Mac Productivity

13 Free Mac Productivity Apps You Haven’t Heard Of

Mihir Patkar 21-09-2017

There’s a misconception among Mac users that good apps are always paid, but you’ll find plenty of excellent free apps if you know where to look. We knew, so we came up with a mega list of the best free apps to improve your productivity within macOS.


These apps have a diverse range of uses. Some help you launch apps faster, others help you block distractions, and a few fix some of the most common macOS annoyances 8 Mac OS X Annoyances (Yes, They Exist!) Resolved Mac OS X computers are the very model of simplicity and usability. Read More . Whatever you need to be more productive, you’ll find it here.

1. Quitter: Automatically Hide or Quit Apps Not Being Used

mac free productivity quitter

Marco Arment is a champion of all things Apple and Mac. His app Quitter is an excellent tool to stay focused on what you’re doing. The more apps you have open, Marco says, the more likely you are to be distracted. Instead, Quitter will automatically quit or hide apps that you aren’t using.

You control whether to quit or hide, and the amount of time that a window is inactive. The definition of inactive here is “not in focus”, so I’d suggest starting with a larger inactive time period, and then cutting it down as you master the app.

We have also covered a similar app in the past called Hocus Focus, among our useful things to do with the Command key 8 Useful Things You Can Do With Your Mac's Command Key The command key is a powerful time-saver that can vastly improve your Mac workflow, and it's time to make the most of it. Read More . Hocus Focus only hides inactive windows though, it won’t quit the app.


2. Spacelauncher: Replace Command + Tab and Spotlight With Quick Shortcuts

Spacelauncher is one of those tiny nifty apps that make you question how you lived without it. The app lets you create custom shortcuts to launch apps, or instantly switch to them if they’re already open. For example, you can set Space + C to launch Chrome or Space + W to launch Wikipedia within Chrome.

You can also set multiple keys for advanced actions, like Space + F then D to open the Documents folder and Space + F then W to open the Downloads folder. It’s an excellent utility to fix Spotlight’s errors with apps Can't Find Mac Apps in Spotlight? Here's the Fix Searching for something on your Mac and find that Spotlight is bringing up nonsense? Here's how to rebuild your Spotlight index and make search work properly. Read More and to speed up your productivity.

3. Lacona: The New Quicksilver

Lacona Macos GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Power users on Mac swear by Quicksilver, the free open-source launcher Remember Quicksilver, The Free Open Source Mac Launcher? You've probably forgotten entirely about Quicksilver, and that's too bad. It's awesome. Read More . It’s much more than a launcher, allowing for complex actions. But Lacona, a new competitor, has some QS loyalists switching over.


Lacona uses natural language processing algorithms to let you type out complex commands in simple words. It hooks into several built-in Mac apps as well as third-party internet services through IFTTT. And it looks darn good doing all this!

4. Be Focused: Set a Pomodoro Timer

mac free productivity be focused

A simple Pomodoro timer can make you more productive How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More , so why not incorporate it into your Mac workflow? Be Focused is the best free option out there. You can add up to ten tasks to your to-do list, then click the timer to start it. By default, it is set to 25 minutes of work and then a 5 minute break, but you can change that if you want.

In fact, you can change short breaks, long breaks, intervals, alarm sounds, and everything else. Be Focused is supported by adverts, but you can pay to remove them.


5. Usage: Monitor Time Spent in Your Mac Apps

mac free productivity usage monitor

Productivity experts don’t agree on much, but they’re in unison about time tracking. To manage your time, you need to know where you are spending it right now. Usage tracks how much time you spend on every app on your Mac.

It works automatically in the background, requiring no input for you. As it continues to gather data, you can look up reports over days, weeks, or months. Usage is made by the same people behind Timings, one of the best time-tracking apps for macOS The Best Time Tracking Software for Mac OS X Where does the time go? Find out with these Mac time trackers. Read More .

6. Time Out: Stay Healthy and Productive

mac free productivity timeout


Working at a computer can wreak havoc on the human body. It strains our eyes, and sitting for long hours is even worse. The 20-20-20 Rule keeps you healthy 5 Reasons Working With Computers Is Bad For You & How to Stay Healthy Working on the computer may sound like the most relaxed job in the world, but it's quite the contrary. It's very tough on your body, which is not used to this modern type of work.... Read More while being productive.

The simple idea is to take a 20 second break after every 20 minutes. The original rule was meant to reduce digital eye strain by focusing on an object at least 20 feet away from you. An ergonomics expert offered a variation on the 20-20-20 rule. In this, every 20 minutes, you walk for 20 seconds to at least 20 feet away. You might want to mix and match the two.

The Time Out app is perfect to employ the 20-20-20 philosophy. It freezes your computer after the chosen period (20 minutes) and won’t let you work for the chosen interval (20 seconds). Set it up and get healthy!

7. Pinstriped: Manage and Run Meetings Productively

Work meetings often go off track and over the allotted time. That’s a sign of a meeting without a clear agenda, and no one to run it. That’s when you need Pinstriped, an app to set a clear plan of action for the meeting Tips On Planning & Holding Effective Meetings With Google Hangouts With today's Internet technology, holding online meetings can be both efficient and cost-effective especially if you pre-plan them and make use of time-saving tools. For the last couple of months I've participated in online meetings... Read More .

In any one “meeting”, you can add as many items to the agenda as you want. Each item can be further defined with tasks, links, photos, files, and so on. At the end of the meeting, Pinstriped will automatically generate an email with minutes to send to other participants. The free version allows for three meeting plans at a time, which should be enough for most people.

8. Itsycal: A Calendar in the Menu Bar

mac free productivity itsycal

Hey Apple, it’s ridiculous that the clock on the Menu Bar doesn’t expand into a calendar when clicked. There’s no reason for it not to. Fortunately Itsycal fixes this macOS annoyance without costing a penny. It’s a tiny, customizable calendar that pops out with a click and syncs with Apple’s Calendar app (formerly iCal) How To Instantly Add Anything To Your Mac's Calendar Add something to your Mac's calendar in just a few keystrokes – we've got the software to make it possible. Read More .

You can also quickly add events to it, and make it look and behave exactly how you want. It’s the Calendar tool that should be shipping with macOS.

9. Copia: Replace the Default Clipboard Manager

mac free productivity copia clipboard

While there are some fantastic clipboard managers on macOS 5 Best Mac Clipboard Manager Apps to Improve Your Workflow If you spend a lot of time copying and pasting, you need to download one of these top clipboard management apps. Read More , Copia is the one we have all been waiting for. It’s fast, it’s beautiful, and it’s free. It supports both text and images, and lets you search through the text too. It’ll sit quietly in the background, keeping a track of everything you copy. When you want to paste, use a shortcut or bring up the gorgeous Copia pane to drag and drop. It’s still in beta, but it’s useful right now.

10. Pearl: Check How You Look Before a Video Call

Mac GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Video calls are an essential part of the modern workplace. Whether you use Facetime, Skype, or something else, you’ll want to know that you look good on the webcam How to Look Good on a Webcam When Video Chatting Sick of your webcam chats and vlogs looking dull, untidy and lazy? Follow these tips to look good on a webcam. Read More . Pearl sits in your Menu Bar, ready to immediately show a preview of what others will see. This one-click utility is a godsend to quickly check the lighting and angles before you sign into your conference.

11. Coconut Battery: Calibrate and Maintain Your MacBook Battery

mac free productivity coconut battery

MacBooks generally have excellent battery life. But if you have an old device whose battery runs out quickly, you might need to calibrate it again Calibrate & Maintain Your MacBook Battery For Best Performance If you correctly calibrate and maintain your MacBook battery, it's possible to improve performance and put off replacing it for as long as possible. Read More . Coconut Battery one free tool that will allow you to analyze and re-calibrate the battery. Plus, the app will show your battery’s real time availability, and how much time you have left. Forget the percentage you see right now, this is the most realistic estimate of your remaining power.

12. Memory Diag: Isolate Apps Using Too Much RAM [No Longer Available]

mac free productivity ram diagnostics

Running short of RAM on a Mac? Well, don’t use a “RAM optimizer” to boost your memory 4 Myths and Misconceptions About RAM You Need to Stop Believing What happens if you mix RAM size? Or completely mismatch RAM modules? Is it good or bad? Here are four myths surrounding RAM. Read More . That does more harm than good.

Memory Diag shows real-time stats of which apps are using a lot of memory. Accordingly, you can close or restart those apps to free up much-needed resources. Go into the app’s Preferences, and check the box for “Detailed Significant Memory Usage” to see those memory-hogging apps in your Menu Bar.

You might also want to switch off notifications. The constant popups and alerts get really annoying.

13. Vanilla: Hide Unwanted Menu Bar Icons

mac free productivity hide unwanted menu bar icons vanilla

Since most of these apps live in the Menu Bar, you might be left with a cluttered set of icons up there. You could customize and tidy the Menu Bar How To Customize & Tidy Your Mac Menu Bar Nothing makes OS X look cluttered faster than unwanted menubar icons. Read More , but a better option is to install Vanilla to simply hide and expand icons as needed. Drag icons of apps you won’t use all the time to the “hide” part, and leave the regular apps as they are. Suddenly you have a clean, clutter-free Menu Bar, saving you from accidental clicks.

What’s Your Favorite Free Mac Productivity Tool?

You may have noticed the distinct lack of to-do list apps in this round-up. That’s because it’s up to you in the choice between the three best ones:, Todoist, and Wunderlist To-Do List App Showdown: vs Todoist vs Wunderlist Some to-do list apps stand head and shoulders above the rest. But how do they compare and which one is best for you? We'll help you find out. Read More .

Which free Mac app for productivity do you recommend? Did we miss any?

Related topics: Calendar, Clipboard, Mac App Launcher, Mac Menu Bar, Mac Tricks, Productivity.

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  1. Keith
    September 21, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Those are some good ones; I'm especially glad to find an alternative to the aging Clip Menu, which still works pretty well but is not searchable. Also going to try Itsycal as a replacement for Fantastical.

    One of my go-to apps that you didn't mention is Alfred. It's a launcher and much more: "Alfred is an award-winning app for Mac OS X which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion and more. Search your Mac and the web, and be more productive with custom actions to control your Mac." There are free and paid versions.

    • Matt
      October 13, 2017 at 7:59 pm

      Agreed. Alfred for life!

      One of the first little apps i install on any mac i touch :)