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inquestion:this Evernote

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  3. Add a link to the website in the name of the application if possible (no direct downloads).

  4. Use ## [appName](link) for citing the application name.

  5. Only Mac OS X (not iOS, OS 9, compatible, etc) applications. All versions of OS X are accepted, but if the application requires a specific version please note.

locked by nohillside Nov 24 '13 at 9:28

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  • 15
    Voted to close — a good question, but we really should avoid subjective ones here. – apostlion Aug 17 '10 at 20:19
  • 19
    @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


Air Display

Technically this is both an iOS and Mac OS X application. What it does is let you use your iPad as a second monitor with your Mac. When I am using my Mac my iPad isn't usually in use (unless a family member stole it) so I use Air Display to make it useful while I am using my Mac. You get a 1024x768 or 768x1024 display that rotates and flips automatically - like you would expect.

The Mac portion is free, but you buy the iPad App. Runs with Windows too. Operates over WiFi, but you can always create a private network if one does not exist or it is too slow!



OmniDiskSweeper scans your hard drive telling you where your largest files are, making it easy to delete cruft. It's intelligent in how it presents this information hierarchically.



For web developers who develop websites locally on their Mac. VirtualHostX manages your Apache Virtual Hosts and enable the use of domain names that point to your local machine (even non-routable domain names.) VirtualHostX does this by managing your Mac's hosts file and your Apache httpd.conf and httpd-vhosts.conf config files. It even supports MAMP (although I don't use MAMP.)

It's one of my top 5 favorite apps and one I'd hate to do without. I use it every time I start a new project!

Screenshot of VirtualHostX

  • I much prefer MAMP. – Josh K Sep 5 '10 at 6:13
  • @Josh K - Apples and Oranges. – MikeSchinkel Nov 4 '10 at 22:10


SABnzbd is an Open Source Binary Newsreader written in Python. It's totally free, incredibly easy to use, and works practically everywhere. SABnzbd makes Usenet as simple and streamlined as possible by automating everything we can. All you have to do is add an .nzb. SABnzbd takes over from there, where it will be automatically downloaded, verified, repaired, extracted and filed away with zero human interaction.



iChm is an ebook reader for CHM (Microsoft Compiled HTML Help) files.



Postbox 2 is first class email software that puts you in the driver’s seat. Stay on task, find information quickly and act, not react.

Unified Account Groups

Focus Pane

Quick Reply

Exist both free and paid versions



a programmers' editor for OS X

An open source project that is slowly replacing TextMate for me.

  • Kod looks interesting, but it is nowhere near powerful enough for me to switch from TM at present. – Josh K Jan 31 '11 at 16:45
  • Kod is more powerful, just not enough add-on's / plugins. More importantly it's too buggy at the time (v0.0.3). That with the huge development slow-down , it isn't looking good. A lot like TM2 :0 – Ryan Gibbons Apr 10 '11 at 4:34
  • "slowly" is the word. :) look at macvim/vim for a serious all purpose text editor. I left textmate for it a while ago. – Vincent Apr 24 '11 at 15:58
  • I better throw cocoa Emacs.app in here for good measure, this or MacVim are where you go when you are finished with toy editors. (Emacs.app is my preference, however I have it heavily customized from the default, and looks a lot like my ideal version of TextMate now.) – ocodo Sep 8 '11 at 0:32


Designed for scientists, Papers manages PDFs of journal articles. Articles imported to Papers can easily have their metadata applied from journal databases. Articles can then easily be sorted by author or journal, and labeled with different categories. Papers has an associated iOS app that it syncs with.



SizeUp allows you to quickly position a window to fill exactly half the screen (splitscreen), a quarter of the screen (quadrant), full screen, or centered via the menu bar or configurable system-wide shortcuts (hotkeys). Similar to "tiled windows" functionality available on other operating systems.

  • 2
    It is Duplicate! – Zote May 2 '11 at 0:52


muCommander is a lightweight, cross-platform file manager with a dual-pane interface. It runs on any operating system with Java support (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, *BSD, Solaris...).

Here's a non-exhaustive list of what you'll find:

  • Virtual filesystem with support for local volumes, FTP, SFTP, SMB, NFS, HTTP, Amazon S3, Hadoop HDFS and Bonjour
  • Quickly copy, move, rename files, create directories, email files...
  • Browse, create and uncompress ZIP, RAR, 7z, TAR, GZip, BZip2, ISO/NRG, AR/Deb and LST archives
  • ZIP files can be modified on-the-fly, without having to recompress the whole archive
  • Universal bookmarks and credentials manager
  • Multiple windows support
  • Full keyboard access
  • Highly configurable
  • Available in 23 languages : American & British English, French, German, Spanish, Czech, Simplified & Traditional Chinese, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Slovenian, Romanian, Italian, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Slovak, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Ukrainian and Arabic.
  • Free Software (GPL)


A Finder replacement. Two panes file management program. Not as cutomizable as Total Commander but has a lot of features builtin.


Plex Media Center for OS X

Plex bridges the gap between your Mac and your home theater, doing so with a visually appealing user interface that provides instant access to your media. Plex can play a wide range of video, audio and photo formats as well as online streaming audio and video. The real power of Plex is found in its library features: Organize your media into versatile libraries, automatically retrieve metadata from the Internet, and display your libraries using one of the visually stunning skins.

Plex has all but replaced VLC as my primary media application.



If you're finding your laptop screen too bright at night even on the minimum brightness, Shady's the right guy for you. Basically, it puts a transparent overlay over your entire screen, dimming it anywhere between 0% and 90% of normal.


Adobe Creative Suite / Master Collection

The absolute KING of creative tools. Sure, the price is a bit up there, although there really isn't anything that can touch the versatility of having seventeen applications at your disposal. I've used some of these tools since their very existence (Illustrator, Photoshop) and I honestly can't imagine working without them. It would be difficult to describe what they all do; infinite possibilities.

Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat X Pro, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Contribute, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, OnLocation, Encore, Bridge, Device Central, Media Encoder, Media Encoder

◆ I'm a bit shocked this is just now making it's debut here.



An amazing calculator that does it all with a nice text-based interface.

Just type your problem as you'd write it on paper. You see your answer instantly. No setting up formulas, no equals button. If you make a mistake, you don't have to start all over again, you just hit delete.



Hiss is an OSX app that forwards notifications from Growl enabled apps to Notification Center in Mountain Lion.

Currently in beta, but it does an awesome job of piping all your Growl notifications into the Notification Center of OS X Mountain Lion. The only real downside to it is that it flags all notifications with the Growl icon.

  • 1
    I was just adding this one. – Max Ried Aug 7 '12 at 10:35

KeePassX password vault

KeePassX is a cross platform secure password saver. Like Keychain, but you can use it on your mobile phone and windows computers.

  • 3
    you really should consider lastpass. I abandoned my keepassX. – cregox Dec 23 '10 at 12:40
  • KeepassX is an ugly non-native app. Its only redeeming quality is that it is cross-platform. – titaniumdecoy Apr 9 '11 at 8:22
  • 1Password is cross platform as well, and MUCH more popular. – Bryson Jun 3 '11 at 17:23
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    I use keepassX because it is open source software, vs lastpass, 1password which are not. I'm no fan of the non-native look, but my best alternative - and I would love to be corrected on this - is to use an encrypted textfile – HectorMalot Jan 27 '13 at 12:19
  • If you don't need to share a password file with others or open it on other platforms, simply use Keychain Access (comes with OS X). Otherwise KeePassX is still handy. – Ingmar Hupp Mar 28 '13 at 11:47

Audio Hijack Pro

Audio Hijack allows you to record any sound from your Mac or input device. You can also mute certain applications. This is my go-to-application for any audio recording.

  • I love this app. There are still some regularly scheduled radio shows that this app records for me like an audio TiVo. It will also let you record the streaming radio from an app while ignoring other app or system sounds. – JoeTaxpayer Apr 5 '13 at 2:10
  • Yes that's what I use it for!! – daviesgeek Apr 5 '13 at 6:42


It's Apple's program for taking notes. Very minimalistic and fast.

Your notes can be:

  • formatted how you like
  • edited with hyperlinks
  • drag and drop pictures
  • export as *.txt
  • custom color of note

Stickies Icon



VoodooPad is a place to write down your notes and thoughts. Ideas, images, lists, passwords, your mom's apple pie recipe. Anything you need to keep track of and organize. VoodooPad will grow with you without getting in the way. Drag and drop folders, PDFs, applications, or URLs into VoodooPad, and they will link up just like on the web. And with powerful search, nothing will be lost or out of reach.

  • ..........what? – Fake Name Sep 20 '11 at 19:17


Disables sleep mode, so you can shut your lid without the system hibernating.

  • I think it may be important to mention that this is probably not a good idea for new unibody Macbook Pros since the keyboard is one of the primary ways that cool air is pulled into the laptop (the MBP only has one external vent slit for pushing air out in the back). – pithyless Feb 13 '11 at 11:16

Google's Quick Search Box

An application launcher, like Quicksilver. Having tried both, I found Quick Search Box's UI to be cleaner and the overall application to be faster.

  • 2
    QuickSilver is much more then simply an application launcher. ;) – Josh K Sep 12 '10 at 14:08


This handy tool allows you to customize OSX in various ways so that it is more efficient for you uses and allows you to access settings that you normally couldn't

  • Cocktail has even more options, but is commercial. Then there's also Secrets.prefpane. – Lri Jun 7 '11 at 16:09
  • TinkerTool provides a convenient graphical user interface for scores of customization functions that could only be accessed otherwise with command-line commands and obscure edits of system preference files. Many participants in this forum seem to prefer doing everything from the command line, but for those of us who don't, tools like TinkerTool are extremely valuable. TinkerTool will also show you customization options that you probably did not even know existed. – user9290 Aug 15 '11 at 15:55
  • Cocktail is not a substitute for TinkerTool. Cocktail's main purpose is to provide system maintenance functions such as clearing caches and repairing permissions. TinkerTool's only purpose is user interface customization. Cocktail has a few user interface customization options, but TinkerTool has many more than Cocktail in that regard. – user9290 Aug 15 '11 at 16:11
  • I have both Secrets and TinkerTool. TT is great for getting to many hidden system config options and I use Secrets for handling the rest. – CyberSkull Jan 16 '12 at 5:42


This is an awesome calculator that I have been using for at least 10 years. For basic arithmetic and quick calculations this app can't be beat.

It is also available from the Mac App store.



Fraise is a free text editor for Mac OS X Leopard 10.6 which is both easy to use and powerful. It is designed to neither confuse newcomers nor disappoint advanced users.

General-purpose text editor with extensive syntax highlighting support. Can be downloaded via MacUpdate.

  • 1
    This application is no longer developed. The original app, Smultron, which was abandonned, is now developed again (and available on the App Store). So Fraise developer said there would be no other update to Fraise. – Loïc Wolff May 29 '11 at 16:39


a free, native OS X hex editor based on the Cocoa framework.

  • Fast editing of large files.
  • Unlimited file size (limited by what the actual file system supports).
  • Small memory footprint.
  • Instant opening of files of any size.
  • Resource fork editing.
  • Full hex/text search/replace.
  • Binary/text Cut/copy/paste support.
  • Plug-in system to display your custom data types.
  • 1
    this is a great hex editor. – neoneye Dec 11 '11 at 18:31


For all those low-light situations, Nocturne is a tool for inverting colors, changing screen tint etc. So I can make the screen dimmer while keeping it readable, when the dimmest backlight setting is too bright.

I especially like the Invert hue option, which can be used to keep colors the same while inverting black/white.

  • +1 I actually use this on my on my Mac Mini connected to the TV. Its "Dim when inactive" menu bar feature (coupled with hiding the Dock) gives the appearance of a having nothing on screen but the desktop picture – binarybob Feb 8 '12 at 21:06
  • I use this to work at night for 1: saving my eyes and 2: if I want to work on my laptop in bed without pissing off my wife! – Zrb0529 Feb 26 '12 at 23:37


Overflow is an application designed to quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders while reducing the number of items needed in your Dock.



Base is an awesome tool for managing SQLite databases. It has an intuitive interface and allows you to easily create or alter tables. I especially like that the transcript shows you exactly what queries Base is executing against your database.



A simple yet powerful clipboard management tool.

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