Mac has long been touted as one of the best operating systems available to computer users. Right of the assembly line, macOS comes loaded with a multitude of stock Apple tools including Spotlight, Terminal, AirDrop, Siri, TimeMachine, etc. Generally, we’re aware of the functionality of these in-house build apps and they are amazing.
Nearly 25 percent of all computer users have Macs with many of them being millennials. Of course, as with any operating system, hundreds of tools are available to make your user experience even better. The possibilities have been end-less ever since Apple started accepting submissions from registered developers in November 3, 2010. If you have a Mac, and whether you’re a newbie switching from PC or an original seasoned Mac user, check out these non-Apple Mac Tools to increase the benefits of the operating system.
If you’re the type of person who usually has several windows open on your computer and gets tired of clicking through each one to find what you were looking for, Afloat is the perfect tool to help you keep things organized. The tool provides a wide range of window management features for your applications. Choose to keep certain windows on top of the others at all times, pin the ones you used most to your desktop or even choose to turn one into an overlay so you can keep tabs on it even while you work on other projects.
Mac users have access to Spotlight and Siri for hunting down apps, documents and other important files, but each leaves a bit to be desired. Alfred was created to bridge the gap between the two. Although its basic function is an application launcher, it has the ability to do much more. Alfred allows you to search the web, define words, perform calculations and much more directly from its interface. It also allows you to automate tasks, something many users admit that they wish Siri would do.
3. VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is an essential tool for anyone who uses their computer to watch their favorite shows, movies or music videos. Video formats change often and if they aren’t properly encoded for MPEG or 64-bit, they won’t always play using Mac’s basic QuickTime application. VLC, which stands for VideoLAN Client, is an open-source application that allows you to stream, convert and play nearly any type of video format. The interface keeps things minimal and rids itself of unnecessary advanced options to make it easy to use.
Most people use their computers for everything: work, school, social interaction and entertainment. This means it is easier for your Mac to become overloaded if you don’t keep up with maintenance. MainMenu’s powerful maintenance options allow you to clean, repair and optimize your system as needed. The simple interface is easy enough that even a novice can use it. You’ll speed up disk access, improve performance of your applications and even make your searches go faster.
Have you ever tried to watch a TV show or read a book on your computer only to have it go to sleep on you right in the middle? If you tend to use your computer for long periods of time without touching the mouse or keyboard, you need Caffeine. This application uses a quick click to keep your computer from going into sleep mode, bringing up your screensaver or automatically dimming the screen for a specified amount of time.
6. iBooks Author
Becoming a published author has never been easier. If you’ve always wanted to get into independent publishing, iBooks Author helps you do it. This free application provides a wide range of book templates and easy-to-use tools packaged together into a minimalist interface. Start with your outline, write your content and have your book uploaded in practically no time. The interface includes plenty of unique features to make your e-books interactive, including allowing you to add video, diagrams and even three-dimensional pictures.
This backup tool is essential for anyone who does important work on their computer. While there are dozens of file backup applications available for Mac, ForeverSave is probably the easiest. It automatically backs up your documents at regular intervals, meaning all you need to do is hit the restore button and keep working if you lose something important.
At just $10, Dropzone 3 is the integral addition of macOS Sierra you can’t afford to skip over. The all-encompassing shortcut tool allows you to easily copy and move your files or launch your favorite applications. You can even share content to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Messages right from the application. Other features include FTP and Amazon S3 integration as well as the ability to shorten URLs using Goo.gl. Despite its functionality, the application won’t take over your other projects. A tiny icon sits in the menu bar and stays out of the way when you aren’t using Dropbox 3.
If you’re someone who has given up on paper and pen and prefers to take notes digitally, your Mac needs Simplenote. This lightweight and minimalistic application uses a syncing and organizational system that aims to provide the best in speed and efficiency. The interface makes organizing your thoughts and finding previous notes a snap, allowing you to keep yourself on task during your work day or personal project.
It seems like there’s a new story about privacy concerns every day, which means it is more important than ever to protect yourself while you surf the web or perform other tasks on your computer. Tiptoe is a privacy application that allows you to use many of your Mac’s applications without tracking your movements. You can edit documents, chat with friends, look at pictures or even watch movies without worry of your applications storing the history. Tiptoe even offers the function of cleaning up your old digital trails.
It used to be if you wanted to look at two windows at once on your computer, you had one of two options: purchase and set up a second monitor or spend quite a lot of time perfectly resizing your windows to fit your needs. Multiple monitors make it difficult to take a laptop on the go and who has the time to resize windows constantly? The Magnet application makes it easier than ever for you to multitask by providing a quick method for you to drag the windows you need and arrange them just so. They’ll easily snap to the corners of your screen and lock into place and you can even set up predefined keyboard shortcuts to keep things organized.
A true multitasker needs to have access to a calendar at a glance, which is exactly what Itsycal provides for Mac users. The calendar this application adds to your desktop is small enough that it won’t inhibit your workflow but large enough for you to easily see which appointments or important tasks you have coming up during the day and in the upcoming week. Itsycal also provides the option of adding information to your calendar without launching the full calendar application.
13. Day One 2 Journal
Day One 2 Journal takes the act of keeping a diary into the digital age by adding a password-protected application onto your Mac computer. Whether you use it to chronicle important moments in your life, work through emotions, save photos or simply to help yourself stay organized, you’ll feel secure in knowing prying eyes won’t have access.
As technology has advanced, so has Mac’s self-maintenance abilities but that doesn’t mean you can skip it altogether. Slow-downs can still happen. Onyx is an all-purpose utility application that includes cache cleaners, permissions repairers, maintenance scripts and other important tools to keep your computer running smoothly. An easy-to-use interface ensures even a maintenance novice can complete the tasks. Individual and optimized versions are available as well.
15. PDF Expert
Annotating, merging and signing PDF files is a fact of digital life but PDF Expert aims to make it easier for you. This app allows you to merge and fill out all types of forms as well as edit and annotate as needed. PDF Expert takes it a step further by being compatible with Continuity and Handoff, which means you can save your document and finish it on another device without worry of losing what you’ve already completed.
Whether you write simple text or are a professional software developer, your Mac can’t be without TextWrangler. This replacement for Notes is anything but typical. The user-friendly interface allows you to highlight syntax in more than 20 programming languages as well as use live search and multiple clipboards. The application will even create automatic backups so you never need to worry about losing your progress.
Chances are you’re one of the millions of people who order clothing, office supplies and even groceries over the internet each day. If you’ve ever found yourself realizing you lost track of a package that should have been delivered days ago, you need to install Parcel on your Mac. This online tracking app helps you keep tabs on your packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS and more than 250 other shipping services. You can even opt for push notifications when the status of one of your packages changes.
How many of these powerful Mac Tools are you using? Let us know.