macOS comes with plenty of time-saving utilities and shortcuts. But you’ll find so many more on the web that will save you hours. Let’s explore seven of those gems.
What do they have in common? Each is lightweight, simple to use, and free.
Thor sits in the menu bar and allows you to create custom keyboard shortcuts for your apps. This is your chance to get creative and set up shortcuts that you’ll have no trouble remembering.
I have created shortcuts to my favorite apps as combination of a modifier key (Option) and the initial of the app names.
For example, my shortcut for the Ulysses app is Option + U and Safari is Option + S. For my password manager app, Secrets, I use Option + P—P for passwords—since Option + S is already taken.
HiddenMe is a quick way to hide desktop clutter when guests come over. One keyboard shortcut is all it takes to push the app into action. Then all you’re left with is the wallpaper you never get to see (or a solid color, if you prefer).
Everybody’s favorite utility for keeping a MacBook awake, Caffeine, no longer works. Amphetamine is a free and effective replacement, but with all its settings, you might find it overkill for such a basic function.
If you wish for an app with the simplicity of Caffeine, try Owly. It comes from the developers of the amazing Battery Health utility.
Owly gives you a few preset durations to prevent your Mac from going to sleep. Control-click Owly’s menu bar icon to toggle the app’s function. By default, Owly keeps your Mac awake indefinitely, but you can change the default to a different preset from the app’s settings.
KeepingYouAwake works pretty much the same as Owly, so you can try that instead.
CornerCal is a simple clock app that puts the date and time in your Mac’s menu bar. It’s true that macOS already has this feature, but CornerCal is better because it comes with a simple, much-needed calendar.
Click on CornerCal’s clock in the menu bar to reveal the calendar, which looks a lot like a native macOS app.
If you want a calendar app that lets you add events and reminders to iCal, CornerCal is not it. Try Itsycal instead. It’s free and a perennial favorite of Mac users everywhere.
iTunes can be annoying even when you’re not using it. The app is set to pop up on various occasions, such as right after it updates or when you connect Bluetooth headphones. It’s also frustrating when you trigger iTunes via web links.
All that is in the past once you install and run Overkill. The app stops iTunes in its tracks when it tries to launch, so you can get on with your work without interruption. You’ll have to pause Overkill from the menu bar if you actually want to use iTunes. (But you can still charge your iPhone by connecting it to your Mac.)
A neat feature of Overkill is that you can use it to prevent any app, not just iTunes, from launching.
If all you want to do is stop iTunes from loading when you connect your iPhone, you don’t need Overkill or any other app for that. You can do it from iTunes itself. Visit iTunes > Preferences > Devices and select this checkbox: Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically.
You can also use your Mac’s Image Capture app to assign new default behavior for connected devices.
6. Easy Move+Resize
This utility is for heavy mouse users. It lets you scale and move windows faster by clicking on any area of an app window in combination with one or more modifier keys.
This means you don’t have to reach for a corner or edge of a window to resize it. Likewise, you can do without reaching for the title bar when you want to move a window.
The default modifiers are Cmd and Control. If you press them both in combination with a left click of the mouse, you can drag the window around. If you swap the left click with a right click, you can resize the window. (This behavior will seem familiar if you’re also a Linux user.)
You can select one or more modifiers of your choice as the defaults from the app’s settings.
Download: Easy Move+ Resize
The scroll direction of any external mouse you connect to your Mac reflects that of the in-built trackpad and vice-versa. So if you change one, the other changes too.
That’s not ideal if you prefer Apple’s default scroll direction while using the trackpad, but not while using the mouse. Of course, the opposite might be true for you instead.
(Apple calls its default scroll direction Natural. Here, if you swipe up on the trackpad, you scroll down the page.)
In any case, wouldn’t it be convenient if you could control the scroll direction of the mouse independently of the trackpad? Mos allows you to do just that, and also gives you the ability to scroll the mouse wheel smoothly.
After you install the app, you’ll see that the mouse scroll direction is the opposite of the trackpad scroll direction. Visit the app’s settings to further control the scroll behavior for the mouse.
More Little Apps Your Mac Will Love
The utilities above won’t solve any big problems for you, but they will speed up your macOS workflow a good bit.
While you’re exploring them, you might also want to check out our ultimate list of menu bar apps for many other excellent utilities. And don’t forget minimalist Mac apps that can simplify your workflow a great deal.