10 Essential Utilities That Will Change the Way You Use a Mac

One of the great things about using a Mac is that it is customizable. Apple includes numerous features in macOS to make our lives easier, but there are always edge cases where we wish it could do more.

That’s where Mac utilities save the day. These handy apps modify and enhance macOS to make it work better for the way you work.

Here are ten that you should try.

1. Bartender

Is your menu bar getting out of hand? If so, you need Bartender. It’s an award-winning app that gives you total control over your menu bar items.

For a tidier look, you can hide all the menu bar icons and then show them by activating the Bartender Bar. This reveals all the icons in a row beneath the menu bar, so you can access them when you need them.

For fast access, you can use Quick Reveal. Once activated, all you have to do is hover your mouse over the menu bar to reveal all the hidden icons.

Bartender is customizable, allowing you to adjust the spacing between icons, and even the ability to set triggers like only showing the battery icon when you are not connected to a power supply. You can even assign hotkeys to any menu bar icon.

Bartender is $16, but you can get this app and over 240 other apps for Mac and iOS as part of a Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try Bartender today!

Bartender’s Quick Reveal Function: Courtesy of Bartender

2. CleanMyMac X

Back in the day, I spent many hours defragmenting the hard drive on my Windows computer. In a way, it was kind of therapeutic, but now that I use a Mac as my main device, I really don’t miss it.

However, if you think a Mac doesn’t need a tune up every now and again, you would be wrong. And that’s where CleanMyMac X comes into play.

You can use it to delete system junk, uninstall apps, remove malware, and tune your Mac for maximum speed. Incomplete downloads, unused DMGs, browser cache files, and temp files can all be wiped away with a few clicks of your mouse.

With CleanMyMac X you can free up disk space, release RAM that is tied up in applications you are not using, and manage login items. All of this makes your Mac run faster and more efficiently than before.

A one-year subscription to CleanMyMac X is $34.95, but this handy Mac utility is also included in a Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try CleanMyMac X today!

Screenshot by Jonathan Wylie

3. iStat Menus

If CleanMyMac X doesn’t speed up your Mac, then the chances are high that a rogue app is draining all your CPU cores. iStat Menus can help you find and quit that app.

iStat Menus has detailed CPU information on your Mac, with current usage for individual cores, history graphs, load averages, uptime, and a list of the apps using the most CPU power. In addition, GPU memory and processor usage is monitored (on supported Macs), and the active GPU can be shown in the menu bar.

It has customizable notifications that will let you know if your CPU usage is above a certain percentage or if your internet connection is down. It can also let you know the weather for the day with low and high temperatures, wind speed and wind direction, chance of rain, humidity, dew point, UV index, pressure, visibility and more.

iStat Menus is an incredible utility that gives you more insight into how your Mac is performing than any other app I have tried. You can buy it for $11.99 or download it as part of a Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try iStat Menus today!

iStat Menus: Image courtesy of bjango

4. CleanShot X

Apple revamped the screenshot tool in macOS Mojave, but it’s still lacking some useful features that apps like CleanShot X can give you.

CleanShot X has over 50 functions that make it one of the best third-party screenshot tools you can buy. For instance, it has a full array of annotation tools like shapes, lines, text, blur, highlighter, and step-by-step numbering.

You can upload and share your screenshots with a link, and tag them for better organization. Need a scrolling capture? Apple lets you do it on iOS, but not on the Mac. CleanShot X can do that for you, and it works in every app you use.

You can also make screen recordings that highlight your mouse clicks and keystrokes, and CleanShot X automatically hides notifications and desktop icons while you are recording.

I’m a big fan of Snagit, but you can get CleanShot X for just $29 a year, or $8 a month if you want to unlock all features and get the latest updates. Of course, like the other apps in this list, CleanShot X also comes included with all Setapp subscriptions.

➡️ Try CleanShot X today!

CleanShot X: Image courtesy of CleanShot

5. Batteries

Apple users rarely have just one device, but when they work so well together, it’s easy to see why. Batteries for Mac was built to help you keep track of the batteries on all your Apple devices.

It supports iPhone, iPad, AirPods, Beats, and Bluetooth peripherals like a mouse, keyboard, or trackpad. You can view the battery levels for your devices from the menu bar, the touch bar of a MacBook, or as a widget.

Batteries for Mac will even send you a notification when one of your devices needs to be charged.

It’s a super simple utility, but it’s one that you will quickly fall in love with. Buy it for $8.99, or download it for free with a Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try Batteries today!

Batteries: Image courtesy of Rony Fadel

6. Gemini

The longer you use a Mac, the more files you accumulate. The more files you accumulate, the more duplicates you will have.

Enter, Gemini. A Mac utility that is purpose-built for this problem. Gemini will find duplicate files quickly and remove them to free up precious disk space on your Mac. It’s perfect for photos, videos, and documents.

You can review the duplicate scan results one by one, or just trust Gemini to remove the duplicate files for you. It uses artificial intelligence to learn what you delete and what you keep, and this is added to the algorithm that Gemini uses to make the correct decisions. It will even give you real-time notifications as soon as a duplicate is detected.

Gemini is made by the same developers as CleanShot X, and can be used on one Mac for $19.95 a year or for a one-off payment of $44.95.

➡️ Try Gemini today!

Gemini 2: Image courtesy of MacPaw

7. One Switch

This is another simple but infinitely useful utility that gives your Mac an easy way to access a whole variety of useful functions.

One Switch is a menu bar app that lets you enable or disable things on your Mac with just the toggle of a switch. Want to hide your desktop icons for a screencast? Click the switch. Need a quick way to toggle dark mode? One Switch can do that, too.

These handy switches are activated via a menu bar interface and can be customized to include only the actions you require. Low-power mode, hide the dock, turn off true tone, and Stage Manager are additional options.

At $4.99, it is a very cost-effective app, and I am glad to say that it is included with a Setapp subscription because I use this one a lot!

➡️ Try One Switch today!

One Switch: Image courtesy of Fireball Studio

8. DisplayBuddy

One of the keys to being productive on any device is a second monitor. The extra real estate and the ability to move things from one screen to another is a godsend.

DisplayBuddy ensures those external monitors look their best by letting you adjust brightness, contrast, and volume from your Mac. It also solves one of the biggest problems with an external monitor: the fiddly buttons and terrible UI that you use to make adjustments.

You can create presets and save them across monitors. DisplayBuddy will also let you change your screen resolution on the fly, and you can switch between HDMI, DisplayPort, and others with just a click.

DisplayBuddy is $16.99 for a single license, but I use it with no extra fees or ads as part of my Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try DisplayBuddy today!

Image courtesy of DisplayBuddy

9. Short Menu

Few things look worse on a website or email than long URLs that have not been shortened. There are tools to help with this. Short Menu is a great one. It’s a fast, powerful URL shortener for Mac and iOS.

The Mac version can automatically shorten URLs for you. As soon as it sees a link on your clipboard, it shortens it, so you don’t have to.

What’s more, you can use virtually any URL shortener service with Short Menu, thanks to the Custom Services feature, but bit.ly, Rebrandly, Droplr, CloudApp, Tinyurl, and more are supported by default. You can even add multiple accounts for the same service.

For just $5.99, this utility quickly pays for itself. Find it at shortmenu.com or as part of your Setapp subscription.

➡️ Try Short Menu today!

10. QuitAll

QuitAll is a superb little utility that is a great alternative to Apple’s Force Quit menu. When apps crash or hang, this is the app you need.

With QuitAll you can quit one app, or multiple apps, from a simple menu bar interface. Apps will prompt you to save work before they quit, but if you need the nuclear option, you can force quit instead. It also works with background apps.

QuitAll is customizable, allowing you to automatically quit apps after a certain period of time. You can also set keyboard shortcuts, and it works in light mode or dark mode.

A lifetime license is yours for just $10.

➡️ Try QuitAll today!

QuitAll: Image courtesy of Amico

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