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locked by patrix Nov 24 '13 at 9:28

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Voted to close — a good question, but we really should avoid subjective ones here. –  apostlion Aug 17 '10 at 20:19
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@Apostlion: Simply because it's subjective does not mean it can't be answered. There are (community defined) "good" applications that are useful on a daily basis. –  Josh K Aug 17 '10 at 20:22
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Voted to reopen - it is subjective, but a popular and useful style of question, if kept as a wiki and not repeated too much. These questions are mostly accepted on gadgets.stackexhange.com for example. –  Jon Hadley Aug 17 '10 at 21:08
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Can we make this Community Wiki? And also 1 app per answer? Much easier to check if something has already been said and to edit to add information about said app. Thank you. –  Loïc Wolff Aug 19 '10 at 20:39
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I did a lot of cleanup. Changed all the app names to ## (because it was the most commonly used in the existing answers. Moved links so that they were within the app names. Removed some first-person descriptors. –  Robert S Ciaccio Aug 23 '10 at 3:18

239 Answers 239

Cinch

I literally couldn't stand to use the Mac without this software. When I want to full screen an app I just drag the app's title bar to the menu bar and it "cinches" itself to full screen. A must have for Mac.

Edit: Cinch also allows making a window fill the left/right/upper/lower half of your screen (similar to Windows Snap). Very useful for copy-pasting and comparing.

Screenshot of Cinch Preferences Screenshot of Cinch About

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+1, it's a very useful utility. Though my iMac 27" is so big that I rarely use it :-) –  Marc Sep 14 '10 at 21:35
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As an aside, bettertouchtool now has the same functionality, so if you're using both you can save a little bit of resources. –  Alex Larzelere Sep 17 '10 at 12:03
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I actually got used to not have everything maximized, unlike when I was a maximizor freak on windows, once I started using OSX. but nice app! :P –  Cawas Dec 23 '10 at 13:03
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You can always click <Shift> + maximize button (green button) and you'll get the same functionality. For free... –  CarlosZ Mar 13 '11 at 0:41
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Actually BetterTouchTool does this...for free! –  daviesgeek Nov 12 '11 at 18:19

Versions

GUI Subversion client. From their website:

Versions provides a pleasant way to work with Subversion on your Mac. Whether you're a hardcore Subversion user or new to version control systems, Versions will help streamline your workflow.

I will say up front that it doesn't inherently support all of Subversion's features, but it does make managing source code and important document for solo developers and small groups much, much easier than dealing with the command line. It's one of the three apps that gets opened with my "AM" script.

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Calibre

calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books. It has a cornucopia of features divided into the following main categories:

  • Library Management
  • E-book conversion
  • Syncing to e-book reader devices
  • Downloading news from the web and converting it into e-book form
  • Comprehensive e-book viewer
  • Content server for online access to your book collection
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Eclipse IDE (free)

Awesome, open source, well-featured IDE primarily for Java, but also supports C++, PHP, and Python, among others. Also has a wealth of third-party plugins.

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Why downvoted? If you can live without Eclipse, perhaps just abstain from upvoting this? –  Jonik Aug 25 '10 at 8:27
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Maybe they hate Eclipse as much as me. –  Josh K Aug 30 '10 at 11:39
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Yeah, definitely not a fan. Very un-Mac-like. –  mummey Jan 30 '11 at 18:19
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Eclipse is a fine example of a product designed by committee. It tries to do everything, only to fail miserably at all of them. –  edgerunner May 9 '11 at 7:58
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Well, for windows migrants like me, Eclipse feels like being at home. I agree that it's UI is not at par with mac, but still I use it for my android development. –  noob Nov 10 '12 at 12:56

Lastpass

Yet another password manager (actually, probably the first one online, I believe prior to 1pass) that integrates well with every browser (well, at least Safari, Chrome and Firefox). You have even an option to use yubikeys with it. I use it for long time and it's just amazing. It does everything I would expect and little more. It monitors when you change password, have a KB of websites and really gets almost all of them, while allow you to configure whenever field with login and password you want. And it's multiplatform.

Back in 2010 it bought Xmarks and must integrate with that as well.

It's completely free to use but it does offer a premium subscription for extra (and unnecessary) features. I personally paid for it as a donation, since I really never use the features.

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iChat

I know a lot of people use Adium, and I did too for a long time. But iChat just does what I want and does it slightly more elegantly, so I switched.

I personally can't live without:

  • audio and Video calls;
  • it can stay in the menu bar without launching the application, and log in at startup (if you are familiar with UNIX, it's like a daemon mode);
  • support for Jabber.

I also use it for MSN via a Jabber transport, which basically lets me connect to MSN through a jabber server, integrating the two seamlessly. Since there are a lot of transport-enabled servers – for ICQ and AIM (which, by the way, are also supported natively in iChat), IRC, Gadu-Gadu, QQ and of course MSN – you can benefit from iChat's simple interface with whatever IM service you use.

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Divvy

Application for moving and resizing windows using a "grid" approach.

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AppCleaner

It's small and powerful tool for remove/ uninstalling your applications on OS X.

I use it frequently, it even helps you to remove Cache created the the application from your Mac.

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Colloquy

Excellent IRC client that is open source.

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SizeUp

Allows you to set keyboard shortcuts for moving windows to certain halves and quarters of the desktop, as well as between desktops when using multiple monitors.

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Activity Monitor

A task manager, a utility for performing different tasks to a computer processes, in the Mac OS X operating system. Some of its functions include:

  • Quitting or "killing" a computer process
  • Viewing the computer's CPU load
  • Checking the amount of random access memory in use or swapped out
  • Checking the amount of hard disk read-ins and write-outs
  • Checking the capacity of storage devices
  • Monitoring the computer's network usage
  • Inspecting running computer processes
  • Viewing a process identifier number
  • Viewing information about a particular process
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TextExpander

Simply the best. Save keystroke even if you just use it to write your email address.

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Jumpcut

Minimalist Clipboard Buffering for OS X

Jumpcut is an application that provides "clipboard buffering" — that is, access to text that you've cut or copied, even if you've subsequently cut or copied something else. The goal of Jumpcut's interface is to provide quick, natural, intuitive access to your clipboard's history.

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NetNewsWire

Easy-to-use RSS reader that syncs with Google Reader (but it doesn't have to). I think my favorite part is that the UI can be completely and logically navigated with the arrow keys even the action of opening a feed entry in your default browser.

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Twitter

The best Twitter client there is. In perfect sync with the web app itself.

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Path Finder

Path Finder = Finder + Automatic viewer + Shell + Screen Capture + Almost everything you need

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Thunderbird

On the whole, still the best email app I know for any platform.

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Thunderbird works great with imap to my gmail account. Microsoft Entourage is somewhat buggy with imap and crashes all the time. Apple Mail is incredibly slow with imap. Thankfully there is Thunderbird. Besides Thunderbird has plugins similar to Firefox. –  neoneye Apr 9 '11 at 13:58
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Thunderbird is not without its quirks, but I like it better than Mac Mail. –  Aboutimage Sep 7 '11 at 1:35

gfxCardStatus

gfxCardStatus is an open-source menu bar application that keeps track of which graphics card your dual-GPU MacBook Pro is using at any given time, and allows you to switch between them on demand. (free, donationware)


If you have a dual-GPU MBP, you absolutely NEED this program! Did you know that some common applications such as Skype enable your high-powered Nvidia graphics card the entire time they're running? I use it to force my MBP to switch to the power-saving Intel graphics chip when I'm on battery. It adds an extra hour or so of battery life which would otherwise be wasted just because I keep Skype online for chatting.

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this is absolutely essential for me –  Robert S Ciaccio Nov 22 '10 at 1:49

Air Video Server (Free)

Air Video Server screenshot

Associate to an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, through their 2.99 App this is the best solution to see all your downloaded movies in your devices.

There is a Windows version as well.


Added

Since iOS 4.3, iTunes Home Sharing is now available for all iDevices, and there is no need of having Air Video, though, you wil need to import all your movies into iTunes in order to be accessible cross network.

For me, I will still stick with Air Video for a long time :o)

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Little Snitch - Firewall

  • rule based traffic filtering
  • connection alert for undefined rules
  • network monitor

also see: Hands Off!

enter image description here

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Aquamacs

  • emacs on the Mac.
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Not just emacs, but emacs that feels like a Mac app -- at least, as much as you want it to. (Very configurable.) –  khedron Oct 16 '10 at 3:13

DTerm

A terminal window for every application. Press a hotkey (I have mine set to Cmd-Opt-Space), and a floating command line pops up over your current window, initialized to the current directory of that window.

Another hotkey allows you to easily paste the name of your current document or Finder selection.

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MenuMeters

I have a hard time using a Mac without it these days. How does anyone -- especially a programmer -- work without having the pulse of their Mac at their fingertips? How else do you tell when your browser is stuck or is really downloading something, if you can't see the network traffic? When the computer pauses, and you want to know if it's working, just look at the menu to see that the CPU gauges are pegged at 100% -- and much of that is in the kernel. At a glance, I can instantly see that memory consumption has rocketed up, and with a click I can see that I'm heavily into swap space. It's just so useful.

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Filezilla

No matter what OS, Filezilla had been everywhere I go, and when you start to use it, you can never really get rid off it.

The interface is simple and intuitive, with bookmarks, tree sync, multiple connections on tabs, etc.

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MacFuse

MacFUSE allows you to extend Mac OS X's native file handling capabilities via 3rd-party file systems. It is used as a software building block by dozens of products.

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Awesome when combined with MacFusion. –  neoneye Aug 28 '10 at 12:10

MAMP

(MAMP = Mac Apache MySQL PHP)

Apache Webserver, MySQL Database and PHP in one Package. Easy installation and easy to use for local development of Websites/Webapps.

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Both Apache and PHP are preinstalled with Mac OS, and installing MySQL is a double-click away. –  zneak Sep 16 '10 at 22:12

Movist

The best movie player for Mac OS X based on QuickTime & FFmpeg. Opens all types of video files and loads quicker than any other app for movies I've ever used.

Features I like:

  • file support - plays amazingly well .mkv not to mention all the rest
  • simple and minimal UI
  • excellent keyboard shortcuts support
  • switch from FFmpeg to Quicktime playback with a single click
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SuperDuper!

I'm amazed it hasn't been mentioned as an answer already. It's saved my data on more than one occasion from catastrophic hard drive failure.

From its website: SuperDuper is the wildly acclaimed program that makes recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup painless. Its incredibly clear, friendly interface is understandable, easy to use, and SuperDuper's built-in scheduler makes it trivial to back up automatically. It's the perfect complement to Time Machine under Leopard and Snow Leopard, allowing you to store a bootable backup alongside your Time Machine volume—and it runs beautifully on both Intel and Power PC Macs!

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Garageband

This program is, in some ways, the embarrassing bastard child of the audio world. It's an underpowered, feature-crippled version of Logic, one of the best-regarded multitracking applications in the recording world.

Nonetheless, Gagareband is very powerful, and does what I need it to do. While I'd appreciate more flexibility (tempo matching would be nice, and the ability to change time signatures within a project), and the program doesn't handle multiple layers of effects as well as I'd like, it performs brilliantly at what it does do, and it's insanely easy to learn.

Garageband is one of the main reasons I haven't ditched my G5 Mac for a Windows or Linux machine I took so long to replace my G5 mac. (Now I use GB and Logic on a Macbook Pro.)

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Go Garageband! I love using it! –  daviesgeek Sep 19 '11 at 2:22

Picasa

Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great.

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I wished they had Picasa Viewer inbuilt like windows version. –  noob Nov 10 '12 at 13:01

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