In 2017 I released the list of my top apps for Mac users working in tech (not strictly). This is an updated version with a couple of additions and removals.
(=) Fantastical 2
If you are not using Outlook, Fantastical 2 is probably the best replacement for the weak OS X Calendar. The app tightly integrates with IOS and Apple Watch. The app is on my favorite list because of the excellent integration with Google and O365 Calendars and its ability to work with room and resource scheduling.
Grammarly is a grammar auto-correction, contextual spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation capabilities. It integrates natively with Safari and has an OS X desktop app, and not has native app integration for Office for Mac. Still a very useful tool for native and non-native English speakers.
Alfred is probably the best replacement for macOS Spotlight, but what makes Alfred shine is its ability to execute very complex workflows that can include AppleScripts, shell scripts, Ruby, or Python code. You can download hundreds of workflows being shared by the Alfred community that provides integration services with the most diverse set of macOS apps or Web Services.
Screenflow used to be my go-to app whenever I need to screencast or video record a demo. However, once I tried and spent some time on FinalCutPro and I found it to be a journey without a way back. The app is so powerful that even the large cost difference was easily justified for my needs. I would still recommend ScreenFlow for smaller jobs or editing screen recording etc, but if you want exercise your creativity, FinalCutPro is the way to go.
(+) Apple Notes
For many years Evernote was the keeper of all my personal journaling and archival. In an experiment, I migrated all my notes to the newer Apple Notes, and although it does not have all the bells and whistles it was good enough to replace Evernote as my core note-taking app and it is free. The latest version also searches through PDFs.
There are many free and paid tools out there to keep your Mac tidy. I like CleanMyMac as it has been working great for me for a long time. It is simple and does a good job removing garbage, completely uninstalling apps, running maintenance scripts, letting me manage installed extensions and more. Useful!
(+) Visual Studio Code
Eclipse and Sublime reigned in my app library as my favorite IDEs, but once I got into VSC there was no way back. VSC is extremely extensible and has support for most languages, providing Autocompletion, Syntax Highlight, Code Folding, Customizability, Powerful Search, and Simultaneous Editing The community is vibrant and thousands of plugins and modules are available. (I still use Sublime as a text editor as it is lightweight and can easily handle large amounts of data)
The Docker for OS X has become my testbed whenever I need to deploy or test a Linux app. For me, Docker is replacing VMware Fusion and VirtualBox whenever possible.
Quitter is the newest tool in my arsenal. This simple and tiny tool automatically quit apps under certain conditions. My particular condition is making sure communication apps like Zoom; Skype GoToMeeting are quit automatically if they have not been in use for 10 minutes. In this new world of non-ending conferences, I want to make sure I’m not unknowingly being streamed around.
Magnet windows manager is an awesome little utility that lets you use shortcuts to define app window placement. I took it even further and integrated into StreamDeck for a one-click shortcut. I used to use Moon a while ago, but Magnet has proven to be a much better solution.
I was not a user of blocking and privacy protection for MacOS, but after trying AdGuard I became a fan. It not only provides defense against ads in Safari and other browsers, but it also protects you from tracking, phishing, and fraud. Here is a screenshot of my own AdGuard status.
I have been using iTerm2 as a terminal replacement for the native terminal in MacOS for a long time. iTerm2 has a bunch of useful features such as Split Panes, Hotkeys, Search, Autocomplete, and it is very configurable. Some of the benefits have been diminished with Zsh integration into MacOS, but it is still convenient, and it is free!
I have been looking for an app to control my Bluetooth devices for a little while because going into Bluetooth configuration every time I need something different is a pain. ToothFairy allows me to use hotkeys to connect and disconnect devices, rename devices, adjust icons, and run bash scripts when connecting/disconnecting devices. Because it provides hotkeys I was also able to integrate into StreamDeck.
(+) Karabiner Elements
Karabiner-Elements is a powerful and stable keyboard customizer for macOS. If you want to use a non-Apple keyboard, this is the right tool for you. Karabiner allows simple and complex key modifications and supports multiple devices and profiles. I use it with my Microsoft Sculpt keyboard it works flawlessly.
SnagIt if my go-to-app to quickly capture and edit screenshots, especially when blogging. One of the features I like the most is the scrolling screen capture that allows me to take a full-page webpage. SnagIt also record video and audio. I also use the native macOS screen capture tool quite a lot, but SnagIt has many features for editing that make this tool essential for my day-to-day.
If you have multiple displays connected to macOS this app is a must-have! Fresco makes it dead simple to span a panorama image over multiple displays, resize, and position images to make them fit to your liking, and even allow you to create your own desktop by combining images. It’s awesome and it’s free!
- VMware Fusion (for Virtual Machines)
- Filezilla (easy FTP)
- MS Office (sure, there’s no real alternative to Office)
- Caffeine (macOS never sleep)
- OBS (the top app for streamers)
- AudioSwitcher (change and/mix audio input-output using shortcuts)
- Bartender 3 (organize your menu bar icons)
- NordVPN (get around firewalls)
This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at myvirtualcloud.net.