30+ Awesome Utilities to Boost Your Mac’s Functionality

The Mac App Store has brought about a whole mess of new utilities that make your Mac more functional than ever.

Today we’re going to dive and find thirty particularly useful utilities that you’ll definitely want to check out and consider downloading.

Performance

MiStat

MiStat shows detailed information for your CPU, memory, disk usage, disk activity and network activity.

Though we might not see iStat Menus in the App Store any time soon, the same developers have whipped up this very similar tool. Instead of a menu bar utility like iStat, this is a full on desktop app that allows you to keep a close eye on all of your most important processes. It also happens to be gorgeous so you’ll be happy to have it running on your machine.

Price: $4.99

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MiStat

MemoryFreer

MemoryFreer is a little menu bar tool that has a single-click function that frees up unnecessarily used memory on your machine. When you’re starting to feel bogged down, just click the button!

There are several of these types of tools on the App Store, all of which have nearly identical functionality and receive mixed reviews from users. If you don’t understand more powerful utilities with lots of options like Main Menu, this may be a dollar well spent.

Price: $0.99

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MemoryFreer

DesktopMonitor

Like MiStat, this tool monitors various performance aspects of your machine, everything from CPU usage to fan speed. It’s more like GeekTool though in that it prints the information in simple text that sits on top of your desktop image.

Leave DesktopMonitor running in the background and you can always check out what’s going on with your system in a quick glance at your wallpaper.

Price: $1.99

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DesktopMonitor

Network Logger

Network Logger records URL response times and graphs key facts about the uptime and performance of your web sites and creates an internet connection outage log.

For any of you network nerds out there, this is a great hub for all your network information; great for troubleshooting!

Price: $0.99

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Network Logger

Washing Machine

Washing Machine cleans up files created by web browsers and other programs that access the Internet.

Bookmarks, caches, cookies, download histories, and browsing histories, all of these can collectively eat up significant space on your hard drive. Use washing machine to check out how much space these files are eating and clean them out with a quick click.

Price: $9.99

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Washing Machine

MainMenu

MainMenu has been around for quite a while and is a very well known and trusted utility for performing maintenance functions. With MainMenu you can free up disk space, clean your workspace, secure erase files and fine-tune your Mac.

Every action is quickly accessible from your menu bar so you’re never more than a click away from a cleaner, quicker OS X experience!

Price: $14.99

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MainMenu

File Management

TrashMe

Did you know that dragging an application to the trash isn’t the best way to delete it? This almost always leaves various preference and library files stranded in random places on your Mac.

There are quite a few app deleting utilities that have been around for years but TrashMe is a newcomer to this market and features a slick, Twitter for Mac style interface and plenty of powerful features.

Price: $6.99

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TrashMe

DupeZap

After a few years of use, your Mac’s file system can become quite redundant, eating up unnecessary space on your drive. With DupeZap you can automatically and quickly locate duplicate files to trim the fat from your machine and free up some much needed space.

In addition to searching files and folders, DupeZap will take a look at your iTunes, Mail, iPhoto and Aperture libraries and find duplicates to trash.

Price: $14.99

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DupeZap

BetterZip

Your Mac comes with basic archiving abilities but power users always need to boost this functionality. With BetterZip, you can perform a wide array of powerful archive functions.

Example features include the ability to archive and unarche a ton of different formats, extract individual files located within a larger archive, search for a file using the iTunes-like interface, and protect your data with a password.

Price: $19.99

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BetterZip

Singlemizer

Singlemizer is a slightly cheaper and simpler alternative to DupeZap above. All you do is drag files, folders, drives, etc. to the window and the app will scan and highlight and duplicates.

Get results fast. Unlike other duplicate-finding applications, you don’t even need to wait for a scan to finish before being able to delete duplicates.

Price: $9.99

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Singlemizer

FolderWatch

FolderWatch is like the opposite of a duplicate finder. Here the goal is to keep to folders perfectly in sync, perfect for backing up files or keeping files a web server updated with local changes.

I recently wrote a full review of FolderWatch and absolutely loved the app. Many apps make syncing two folders an unnecessarily complicated task but with FolderWatch you get all the functionality you need in a super easy workflow that you understand immediately.

Price: $11.99

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FolderWatch

Desktoday

Desktoday is a really cool application with fairly unique functionality that provides an elegantly simple solution for Mac users who tend to clutter up their desktops unintentionally.

Desktoday is a menu bar utility that clears the files and folders that get scattered on your desktop and puts them into a folder with today’s date: nothing more, nothing less. It’s pretty simple but it’s also free so why not give it a shot and see if you can fix your messy tendencies?

Price: Free

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Desktoday

iCanCut

One frequent complaint that I hear about Macs is that you don’t have cut/paste actions in the Finder. Wouldn’t it be nice to hit a shortcut to cut an entire folder full of files and then another to paste it into different directory?

With iCanCut, you can do exactly that. Just hit “Command+C” and “Command+V” like you would in any other application and you’ll have yourself a great new way to move files around.

Price: $4.99

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iCanCut

Tiny Expander

Tiny Expander doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, it doesn’t have a big fancy interface that performs tons of functions, it does one thing: extracts archived files.

Once again, your Mac comes with fairly limited features on this front and it’s often the case that you simply can’t open a file that you’ve downloaded. Tiny Expander comes to the rescue by providing support for 25 different formats, and it’s free!

Price: Free

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Tiny Expander

Disk Tools

Disk Diet

You Mac is full of files that you don’t need: support for languages that you’ll never speak, outdated legacy code for applications, old caches and more.

With Disk Diet you can clear all of this fluff out in a few clicks and free up space on your drive for more important files. It’s easy, fast and works great!

Price: $1.99

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Disk Diet

Disk Inspector

If you need a little more power and freedom than Disk Diet offers, check out Disk Inspector. This utility allows you to visualize your data and quickly identify any files that are eating up the most space.

Disk Inspector is quite attractive and features gorgeous visual representations of your drive similar to those in DaisyDisk.

Price: $8.99

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Disk Inspector

Jettison

Jettison is another extremely simple and practical utility. Your MacBook sits on your desk with various external drives plugged in, making it quite the process when you walk in and try to grab it and hit the road.

With Jettison, you just close the lid and the app will automatically eject your backup drive, iPod, or whatever is connected so you can safely unplug them, greatly simplifying your rush out the door in the morning!

Price: $1.99

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Jettison

System Enhancement

Boom

Boom is an awesome app that just about everyone with a laptop should have. The story is a typical one: you’re watching Hulu and straining to hear everything that’s said. Your MacBook’s volume is already cranked and you wish you could just get more out of those tiny speakers.

With Boom, you can easily fix this. Not only can you boost the volume on your Mac and access a system-wide equalizer, you can also boost individual song and movie files so they will play louder on your iPhone, iPad and other devices.

Price: $6.99

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Boom

Contacts Cleaner

If your’e anything like me, your Mac’s Address Book has roots dating back to syncs with a second generation iPod. It’s a mess of duplicates, poorly formatted names and other countless issues.

With Contacts Cleaner, you can automatically spot and address these problems instantly and get back to a fresh, clean Address Book that’s actually useful!

Price: $4.99

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Contacts Cleaner

Lingon

With Lingon you can schedule things to happen automatically on your Mac. It’s a simple but powerful application with endless possibilities.

You can run a script or launch an application at a given time or even watch folder and perform an action if anything changes. Basically, it’s a nice and simple visual interface to the over-complicated launchd utility.

Price: $4.99

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Lingon

Folders Factory

If you’re not a designer with extensive training in professional graphics software, designing your own custom folders might sound like an impossible task. Enter Folders Factory.

With this incredibly easy to use app, you can apply your own graphics to folders to create a variety of different effects. Create a nice embossed emblem or slap a snapshot on the folder cover. A few days with this app and you’ll love how customized your Mac begins to feel.

Price: $2.99

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Folders Factory

Watts

If you own a MacBook, you need to keep an eye on the health of your battery. Do you know how many charge cycles it’s been through? How about what its original capacity was versus its current capacity?

Watts will help you stay up to date on the life of your battery and even walk you through the steps to recalibrate your MacBook battery for more accurate readings.

Price: $6.99

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Watts

SmartSleep

Did you know your Mac has multiple sleep functions? Do you know the difference between sleep, hibernate and a combination of the two?

SmartSleep gives you complete control over how your Mac goes to sleep. You can easily set up different options for sleeping based on battery level and choose from five different sleep modes. This is a really great utility that provides functionality that OS X really lacks by default.

Price: $3.99

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SmartSleep

ScreenNinja

OS X now comes with built-in screen recording functionality, but what about those actions that are too long to record in real-time? ScreenNinja allows you to easily create time lapses for particularly long tasks.

It also features normal screen recording and screenshot functions and can even instantly hide the clutter on your desktop so your Mac looks shiny and clean.

Price: $4.99

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ScreenNinja

Menu Eclipse 2

Do you ever wish you had more control over your menu bar? Menu Eclipse allows you to dim, colorize and scrub the menu bar on your Mac. Make your menu bar your own!

Menu Eclipse is a safe utility that doesn’t hack or tamper with system files and uses almost no CPU resources.

Price: $2.99

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Menu Eclipse 2

Focus On

There are a million apps available that help your focus on a single window or area of your screen with the goal of increased productivity. This one is simple and free, try it out before you go and pay for a fancy one.

Price: Free

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Focus On

Security

VirusBarrier Plus

Do Macs really need virus protection? It’s a hotly debated topic, but you can be that the ever increasing ubiquity of Apple is sure to increase the number of attempts to exploit our favorite operating system.

VirusBarrier Plus protects Mac from viruses, Trojan horses and other types of malware. VirusBarrier Plus also detects Windows malware, so you don’t pass on infected files to Windows-using friends.

Price: $9.99

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VirusBarrier Plus

ClamXav

Better safe than sorry right? If you’re thinking that you may need to take steps to protect your Mac but aren’t sold on dropping $10 or more to do it, check out ClamXav.

ClamXav is a free virus scanner for Mac OS X. It uses the very popular ClamAV open source antivirus engine as a back end and has the ability to detect both Windows and Mac threats.

Price: Free

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ClamXav

Password Tote

I’m not sure how I feel about this one. I included it because it’s a free an easy way to store your passwords. However, it looks like you’ll have to subscribe to a service to use it, which cancels out the free aspect. Definitely check it out but you might be better off in the long run purchasing a more powerful solution like 1Password or using a more robust free option like LastPass.

Price: Free

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Password Tote

Hider

The concept here is something everyone can identify with: there are some files and information on your machine that you simply don’t want everyone to be able to access or even find.

With Hider, you can easily protect sensitive data in an attractive, organized and easy-to-use interface. Even if you don’t know a single thing about how to protect your files, you’ll be up and running with Hider in minutes.

Price: $9.99

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Hider

FileShredder

While Hider protects the sensitive information while it’s on your machine, FileShredder steps in when it’s time to delete those files.

FileShredder pops up when you right-click on a file in the Finder so you have a quick and easy way to shred anything you want.

Price: $3.99

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FileShredder

Conclusion

Thanks for checking out our collection of awesome utilities to boost your Mac’s functionality! I hope you found several must-have apps that will make your Mac experience that much better.

Leave a comment below and let us know what your favorite Mac utilities are. What couldn’t you live without?


  • SrTapir

    In the “Performance Section” I´m missing 3 important app:

    Monolingual
    Clusters
    XSlimmer

    3 perfect app to boost performance on a single mac!

    • Antoine

      I don’t really understand how Clusters can help launching apps (e.g.) faster by compressing them… I understand it can save disk space, but improving speed… ?!?

      • SrTapir

        The reason is because the system does not need to expand the files before use them, so lees volume more speed.. although, to be fair, the compression does not reduce too much the volume of any file..

      • Antoine

        Thks for your answer. If it doesn’t reduce that much the volume, does it at least increase the launch speed ? :)

      • hotmac

        …on my 750 GB disk I have total savings of 138 GB (!). For me this is reason enough to use Clusters.

    • Guy

      You missed out SplitScreen on your list. My mac wouldnt be the same without it.

  • http://christophedebruel.be Christophe Debruel

    Awesome list :) so many apps I didn’t know, and very reasonable prices

  • http://www.princesolutions.ie Ross Mulcahy

    No Onyx?!?! It’s free too…

  • http://createdbydavid.net David Etheridge-Bartow

    TotalFinder!

    Tabs in Finder, with complimentary “Folders on Top”, dual view, and Cut & Paste functionality.

    • http://chrisame.s Chris Ames

      Seconded!

      Shortcut to show/hide hidden files, permanently remove .DS_Store files, etc. etc. Love TotalFinder!

    • PaulW

      TotalFinder
      Indeed the best file manager around.

  • docMD

    TrashMe isnt new. This is just a redesigned version 2.0 of what was a classic mac app (too bad it isnt still free) that still works just the way you’d like.

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      Good call, I didn’t recognize and assumed it was a recent app!

  • http://www.lri.me/ Lri

    Many of these apps have simpler built-in alternatives:

    - MemoryFreer: `purge`
    - MainMenu: [MainMenu.app actions using shell commands or AppleScript — Gist](https://gist.github.com/1134314)
    - iCanCut: Lion’s Finder has *Move Item(s) Here*
    - Password Tote: duplicates functionality provided by Keychain Access
    - Lingon: it’s not that hard to edit launchd items manually, see `man launchd.plist`
    - Watts: http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1490 – “Current Apple portable computer batteries are pre-calibrated and do not require the calibration procedure outlined in this article. These computers use batteries that should be replaced only by an Apple Authorized Service Provider.”
    - FileShredder: `srm -rs `

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      I’m a geek too, but calling shell commands and Applescripts a simpler alternative to apps with GUIs is like saying that making your own Thanksgiving dinner is easier than ordering a #1 at Boston Market.

      • http://www.lri.me/ Lri

        I’m just freaked out by all the apps like MemoryFreer or Memory Cleaner in the MAS top charts. People buy or download them because they don’t know what they actually do and that they could be replaced with a five character shell command.

  • Keith

    Great article! Thanks for sharing!

    I really like iNet, as well– great way to see what devices are on your local network.

  • heimo

    My favorite app on this list is DupeZap. It was a huge help when I organized my digital photos, and I know I’m going to use it in the future too. Another similar app for just images is Unik. Unik can find similar photos, not just identical. Very affordable too, I think it’s $0,99 or 0,79e. Much more limited than DupeZap, but still very useful for this one task it does well.

  • pixelmixture

    little snitch should be mentioned in the security section.
    also i can’t live without these apps on my mac
    - cinch (the simplest window manager but the fastest)
    - dropbox
    - 1password
    - Clips (pastboard manager)

  • http://about.me/sgonzaga Stephanie

    For cleaning up my Mac & uninstalling apps, I use CleanMyMac. I like that it does everything in one single dashboard as it saves me from downloading and buying different utilities separately. For extraction of files, I use TinyExpander. For virus scanning, VirusBarrier Express.

  • MacinJosh

    This article is a prime example of why I love Appstorm! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  • http://www.branches.dk gesbenst

    I would also give “Prey” a mention in the security section. It’s a free and open-source anti-theft app. It’s pretty cool.

  • http://www.arsenalreport.com Ix Techau

    Instead of paying for apps that free your memory, if you have Lion just open Terminal and type ‘purge’. Done.

    If you’re on Snow Leopard I think you have to have Developer Tools installed in order to perform purge.

    • Kenneth

      Thanks!

  • Stephane

    I love articles like that as I am an app addict. I found 3 app I’m looking at : Singlemizer, DupeZap and FolderWatch. I don’t understand Disk Inspector or TrashMe, both DaisyDisk and AppCleaner are better alternative with as much feature, AppCleaner is even Free.

    One thing though, you should link to the app website instead go the iTunes link, you always get more information on the app website, better listing of functionality, I get the fast access to the store but I prefer to read about an app before downloading especially since it’s stay in your history on the AppStore even if you end up trashing the app.

  • Chris

    Do a little more digging and you’ll find that 80-90% of the functionality these apps provide can also be found in free alternative.

  • http://www.firemylazer.de Steffen

    I´m missing Alfred on this list. The most productive app on my mac!

    • Yunus

      Exactly, it is the single most useful app out there (at least for my needs)

      Also Cinch helps on most annoying featurelessness of OSX.

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      +1 from me. I can’t live without Alfred.

    • iynque

      I still can’t figure out why anyone would use Alfred…

  • Thiago A.

    Hey, Macs can cut and paste in Lion, natively. to cut and to paste :)

    • Thiago A.

      Ops.. seems like I used tag characters to describe the keys… Cmd+c cuts and Cmd+option+v pastes

      • BlackDuke07

        Actually, Cmd+c copy, Cmd+x cut and Cmd+v paste. Same letters as on Windows funny enough.

  • Alex Velasco

    Boom is great !!!!!!!!!

  • http://digitalformula.net Chris

    Since this list isn’t restricted to free apps, what about these?

    TextExpander, Snippets, Bowtie, Divvy, Hazel. I use all of them every day.

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      … Coda, Transmit, Fraise, TinkerTool (since a lot of the suggestions above are aimed at power users).

    • http://digitalformula.net Chris

      I love replying to myself so much that I’m going to do it again: digitalformula, you idiot, Bowtie is free. :-P

  • iynque

    I’ve always been able to cut and paste files and folders in Finder… Am I missing something? Did it just not appear in the contextual menus? The keyboard shortcuts have always worked.

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  • http://esmaltametal.com.ar jhon

    Tabs in Finder, with complimentary “Folders on Top”, dual view, and Cut & Paste functionality.. Very Nice!!

  • http://www.charm4sale.org/ pandora on sale

    Thanks for this post. I have a hard time finding good content related to this subject when searching most of the time.It’s always good to share and compare opinions when it comes to this kind of removal tool.

    • http://www.hxagksyg.info hxdksyg

      I’ve always been able to cut and paste files and folders in Finder… Am I missing something? Did it just not appear in the contextual menus? The keyboard shortcuts have always worked.

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  • BL4ckf0x

    icancut is a waste of money… just use the native shotcut to move

    copy = cmd+c

    paste (regular) = cmd+v

    move (cut) = cmd+alt+v

    guys.. take a look at the alt key.. has a lot of uses

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