30 More Great Apps You Won’t Find on the App Store

Apple recently announced that the Mac App Store has led to over 100 million app downloads, cementing it as the indisputable one stop shop for just about everything Mac users need or want. Today I want to place emphasis on the “just about” part, because despite these impressive numbers, there are still plenty of great Mac applications that you can’t get through this route.

Back in June, we posted an article containing 10 Must-Have Apps You Won’t Find in the Mac App Store, which included great options like the Alfred Power Pack and TotalFinder. This time we really dug deep and come up with thirty more! Some of the developers behind these great apps have simply decided not to pursue the App Store, others aren’t even allowed in due to the nature of the app. All of these apps though are definitely worth downloading and together make up a wealth of functionality and even fun that your Mac may be missing out on.

The best part? Almost all of them are free! Let’s take a look.

Internet

Adium

Adium has been around for ages and it is still one of the most popular iChat alternatives you’ll find. It’s a free, open source chat client that supports a mess of different networks including AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo, and more.

It has all the standard features that you need like tabbed windows and file transfer as well as some cool features you won’t find in iChat such as the ability to theme the interface.

Price: Free

Skype

Skype needs no introduction, it’s the app that took casual video chat out of the geek realm and into something that everyday people use on a regular basis to communicate with family and friends.

Skype is loaded with features for text, voice and video chat and can even make phone calls if you’re a paid subscriber. Given that Skype has an iOS app on the iTunes App Store, I’m surprised they haven’t gotten anything up on the Mac App Store yet!

Price: Free (paid plans available)

Transmission

Transmission is a really slick open source BitTorrent client. Some BitTorrent apps tend to be pretty clunky and not at all what you’d expect to see on a Mac, but not Transmission. It’s super easy to use and features a simple interface that’s pure Mac.

The nice thing here is that you don’t get any funny business. There are no ads or features that you have to pay to unlock, just an awesome free BitTorrent client with a dedicated team of volunteer developers providing regular updates. You see far too few projects like this these days.

Price: Free

screenshot

Transmission

Google Earth

You can never be too sure about how Google will handle new developments in the Apple world. The two companies have an interesting symbiotic but competitive relationship that is constantly a point of discussion. Google Earth is one of the first apps that comes to mind when I think of great Google products that should be on the App Store but aren’t. The app is beginning to age a bit but it’s still an amazingly fun way to travel the world from your desk. It’s definitely worth a download.

Since Google hasn’t made any real entrance into the Mac App Store yet, add to this great products like Google Sketchup and Notifier as well.

Price: Free

Dropbox

Dropbox is perhaps the single most important Mac application not on the Mac App Store. It’s one of the most used and most treasured applications on my Mac and I sincerely believe that every Mac owner should install it.

Dropbox makes it super easy to backup and share files. It creates a plain old folder in your Finder, and anything you put in that folder is instantly synced to your online Dropbox account where you can access it via any web browser. You can use Dropbox as a secure backup for anything you can’t afford to lose, as a way to make your files more accessible, and you can even share folders with friends for easy file transfer. I simply can’t say it enough, you need this app.

Price: Free (paid plans available)

Fluid

Fluid is an app that essentially creates dedicated instances of web apps on your machine that look and act like native applications. So let’s say you want a Facebook app, simply open up Fluid and enter the URL, it will then spit out an application that can sit in your dock that takes you right to Facebook.

Fluid is extremely handy for anyone that regularly works with certain sites. For instance, I use Google Docs constantly for work and used Fluid to separate this app out from my browser. Fluid is free but you can unlock fullscreen mode and other features if you buy the full version at $4.99.

Price: Free ($4.99 for more features)

Droplr

Droplr is a web service that supports apps for Mac, iPhone and even Windows. It’s very similar to Cloud.app, which is in the Mac App Store. Both apps allow you to drag items to your menu bar to instantly upload them and generate a sharing link. However, there are a few key differences. For instance, Droplr generates much shorter, prettier URLs and gives you the ability to share code snippets with syntax highlighting. However, Cloud has a cool extension system that makes it work seamlessly with many other apps.

Whether or not you think you’ll ever be lured away from the admittedly awesome Cloud.app, you should definitely give Droplr a download and see what you think.

Price: Free

screenshot

Droplr

Paparazzi

Paparazzi is one of those utilities that you’ll either have zero use for or will absolutely love. Given that I’m a blogger who takes tons of screenshots, I fall in the latter camp.

What does Paparazzi do you ask? It takes screenshots of webpages. That alone sounds pretty unremarkable but the awesome part is that it allows you to automate this task. I can set up a list of 100 web pages that I’m using in a roundup, set the width and height of the snaps that I want, and have Paparazzi automatically generate my screenshots. It’s a huge timesaver.

Price: Free

Spotify

Spotify recently hit the U.S. and has gained a ton of attention. It’s an awesome service that lets you listen to whatever music you want whenever you want. Unlike services like Pandora that automatically decide what to play, Spotify gives you complete control to choose the songs that you want to hear. The Spotify app’s interface is a lot like iTunes so you’ll feel right at home.

The Spotify free plan is pretty amazing and (for now at least) offers unlimited ad-supported streaming. You can also pay a monthly fee to eliminate the ads and add mobile streaming.

Price: Free (paid plans available)

Rdio

Rdio is conceptually almost just like Spotify. It uses the same model of music streaming that allows you to choose from a huge library of songs, artists and albums. The Rdio Mac app is basically a native frame for the web-based service, but it’s still pretty slick and provides an even richer experience than the Spotify app.

Rdio has an unbelievable deal right now where you can sign up and listen to ad-free music without paying a cent. The app gives you a meter that shows you how much free music you have left in a given month (the number of streams is very generous).

Price: Free (paid plans available)

screenshot

Rdio

System Utilities

Handbrake

Handbrake is an open source video transcoder. It’s popularly used for some questionable activities, but at heart it’s a simple converter. Here’s what the Handbrake developers have to say about the project:

“HandBrake is not a ripper. It converts video, it does not rip it byte by byte. It does not crack the latest DVD copy protection schemes hatched by the studios. It converts video from nearly any format to a handful of modern ones—that’s it.”

Price: Free

Quicksilver

Quicksilver is the paterfamilias of the app launcher industry. It’s been around for years, was abandoned by its original developer and eventually picked up by a hardworking team of volunteers who loved the project too much to let it die.

The project has seen renewed vigor lately with a major Lion update. Despite Quicksilver’s rough history, it’s still one of the most powerful, fully featured and useful apps you’ll find for the Mac.

Price: Free

AppCleaner

When you install an application on your Mac, it doesn’t just put a .app file in the Application folder, it spreads various support files all over your system. This means that simply dragging an application to your trash can isn’t the best way to uninstall it as this method generally leaves lots of stranded pieces.

There are lots of utilities that help you uninstall apps the right way, but AppCleaner is the best free one that I’ve found and my personal choice for deleting apps from my hard drive.

Price: Free

screenshot

AppCleaner

CandyBar

CandyBar is an application from Panic, the renowned developers of Transmit, so you know it’s a quality app. The reason that it’s not in the App Store is likely that it simply digs too far into your system for Apple’s liking.

Simply put, CandyBar allows you to easily customize the look of your system. With just a few clicks you can replace your system icons and even your dock design with something that’s a little more to your liking. The best part, you can always return to the default system settings in a jiffy.

Price: $29

CoconutBattery

If you own a MacBook, you should download CoconutBattery. It keeps an eye on your laptop’s battery and gives you important information such as its overall health, the number of charge cycles that it’s gone through and more.

I really like that it gives you an easy to read visual representation of what your original battery capacity was versus where it currently stands. If you’re wondering if it’s time to pick up a new battery for that aging MacBook, CoconutBattery has your answer.

Price: Free

Cocktail

Cocktail is another one of those apps that Apple probably thinks that its best for you to go without due to the depth of its reach, but seasoned Apple veterans who know what they’re doing don’t really care!

Cocktail is a Swiss army knife of system utilities aimed at keeping your Mac in tip top shape. The functions that it performs are simply too numerous to list, chief among them being routine maintenance scripts, Spotlight index management, inactive memory purge, cache/log clearing, and IP configuration.

Price: $19

screenshot

Cocktail

Sidekick

Sidekick is a really unique app that offers “geo-intelligent laptop settings,” which is a really fancy way to say that the app changes your computer’s settings and performs actions based on your location. Why would you need this? Imagine the following scenario.

Let’s say that you have your MacBook sitting on your desk at home. It’s set up to use your home network’s default printer and has the applications open that you regularly use at home: Safari, Twitter, and Spotify. Then you pack up your computer and head off to work. Once you’re there, Sidekick will automatically make your work printer the default, close Twitter and Spotify and open Photoshop and Espresso. Pretty cool eh?

Price: $29

Hazel

Hazel is an awesome personal file assistant that performs automated tasks based on a set of user defined criteria. You set it to watch certain folders and when something happens with that folder, it triggers an event like copying the files to a network drive or applying a colored label.

Hazel performs lots of great other functions as well. For instance, you can use it to properly delete apps just like with AppCleaner or automatically empty your Mac’s trash every few days.

Price: $21.95

Launchbar

Though I’ve always been partial to free launchers like Quicksilver and Alfred, Launchbar has been the favorite of many a Mac user for years. It’s extremely powerful and has all the features you could want including clipboard history, file search, file browsing, iCal event creation, calculator functions and a whole lot more.

Price: $35.00

MacPilot

Macpilot is in a strange place right now. The app is in the Mac App Store, but where you’d normally find the description, you now get this message: “Apple will not be approving the latest version of MacPilot for the App Store as MacPilot requires access to advanced and hidden features in Mac OS X. Please contact us directly with proof of purchase and we’ll issue you a free copy directly from us.”

Fortunately, you can still buy the current version in all its glory right from the MacPilot website. It’s a lot like a visual interface to the Terminal and enables you to really dig into your system and find lots of hidden functionality.

Price: $19.99

Default Folder X

When the developers of Default Folder X approached me a few weeks ago and asked if I could take a look at their app, I admittedly had never even heard of this longstanding and respected utility. However, I now can’t live without it (full review here).

Default Folder X extends your Mac’s default open and save dialog with a range of helpful features that help you quickly find the folder you’re looking for: utilize keyboard shortcuts, favorites, recently used, open Finder windows and more.

Price: $34.95

screenshot

Default Folder X

Teleport

If you ever find yourself sitting in front of multiple computers, say a MacBook and an iMac, Teleport is an invaluable little utility that saves you from switching back and forth between two mice or trackpads.

Simply drag your cursor off the side of the screen of one computer to see it magically appear on the other! You can even drag files back and forth between the two and share clipboards.

Price: Free

Carbon Copy Cloner

Carbon Copy Cloner is the way to clone a hard drive. I’ve used it several times and it makes an otherwise technical task very user friendly. It requires very little setup and works like a dream.

When do you need this? Let’s say you buy a new, larger hard drive for your Mac, but you want all your apps, files, etc. from the old drive. Carbon Copy Cloner allows you to clone the old drive onto the new one so that when you fire up your Mac, the only difference you notice is more free space!

Price: Free

Bodega

Bodega was the Mac app store before the Mac App Store existed. I’m not sure if the Bodega developers choose not to be on the official Mac App Store or if it represents such a conflict that Apple wouldn’t allow it (perhaps both).

I’m not a huge fan of the quirky Bodega interface and to be honest I usually experience quite a few bugs when using the app. However, it is still a great place to find interesting Mac applications, many of which aren’t present in the Mac App Store.

Price: Free

nvALT

nvALT is a popular fork of Notational Velocity, a beautifully simple note taking application for Mac. It has a ton of great features that you won’t find in the original Notational Velocity such as Simplenote syncing (with tags), a customizable color scheme, word count, Markdown support and more.

Price: Free

screenshot

nvALT

AppFresh

With the Mac App Store, you can manage all of your app updates in one convenient location. However, this only applies to apps that were downloaded through the App Store. Odds are, there are quite a few applications on your machine that don’t fit that description.

AppFresh was solving the problem of app updates long before the Mac App Store. It keeps an eye on your Application folder and lets you know if there are any newer versions of the non-App-Store-apps that you’ve installed. You can view and download all your updates in one convenient spot.

Price: Free

Design and Development

TextMate

TextMate falls into the category of “oldie but goodie.” Web developers have been using this simple but powerful text editor since 2004. It contains many awesome features such as snippets, bundles, custom commands, and even custom syntax highlighting.

It’s still a great app, but it’s in serious need of a major update. In 2009, development started on the long-rumored Textmate 2, but it has yet to be released. In the mean time, you can still download the awesome original version.

Price: $54

Espresso

Espresso is my personal IDE of choice. It’s a gorgeous, easy to use coding environment with support for tons of languages. Custom theming, syntax highlighting, lightning fast auto-complete, code folding, line numbers, reusable snippets, auto-updating live page previews; these are just a few of the reasons I absolutely love this app.

I recently reviewed Espresso 2, which incorporates the awesome features of CSSEdit and gives you an easy way to write CSS using simple visually-driven controls.

Price: $79

screenshot

Espresso

GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) is the go-to free alternative to Photoshop. Though not quite as powerful as Photoshop, it packs a mean punch for a free image editor. It contains a familiar tool set and palette style capable of performing many of the complex functions that you normally turn to Photoshop to achieve.

Here’s the catch: the GIMP developers don’t actually provide an OS X version. For this, you have to hit up GIMP on OS X, which provides “easy to install application bundles of The GIMP for Mac OS X.” It’s a bit of a runaround, but you can’t beat the price.

Price: Free

Media and Gaming

Steam

Steam isn’t a Mac app in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s an online gaming platform that can be installed on both Mac and Windows. With it, you get access to the impressive and wildly popular steam game library and community of users.

Head over to this article to get the lowdown on what Steam is and how it works. Also, if you want a quick look at what’s available on Steam, check out our roundup of 14 Awesome Steam Games Available for Mac.

Price: Free

Boxer

Fans of old school gaming will love this one. Boxer is a DOS game emulator that gives you the ability to play your favorite games from years past on your Mac.

“Boxer takes your CDs, floppies and bootleg game copies and wraps them into app-style gameboxes you just click to play.” It even allows you to assign cover artwork and places your games onto an iBooks-like wooden shelf. Warning: downloading this will increase your perceived level of nerd by at least ten fold. Ignore the naysayers though, it’s pure fun.

Price: Free

screenshot

Boxer

Plex

Now that FrontRow is officially dead, many Mac users are on the lookout for a good replacement app that provides users with an all in one media center. This is where Plex comes in.

Plex has a beautiful, fullscreen interface that allows you to easily browse and play your media library. With it you can take control of your music, movies and even online shows. Full Apple Remote support means that Plex is all you need to turn a Mac into the perfect media hub for your living room.

Price: Free

What Did We Miss?

Now that you’ve read our huge collection of thirty Mac apps that you won’t find in the Mac App Store, it’s time for you to chime in. Which of your favorite apps hasn’t made it to the App Store? Do you use any of the apps above? We want to know!


  • Paul

    I think textmate does not cost that much…

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

      Just checked again, that’s what the site says.

  • Conor

    Everyone always talks about replacements for front row but not that nothing seems to be able to play iTunes store content or podcast from iTunes with a 10 foot interface. I am not a programmer but surely it can’t be that difficult. An app to basically act as a remote for iTunes whilst showing you a list of content.

    • B30

      I would love to stream my iTunes DRM-videos to my PS3, but this will never happen ’cause Apple would never allow that. *sigh*

  • mathias

    You recently got access to spotify? Didn’t Spotify get released like 2 years ago?

    • Christian

      Not in the US.

  • Åsa Stenström

    I don’t get it? I stopped reading this article because it’s not based on facts. Most of the apps are available at AppStore. What’s the point with this article?

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

      Can you post an App Store link for a single one of these apps?

  • Greg Csullog

    what about a web site dev app that is a reasonable price

    I still rely on Front Page 2000 running under Fusion/WinXP

    • David Ferguson

      Frontpage? Lol

    • Jenn

      Erm….I will second the above…Frontpage? I hate to say this becuase everyone likes there own apps, but frontpage is the LAST thing you should be using. As a web developer I cringe when I see this. even on windows there are a ton of great reasonable priced apps to develop with.

      Mac: Have you tried checking out Apanta, Coda, Text Wrangler, RapidWeave, eclipse
      Windows: Visual web developer express (free), Notepadd++, Eclipse, ultra Edit, Apanta

      Move of the above are free or under $100 (Can). Also Adobe has some free lab projects now though I do not remember what they are called.

      As a web developer, I use Visual studio 2010, notepad and Dreamweaver at work, then at home I use textWrangler (though I wish notepadd++ was ported as a native mac app).

    • to
    • Spencer

      Titanium Studio (formerly Aptana Studio) is an EXCELLENT web dev IDE.

  • Natalia Ventre

    I use Dropbox, Skype, Espresso and Steam, but if right now I need an app, I prefer to get one from the App Store, to simplify the updates.

    Some games that are on Steam are also available at the MAS at a lower price.

    • Rob

      Watch out for Steam sales.There are great price drops on certain days. Never seen the same in the Apple app store.

  • http://www.amodoro.de Trauringe

    Some really good Apps you introduced to me…
    So far I am using Dropbox, Skype, App Cleaner and some more.

    really good ones, you missed are TotalFinder, JDownloader, NTFS for Mac.

    • Sigilist

      Some goo catches, Trauringe…

      Much as I prefer PathFinder, TotalFinder is nifty unto itself or better for those who can’t get their head around the paradigm shift that Pathfinder sometimes requires of the user.

      And I couldn’t live without my JDownloader! That it’s cross-platform (Java) is even better.

    • TheExG

      Is TotalFinder like Quicksilver?

      • Guido

        Absoluty no. Quicksilver is a launcher, TotalFinder is like a Finder extension. Check TF webpage to understand what it does and features.

  • Clark Taylor

    Pathfinder. Nuff said.

  • http://www.digitalbydesignstudios.com Troy

    Good list….I find that I already have pretty much 75% of this list, minus a few of the web development apps. A little tip on Carbon Copy Cloner, when actually buying a larger hard drive and cloning your existing hard drive, it isn’t as easy as this article makes it out to be. I had nothing but trouble trying to get my clone to work on a larger drive and in the end I just started over and re-installed everything. I think in theory it can work wonders but it’s definately not full proof. Otherwise, great list!

  • Sigilist

    Just a quick thumbs up (the good kind) for this round up, especially that nod to the independents being shunned, hobbled, or rejected by the almighty AppStore. Much as the former issue is great, the latter doesn’t get enough attention… and as more turn to the convenience (and tyranny) of the AppStore, those exceptional private entrepreneurs need the support… especially in the USA.

    Oh, and another shout out for PathFinder… the best thing to ever happen to my Mac.

  • Adam Rice

    I’m a fan of Onyx as an alternative to Cocktail. Free.
    http://www.titanium.free.fr/

  • http://juhaninaskali.com Juhani

    Sublime text two blows other text editors out of the water. It really should be included in a text like this

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

      Just tried out the beta today, I’m super impressed. We’ll definitely be watching this project closely.

  • James Rankin

    I’m really starting to appreciate Hazel, and though I’ve known about it for quite some time, I’ve only just recently started getting the results from it that I’ve always wanted, mostly because, before, I wasn’t using it with the right location and target files for the rules to do their magic.

    Btw, how about these…

    Breeze (window management), ClipMenu, Folders Factory (custom icon folders), Img2icns (custom icons), Overflow / DragThing, SnapNDrag (better than Grab) and TextExpander.

    I also quite like PDF Editor, Path Finder and am a big fan of DEVONthink Pro :)

    MacRankin

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

    Thanks for all the awesome suggestions guys!

    For all the shout outs to Pathfinder and TotalFinder, both of these are included in the previous article, linked above in the opening statement:
    http://mac.appstorm.net/roundups/utilities-roundups/10-must-have-apps-you-wont-find-in-the-mac-app-store/

  • http://mactua.net MathiasB

    Great article, with some of the best apps for OS X.
    And yes, a lot of the good apps for Mac can’t be found in the App Store. Like Adium, Espresso (Also my favorite).

  • Pingback: Weekly Poll: Do You Still Download Apps from the Web? | Mac.AppStorm

  • Robert Male
    • Robert Male

      Wrong post silly me delete both these messages.

  • Pingback: Weekly Poll: Do You Still Download Apps from the Web? | Apple World

  • Pingback: Weekly Poll: Do You Still Download Apps from the Web? | Design City

  • stefano

    You have to mention f.lux – it adapts your screen brightness to the time of the day- save your eyesight for years to come :-) ** FREE **

    http://stereopsis.com/flux/

  • Felix

    I’d like to add CloudApp – http://getcloudapp.com, which to me is the better alternative to Droplr. And the developer is very helpful on support requests.

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

      I discuss CloudApp in the article, it’s a great app. However, it is in the App Store so it couldn’t really be in the list..

  • Mark K

    The alpha version of Textmate 2 is out!

    • Sunny

      TM2 alpha is out and it’s very much alpha-quality software with UI issues, and many bugs. It still needs a lot of work, but it’s great to finally see TM get some much needed attention.

      Sublime Text 2 is definitely much better than TM right now. Chocolat is a TM clone that’s worth watching (but still pre 1.0).

  • Sunny

    Mou (mouapp.com) is a great Markdown editor with live preview, but I think it’s headed for the AppStore when it hits 1.0.

  • Pingback: 30 Great Applications for your Mac « Brad Thinks

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in December | Mac.AppStorm

  • http://www.avioesavenda.org Avioes a Venda

    and as more turn to the convenience (and tyranny) of the AppStore, those exceptional private entrepreneurs need the support…

  • http://www.lucie-hauri.com/ Mallorca property

    I tried your list and I must admit that some are really amazing. I am really impressed. You should post more often this kind of articles.

  • http://www.buyraybancanada.com ray ban wayfarer sizes

    This actually answered my downside, thanks!

  • http://liuqvid.ru/blog/vykroiki-odejdy.html Dia Offret

    Hi there this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  • http://www.blogpassopasso.net Jeffry Chiappone

    Yesterday I visited your site. It was my first visit and I have to say it’snice. It seems to me is well established by pictures and you have some very interesting thing to tell to the blog’s world.

  • http://buydigitalcamerareviews.com/ buy digital camera

    Have you considered about including some social bookmarking buttons to these blog posts. At least for twitter.

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in December | Android.AppStorm

  • Pingback: Best of AppStorm in December | iPad.AppStorm

theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow
theatre-aglow