30+ Apps That Use Your Mac Hardware in Unique Ways

Did you know your MacBook Pro has a motion sensor? The hardware in your Mac – no matter which Mac you own – has some great features that you might have not even ever realized. We keep coming across fun apps that show some of the more unique ways you can use your Mac’s hardware, so we decided to put them together in a roundup.

Before we start though, we would like to point out that there are a couple handy articles throughout this roundup. These articles will help you enhance and customize the way you use some hardware features on your Mac. The rest of the roundup is filled with fun and useful apps that can make your Mac even more useful. With that, let’s begin!

The Fun Stuff In Your Mac

No matter what Mac you have, you’ve at least got a hard drive or SSD, a processor, and memory. You’ll have an iSight or Facetime HD camera, unless you have a Mac Mini, and will likely have a multitouch trackpad unless you’ve opted for a Magic Mouse. Most MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros’ keyboards have a backlight. If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro with a traditional hard drive, you’ll also have a Sudden Motion Sensor (which Apple refers to as SMS in its documentation, so we’ve done the same here). You’ll also have a microphone built-in.

Is all this enough to have fun with? Absolutely.

Multi-touch Gesture Apps

Touchgrind

Ever played with those finger skateboards? Touchgrind is an awesome game that basically brings finger boarding to your Mac. Be warned though, this game requires multi-touch technology, so that means that some MacBooks won’t be able to play this (unless you have an external peripheral).

Inklet

Inklet

Don’t have the money to get a pen tablet? Use Inklet to turn your multi-touch trackpad into a tablet for your Macbook. If you are on the fence between getting a tablet or not, try this app out first. There is a free version after all.

Quicksilver

Adding Gestures to Quicksilver

Want to use your multi-touch trackpad to launch applications with Quicksilver? Check out this article. Quicksilver will take of those gestures and turn them into actions.

nexTab

NexTab is a very small app, but it can combat a small annoyance some may have if they use their trackpad 80 percent of the time. The app basically allows you to switch, close or open new browser tabs. Simple as that.

Numeric

Numeric is a simple calculator that allows you to use your trackpad to input the numbers as you would on a normal calculator. Now, based on the comments and visual determination, it clearly displays a clever idea, but be aware that you might not know what key you are pressing since your trackpad isn’t an LCD display yet (which would be pretty cool).

1112

1112 is an episodic adventure game that allows you to use your trackpads multi-touch features. Customer reviews are mixed here, but it is a game after all – not everyone will like 1112′s gameplay style.

Autograph

Want to use your handwritten marks everywhere on your computer? Check out Autograph. Autograph is a small app that uses your Multi-Touch Trackpad to allow you to autograph an email, instant messages, and others.

PDF Signer

Need to quickly sign a PDF and don’t want to deal with scanning your signature or doing anything else? Check out PDF Signer. This app lets you do just that. You can use your trackpad as a drawing pad in order to input your signature.

Signature

Signature is another signature application that uses your trackpad as a drawing pad so you can use your handwritten signature anywhere you want. This one looks a little more stylish than others. It also works with just about any multi-touch enabled peripheral.

jitouch

We are including Jitouch to the list because even though this is a multi-touch enhancing application, it also makes gestures more Flutter/Kinect like. That means you can use your trackpad and gesture in various different ways in order to tell your computer what to do.

Trackpad Magic

Trackpad Magic is a rather silly way to pass time and enjoy your Mac’s multi-touch capabilities. It basically transforms your gestures into a light show or tones. Give it a try just for fun.

Lock Screen Plus

Lock Screen Plus is the cool way to lock your screen. Whether you just want a cool way to lock your screen or you want to display a sexy lock screen theme, this app has your back. There is a Metro theme for those out there who enjoy Windows 8′s new UI.

Enhance

Trackpad Enhancing Apps

Want more ways to enhance and customize your trackpads and Magic Mouses? Check out this roundup. In it, you will find many useful applications.

Ink

Don’t want to buy or deal with third party apps? Use Ink instead! Ink is your Mac’s built-in handwriting recognition application that works. Check out the link above to learn how to use it.

Signature Scanner

Preview’s Signature Scanner

Want to sign PDFs but don’t want to deal with other apps either? Open that PDF in preview, and then let it use your Mac’s built-in iSight to take a snapshot of your signature. Just know that this feature is only available to those with OS X Lion and up.

Sudden Motion Sensor Apps

Tunnel

Tunnel

Tunnel is a little hard to describe, to be honest. To sum things up, Tunnel is a game that utilizes your Mac’s SMS as controls. Tilt away and see if you can dominate this game.

PacMan

Play PackMac using Tilt2Joystick

Want to play PacMan by tilting your computer? Check out this video on how to use a few apps to do just that. There is a link to the tutorial video on the description and a link to the Tilt2Joystick application that uses your SMS data. Give it a try.

MacSaber

Get ready to grab your Macbook and swing it around (grab your machine tightly, though). MacSaber transforms your computer into a lightsaber by utilizing your Mac’s SMS. Every time you move or swing your Mac, you’ll hear the iconic lightsaber sound effects. This is your chance to choose a side, young Padawans.

LiquidMac

Want to make your friends or relatives think your Mac’s screen is full of water? This is your chance. This is yet another cool way to showcase your Mac’s SMS. You can even combine this app and Macsaber.

Siesmac

SeisMac

If you want to put your Mac’s Sudden Motion Sensor to better, less Jedi-like use, give SiesMac a try. This little application uses the SMS to display seismic waves. It can also measure your heartbeat if you put your laptop to your chest. Hmm. interesting.

Newton Virus

Newton Virus

Newton Virus is probably one of the coolest uses of your Mac’s SMS. This app literally introduces Newton’s principle law to your laptop. If you tilt your laptop to one side, all of your desktop elements will fall down. Gravity. Awesome. The only sad thing is, it’s no longer available for download. Still, it’s worth checking out just to see it in action.

iAlertU

iAlertU

iAlertU uses your Macbook’s SMS to detect movement and then it starts to take a video with the computer’s built-in iSight. Quite nifty. Perhaps you can use these kind of apps for when you are at your school’s library.

iSight Apps

Flutter

Things like Leap and Kinect could one day be the future of how you interact with your OS. You know, ala Tony Stark. If you want to try how that will be like, check out Flutter. It is dubbed as “kinect for Mac”. Is it? that is for you to decide. It may be nothing like what Leap will bring, but hey, fun app nonetheless.

FluidTunes

Fluid Tunes works like Flutter, but it only gives you control over your iTunes music. If for some reason you don’t want to give Flutter a try, maybe you can give this little app a test run.

ToySight Gold

ToySight Gold

What if you want to use iSight as Kinect but for gaming? Well, if you remember there use to be a PlayStation 2 peripheral called the EyeToy (later released for the PS3 as the PlayStation Eye). If you want to have some silly times with the family in front of your iSight, check ToySight Gold out. It basically works like an EyeToy game.

Video Tennis

Just like Flutter or ToySight Gold, Video Tennis uses your iSight camera to detect your movements as you play a game of tennis/pong. This is also another fun game you can play with the family to waste some time.

Should I Sleep

Talk about your computer becoming that much more aware of your presence. Check out Should I Sleep. Should I Sleep is an app that stops your computer from dimming itself. Thing is, it does that by knowing that you are there. Cool, right?

Delicious Library 2

Most of you probably know Delicious Library. If you don’t, it is a cool cataloging application. The reason it is on this list is because it uses your Mac’s iSight as a barcode scanner. Yeah, you can do all your cataloging pretending you are behind a cash register.

Barcode Scanner

Need a simple barcode scanner? Check out, umm, Barcode Scanner. You basically get Delicious Libraries barcode scanning feature without the whole cataloging application. It is also free, so you are good to go.

Other Apps

iSpazz

iSpazz

Ever wanted to feel like you are at a Dubstep concert when you are listening to your music on your computer? What do you mean “what is Dubstep?” No matter, check this out! iSpazz is a little iTunes plug-in that manipulates your MacBooks backlight and pulses to the beat of the music. Neat, right?

Lab Tick

Lab Tick

This app is not like the ones we’ve mentioned thus far; rather, Lab Tick is a backlit keyboard settings app that allows you to tweak how your backlit keyboard behaves. There are two reasons why we included this one. For one, a lot of times the keyboards backlight just doesn’t wanna work with us, and two, you may need this app if you use iSpazz too much.

SoundStream

SoundStream

Not an app, but a rather cool screensaver that responds to sound input. It can pulse to the beat of music or any other kind of sound. Pretty neat screensaver.

Conclusion

You are waving your MacBook around, pretending it is a lightsaber, aren’t you? No, it’s okay. We get you, really. Lightsabers and possible Macbook slips aside though, it’s cool how much you can do with your Mac, beyond actually getting stuff done. And hey, at least a few of these tricks are actually useful.

If you have any hidden gems that utilize your Mac’s hardware in interesting ways, let us know in the comment section below!


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