Macs are awesome straight out of the box, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make them a lot better with a few quality downloads.
Today we’ve rounded up eighty of the most handy utilities to improve the basic functionality of your Mac in a number of ways. Below you’ll find almost every kind of utility you could need, from hardware controllers to maintenance software and file organization tools.
Dimmer for Mac – Dimmer is a free application that allows you to adjust the brightness of your display. Don’t worry… I know that there’s two special keys on the keyboard that do that for you, but currently there are 17 different brightness options for you to select on a Mac which, by all means is enough.
Display Maestro – Display Maestro gives you full control over attached displays, allowing the usage of all available resolutions and bit depths. This is done by ignoring the operating system setting of hiding potentially unsafe resolutions.
Drive Genius – Try Drive Genius 3, the best hard drive utility on the Mac platform – DrivePulse, Enhanced Defrag, DriveSlim, Enhanced Repartition are only a few of the award-winning features of Drive Genius 3.
SMART Utility – SMART Utility is an application to scan the internal hardware diagnostics system of hard drives. SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) is a system built into hard drives by their manufacturers to report on various measurements(called attributes) of a hard drive’s operation. The attributes can be used to detect when a hard drive is having mechanical or electrical problems, and can indicate when the hard drive is failing.
Watts – Why use Watts? The battery needs to be recalibrated from time to time to keep the onscreen battery time and percent display accurate, and to keep the battery operating at maximum efficiency.
Files and Windows
A Better Finder Attributes – Change the file attributes that the Finder won’t let you touch.
Afloat – Download it and it will add many window management features to most Mac applications. Keep windows afloat on top of all others, pin windows to the desktop, turn a window into an “overlay” on your screen that doesn’t hinder your work and more!
Berokyo – Berokyo lets you take control over your desktop and organize all your favorite and frequently used applications, documents, files, folders and webpages into one or more customizable multi-shelf cabinets that will keep them out
of sight but yet close at hand and ready to be launched.
Blast – Blast keeps track of the files you’ve been using on your computer and gives you super easy and lightning fast access to them.
Boxtop – Launch and quit applications from the menubar. Acts like another dock.
Breeze – Breeze gives you simple window management on Mac OS X through a concept called “window states”. When you save a window state, Breeze remembers the relative size and position of the focused window.
Camouflage – Do you have way too many items on your desktop? Do you hate cleaning up that mess? Camouflage is the right utility for you. It hides all the icons and leaves nothing but the pure wallpaper.
Compress Files – Compress Files is an easy-to-use tool for compress, archive, encrypt files and omit Mac-specific invisible files.
Dragoman – Dragoman batch converts image, photo, music, sound and archive files. It supports the popular image file formats JPEG, PDF, TIFF and PNG, as well as digital camera formats from Canon, Kodak, Sony, Nikon, Olympus and Fuji cameras.
DropDMG – The easiest way to create and work with Mac disk images.
DropLook – Unfortunately, Quick Look is a little bit shy and lonesome: if you’re viewing a Quick Look preview and switch to another application, the preview goes into hiding, and you can only ever have one Quick Look preview open at a time. Unlike Quick Look, DropLook windows stay open when you switch to another application, and you can open multiple preview windows at a time.
HoudahSpot – HoudahSpot helps you manage your files by assigning tags to them. Tags are non-hierarchical keywords assigned to files, and the organizational purpose of tags is similar to that of folders. However, a crucial difference is that a file may be assigned several tags and be located by any of them, no matter where they are.
invisibliX – invisibliX is a little application to work with invisible files in Finder. Show/mask/modify visibility status.
Jump – Jump is a cool utility designed to quickly launch applications, open documents, or access folders. When there is not enough space
in the Apple Dock, you can use Jump to store an endless number of items! It can be used in conjunction with the Apple Dock or as its replacement.
moveAddict – moveAddict is a Snow Leopard-only application that provides a functionality the Finder was missing, the ability to move files using the keyboard. It’s meant to replace dragging and dropping for anyone that would rather use the keyboard instead of the mouse.
NameChanger – Rename a list of files quickly and easily. See how the names will change as you type.
PrimeFiles – Primefiles lets you quickly launch applications, open documents and browse folders from any application. With PrimeFiles, you can reduce the number of items in the Apple Dock or the Finder sidebar and have all your favorite files at hand.
Raskin – Inspired by Jef Raskin, our zoomable user interface shows you all the stuff on your computer on a single surface. Using zoom and pan to view, arrange and open documents feels so right.
Stay – If you’re fastidious about keeping your windows tidy, Stay is for you. Stay ensures that your windows are always where you want them to be, even as you connect and disconnect displays.
Switché – Switché is a Snow Leopard-only application that can be used to replace the default CMD+Tab application switcher. Switché doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel and uses Exposé for all of its functions. Switché can easily CMD+Tab between applications, or individual windows.
AppCleaner – AppCleaner is a small application which allows you to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps.
CleanMyMac – Enjoy a clean mac with a few easy clicks! The world’s easiest-to-use maintenance solution. This all-in-one tool includes everything you need to keep your Mac clean and healthy.
Cocktail – The application serves up a scrumptious mix of maintenance tools and interface tweaks, all accessible via a comprehensive graphical interface. Most of Cocktail’s major features are arranged in five basic categories. In addition, a Pilot lets you clean, repair and optimize your system with one click of the button.
DaisyDisk – Analyze disk usage and free up disk space on Mac – DaisyDisk scans your disks and presents their content as interactive maps where you can easily spot unusually large files and remove them to get more free space. The map gives you an overview of your data, so you always know what your hard disks are filled with.
IceClean – IceClean is a powerful System Maintenance and Optimization Tool using only UNIX built-in System Tasks to help your Mac stay healty and to keep it running smoothly. Version 3.0 is now completely renewed in Scripting and Cocoa Interface for help you in faster and useful Tasks Managing of All Unix Power.
MainMenu – MainMenu is a powerful maintenance tool to keep your Mac running like new, packed in a slick and simple interface. Improve application performance, make searching faster and speed up your disk access.
MacCleanse – MacCleanse is a small yet powerful application geared towards purifying your system. In only seconds, it can perform over fifty tasks which would take nearly an hour to perform manually. Safely erasing caches, logs, cookies, histories, and more… MacCleanse won’t miss a thing and could reclaim hundreds of megabytes of storage space.
MacKeeper – MacKeeper offers a new approach to system maintenance that will: Support you and your Mac with essential utilities, tools and online services, extend your Mac’s features for even more flexibility and guarantee you 24/7 professional support
MacPilot – Scared of the terminal or can’t be bothered to remember those commands to customize your system the way you want? MacPilot is your digital savior. Easily enable and disable hidden features in Mac OS X, optimize and repair your system, and perform numerous routine maintenance operations with the click of a button!
Socks – Socks is a utility for troubleshooting, maintaining, optimizing, and customizing Mac OS X.
Tidy Up! – Tidy Up! is a complete duplicate finder and disk tidiness utility.
Icons and Dock
IconBox – conBox 2.0 is an iPhoto like application that enables you to store, manage & change your icons or dock using simple drag & drop like functionality which has been seamlessly integrated into our new “Box” system.
Dock Menus – Is your dock cluttered and interfering with your workflow? Dock Menus is your saviour! With Dock Menus, you can create docks that can be moved around your screen. The dock menus act exactly like your dock, so like the rest of your Mac, it is easy to use. Everybody loves to personalize things. With Dock Menus you can customize your dock menus to reflect your personality and how you work.
Dock Spaces – A tiny application that allows you to have up to 10 different docks and swap anytime you want from the menu bar.
Carbon Copy Cloner – Spinning for years at 75MPH, your hard drive’s catastrophic crash could really hinder your productivity. Use CCC to make a bootable backup of your digital life today!
ChronoSync – ChronoSync is the complete data management utility that allows you to efficiently synchronize or backup files and folders from one disk location to another.
File Synchronization – Synchronize multiple pairs of folders or files. It has been designed to be easy to use and quick to do the job. It was based originally on the File Synchronization tool provided by Apple with the old Mac OS, but has a few improvements and features to help get the job done quickly and efficiently.
ForeverSave – ForeverSave automatically creates versions of your documents. In case you lose one, just restore it and continue your work.
Get Backup – Get Backup gracefully combines various backup capabilities, such as scheduling, compression tools, the ability to restore an archive on any computer without necessarily using Get Backup, and much more. And, more amazingly, that all these come free of charge.
SmartBackup – SmartBackup is an easy to use alternative backup application for Mac OS X. SmartBackup can create fast and efficient backups of your data, or a full bootable clone of your system.
Twin – Twin is the most flexible online backup solution for Mac OS X, compatible with most Internet servers: FTP, FTPS, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, MobileMe. It even supports offline backups to external drives.
Privacy and Security
Exces – Exces. Simple, pretty, secure. Exces allows you to protect your precious files with the click of a button. Just pick a password, lock, and you’re good to go. Exces uses the strong, uncracked AES encryption standard.
MacHider – Cutting edge solution to hide your private data. MacHider is an innovative product intended to put out of sight your confidential information from third parties or other unwanted eyes.
Prey – Prey is a lightweight application that will help you track and find your laptop if it ever gets stolen. It works in all operating systems and not only is it Open Source but also completely free.
Tiptoe – The first privacy application to bring a “private browsing” like feature to all sorts of applications. Tiptoe lets you chat, view images and movies, edit documents and more with the confidence that a trail of your actions won’t be stored. If you need it to, Tiptoe can clean up your old trails.
VigiMac – VigiMac is a free tool to track your Mac on the Net if it has been stolen. VigiMac is not intrusive and uses very low bandwidth. Once the script is installed and your Mac is registered, it is possible to know its location in case of theft (if it can connect on the Net and if you follow our few advices).
Watchmac – Watchmac monitors your Mac for possible infringements. For instance, when someone tries to unlock your screensaver but fails to enter the correct password, Watchmac will record this event and can even take pictures using the built-in (or an externally connected iSight).
Mouse and Trackpad
DwellClick – DwellClick lets you use your Mac without clicking. Just use your mouse or trackpad to point where you want to click, and DwellClick will generate a click for you. And with its unique Auto Drag feature, dragging is effortless too.
MagicPrefs – Extend the functionality and configuration options of the Apple Magic Mouse.
Mouseposé – Mouseposé 3 is an essential tool for everyone doing presentations or demos. If turned on, it dims the screen and puts a spotlight on the area around the mouse pointer, easily guiding the audience‘s attention to an area of interest.
MouseWizard – Do you want more from your Magic Mouse? MouseWizard is a simple utility to enhance the use of your Magic Mouse. You can easily customize your Magic Mouse to increase your productivity.
Sesamouse – The Magic Mouse hardware is full of potential — so much more than scrolling and swiping. Sesamouse interprets more motions, letting you zoom and rotate in gesture-capable apps like iPhoto and Preview. It even sends information about each finger on the mouse’s surface to software that supports advanced multitouch. Just open Sesamouse to open sesame!
Apptivate – There are a lot of applications that would be better if you could assign a system wide hotkey for them. This is where Apptivate comes into the picture. Apptivate lets you assign a system wide shortcut for any application or script file on your system for easy access any time.
Cronette – Cronette it’s a software to specify tasks to be launched automatically by the Mac. It can be used on unattended Mac Servers or also on regular Mac workstations for tasks to execute during the night or for recurring tasks to be performed on a regular basis.
Cockpit – You are looking for a way to run scripts, tasks and even more with a click of a button or just with a hotkey? With Cockpit you can do all this and even more.
Copy Path Finder Button – This button enables you to copy the POSIX path of one or more Finder items to the clipboard. Drag Copy Path.app to your applications folder or elsewhere and from there to Finder’s toolbar.
FastScripts – Powerful script management utility. Instant access to your scripts, by keyboard shortcut or menubar.
MacSpeech Dictate – MacSpeech Dictate provides a whole new way to interact with your Mac. Instead of typing, use your voice to input text; rather than clicking your mouse, just speak commands. With MacSpeech Dictate, it’s easy.
Keyboard Maestro – With Keyboard Maestro you can design a custom action sequence with your own shortcuts and use them at any time, you can navigate through running applications and open windows with Program Switcher, and you can work with an unlimited number of clipboards – all by pressing simple keystrokes.
DateLine – DateLine displays a linear calendar on your Mac desktop which provides easy access to iCal and your events. The appearance of the DateLine is endlessly customizable and themeable.
GeekTool – A PrefPane (System Preferences module) for Mac OS 10.5. It let you display on your desktop different kind of informations, provided 3 default plugins .
Hyperspaces – Hyperspaces works with Apple’s Spaces to let you customize each Space so that it’s recognisably different from the others. It does this through a set of great visual decorations.
iCalViewer – iCalViewer displays iCal calendar events as boxes dynamically moving towards a finish line which is now. It can do this on the desktop, in a window, or even over your screen-saver.
iDeskCal – iDeskCal embeds your calendar on your desktop, above your wallpaper but below your desktop items. With iDeskCal you can quickly and effortlessly know exactly what is on your calendar for the current day, and beyond.
SaneDesk – Spaces are great and we all use them. What about your desktop? Desktop always stays the same: wallpaper, desktop icons and dock do not change. What if you could change them on the fly, depending on what you want to do? Hide desktop icons entirely or show them all? That would be like adding entirely new dimension to regular spaces.
AppChest – AppChest is a smart new elegant way of storing your application licenses as well as checking out today‘s latest and greatest Mac application deals.
Blitz – Focusing on a running application with Blitz suspends all other apps in the foreground. Some programs may seem like they would require very little of the CPU, but could actually be hogging more than their fair share. By suspending these apps with Blitz, your Mac will be able to dedicate maximum power to your present task. Defocusing will resume your other apps right where they left off.
Caffeine – 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.
iStat Menus – The most advanced system notifier. Monitors CPU, disk usage, battery, network, disk activity, memory and more.
Jet Lag – Jet Lag runs invisibly in the background to automatically change your Mac’s timezone. Do yourself a favor and never worry about your clock again.
Presto – Quickly insert greetings, frequently used text or phrases, and signatures.
Snapplr – Snapplr is the ultimate screenshot tool for Mac OS X. It’s tightly integrated into the system and thus a perfect replacement for the original tool. Yet Snapplr is totally easy to use and adds some great features that make sharing screenshots a breeze.
Stuf – Stuf is a clipboard manager with a difference, you can copy and paste between different Macs over your wired or wireless network!
WebSaver – The powerful, easy and affordable way to create screensaver with content of your own choice.
WhatKey – WhatKey helps you know you’re pressing the correct key shown in a keyboard shortcut. By holding down option on your keyboard for a couple seconds you get a nice bezel.
Tell Us Your Favorite Mac Utilities!
In order to decrease the overflow with past articles and continue to provide you with fresh content, the list above has many notable absences (no Quicksilver!?).
Leave a comment below and let us know both what your favorites are from the selection above as well as any must-have apps you use that didn’t make the list!