Favourite MacOS Applications

I’ve been an Apple user since I bought my first white MacBook in 2005. Since that time, I’ve found a number of great software applications that I feel are completely essential. While a number of them are quite popular, others are more obscure. This page is both a way to promote the lesser known titles, and keep a reference list of core software.

1Password lock screen

1Password

Publisher: Agilebits

An application that I use every single day. 1Password securely stores all my login information, software licences, and personal data. The software integrates smoothly with both Safari and Chrome, making generating and storing dedicated, randomized passwords easy.

f.lux screenshot

f.lux

Publisher: F.lux Software

Crucial for anyone that uses their computer late at night. By automatically reducing the blue tones in monitor display light, f.lux makes twilight computer use less harsh on the eyes. Supposedly, blue light disrupt sleep patterns, so reducing exposure before bed helps to improve sleep.

Spectacle screenshot

Spectacle

Publisher: Eric Czarny

Spectacle is a window manager that uses keyboard shortcuts to arrange open windows on the screen to pre-defined locations. For example, hit Command-Option-Left Arrow to move the window to the left half of the screen. Command-Option-Right Arrow the opposite (snapping to the right half of the screen).

In most ways, Spectacle is like every other window manager out there. The major difference, and why it is on this list, is that it is open source software! The source is available on Github, while the binaries can be downloaded from the Spectacle website.

Screenshot of iTerm2

iTerm2

Publisher: George Nachman

A super-powered, more customizable version of the built-in terminal emulator in MacOS. Also great because it is open source!

Screenshot of Xslimmer

Xslimmer

Publisher: LateNiteSoft

I can’t remember how long I’ve owned Xslimmer. Its easily been installed on my computer for 10 years. That should indicate how useful it is.

MacOS and third-party applications often include a number of additional, but unnecessary files. They are necessary for compatibility of the software with systems and regions, but provide no value to individual end users.

For example, an application may include additional language files and support for other processors. The latter part was really only relevant when Apple still supported PowerPC chips. Those files are completely useless to users like me who only need English language and support for an Intel chip.

Using Xslimmer is still relevant today. Running its process every few months can easily recover several hundred megabytes of disk space.

Update: I just visited LateNiteSoft’s website and noticed that Xslimmer was discontinued 5 years ago! It still seems to work on my system. If anyone is aware of a modern alternative, please let me know.