terminal command. You may find it more convenient and flexible than Apple’s Automator.
Open source video player built from the ground up for modern versions of macOS. Supports common media types and outputs high-quality video optimized for retina screens.
Apply a number of cool effects to your pictures: adjust colours, add blurs, distort with twirl, bump and pinch, or stylize with mosaic, crystalize and halftone. Plus much more. You can also generate original images using similar effects.
Greatly reduce file sizes of 24-bit PNG files (including alpha transparency) by applying lossy compression and conversion to a more efficient PNG8+alpha format. Compatible with iOS, all browsers, and degrades well in IE6.
Drag and drop .jpeg, .png and .gif images and see them instantly slim down. This open source app works by finding the best compression parameters and removing unnecessary comments and colour profiles. Which is just what you want to make websites load faster.
If only there were a free version of Illustrator … or FreeHand … or CorelDraw. Inkscape aspires to be all these things and has lots of support.
Quickly scan websites for broken or bad links. Results can be exported to various visualization formats.
Imagine Terminal with a slick interface — including split panes, autocomplete, instant replay and Growl support — and you’ve got iTerm2. It is a successor to iTerm.
Easy access from the menu bar to a calendar for the current month and a listing of appointments and events imported from the Calendar app that comes with your Mac. Unpinning allows you to move it around the screen.
Not only puts you to sleep and wakes you up, but does the same for your Mac. This app plays the music of your choice as you fall asleep, then puts your Mac to sleep at the time you designate. Later, it can wake your Mac and play another song (or radio station) to wake you up. There’s even a snooze button.
Wizard takes you step by step through the archiving process, including naming, option for extra compression, password protection, level of encryption, and ability to store and share online at files.com.
Open-source, cross-platform note-taking and to-do app organizes into notebooks. It supports markdown and can be synced with one of several cloud services. You can import from Evernote.
Save up multiple snippets of text and paste them at will from the menu bar or from a translucent display invoked by a keyboard shortcut.
Open source screen capture with good options for sizing, and plenty of opportunity for added features.
Keep track of your hours for one project or many. Clock in and out with a start/stop button like you would with a punch clock. A checkbox helps you keep track of billing.
Customize your Mac keyboard — simply change normal keys to other keys or set up complex rules.
Open source video editor features multi-track editing, configurable interface and shortcuts, titler, dozens of effects and transitions, audio and video scopes, proxy editing, keyframeable effects — and more.
Cross-platform software saves user names, passwords, urls, attachment and more in a single database. Entries are sorted in customizable groups, and there is an integrated search function.
Keeping You Awake
A coffee cup icon that keeps your Mac awake when you click it. You can also set the duration. Great if you miss the now-defunct Caffeine, and don’t like Amphetamine’s pill icon.
Excellent file archiver compresses 7z, Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, DMG, ISO. It extracts RAR, 7z, Lzma, Zip, Tar, Gzip, Bzip2, ISO, EXE, CAB, PAX, ACE (PPC). Main compression core is p7zip (7-zip port).
Many is the time I’ve tried to clean my keyboard, only to have multiple accidental key presses play havoc on the screen. This app does just one job — turn off your keyboard.
Easily tag multiple audio files without having to re-type the same information. Supported files include MP3, Ogg/Vorbis, FLAC, Monkey’s Audio, MPC, MP4/AAC, MP2, Opus, Speex, TrueAudio, WavPack, WMA/WMV, WAV and AIFF.
Kindle for Mac
No Kindle? No problem. Select from the 800,000 Kindle books available from Amazon and read them on your Mac. Features include syncing, notes, highlights, and search.
Media player and entertainment hub with an interface for TV and remote controls. Play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
Digital painting tool developed by artists who “want to see affordable art tools for everyone.” Aimed concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry. But designed so that amateurs also find it useful.
If you’re looking for a way to save all the logins and passwords you use at various websites, you can’t do much better than 1Password. However, the free version of LastPass — acting as a browser extension — covers many of the basic functions. It comes highly recommended by PCMag, and is worth a look if you need something free.
Handy little utility scans your apps for updates. It even finds tiny updates that don’t show up in the Mac App Store.
Distraction-free editor allows you to place markers in your text, which show up in a side panel. Comes with an inline thesaurus.
A well-organized collection of snippets is incredibly handy for coders, and Lepton does this nicely. It’s basically a front end to whatever you have stored at github, so it’s synced wherever you go.
Developers unhappy with the turn taken by OpenOffice.org when it was acquired by Oracle set off to create their own open source office suite — and the result is LibreOffice. The About Us section notes that it is based on the principle of developers “sharing their work with the world in a non-restrictive way.”
Compress PDFs by up to 90 per cent with a drag-and-drop interface that promises a balance between file size and quality. Protect your privacy by avoiding websites with similar functionality.
Use a ruler to measure stuff on your screen in pixels or ems. Make as many rulers as you like. Great for web designers.
A nice calendar based journal. It has a built-in search, files saved in your Documents folder, and text styling that includes to-do, list and code blocks.
Change your system icons by dragging new ones onto the ones you want to replace, then click Apply Changes. Restore icons by dragging the new ones out.
Latin text generator sits in the menu bar, ready for you to choose how many words, sentences or paragraphs you want, then paste them into your document. Can be wrapped in HTML tags.
A free image editor based on layers and CoreImage filters. You have the layers on the left and the filters on the right of the window. To edit an image, just drag it into the layers’ list and it will be added as a new layer.
Create melodies and beats, synthesizing and mixing sounds, arranging samples and much more. The playback with a typing or MIDI keyboard. Bundled with ready-to-use content.
This slick menu bar app provides lorem-ipsum dummy text for your writing and coding projects. Choose between plain, HTML and markdown text. Sliders allow you to choose the amount of text you need in the form of headers, paragraphs, lists and articles.
This clipboard distinguishes itself with a search input for when the number of items you’ve copied gets unwieldy. There is a free version, but it’s hard to find on the site. Use the download button below.
Open source markdown editor for OS X, released under the MIT license, heavily influenced by Chen Luo’s Mou. Features highly customisable markdown rendering, syntax highlighting in fenced code blocks, sophisticated auto-completion.
Sync any folder on your Mac with a cloud service — including Dropbox, iCloud Drive, Copy, MediaFire, Hightail, hubiC, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, Mega and Creative Cloud. Just two steps.
Keep a personal journal with a calendar and time line. You can also group entries, and use it as a notes app. Started out free 18 years ago, went paid, and now it’s free again.
A database of information on every Mac ever made — even those made by companies other than Apple. No detail is too obscure. You can even play startup chimes.
Draw with your finger, using your Mac’s track pad. It’s pressure sensitive, has custom brushes, and allows you to save your projects.
Customizable templates for creating invoices and keeping track of them. Contacts allow you to keep information for billing the same client. Save as a PDF, then send it by email or print it off.
Compare your iTunes library with a friend’s and see which songs you don’t have in common. Or use it to make sure your own libraries are in sync. Also helps with making sure a migration goes well.
Convert avi, wmv, mkv, rm, mov and more using several presents, including iPod/iPhone. You can also create your own presets or download others. Smart settings keep your video in the correct aspect ratio.
MediaHuman Lyrics Finder
Find and add missing lyrics to songs in your music library. Won’t overwrite current lyrics. Drag and drop tracks from your favorite music player (e.g. iTunes) and the app does the rest.
Keep track of upcoming meetings in the menu bar — integrated with 20+ meeting services, so you never forget and can quickly join. Download and support Ukraine.
Have mindless fun taking bizarre photos that have been circulating around the Internet — annoying Facebook girl, for example — and applying your own slogans to them. Or, as the website version puts it: “Bluntly offensive statements and careless advice with animal icons.”
Microsoft To Do
There are plenty of choices for to-do-list apps for the Mac, but they don’t come much slicker than To Do, the successor to Wunderlist. Nice animations and a selection of backgrounds combine with a feature set that includes the ability to make and search multiple lists, check off each item, and sync everything between your Mac and other devices.
Mini Diary helps you make sense of all those thoughts churning in your mind every day. It doesn’t have a lot of features but it covers the basics: search, calendar, bold, italic, lists and word count. Plus it is password protected. Jump in and spill.
Open source music and video player works with your current music library, converts and syncs to Android, allows you to buy from Amazon, downloads, plays and converts almost any video, shares media over a network, and features fast torrent downloads.
Claim valuable space on your hard drive by eliminating localization files for languages you never use.
Add notes to the edge of your screen with Moof the classic cow dog showing the way. Also works as a menu bar item.
A light-weight text editor that supports syntax highlighting for dozens of programming languages. Choose from several themes and mono-spaced fonts.
Moving in front of your Mac’s camera was never so much fun. Select an effect and watch what it does with face tracking and other technology. Presets include smoke, fire, rainbow plasma and 77 others. Five modes include video warp, which warps live video using your mouse or trackpad. Download is from the Mac App Store.
Powerful, easy-to-use, beautiful multimedia player works with almost any format. Smooth playback even with full HD. Supports multi-touch, intelligently detects subtitles. I’m content with QuickTime, but those who seek the ultimate video experience may find this more satisfying.
This one comes with scripting capabilities that “can make the player do almost anything.” Make your own or grab one from the wiki.
Rename a list of files quickly and easily — and see the changes as you type. Options for changing names include: replace first occurrence, replace last occurrence, replace all, wildcard, prepend, append, character removal, sequence and date.
Open source digital compositor for VFX and motion graphics. The software features powerful keying and 2D tracking tools that are staple for all current film production visual effects. Flexible roto and rotopaint tools can generate unlimited layers of masks, mattes and shapes.
The revered RSS feed reader is back with an open source version by Brent Simmons as his contribution to the open web. Features include a Safari extension for feed-adding, direct feed-downloading, and syncing via Feedbin.
Map out your wireless network and set up hotspots to ensure you’re getting good coverage. Walk around your building with a MacBook to set up points on a map, then let the app test the wifi strength in each spot.
Pump up the free TextEdit that comes with your Mac by adding the well-done Nisus Thesaurus. Just select a word, and look it up with your Services submenu.
The developer couldn’t find a notes app that did everything he wanted, he made his own. Supports markdown, with notes stored on your computer, zen mode, and split view. Sync via third-party services such as Dropbox.
Nodeless note-taking with instantaneous incremental searches and full access from the keyboard.
An open-source notes app with almost too many features to list. Notes are plain text files that can be opened and edited with any text editor. Each consists of fields, starting with title and body — you can add more and organize using these fields.
General-purpose text editor supports extensive encoding, multi-selection indentation, invisible characters and iCloud Drive integration.
Use it for video recording, mixing and live streaming. Unlimited numbers of scenes can be made up of screen captures, images, text, browser windows, webcams and more. Switch seamlessly with custom transitions.
Features include: real-time preview of effects, cross-platform support, multi-selection for delicate editions, efficient editing of large files and fully featured spectrogram.
Digital notebook from Microsoft lets you take notes (including pictures), share them and collaborate with others across multiple devices.
Now that a native Mac version is available, this open source alternative to Microsoft Office is a worthy option to consider along with LibreOffice.
Simple yet powerful cross-platform app features trimming, 3D animation, unlimited tracks, video effects, audio wave forms, title editor, slow motion effect, and more.
Browse fast, secure and ad-free, chat directly in your browser, easily connect your devices share files. Surf with enhanced privacy and free VPN.
Open source app for storing passwords, serial numbers and other sensitive data — protected with one password. Available on all major platforms, with syncing between them.
A Cocoa-based paint program similar to Microsoft Paint and the now-defunct MacPaint. It can open and save to most major image formats, including BMP, PNG, JPEG, and GIF.
Keep track of how long you’ve been actively using your computer with a time display in the menu bar. Optionally, you can set the app to give a break reminder.
The app that reminds you to take a rest from the computer. You can customize the suggestions, notification style, and the frequency and duration of breaks.
An easy way to merge PDF documents into one file. Just click the “add” button or drag and drop. A couple more clicks and you’re done.
When you empty the trash on your Mac, you’re telling the system to forget about those files. You can go a step further by command-clicking on Trash and using Secure Empty, which overwrites the data seven times. If that’s not good enough, Permanent Eraser will overwrite your data 35 times, scramble the original file name, and truncate the file size to nothing.
Set a time you have to do something and Pester will remind you by bouncing in the dock, playing a system alert, speaking a message (that you create), and displaying a message and the time. Actually, you have a choice — it will do some or all of those things.
Photo viewing and editing software has many features, including rotate, straighten, resize, crop, color adjustment, auto level, white balance, curves, levels, paint brush, red eye correction, and clone stamp.
An easy way to change the icons for your apps — and easily revert if you change your mind. A good place to find a new icon is at macOSicons.
This colour picker lets you check out contrast ratios and confirm WCAG accessibility compliance. Choose from formats like formats like hex, RGB, HSB, or HSL. You can set up a global hot key to access it from anywhere.
Drawing and image editing program features drawing tools, adjustments and effects, full history, multiple layers and work spaces.
Image editor from Autodesk has dozens of filters, effects, overlays and borders. Tools allow for fast edits, refinements, styles and stickers. More features require a monthly subscription.
Timer helps reduce eye strain by reminding you to look away from the screen every 20 minutes — for 20 seconds.
Listen to upbeat, uninterrupted music on five different channels: default, Indie Summer, Hangover Club, Tokyo Disco and Friday Nite Heat. Also available are the latest 20 tracks, and a spot for your favourites.
It can be super annoying to paste some text into, say, an email message, only to find that a bunch of formatting came along for the ride. This app makes sure you can nothing but plain text.
Exchange notes and files between your iPhone and Mac. Also universal copy and paste — select some text on your Mac, copy it, and it will appear in your iPhone’s clipboard.
Keyboard addicts will love the the way this app lets you of find and launch files and applications without touching the mouse.
Automatically hide or quit apps after periods of inactivity. Minimizes distraction from social apps like Twitter and Slack, news readers, or your email app.
Launch apps, search files, do calculations, check you clipboard history, access your calendar — and much more. Extensions allow you to work with other apps such as Zoom and G Suite. Free while in beta. Basics will remain free when out of beta.
Another app that lets you move and resize windows, using keyboard shortcuts or snap areas. This one is based on Spectacle, which is no longer being maintained.
Turn your iPhone, iPad or iPod into a wireless remote control for your Mac or PC — just like working with a real mouse and keyboard. Useful for presentations.
Ever wonder what a musical Mona Lisa would sound like? RGB MusicLab takes the pixels in a painting, judges their colours and brightness, then interprets them to create music. Don’t like what you hear? There are many options to adjust your final composition.
Guitar recording and online collaboration program includes looped recording, automatic track creation, InstantDrummer, effects, song posting, online collaboration, and a tutorial in 14 languages. You can record songs online with friends for free.
Type a colon, followed by the name of the emoji you want, and voilà — the emoji appears. Anywhere on your Mac.
Automatically change your desktop wallpaper to the satellite view of where you are, right now. Pull your laptop out somewhere new, and your desktop will automatically change to the view from overhead.
Scaler Bandwidth Monitor
Stay on top of your Mac’s download and upload speeds in the menu bar. Click to visualize with a chart.
Schedule the automatic launching of applications, Applescript applets, documents, websites and file downloads at startup time or at a given time and date. There are many other scheduling options.
This open source alternative to the likes of QuarkXPress and InDesign supports CMYK colour, separations, ICC colour management and versatile PDF creation. It may take some getting used to, but there is a strong community of users to offer support.
Powered by Mozilla, it’s a web browser, an e-mail and newsgroup client, an IRC chat client and a web page creator all rolled into one.
Think of it as GIMP with a friendly interface. It won’t replace Photoshop, but it goes a long way. Development has restarted after a long hiatus.
Block access to distracting websites, mail servers or anything else on the Internet for any period of time you like. They stay block until the time is up — even if you restart your computer or delete the application.
List all mounted volumes in your menubar, categorized by type. Clicking on a volume menu will unmount/eject that volume. Supports Growl unmount and mount notifications.
Add extra powers to the share menu: copy, save as, open in, and more. Available in any app that has a share button.
Click on Shazam to listen to any music playing on your computer, or within earshot. It will give you the name and artist.
Use the normal Mac keyboard combinations for creating screenshots, and get the added option of sharing and markup in a little popup window.
A free, open source, cross-platform video editor with support for many audio and video formats and codecs plus many image formats. Native editing means no import required.
Screenshots on steroids — features include scrolling screenshots, pixelate or remove objects, markup, screen ruler, zoom, text recognition and a colour picker.
Privacy is top priority for this messaging app, which uses end-to-end encryption. “We can’t read your messages or listen to your calls, and no one else can either.”
Excellent way to synchronize notes between iOS, Mac, Android and Kindle. Tags help you stay organized and search results appear as you type.
What’s not to like about making free phone calls with your computer? Well, it’s not quite as handy as an actual telephone. But at this price, it sure is tempting.
A drag-and-drop interface allows this program to analyze a video file and convert it efficiently to the format of your choice. Conversion goes faster, and quality is maintained, if analysis shows not all parts of the file need to be changed.
Sync folders and volumes, or create a bootable clone of your Mac startup disk.
Email app promises to keep you inbox organized with categorized messages, filters that only let through the important notifications, and powerful search. Also available for iOS.
Organize your windows with easy-to-remember keyboard commands. Put them to the left, right, top or bottom. Put them corners. Centre them. Make them go full screen. It’s a great way to make comparisons, and it works in all apps. No longer actively maintained.
Check your Mac’s stats at a glance in the menu bar. Stats covers disk, network, CPU and RAM. You can also see what’s going on with GPU, sensors and fans.
Gaze with wonder through Stellarium at the night sky constellations from wherever you happen to live on this planet. Then go outside and see the stars as they are. Other cool ways to check out the universe are Celestia and SkyORB.
Play music, video and photos in a wide range of formats, streamed live over wi-fi or 3G from your Mac. No prior conversion or syncing required. Can be played on your devices wherever you are as is they were stored natively on them.
Sometimes you need to take a break from the computer. This app will remind to do just that — at intervals you set. Lots of other little features.
Collaborative coding for programmers has powerful editing tools, command line access and ability to create scripts. Now free and open source.
Sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose has a slick user interface and features goto anything, multiple selections, a command palette, distraction-free mode, split editing and instant project switch. A licence is required for continued use, but there is no time limit for evaluation.
Convert audio files to one of 16 formats. If it doesn’t have the codec you want, it will download it on the fly.
Vector-based animation features layers and filters, a bone system for cut-out animation, and vector-tween — transform any vector shape into another.
System Color Picker
A nice app version of the color picker that comes with your Mac. It can be invoked from the menu bar or record your own shortcut. It gives values in hex, hsl and rgb.
Bare Bones has turned TextWrangler into a free version of BBEdit. So basically, it’s BBEdit with a bunch of greyed out menu items that you can’t use unless you upgrade to the full version. Does this count as free? It’s borderline.
Drag and drop one image, many images or a folder of images to be resized and output as jpeg or png. Options for margin, canvas, destination, resolution, watermark and more.
Decompress several different compression formats, including some of the obscure ones that OS X can’t handle. Interface fits in nicely with the Finder.
From the makers a Firefox, an open source email client that features tabbed browsing, filtering and timeline tools, plenty of customization, and robust security measures.
Easily organize your windows by dragging them to the edges of the screen, using keyboard shortcuts, or clicking on options in the menu bar.
Customize backup intervals for Time Machine — by number of hours, by calendar date and time, or when inactive. Macworld has a good writeup.
Stopwatch, alarm clock, countdown and clock utility all in one. Click “Download” for free version.
Not satisfied with the system preferences Apple gives you access to on your mac? TinkerTool lets you get at that hidden stuff too numerous to mention. If you’re the type who can’t leave well enough alone, then tinker away.
A to-do list with a bar graph to show how many task you have completed or put on hold for the day.
Open source music player without the iTunes bloat allows you to gather all your music sources and downloads in one place. Create playlists, invite friends, listen to radio stations.
Put a pomodoro timer in your menu bar. This technique breaks tasks into timed intervals with set rest periods in between. The app keeps track of the times for you.
A desktop timer designed for the Pomodoro Technique — a simple and effective time management method that helps you focus on tasks that require long periods of concentration.
Blend the notch in your MacBook Pro with the menu bar. Can also added rounded corners to your wallpaper.
Remain anonymous on the Internet while web browsing, messaging or remote logins. Works with many existing clients to bounce your communications around a distributed network of relays run by volunteers all around the world.
This tiny scrapbook with a gorgeous interface can live either in the dock or the menu bar. It’s a handy place to keep seven pages of temporary notes, and no more. Syncs with iCloud.
Enter the amazing world of torrents with this lightweight BitTorrent client. A simple, intuitive interface gives access to an efficient, cross-platform back-end. Also built on the BitTorrent concept is Tomato Torrent.
For those extra pesky files that refuse to be trashed, there’s Trash It! These include files or folders with permissions set incorrectly or locked Trash items. This AppleScript-based app also allows you to securely delete a stuck item or trash items from other partitions.
Copy text or URLs to your clipboard from anywhere — PDFs, images, videos, screenshots, Zoom calls — with OCR technology. Free but you can support with an Mac App Store purchase.
Give your children hours of enjoyment with this simple paint program — or, what the heck, indulge your inner child.
Spread tweets into columns spanning the width of your computer screen with sections for friends, mentions, direct messages, trending topics and recommendations. In addition to Twitter, you can sign up for Facebook, Buzz, LinkedIn, Foursquare and MySpace.
Use your inbox as a to-do list. Email starts in Low Priority. You can click on Remind to send it to a built-in calendar or To-Do to send it to the Inbox, where it stays until you mark it Done.
One of the free apps I use the most. Super handy for transitory notes that I used to fill physical notebooks with.
Google Chrome is based on the open source Chromium. Without all the dependencies added by Google, Chromium is faster, safer and more private.
Panic’s app for Usenet newsgroups is no longer being developed, but one last free release promises to keep customers happy for awhile.
World’s most popular BitTorrent client features bandwidth prioritization, scheduling, RSS auto-downloading and Mainline DHT (compatible with BitComet). Supports the Protocol Encryption joint specification and peer exchange.
Hide menu bar icons on your Mac. Just click on the arrow.
A pretty good alternative to Illustrator that appears to be free with no strings attached. “We’re backed by amazing investors that lets us offer Vectornator to you at no cost.”
Vector drawing program promises intuitive tools, real-time collaboration and scale-able graphics.
The venerable open sources RSS reader still provides an interesting alternative after many years in active development
Run Windows or Linux on your Mac with this open source alternative to Parallells or VMWare Fusion.
Mix in real-time the various components of your tracks (vocals, instruments, kicks, hihats, etc.) for live mashups and seamless transitions — opening the door to new ways of mixing that were not possible before.
Visual Studio Code
Open source, cross-platfrm text editor from Microsoft has thousands of extensions, IntelliSense completions and built-in support for Git.
Lots of highlights, but you can go as minimal as you want. Enjoy the built-in ad and tracker blocker, email client and notes manager. Also: build your own browser themes and translate highlighted text.
It will play just about any kind of video or audio format you can imagine — thus making VLC Player one of the most popular downloads of all. But it has a big rival you might want to consider — MPlayer.
Lightweight, nice-looking music player supports FLAC, MP3, AAC, Musepack, Monkey’s Audio, OGG Vorbis, Apple Lossless, AIFF, WAV, IT, MOD, XM, Games Music and many others. Plus, there are several effects, and you can export to MP3, AAC, WAV and other formats.
Experimental app, which will forever be in beta, features free-form sketching, sculpting, painting, animation, and onion skinning. It will eventually evolve into VGC Illustration and VGC Animation.
Organize your to-do lists by day of the week, and get a seven-day look at what’s coming up. You can also make custom lists. Allows for notifications and tweaking the appearance.
Stripped down mobile browser allows you to upload photos to Instragram directly from your Mac desktop.
Create three-dimensional models such as a frog or, well, how about SpongeBob Squarepants. Check out the gallery to see the amazing things that are possible.
Manage your WordPress.come and self-hosted WordPress sites with the convenience of a desktop app.
Add a number of services to your free TextEdit, along with Nisus Thesaurus, and you’ve pretty much got a free, full-featured text editor. Find a bunch of other freeware you might like at the WordService website.
X Lossless Decoder
Decode, convert and play lossless audio files — can be split into tracks with cue sheet when decoding.
Add one or more menus to the menu bar for accessing files and data. Pre-set menus include Applications, Developer, Home, Documents and Snippets. Or define your own. (Not a system hack.)
Batch image-converter and resizer supports common formats such as JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, Camera RAW, JPEG2000, WebP and OpenEXR in addition to over 500 other image formats. Operations include rotating, adding watermarks, adding text, and adjustments for brightness, shadows and more.
This powerful photo viewer, image manager and image resizer supports JPEG, TIFF, PNG, GIF, WEBP, PSD, JPEG2000, OpenEXR, camera RAW, HEIC, PDF, DNG, CR2.
It’s getting a little long in the tooth, but still works and does a whole lot of monitoring: CPU, GPU, memory, battery status, temperature, network and disk — plus current weather and stock market data.
Launch Yippy and get a nice big list of your most recently copied items, including images. Highlight the one you want, press return, and the item will paste into the location of your cursor. Position the window on any edge of your screen, in the centre — or go full screen.
YouTube to MP3
Go to the YouTube music video you want and copy the URL. You can then click the paste button in the app and hit the download button. A music MP3 will show up in your Music folder or, if you choose, iTunes. Super simple.
YouTube doesn’t give you a way to download videos, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it with a third-party app like this one.
Full-featured outliner syncs on Mac, iPhone and iPad. Allows for embedded images, customized fonts, searching, crossing off items, adding notes, linking and sharing.
Designed as a way to collect, organize, cite, and share research, but could also be used as for notes. Organize with collections, tags and saved searches. Sync across devices or a web browser. Share and collaborate with as many people as you like.