10 Free Apps to Fix Common Mac Quirks and Annoyances
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Like any other operating system (OS), macOS comes with its own set of quirks. By quirks I mean features that get in your way, are missing altogether, or don’t behave as you want or expect them to. You might be able to override some of them using third-party applications.

Today we’ll take a look at 10 such applications that fix common macOS quirks. Most of these apps are lightweight — in the 5-6 MB range. And no, your favorites Caffeine, Unarchiver, and AppCleaner The Best Mac Apps The Best Mac Apps From email clients to system utilities, time savers to productivity boons; on this page you'll find the best Mac software used by MakeUseOf staff and readers alike. Read More are not on this list because we’ve covered them many times in the past.

1. Add Favicons to Safari: Faviconographer

The lack of favicons has been a long-standing pet peeve for many Safari users. If you’re one of those users, you’ll love the Faviconographer app. Unlike many other customization apps, this one works with System Integrity Protection (SIP) enabled, which is how it should be How to Disable System Integrity Protection (and Why You Shouldn't) How to Disable System Integrity Protection (and Why You Shouldn't) There are more reasons to leave macOS' System Integrity Protection on than turn it off, but turning it off is easy. Read More .

After you install Faviconographer, you’ll need to grant the app permission to use your Mac’s Accessibility features. To do this, visit System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Privacy > Accessibility and check the box next to Faviconographer.

faviconographer-accessibility

Now you’re all set, and you’ll see favicons appear immediately within Safari.

safari-favicons

2. Hide/Show Files in Finder: Funter

You know what else needs to come pre-installed on macOS Some Of The Best Mac Software Comes Pre-Installed Some Of The Best Mac Software Comes Pre-Installed While many Windows systems come bloated with crap you will never need or want, Mac OS X provides these following gems. Read More ? A Finder setting to hide files/folders and show hidden ones in a snap. Until that happens you’re probably stuck Googling for the correct Terminal commands Hide & Find Any File On Mac OS X Hide & Find Any File On Mac OS X There's no straightforward way to quickly hide or reveal hidden files on Mac OS X as there is on Windows – but it is possible. Read More every single time. Not if you install Funter.

Funter allows you to show hidden files via its menubar icon and via its Finder toolbar icon. Of course, the latter is visible only when you have Finder integration enabled, which it is, by default.

funter-show-hidden-files

To hide files and folders in Finder, select the Hide with Funter option in the corresponding right-click menu.

hide-with-funter

When hidden files are on display, you’ll be able to search for them using the search box hidden behind the menubar icon.

funter-search-results

DesktopUtility is another app that allows you to, among other things, toggle file visibility. Look under the More Awesome Apps section of the developer’s website to find the app for download.

desktop-utility

3. Correct Inconsistent Zoom Behavior: Right Zoom

When you hit the green Zoom button on an app window, macOS resizes that window to what it considers “the best fit” for that app. If all that unpredictable scaling and shrinking of windows annoys you, install Right Zoom.

mac-zoom-button

With Right Zoom active, clicking on the Zoom button always maximizes windows. Actually you don’t even need to reach for that button if you set up a hotkey (I use Option + A) while configuring the application. If you want to keep the Zoom button behavior intact for certain apps, you have the option to exclude those apps.

configure-right-zoom

4. Export Apple Notes as Plain Text: Exporter

Apple Notes has stepped up its game and is now solid enough to work as the primary note-taking app for many Mac users Apple Notes vs. Microsoft OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Best for You? Apple Notes vs. Microsoft OneNote: Which Note-Taking App Is Best for You? If you're a Mac user, you might wonder whether you should use Apple Notes or a cross-platform tool like OneNote or Evernote. We'll help you make that decision. Read More . But the lack of HTML and plain text export options can be a dealbreaker for some. Well, at least there’s a fix for exporting as plain text, which comes in the form of an app called Exporter (alternative: Notes Exporter).

With Exporter, you get to export all your notes as plain text to a location of your choice. You don’t have to worry about losing formatting, because Exporter converts the notes to Markdown before exporting them. Be prepared to lose tables and their contents during conversion though.

plaintext-exporter-apps

Not sure what Markdown is and how it works? Read our Markdown guide Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Markdown is the best way to write in plain text but still create complex documents. Unlike HTML or LaTex, for example, Markdown is simple to learn. Read More to learn the basics.

5. Add Text-to-Speech Conversion Controls: Dictater

Your Mac can read any text aloud to you Your Mac Can Read Any Text To You, Here’s How Your Mac Can Read Any Text To You, Here’s How Whether you want to hear an article while you do something else or want another voice to read your writing back to you for proofreading purposes, OS X comes with everything you need. Read More and while that’s a useful feature to have, it’s annoying that you don’t have much control over the speech itself. You can start or stop the text-to-speech conversion, and that’s it.

You can’t pause the speech or skip ahead or jump back. Besides, it’s tedious to navigate to the Edit > Speech menu every time you want to trigger playback. Dictater solves all these problems in a shot by adding an interface to give you more control over the in-built speech function.

dictater controls

Once you set up Dictater and enable it Dictater Adds Controls to Your Mac's Text To Speech Function Dictater Adds Controls to Your Mac's Text To Speech Function Apple's built-in text to speech engine is a feature without an interface. Dictater is a simple Mac program that fixes that. Read More , you can access its functions via Services under the right-click menu when you have a bit of text selected. To speed things up with a keyboard shortcut, head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services > Text > Dictate.

start-dictater

6. Fix CapsLock Key Errors: SmartCapsLock

The Caps Lock key is useful but intrusive (on any keyboard). You hit it often without meaning to and then you have to go back and retype chunks of text in small letters all over again. Well, no more. With SmartCapsLock installed, you can select those mistyped capitals and turn them into lowercase by hitting the CapsLock key again.

uppercase-to-lowercase

But wait, there’s more! When you click on the app’s menu bar icon, you’ll see that SmartCapsLock is not only for fixing errant uppercase characters. You can set hotkeys for converting text to and from uppercase, lowercase, sentence case, capitalized case, and reversed case.

smart-capslock-options

7. Fix Unpredictable Media Controls: BeardedSpice

In High Sierra, the media keys on your Mac’s keyboard control the last active player within Safari and not the media player on your desktop. If this new feature annoys you, install BeardedSpice to give back your media key controls to iTunes, Spotify, or any other Mac player of your choice.

VOX Player users, you can install the dedicated VOX extension for controlling the player with media keys.

vox-media-key-controls

The new unified media keys feature doesn’t affect Chrome users. As a Chrome user if you want to control online media players with the media keys, install the extension Streamkeys.

8. Turn Movies Into Animated GIFs: Drop to GIF

QuickTime Player performs many useful tasks for free 7 Handy Tasks QuickTime Player Performs for Free 7 Handy Tasks QuickTime Player Performs for Free You've probably changed the file association so QuickTime never gets used, so you've probably overlooked its bounty of useful features. Read More . It’s too bad that it doesn’t have the ability to convert movies to GIFs, and since it doesn’t, let’s look at the next best thing. Drop to GIF converts any movie you drag and drop to it into an animated GIF. You’ll find the converted file in the same folder as the original one.

drop-to-gif

9. Avoid Unintended App Quitting: SlowQuitApps

It’s frustrating when you close apps instead of app windows by hitting Command + Q instead of Command + W. If you do it often, you’ll love the SlowQuitApps app.

When you hit Command + Q within any open app, SlowQuitApps introduces a second’s delay before closing the app and also adds a timer overlay. If you have hit the shortcut accidentally, take your fingers off the keyboard before the timer runs out to keep the app from closing.

slow-quit-apps

If you want to change the delay to, say, three seconds, open Applications > Terminal and type in this code and hit Enter:

defaults write com.dteoh.SlowQuitApps delay -int 3000

(3000 is the custom delay in milliseconds)

As an alternative to SlowQuitApps, you can try CommandQ. It allows you to exclude specific apps from using the keyboard shortcut altogether. Setting the delay is also easier thanks to its Preferences interface, but you can’t go below 0.5 seconds or above 2 seconds.

commandq-hold-to-quit

10. Add Emoji, Slack Style: Rocket

Rocket allows you to add emoticons inline with a trigger key (: is the default), much like Slack does. If you buy a license for Rocket, you can add custom images and GIFs as well.

rocket-emoji

To be fair, macOS already has a handy shortcut — control+Command + space — to add emoji inline, which makes Rocket a “nice to have” rather than a “must have”.

Small Apps, Big Delights

Dock points all you want from macOS for some of its unusual features, but admit it — it’s delightful to find a tiny app that does what your operating system can’t.

Which lesser-known lightweight apps and utilities have solved niggling macOS problems for you? Share them with us!

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  1. Glenn Herrick
    December 1, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Three fine apps I still use in High Sierra:
    Moom allows one to resize a window to half-screen, at left, right, top or bottom.
    PopClip gives a multiplicity of functions at the cursor: just click the pointer and the menu appears in context, the menu is highly edit-able and many many functions are available.
    DropShelf allows one to drag a file, word, URL... onto a "shelf" at the side of the screen and access that on-shelf item in another app.

    These functions eventually will be purchased by Apple and incorporated into the OS.

    • Akshata Shanbhag
      December 8, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      All useful functions! I use Spectacle instead of Moom. And DropShelf sounds like it would have made a great addition to this list of drag-and-drop Mac apps.