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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

iTerm2

iTerm2 is a full featured terminal emulation program written for OS X using Cocoa. We are aiming at providing users with best command line experience under OS X. The letter i represents a native apple look and feel of the program interface, and an emphasis on complete international support.

Note: iTerm2 is based on the old iTerm and is supported by the original author.

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iTerm 2 kicks it's ass (not from the same developer) –  Slomojo Jan 31 '11 at 0:16

Reeder for Mac

Reeder

A gorgeous RSS reader based on the iOS app.

  • Syncs with Google Reader
  • Can manage Google Reader subscriptions
  • Has full Readability integration
  • Supports multi-touch gestures
  • Switches between reader and webpage view in a swipe
  • Has customizable interface and shortcuts
  • Supports Lion fullscreen mode
  • Offers quick access to services (including Twitter, Readability, Instapaper, ReadItLater and Evernote)

Reeder for Mac

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Sequel Pro

Sequel Pro is a fast, easy-to-use Mac database management application for working with MySQL databases.

Sequel Pro gives you direct access to your MySQL databases on local and remote servers.

Whether you are a Mac Web Developer, Programmer or Software Developer your workflow will be streamlined with a native Mac OS X application!

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Things

Task management tool with an that UI strikes a nice balance between simplicity and functionality. Can be synced with iPhone and iPad versions.

It's a commercial app, and not even very cheap (40€ / $53 currently), but I've come to rely on it a lot.

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One thing Things is desperately missing is proper cloud sync. (Current wifi sync is kinda ok, but it doesn't let you use Things on many computers, for example.) Cultured Code says it's in the works, but then they've said that for 1-2 years and nothing seems to be happening. :/ I've used Things for a long time and I like it a lot, but lack of this feature, and of communication, makes me consider switching to Evernote or something. –  Jonik Dec 12 '10 at 18:25
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Evernote looks like such a good alternative, but it doesn't seem to have specific To Do functions and the iPhone version is a bit Fisher Price. Things does exactly what it says it does, reliably and professionally, but cloud sync is waaaaay overdue. –  JBRWilkinson Jan 18 '11 at 22:49
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Evernote is not geared for task management. I love Things interface, but I will like it much more when cloud sync finally debuts this fall. –  Jamie Aug 15 '11 at 18:39
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I'd be a lot more interested in things if it were not 50 freaking dollars. Considering what it contains, I think it's enormously over priced. $10 would be a no-brainer. $20, and I'd probably still buy it. –  Fake Name Sep 19 '11 at 3:07

MacTeX

-- TeXLive distribution and assorted goodies for the Mac.

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BetterTouchTool

Take your Magic Mouse and add some more magic to it. Lets you do tons more gestures than OS X alone.

Works for the new trackpad and the multitouch trackpads in laptops too. It's still a bit buggy, but really, really cool.

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Technically just a utility, but I love it so much. –  r00fus Sep 15 '10 at 4:22
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It would be awesome if not so buggy and heavy. –  Cawas Dec 23 '10 at 13:05

Sublime Text 2

Sublime Text has grown to become my favorite GUI code editor. It feels like a spiritual successor to TextMate (even allowing support for some TextMate bundles like snippets and themes), and has many original+natural features like fully independent text cursors, a very nice search feature, and a rapidly-growing plugin API and surrounding community.

I liked it so much I wrote an inline lint plugin.

enter image description here

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If I could upvote this ten times. The most awesome, the most underrated editor. Actually it's the first code editor I fell in love with on Mac. I also suggest checking out Will Bond's page of Sublime Text 2 plugins. –  Dan Oct 13 '11 at 12:07

Coda

Coda is the only web-language-text-editor I like. It does everything you really need for web applications. It remember some common part of code in clips that you can load just by typing their tag name, it completes your html tags, it shows you the list of functions with related variables and autocomplete, it has the powerful Transmit ftp engine built in, it has a great visual CSS editor, it allows you to personalize the text colors and it has HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP doumentation maulaus available from within the application.

Never seen all these features in just one application!

From the developer's website:

So, we code web sites by hand. And one day, it hit us: our web workflow was wonky. We’d have our text editor open, with Transmit open to save files to the server. We’d be previewing in Safari, adjusting SQL in a Terminal, using a CSS editor and reading references on the web. “This could be easier,” we declared. “And much cooler.”

Screen Capture

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I don't understand why this wasn't upvoted more, Coda is so awesome! –  Josh Dec 1 '10 at 14:04
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Yep it is, freaking awesome. –  Sofffia Dec 1 '10 at 14:06
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Looks awesome - you should maybe mention that it costs $100. –  Jason Sundram Jan 16 '11 at 7:26

Skitch

Skitch allows you to take screenshots on your Mac, edit them and share them with others. It makes the sharing process seamless by making it a natural workflow to send the image (with edited arrows and other highlights helpful to your client) to them via email or automatic website uploads. It is especially popular with the designer community, as they show their clients rough drafts of their work in a nearly automated process. It makes it simple to work remotely with someone and pass on work revisions and get feedback quickly. Other uses include:

  • Snap a website
  • Capture a chat moment
  • Screenshot an application
  • iSight snap your bad hair day
  • Quickly sketch an idea
  • Tap into your iPhoto Library
  • Re-open images from your Skitch History
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LaunchBar

LaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital life. Whatever you want to get done on your Mac – with LaunchBar it’s only a few keystrokes away.

Indespensible as a keyboard utility to launch applications, open websites, search the web and a million other things.

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It's also a great clipboard manager, giving access to history via a keystroke. One of the most feature-rich apps I've used. –  evanmcd Aug 21 '10 at 23:58

F.lux

f.lux makes your computer screen look like the room you're in, all the time. When the sun sets, it makes your computer look like your indoor lights. In the morning, it makes things look like sunlight again.

Tell f.lux what kind of lighting you have, and where you live. Then forget about it. F.lux will do the rest, automatically.

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CloudApp


alt text

What a fantastic little App... it makes easy to share allmost any file instantly and when you create a screenshot it automatically uploads it to the web and you have the short URL ready to be pasted anywhere.

a simple Cmd + SHIFT + 4 and ... Paste the url :)

...and you have RainDrops to share other content as photos from iPhoto directly and more

alt text

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TextWrangler

TextWrangler is the (free) powerful general purpose text editor, and Unix and server administrator’s tool. It is a powerful and richly featured tool for composing, modifying, and transforming text stored in plain-text files.

Among other things, it can open files from (and save them) to remote FTP and SFTP servers, offers a powerful grep engine, supports multi-byte and non-Roman text files, can perform Find Differences on pairs of files or folders, and can be invoked from the Unix command line.

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+1 if you don't want to fork over the cash for BBEdit, TextWrangler is a fantastic alternative, with all of the basic (yet extremely powerful) text editing tools you'll need. –  Dave DeLong Mar 9 '11 at 8:06

TotalFinder

Improves the finder by adding a tabbed view, as well as other less interesting features. I didn't realize how addicted to this I was until I got a new Mac and couldn't figure out why I couldn't open another finder tab. :-)

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The only thing missing is more shortcuts like a shortcut to move files around in the dual pane mode –  Julien Grenier Feb 1 '11 at 4:10
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It's worth noting that you can use it indefinitely for free. The only difference between paid and free is a little banner on the title-bar, and the warm fuzzies you get from supporting a great project. –  Fake Name Sep 20 '11 at 19:21

iTunes

quote from Thilo:

I absolutely hate this app, but at the same time I (or rather my iPods) cannot live without it.

Please, Steve, make iTunes optional for iPods and iPads.

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I actually really like iTunes in Mac OSX. The Windows version, not so much; but Mediamonkey (a Windows-only app) can manage music on iPods and iPads, and multiple Linux apps can also manage them. –  Ricket Dec 10 '10 at 1:50
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Maybe Apple will transition the iOS App Store into the App Store app on Lion, and open up the APIs for backup/sync so developers can make third party replacements for iTunes! But probably not. –  Bryson Jun 3 '11 at 17:25
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My love/hate for iTunes is that it tries to do everything in one app. (What does organizing apps on your iPhone have to do with "Tunes"?) –  Andrew Vit Sep 7 '11 at 2:06
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Now you don't need iTunes for a lot of things (OTA updates, Setup, etc.) –  Martín Marconcini Feb 10 '12 at 1:39

iStat Menus

Displays customizable system monitoring information like CPU, memory and network usage and hardware temperatures in the menu bar. So like MenuMeters but a bit nicer in my opinion.

iStat Menus 3 by Bjango

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Sparrow

Sparrow's hallmark is a simplified user interface reminiscent of Twitter clients such as Tweetie or iOS apps, as opposed to a more traditional e-mail style such as Apple's Mail or Mozilla Thunderbird.

Sparrow currently supports all IMAP email accounts. It also includes features such as drag-and-drop attachments, Growl support, and keyboard shortcuts, as well as threaded replies and easy switching between Gmail accounts.

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Notational Velocity

is an application that stores and retrieves notes.

It is an attempt to loosen the mental blockages to recording information and to scrape away the tartar of convention that handicaps its retrieval. The solution is by nature nonconformist.

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could make your answer community wiki, please? –  Loïc Wolff Aug 20 '10 at 12:13
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+1, and I'll add nvALT, a fork of Notational Velocity that adds support for Markdown, Textile and MultiMarkdown in Preview and a bunch more: brettterpstra.com/project/nvalt –  Matthew Frederick Feb 20 '11 at 3:52

BBEdit

Hands down the best plain-text editor I've ever used.

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You get what you pay for. –  Philip Regan Aug 31 '10 at 20:35
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@titaniumdecoy say what? it has built-in syntax highlighting for dozens of languages. Down in the bottom left of every window, there's a thing that says "(none)". click that to show a popup menu of all the built-in languages. you can add even more via plugins. i've been using it for bash and ruby scripting all week, and the syntax highlighting has been just fine. –  Dave DeLong Apr 9 '11 at 17:12
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It doesn't suck. –  Sherm Pendley Apr 17 '11 at 19:32

Microsoft Office

Office for Mac 2011 is the best option for Mac users who share documents at home, work, or at school.
It comes packed with powerful features for creating artful documents, dynamic spreadsheets, and effective presentations. Plus it’s compatible. You can be confident that your documents will open correctly on Mac or PC.

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I think iWork pwns :) –  rightfold Aug 25 '10 at 12:48
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+1 just because I don't get the down votes. I don't particularly enjoy using MS Office, but there are some things it does really well when you get MS Office documents from others. If you're an academic, a lawyer, a project manager, or a sales person, it is a pretty useful piece of software. –  Jarret Hardie Aug 25 '10 at 23:02
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academics use TeX (pronounced 'tech' please! :D) –  Carmine Paolino Aug 28 '10 at 16:39
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+1 because even though I think Office as a whole is an absolute beast of bloatware, Excel has a place in a lot of my processes. Numbers tries a little too hard to be different, I think. –  Philip Regan Aug 31 '10 at 20:37
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@Carmine That's quite an assumption you make there. I'm an academic and enjoy using TeX myself, but the majority of my colleagues are very uncomfortable with it, both in concept and in practice. –  Daniel Standage Jan 18 '11 at 14:24

Parallels Desktop

Gives almost(!) seamless Windows OS and apps integration.

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Although I’m a VMware and Parallels user, Parallels has the tendency to charge you 49€/year for the “50% faster” newer versions. At the rate Parallels has advertised the speed increase, the virtualized version should be faster than native these days… –  Martín Marconcini Nov 30 '10 at 14:50

Skim

  • PDF reader and note-taker.
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It's a great application to present slides in PDF format. Preview.app always has this irritating overlay you can't disable. –  Raim Sep 6 '10 at 3:56

Carbon Copy Cloner

Clone, synchronize, backup.

CCC 3 features an interface designed to make the cloning and backup procedure very intuitive. In addition to general backup, CCC can also clone one hard drive to another, copying every single block or file to create an exact replica of your source hard drive. CCC's block-level copy offers the absolute fastest performance and highest fidelity in the industry!

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Yep, this is an app of the highest quality. Another 'must have'. –  boehj Apr 10 '11 at 9:08

Spotify

For listening to music off the internet. This definitely has become one of the pieces of software I would first install (on a Mac or any other computer).

Note: Spotify is available only in some countries; currently:
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Wikipedia article has details.

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Yeah, the spotify launch in the US has been just months away for over a year... –  Jason Sundram Jan 16 '11 at 7:04

Acorn

I have Photoshop, but Acorn is an amazing, lightweight and cheap alternative I go to way, way more often.

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OmniFocus

OmniFocus is designed to quickly capture your thoughts and allow you to store, manage, and process them into actionable to-do items. Perfect for the Getting Things Done® system, but flexible enough for any task management style, OmniFocus helps you work smarter by giving you powerful tools for staying on top of all the things you need to do.

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µTorrent

One of the best light weight BitTorrent clients.

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Vuze is better :) –  balexandre Sep 8 '10 at 13:39
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transmission is better :) –  Robert S Ciaccio Sep 9 '10 at 5:50
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@calavera rather than better I’d say transmission is lighter (by far) ;) (note: I use transmission) –  Martín Marconcini Nov 30 '10 at 14:53

TotalTerminal (formerly Visor)

  • "A system-wide terminal on a hot-key." I press ctrl-T (the hot key I chose), and a tab-able terminal window slides down from the top of my screen. This invaluable for anyone who, like me, is constantly between the terminal and other apps.

This great little tool was originally by Blacktree, who made Quicksilver.

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Hyperdock

Brilliant.

HyperDock adds long awaited features to your Dock: Select single application windows just by moving the mouse on a dock item, use mouse clicks to quickly open new windows and many more. alt text

Control iTunes. Hover the mouse over the iTunes dock item to view information about the current song, You can pause or skip songs and even adjust volume just by scrolling on the itunes icon. alt text

And many more...

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This will be really great when the iron out the bugs. –  Robert S Ciaccio Oct 16 '10 at 14:17

Daisy Disk

DaisyDisk scans your disks and presents their content as interactive maps where you can easily spot unusually large files and remove them to get more free space. The map gives you an overview of your data, so you always know what your hard disks are filled with.

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