Essential Mac Apps and Utilities - 2023 Edition
The best Mac apps to boost productivity and get things done faster on your Mac OS.
Whether you’re new to using a Mac or an experienced Mac user looking to take your productivity to the next level, you’ll find something new and useful in our collection of the must-have Mac Apps of 2023. Most of these apps are free and cater to general Mac users, not just the geek crowd.
This collection of essential Mac Apps includes mostly lesser-known apps so the popular ones — like Evernote, 1Password, Dropbox, Skype, OneNote, or Google Drive — aren’t listed here. Also, all the apps here are compatible with Big Sur and Catalina, the current versions of macOS.
Wherever possible, I have included the Mac App Store links because the store not only makes 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.
Let’s get started.
Notion - Think of Notion as a note-taking app, a wiki, a to-do manager, a calendar, a spreadsheet and a project management tool, all rolled into one.
Magnet - A perfect windows management app for Mac that lets you move and resize windows with configurable keyboard shortcuts. You can move windows between multiple displays too. Another alternative is Rectangle.
Setapp - A collection of premium Mac Apps and Utilities in a single package. Includes favorites like MindNode, Ulysses for writers, CleanshotX for screen capture and Capto for screen recording.
ImageOptim - Always run your images through ImageOptim before uploading them on to your website. The app will reduce the size of your image files without affecting the visual quality.
App Cleaner - The best uninstaller for your Mac that will automatically remove all the extra files that are left on the disk when you delete an app.
Maccy - A clipboard manager that stores all that you copy to the clipboard and lets you paste the copied snippets into other apps with a simple shortcut. [CopyClip] is a good alternative.
Clean Me - Recover space on your Mac by deleting all the system logs, cache and other temp files that your Mac can easily do away with.
RSS Bot - Access your RSS from your Mac’s menu bar and get notifications when new items are available. You can also apply filters to only show articles that match certain keywords.
Latest - It scans the Applications folder of your Mac and checks if all your installed apps are up to date. You can also update your outdated apps. MacUpdater is an even more powerful but paid alternative.
Onyx - Perform system maintenance tasks to improve the performance of your Mac, verify disks and more.
TinkerTool - It provides access to several configuration settings that are otherwise hidden on the Mac. For instance, you can specify the default folder where Screenshots should be saved on the Mac.
IINA - A modern alternative to the VLC Media Player that includes support for gestures and the touch bar in newer Macs.
HyperSwitch - An improved window switching app for Mac that upgrades your default Command + Tab experience when cycling between open app windows.
TextBar - You can specify system commands and the app will add the text output of those commands to the menu bar. For instance,
ipconfig getifaddr en0will print your current IP address. You can also have these as desktop widgets with Übersicht.
Tyke - A minimalistic notepad app that sits in the menu bar and lets you save quick notes.
Karabiner - Remap existing keys on the keyboard to perform a different command. For instance, the CAPS-lock key can be configured to work as an Escape key. Useful when using any non-Apple keyboard with Mac.
Dropzone - It makes it easy to copy or move files to your favorite folders, open applications and you can also upload files to the Internet right from your menu bar.
Clocker - Show multiple clocks in your menu bar from different timezones.
Duet Display - Use your iPad, iPhone or even an Android phone as an extra display for your Mac and PC.
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.
Unarchiver - It’s like WinZip compression utility for Mac that can handle all the popular archive formats including RAR, TAR, GZIP, ISO, and more.
Disk Inventory - If your MacBook is running low on space, use the Disk Inventory app to quickly discover large files and folders that are clogging the storage.
XMenu - It provides explorer-style access to your favorite folders and Mac apps from the menu bar. You can launch apps, browse files and folders right from the menu bar.
CheatSheet - Use this app to memorize keyboard shortcuts for any Mac app. Just hold the Command Key a bit longer to get a list of all shortcuts available in that app.
JumpShare - Quickly upload files, record screencasts, capture screenshots and share them instantly, all from the convenience of your menu bar.
Hocus Focus - It helps keep your Mac desktop clean by automatically hiding 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.
Bandwidth+ - Monitor your Internet bandwidth usage in realtime. Especially handy when you are connected to a metered Wi-Fi hotspot.
Background Music - An audio utility that provides per-application volume control for your Mac. It automatically pauses your music player when a second audio source is playing and unpauses the player when the second source has stopped.
Download Shuttle - A fast download manager for Mac that will split the files into multiple chunks and downloads them in parallel. Can pause and resume downloads too.
WeTransfer- Send big files to anyone by simply drag and drop. You get a download link that automatically becomes inactive after 7 days.
Hazel - A folder monitoring app that lets you specify rules per watched folder and any files added to these folders are automatically organized. Supports AppleScript and Automator actions too.
Zoho OneAuth - The only 2-factor authentication (2FA) app you need to secure your Gmail, Facebook and all other online accounts. OneAuth is available on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows devices and you can even import accounts from Google Authenticator. Another good alternative is Authy.
Self Control - To help you stop procrastinating, this Mac app that can temporarily block access to time-wasting websites, emails and everything else that you find distracting.
OBS - If you ever plan to set up a live stream on Twitch or YouTube, OBS is the only streaming software you’d need.
Zoom - My favorite app for video conferencing on Mac. You can do screen sharing, the meetings are automatically recorded and you can remotely control the attendee’s computer for tech support.
Hand Mirror - It lives in the menu bar of your Mac and quickly gives you a view from your webcam. Handy to know how you look before you join that Skype or Zoom video call.
Kap - Record quick screencasts as GIFs and MP4 videos and upload them to GIPHY, Dropbox, Vercel (Now) or Amazon S3 directly from the app.
Diagrams.net - The best tool for creating diagrams and flowcharts. It’s like Microsoft Visio but completely free.
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.
Meeter - Keep track of your upcoming online meetings from Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and other virtual conference services and join the meeting directly from your Mac’s menubar.
KeyPad - Use the connected physical keyboard of your Mac to type on your iPhone, iPad and Android phone.
Also see: The 101 Most Useful Websites
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.