10 Trusted Productivity Apps for Mac You Should Try Today
If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you love a good productivity app. So do we. 🙌
Nowadays productivity apps are a dime a dozen, and the Mac App Store is crammed with options. Since it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, we put together our favorites in a couple of major categories.
These are tried and trusted pieces of software , selected them based on how regularly we use them and how much they help us. So here are the 10 macOS apps we can’t live without:
Let’s dive into each one and find out what makes them awesome.
Bartender is a nifty utility tool that lets you reduce the clutter in the menu bar by customizing which apps are shown.
It works by letting you pin your favorite apps to the primary menu so they’re always shown. You can move less important apps to a secondary menu and hide the rest completely.
Bartender includes a Quick-Search function with shortcuts to use menu bar functions. The “Triggers” feature lets you automatically show an icon when a pre-defined event occurs, e.g. show Slack when connected to your work Wi-Fi.
What we like: More focus, less clutter
Bartender reduces clutter: No more squinting at icons in the menu bar
It helps get to our favorite apps quickly and reliably
Easy UI: Just drag and drop icons under preferences to show or hide them
Bartender 4 is available at €19.50. There’s a four-week trial so you have lots of time to give it a spin before buying. Paid upgrades are available for users of older versions (I just upgraded to the latest version while writing this 😄).
Screenfloat is a screen-capture tool. Another one. But it’s honestly awesome and despite all the improvements in macOS screenshots I still use it a lot.
So what makes it great? It floats the screenshots on top of other windows. Big deal you say? It makes all the difference: Floating means you can switch windows and your screenshot is still available.
Think: “I’m editing a presentation and I need numbers from three places in a spreadsheet”. Screenshot them (you can have several at the same time) and return to your slide. The numbers will be floating there for you — no more switching back and forth between windows.
Screenfloat also lets you browse previous screenshots in the “Shots Browser” and tags them there.
What we like: Less switching between windows
Floating screenshots over your current window is a brilliant time saver: No more switching between windows and disrupting your flow
Good alternative for things that aren’t ‘copy-paste-able.’ For example, if you want to compare a couple of charts or graphs
You know when you have to re-arrange windows before dragging and dropping something so it doesn’t get lost when you make a wrong click? That’s what Yoink fixes. Believe me: Try it once and you’ll never want to drag and drop without it.
Yoink is a “tray” that sits innocuously at the edge of the screen and activates whenever you start dragging files. You drop the files on this shelf, navigate to wherever you want to go, and drag across the files from the shelf. It’s as simple as that.
In addition to files and folders, you can also drag also text and images from websites.
What we like: Drag first, drop later
No more feverishly holding down a click as you fiddle around with the mouse so your file doesn’t get dropped somewhere silly
More natural workflow: You can start dragging the thing you want to copy without needing to open the destination folder first
You can use the shelf to hold several files: That’s a lifesaver when gathering files from different places to move or attach to an email
Yoink is available as a free trial and the full version is available on Mac App Store for US$8.99.
Disclosure: We’re the makers of Curiosity
Curiosity is a productivity app that gives you one place to search all your files and apps. That lets you avoid those frustrating searches through folders and emails.
Curiosity connects with over 20 tools like Google Drive, Gmail Slack, Notion, Dropbox, Outlook, and many more so you can search all of them. There’s a popup command bar to find things quickly or open programs, and a file browser for deeper searches with advanced filters.
Unlike other search apps, Curiosity keeps all your data save on your computer and never sends it to the cloud.
Why we like it: Find everything instantly
One search for everything: No more frustrating clicking through folders or wondering which app the file was in
Searches inside documents and email attachments, even scanned pdfs
Speed up everyday tasks with a shortcut to open programs, launch meetings, and more
Most importantly, Curiosity is a privacy-first app: All the data is processed and locally on your device
Curiosity has a free version that supports a limited set of functionalities. There’s also a Pro version (unlimited sources, search in file contents) for €9.99/month that you can try for free for two weeks.
Give your productivity a boost by downloading Curiosity.
One of the things we miss on Mac (compared to Windows) is the ability to snap a window to the side of the screen. Mac has added some of this in recent versions of the operating system, but it’s still pretty basic.
BetterSnapTool helps by letting you define snapping windows to the top, left, and ride sides of your screen. It offers lots of snapping areas for you to choose from, and you can also define custom areas. You can even assign shortcuts for your snapping configurations.
BetterSnapTool works across multiple monitors and virtual workspaces, making it a joy to use.
What we like: Tidy windows where you need them
Tidy windows let you focus on content instead of clicking around to find the app you need
Customized snap areas are useful if you want to keep a configuration of windows, e.g. for editing or (like me) recording screenshots with consistent window size
BetterSnapTool is available for $2.99 on the Mac App Store.
Gifox is a screen capturing app that lets you easily record and share GIFs and videos.
Gifox offers granular control over your recording settings, e.g. the recording area, set frame rate, and compression. Gifox also has integrations with several popular cloud services so you can drag and drop your recordings directly into Dropbox, Drive, Slack, and more.
Gifox also includes a simple editor so you can trim your GIFs… so as a quick-capture tool that lives in the background there’s a lot to like.
What we like: Screen recording without the hassle
Create screen recordings just by hitting a shortcut
Use it for product videos, product demos, software bugs, or just plain fun
Built-in editor for simple trimming and editing
7. Sublime Text
Sometimes you want an app to format text, other times you might want to work with raw text (who decided auto-capitalization was a good thing anyway?). For the latter cases, check out Sublime Text.
Sublime Text is a feature-rich text and code editor that’s popular with developers and writers alike. It does focuses on speed and power, and packs a punch.
Sublime Text is tab-based and offers split views to simultaneously work with multiple text files. It also supports several programming languages including HTML/CSS, SQL, Java and others, so you can use it as a development environment.
Admittedly Sublime Text the odd one out in this list because it’s less small utility and more powerful program, but we wanted to include it because we use it a lot.
What we like: Clean, fast, powerful
We like Sublime Text as a clean and fast editor: No formatting, no nonsense, just text
It’s also surprisingly powerful: As you dig deeper you’ll notice it’s packed to the brim with features.
Even if you’re not a developer, it’s nice to be able work on multiple text files at once
You can customize the interface completely incl. light and dark mode
Sublime Text isn’t cheap, but we think it’s worth the money. There’s a time-limited free version and for extended use you’ll need a $99 license.
You know you should be using a password manager. 😉 So stop procrastinating and check out 1Password.
1Password is a powerful password manager that generates and stores crazy-complicated passwords for your accounts, and fills them into forms when you’re browsing. You only need to remember… one password.
1Password boasts various privacy and security features, including password strength detection, two-factor authentication (2FA), and alerts for compromised passwords.
There are apps for various devices and browser plug-ins, so with synchronization via a secure cloud you’ll have your passwords handy wherever you are.
What we like: Reliable and cross-platform
The password generator works brilliantly and generates different passwords with lots of options for length, special characters, etc.
Strong data protection features including AES-256 encryption, 2FA and more
A generous 1GB storage space for your data — more than enough for passwords and sensitive notes
9. Bear Notes
You can organize your notes with hashtags and use markdown to quickly and stably format text. You can also add images to your notes — a feature that not all markdown note apps offer.
What we like: Clean and fast (markdown!)
It has a clean and clutter-free interface for smooth navigation
The markdown is well implemented and responsive. With its ability to add images, you can write journal entries and even create entire blog posts.
You can encrypt your notes to keep them away from prying eyes.
Bear has a free version with limited features, and the Pro upgrade starts at $1.49 per month and there’s an iOS app as well.
The VLC Media Player is a household name now, and for good reason. It’s free, open-source, and full of advanced features.
It’s a master of handling different audio and video formats and you’ll be hard-pressed to find something it won’t play. You can also use it for streaming your videos on self-hosted servers and other locations.
If you’ve ever been sent an unplayable video format had to fiddle around with changing formats, definitely give VLC a try.
What we like: Plays absolutely everything
There’s basically not a single video format that VLC cannot handle
It still offers great read speeds and the video playback is buttery smooth
It’s open-source and free
VLC Media Player is available to download here.
So there you have it: 10 productivity apps for Mac that we wouldn’t want to live without. ❤️
I hope you find them as helpful as we do, and that there were one or two that were new for you! We’ve tried to cover all major app categories that can simplify your workflow, get you to save time, and help you get more productive. If you have never tried productivity tools before, now may be a good time to start. You’d be surprised how quickly they can help you get things done.
Of course these are just some the options — there are lots of great tools out there! Let us know what else you use (Notion users: You can start complaining now 😉).