Great Mac Apps That I Wish Were Built-In to macOS

One of things that make a Mac way better than iOS for power users is the ability to customize a bunch of things. While Apple has steadily been deprecating (& removing) older insecure ways to extend system functionality, and in the process, making a lot of these apps non-functional, there’s still a few gems that I simply can’t live without.

Most of these are tools with extremely simple functionality that I wish Apple had built-in to macOS ages ago. Here’s a few:

Yoink

Yoink makes drag-and-drop easy. Here’s how it works:

It’s extremely simple but a life-saver when you want a “shelf” for copy-pasted content. Yoink can accept pretty much anything, including text, and it conveniently appears only when you start dragging. It’s a perfect example of a great system add-on.

PixelSnap

PixelSnap measures distances on your screen. As a web developer, this has been invaluable multiple times in creating pixel-perfect layouts and when you simply can’t trust your eye.

Krisp

When you are working from home, a great no-nonsense microphone and speaker boosting app is a must. Krisp removes all annoying noises, boosts volume, removes distractions and in the new version (although it does not work on M1 Macs yet) has a Krisp camera module that brings great virtual backgrounds to every app.

How it works is extremely simple: you just select a Krisp virtual speaker and mic in every app, and that’s it!

Magnet

Magnet is my preferred solution for window management on a Mac. It’s a menubar app and mostly does not have a UI. I’ve turned off window snapping since I’m always irritated by it, and only use keyboard shortcuts to move windows around. Magnet can also moves windows between monitors, which is lifesaver now that I’ve started using dual displays again. The default keyboard shortcuts are intuitive and easy to remember and don’t clash with any other editor I use. It’s ⌘⌥⌃← to move windows to the left screen for example.

This is the #1 feature I wish had been built-in to the Mac.

Raycast

Raycast is the modern, extensible Spotlight replacement. Spotlight is frankly way, way better than most launchers on Linux, but Raycast is 5x better than that.

It’s also—most importantly—as fast, or faster than Spotlight at everything it does. I’ve disabled the system shortcut ⌘-Space, and made Raycast the primary launcher.

CleanShot

CleanShot is what I’ve been using to make these demo screenshots and videos. While Maverick really improved the Mac screenshot interface and brought parity with iOS (including enabling screen recordings), CleanShot still has one feature that is invaluable when sharing screenshots and screencaps: a native upload to cloud feature that generates short urls with just a click of the button.

I also have the keyboard shortcuts in this set to the same ones as the system shortcuts, and I’ve disabled the in-built screenshot functionality.

Vanilla

If you install all my suggested apps above, menu-bar management will quickly become a must have. That’s where Vanilla comes into play. Again, a very easy to use interface that really should’ve been built-in to the Mac:

Vanilla hides extra icons behind a left caret, and expands it when clicked:

The Vanilla icon itself is the silent dot in the middle, that has options when clicked:

A simple app that is an absolute must have.

Dato

Dato is a great replacement for the default Mac menu-bar date-time indicator. It makes it so much more useful. Instead of showing the widgets when you click it (who made that decision btw? So freaking weird), you now get a proper calendar listing with your upcoming meetings and timezones of your team members:

It’s an absolute great thing to have always on your menu bar.


That’s it! If there’s a Mac app that you love and use every day I’d appreciate a comment here, or a ping on twitter: @vishnugopal.

1 Comment

  1. I love Krisp.ai and Magnet for sure! I am curious to check out some of the others. I have seen CleanShot mentioned quite often but I have been using Droplr for so long now that it is hard to think about switching. 🤔

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