Mac Tools

Many friends of mine, after buying a new Mac, have asked me what to install. Well, the generic answer and the most truthful is: “Whatever you need to help you do your job!”. It mostly confuses them, they seem unsatisfied by it, but… what answer did they expect, exactly?

I know what I’m using my laptop for. I know why I bought this model and up until now, I’ve collected a set of software that supports my activities. Here’s the list.



icon_app_dailyDailytime tracking – $5.99

A little menu-bar app, that tracks your activities and asks you about what you’re doing. I like it, because it forces me to think about time tracking and what task I’m spending my time on. What I still miss is grouping of the tasks or being able to add tasks description for a certain project. Currently I’m merging tasks at the end of the month, developer is supposedly working of the feature. Fully keyboard shortcuts driven.

icon_app_alfredAlfredpersonal assistant – free for basic functionality, upgrade for GBP 17 to 32

Enhanced Spotlight, with ability to add your own workflows, file processors, obtain data from external sources or script whatever else feature you want to. Three years ago it helped obtain any file/information needed with only a few keyboard strokes. From what I see and for what I use it for, it seems that Yosemites’ Spotlight will do just fine.

icon_app_dashDashread all the documentation! – $19.99

Document set browser and snippet repository. Need a quick lookup for your favorite programming language, API methods, function parameters? Stores document sets offline, updates them regularly, easy-peasy!

icon_app_keynoteicon_app_numbersicon_app_pagesKeynote, Numbers, Pagesoffice simplified – $19.99 each

Standard office tools for presentations, spreadsheets and typed documents, know also as iWork.

icon_app_sublime_textSublime Texttext editor –  free for evaluation, $70.00

Powerful editor, distractions free, fully python scriptable and plenty of plugins all ready to download. My first choice.

icon_app_codaCoda 2web projects editor – $75.00

Web projects editor with built-in FTP support, for code deploying. Don’t use it much, I prefer Sublime Text and CyberDuck now.

icon_app_omni_graffleOmniGraffleworkflow/charts designer – $99.99

Do you know MS Visio? Well, this is the closest Mac version.

icon_app_plantumlPlantUMLscriptable UML/activity/sequence designer – open source, free

Don’t bother with the mouse and moving the boxes around, describe your case with a simple script language and let PlantUML layout the drawings for you.

icon_app_xcodeXCode – programming IDE – free for Apple Developers

Build your Mac or iOS apps.

icon_app_day_oneDay Onejournal – $9.99 Mac app, $4.99 iOS app

Keep a personal daily journal on the web or mobile devices.

icon_app_lightroomLightroomdigital photography manipulator – $149.00

Need to organize, edit, non-destructively correct or enhance your photos? No other tool comes close to it.

icon_app_charlesCharlesweb debugging proxy – $50.00

Great tool for web developers, if you have a lot of client-web server interactions in your apps.

icon_app_source_treeSourceTreegit/svn gui – free

Simple, clean, easy to use, with GitFlow integrated.


Storage and backup

icon_app_dropboxicon_app_onedriveDropbox, OneDriveyou should know them by now!

Cloud solutions for storage and backup.

icon_ap_koofrKoofrcloud storage and syncing – free trial

Koofr is the safe and simple way to store, backup and share your photos, videos and documents. Slovenian product. Reliable, secure, easy to use, great features.

icon_app_crash_planCrashPlancloud backup – plans from $5.00/mo for one computer, to yearly family packs

Install, obtain a licence or batch license for multiple computers and let it do it’s magick. Encrypts, transfers files to the cloud and keeps versions of it when they change. Highly customizable regarding updates and versioning.



icon_app_shazamShazammusic identification – free

Quietly sits in your menu bar and each time a piece of music is being played (in a video, movie, etc) it tries to recognize it and informs you about the artist/song. Very useful, since I do a lot of music scouting this way!

icon_app_ecouteEcoutedesktop music player – free

I didn’t like iTunes as music player. I used to use Winamp on my windows machine, but discontinued using it. It never fit on my Mac. Minimalistic, syncs with iTunes, keyboard shortcuts driven. They have also iOS player, but I’m not using it.

icon_app_vlcVLCvideo player – open source, free

I believe VLC doesn’t need introduction. I’ve used it on my windows machine too. Network streaming, supports one hell of a lot of codecs, used also for ripping videos.

icon_app_calibreCalibree-books manager – open source, free

Need to manage your e-book library? Convert between formats, gather book metadata automatically, send books to your devices. Easy.

icon_app_handbrakeHandbrakevideo converter

From time to time I have to transcode a video in a different format or reduce it’s size for mobile devices etc. This is the right tool to do it.

icon_app_pixelmatorPixelmatorimage editing – $29.99

Next best thing ater PS that we were all used to piratize. A powerful editor, great image handling, all you could wish for. Once you get used to the tools shortcuts, you can copy the most used practices to new software and be able to handle most tasks you were used to do.

icon_app_popcorntimePopcornTimetorrent video streaming – free

Pick a movie, grab some popcorn and enjoy. It is being streamed directly from torrents. No, you do not “own” it later, you cannot send it to your buddies and sometimes, if the movie is really “fresh” from the theatres, it might still be a cam recording. But great if you can wait a week or two to enjoy the latest.

icon_app_utorrentuTorrenttorrent downloader – free

Best experience and control in torrents clients. Ready to do it’s work right after install. But you can still mess with it later. WebUI, scheduler, feeds control at your disposal.
Version 3 started with ads, bit since I’m running it in the background… on a different computer…

icon_app_subtitlesSubtitlessubtitle finder/downloader – free

Drag your favorite series episode or movie onto the app and it searches the repos for the subtitles. No hassle, it gets it right most of the time. Like, 99%. Really.
Latest version inserts the “call to sponsors” in the subtitles somewhere within the video “quiet part”.



icon_app_tweetbotTweetbottwitter client – $17.99 for Mac, $4.99 for iPhone, $2.99 for iPad

It is beautiful and simple to use. Great features although desktop version lags with feature updates, just a bit. I use it on both my desktop and mobile, which is almost completely gesture controlled.

icon_app_limechatLimeChat IRC client – free

Sometimes we use it at work, for group meetings or quick coordination.

icon_app_skypeSkypeIM client – free

I’d call it a “legacy” IM client. Everyone has it and most of us hate it with every update even more. Don’t call me there, find a different channel. 🙂



icon_app_caffeineCaffeineprevent energy saving mode – free

Want to temporarily disable power saving mode, screen dimming and screen savers? It sits in your menu bar and you can toggle it with a click!

icon_app_fluxf.luxadjust screen color temperature according to the time of the day – free

Bright screen glow becomes too much of a burden for the eyes when the day approaches the evening, darker times. This app will gradually adapt your screen colors to warmer, less intensive and contrast tones. If you work all day long, the change is subtle, you hardly recognize it. After a few days you get used to it and appreciate it. Can be disabled for specific apps (videos and photos look funny! :).

icon_app_breezeBreezeset window layout/position – $3.99

Want to quickly achieve some order with your apps, their windows and maximize the screen real-estate? Predefine window layouts in different positions and resize/move them with a single keyboard shortcut.

icon_app_1password1Passwordpassword and other private data manager – $49.99 windows, $49.99 mac (there’s also bundle options!), iOS  free with in-app purchase

If there’s any information that I’d like to keep private, I let 1Password manage it. Login passwords I usually don’t even know (it generates them for me an stores them), bank account numbers, personal data, document scans etc. It integrates with browser add-ons and makes my internet login/registration processes easy. It can sync the data across devices via Dropbox. I rely on it heavily and use it across all platforms.

icon_app_tunnel_blickTunnelBlickOpenVPN GUI – free

Tedious to set-up for non-tech people (I guess) but handles OpenVPN seamlessly.

icon_app_cyberduckCyberDuck – FTP, sFTP, WebDAV, OS Swift client – free

Simple to use, handles my needs. Mostly a drag-and-drop operation.

icon_app_iterm2iTerm2ssh terminal – free

Tabbed ssh terminal, with some UI candies. Try it out.

icon_app_karabinerKarabinerkeyboard customizer– free

Want to reassign your keyboard strokes to something different? Very powerful, simple to script.

icon_app_mackeeperMacKeeper – optimize, clean and secure a computer system – package range from EUR 39.95 to 89.95

A bundle of utility apps ranging from cleaning superfluous files, managing uninstall “left-overs”, file recovery, internet security features, apps updater,  anti-theft features, and others.

icon_app_parallelsParallels Desktopvirtual computer manager – EUR 79.99

Want to run Windows or other operating systems within the Mac OS? Virtualization at it’s best, integrated with native os.

icon_app_snagitSnagItimage and video recorder + markdown – free trial, licenses from GBP 34.95 up

Want to create a screen-cast, capture video with webcam or get a screen shot and edit it/mark it down? Share easily, perfect for extensive user support or documentation.


3d modeling and printing

icon_app_blenderBlender3d modeling and rendering – free

Blender is a powerful tool to start any project, yet simple enough for beginners in 3d modeling.

icon_app_open_scadOpenSCADsolid 3d CAD modeller – free

Write scripts that combine and transform solids, then save models and use them elsewhere. Great for quick prototyping.

icon_app_sketchupSketchUpsimple yet powerful 3d modeller – free with PRO options

Do you need to model a 2d or 3d object? It doesn’t matter, it takes only instants to transform one into another. Mathematical precision at your fingers with great tools and visualization options.

icon_app_slicerSlic3rG-code generator – free

At the moment the most suitable slicer for my 3d printer. In constant development, yields solid results.


What about you?

What are your preferred tools and what do you use them for?

One Reply to “Mac Tools”

  1. Cimo

    Storage: Box (
    Entertainment: GOM player
    Social/Chat: Viber
    3D Modelling: Onshape (web based – excellent), Solidworks


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