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.

Best Mac Apps and Utilities

The Best  Mac Apps & Utilities

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.

  1. Raycast - A powerful Spotlight replacement for your Mac that lets you quickly search and launch apps, search the web, and more. You can also create custom workflows with JavaScript.

  2. 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.

  3. Outlook - Microsoft Outlook is the best email client for Mac and you no longer need a Microsoft 365 subscription or Office license to use Outlook. Spark is also a good alternative to Apple Mail.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Shottr - An innovate screenshot app for Mac that lets you capture and annotate screenshots with ease. You can perform OCR and also capture full web pages. I also use CleanShot X and Xnapper.

  7. 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.

  8. Warp - A modern replacement for the Mac Terminal. It is fast, beautiful, and includes AI search to convert natural language into executable shell commands. Also see - Essential Tools for Programmers

  9. Site Sucker - Download entire websites includes images, PDF files and mirror them on your local disk for offline browsing. Like wget but with a visual interface.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Dozer - An excellent alternative to the popular Bartender app. You can quickly re-order or even hide the app icons appearing in the Mac menu bar.

  14. NetNewsWire - A clean and fast RSS Reader for your MacOS. Checkout Reeder if you are looking for a more advanced RSS reader. We have an RSS Feed too!

  15. 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. - The Smart Mac Calculator

  1. Flotato - It turns any web page into a native Mac app that you can quickly open outside the web browser. Also see, Fluid.

  2. 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.

  3. Onyx - Perform system maintenance tasks to improve the performance of your Mac, verify disks and more.

  4. 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.

  5. KeepingYouAwake - It keeps your Mac stay awake and also prevents your screen from going to sleep. If you need more features, use Amphetamine.

  6. Shifty - Easily toggle between dark and light mode on your Mac. You can also decide which of your Apps or websites should stay light, while your system runs in Dark Mode. Also see, NightOwl.

  7. IINA - A modern alternative to the VLC Media Player that includes support for gestures and the touch bar in newer Macs.

  8. HyperSwitch - An improved window switching app for Mac that upgrades your default Command + Tab experience when cycling between open app windows.

  9. 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 en0 will print your current IP address. You can also have these as desktop widgets with Übersicht.

  10. Tyke - A minimalistic notepad app that sits in the menu bar and lets you save quick notes.

Control the Night mode on MacOS

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Clocker - Show multiple clocks in your menu bar from different timezones.

  4. Duet Display - Use your iPad, iPhone or even an Android phone as an extra display for your Mac and PC.

  5. 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.

  6. AirDroid - It connects your Android phone to the Mac. You can access messages, manage photos, transfer files and more, wirelessly.

  7. Unarchiver - It’s like WinZip compression utility for Mac that can handle all the popular archive formats including RAR, TAR, GZIP, ISO, and more.

  8. Handbrake - Convert video files from one format to another. FFmpeg is powerful too but works only from the command line. For audio files, the recommended converter is fre:ac.

  9. 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.

  10. Helium - An Always on Top like app but for your Mac. The browser window will float on top of other windows and you can also change the translucency level.

Better Volume Control for Mac

  1. 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.

  2. Flux - It automatically dims the brightness of your screen based on the time of the day - warm at night, bright during the day - so your eyes feel less strain. Also see the 20 20 20 rule.

  3. Text Expander - The app accelerates your touch typing by replacing pre-defined abbreviations with corresponding phrases. For instance, say ;sig to add your rich signature in the Gmail window.

  4. 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.

  5. Soundflower - If you are to record the Mac audio, like the sound coming out of the speakers, you would need SoundFlower to route that sound to the recording app instead of the speakers.

  6. JumpShare - Quickly upload files, record screencasts, capture screenshots and share them instantly, all from the convenience of your menu bar.

  7. GIF Brewery - It can convert video files and screencasts into animated GIFs and offers tons of options to fine-tune your GIF images. Also see, Giphy Capture.

  8. 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.

  9. Bandwidth+ - Monitor your Internet bandwidth usage in realtime. Especially handy when you are connected to a metered Wi-Fi hotspot.

  10. 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.

Simple File Transfer for Mac

  1. 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.

  2. WeTransfer- Send big files to anyone by simply drag and drop. You get a download link that automatically becomes inactive after 7 days.

  3. LICEcap - A light-weight screencast app for capturing any area of your Mac desktop as a small GIF file. Also see, Kap.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Better Touch Tool - The app lets you modify the gestures of your Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad. You can configure Touch Bar settings and actions too.

  8. OBS - If you ever plan to set up a live stream on Twitch or YouTube, OBS is the only streaming software you’d need.

  9. 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.

  10. To Do - A perfect todo and task management app for your Mac from Microsoft. Also see, Trello.

  11. 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.

  12. Camo - Use your iPhone or Android phone as a webcam for your Mac. The app works with Zoom, Skype, Meet and other video conferencing apps. Also see Irium.

  13. Kap - Record quick screencasts as GIFs and MP4 videos and upload them to GIPHY, Dropbox, Vercel (Now) or Amazon S3 directly from the app.

  14. - The best tool for creating diagrams and flowcharts. It’s like Microsoft Visio but completely free.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

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.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


Awards & Titles

Digital Inspiration has won several awards since it's launch in 2004.

Google Developer Expert

Google Developer Expert

Google awarded us the Google Developer Expert award recogizing our work in Google Workspace.

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

Our Gmail tool won the Lifehack of the Year award at ProductHunt Golden Kitty Awards in 2017.

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft awarded us the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for 5 years in a row.

Google Cloud Champion

Google Cloud Champion

Google awarded us the Champion Innovator title recognizing our technical skill and expertise.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date.

We will never send any spam emails. Promise.