Mac Tools

Here are some MacOS (and iOS) applications which I use all the time.


Having a tool to reliably and securely store a lot of passwords is essential for almost everyone nowadays. 1Password does that and keeps them synced across devices. This is my top pick because if I were to loose this tool it would take me a long time to recover, both the access and the peace of mind.

1Password Website

Things is a well thought out and beautifully designed app to keep track of todo items. Many people use OmniFocus, which also seems to be a great tool, but I don't need the extra power. Life is already complicated, I don't need my todo app to be that way too. Things gives the right amount of features, specifically relating to classification, for my needs. It also syncs across my devices.

Things Website

Bear is a beautiful, flexible writing app for crafting notes. I use Apple Notes to keep track of random ephemeral things, such as shopping lists and quick meeting notes. When I want to keep a note for a longer period of time, it goes into Bear. Bear allows me to write quickly using markdown, but it is not spartan. It also syncs across my devices.

Bear Website

Spotlight used to be great, but now it struggles to show the most relevant results. And, it's so slow at times that the results will change just when you are getting ready to choose something. Also, I'm a terrible speller and Alfred offers spelling corrections.

Alfred Website

All Mac users need a browser that isn't Safari. Don't get me wrong, I like Safari, but it's amazing how frequently I still find sites which break on Safari (though I sometimes blame the new IE, Chrome). I seriously started using Firefox when it first came out, then I used Chrome for a while, but now I'm back on Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox Website
Dark Sky

This app gives very good hyper-local, short-range weather forecasts. Do I pack up and go home or stay and wait out the storm? This app has helped me choose wisely many times.

Dark Sky Website

Sometimes I want my window to be full-screen, but not the full-screen that hides the menu bar, like what the green button used to do before full-window full-screen was a thing. That's why I got Magnet. If I pull a window to the top of the screen then it automagically snaps to full screen. When I have my external monitors attached it is also useful for arranging VSCode to take up 2/3 and iTerm to take up 1/3. I only need this device when I am docked.

Magnet Website

A powerful keyboard customizer for macOS. This is needed so that external keyboard function keys (f1-f12) act as the native Mac hotkeys. I only need this device when I am docked.

Karabiner Website

Update: Now I just use the built-in terminal command caffeinate, but I activate it through Alfred.

Caffeine is a tiny program that puts an icon in the right side of your menu bar. Click it to prevent your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Click it again to go back. Right-click (or ⌘-click) the icon to show the menu.