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Less known macOS apps you will legitimately want to use every day (medium.com/macoclock)
57 points by toolbunch 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 47 comments



>There are a lot of popular websites like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, and Gmail that do not have a dedicated app for macOS, and it is annoying to open your browser and type in the URL of the site or click on a bookmark every time you want to access sites like these.

Is this actually a common belief? Bookmarks are too much effort?

Rectangle, however, I can vouch for. The stock window management in OS X is the worst in the industry, but tools like Rectangle help a lot.


Yes, I make site-specific browsers for web apps because then you can use all the OS affordances for managing apps and windows!

You can hide all windows for only one web app with ⌘-H (like a normal app). You can flip between the windows of only that web app with ⌘-` (like a normal app).

You can use any of the myriad launching tools like LuanchBar/Raycast/Spotlight to quickly launch a web app (like a normal app) and it will re-open with the last-used window positions (like a normal app).

You can press Ctrl-↓ to make the OS show thumbnails of all the windows of only that web app (like a normal app).

Finally, you can quit the web app and close all its windows with ⌘-Q (like a normal app).

Plus some I am forgetting.

Web apps are pretty shit compared to native apps, because they literally throw away all the features the OS provides for managing apps.

For any app like YouTube, Shortcut, Audible, Amazon, etc I would 100% always prefer a native app over a web app, even if it had no additional features other than being a native app.


BTW while I am talking about this topic on this website: are there any good tools like this for Linux? I recently moved from macOS to Linux (mostly) and good site-specific-browser app creation tools are one of the things I miss most.

(On Mac, I just bought this flotato thing, as it seems pretty good and promising, but I normally have been using Coherence X (a similar app) and there are others... I am not aware of any for Linux.)

Also check out Bumpr.app for Mac — it intercepts link clicks and lets you choose what browser to open them in. Would love that on Linux, as well.


It’s not that it’s to much effort to open a webpage. But it does make a real difference being able to switch back to an app directly instead of going to the browser, then the right window (if it’s not minimised), then the right tab. Even if you keep a separate window with your most common used web apps it inevitably gets filled with new tabs from links you click in other apps. I recently switched to all native apps where before I had almost everything web apps. And it’s a godsend to just cmd-tab to mail or chat and back to what I was working on the browser.


I would much rather have native apps then work through web apps. I’m anxiously waiting the day Netflix releases a MacOS App.


Why? What feature of a hypothetical Netflix app could you not get with a PWA?


The biggest feature I miss is being able to download shows locally. It's not hugely hypothetical either - just putting the ipad app on the mac isn't a huge leap anymore, and would solve most of what I'd want.


It's a bit nitpicky but one of my gripes with PWA is that no implementation I've seen thus far gets titlebars right under macOS, which is a bit distracting.

Additionally, there doesn't seem to be an API for PWAs to surface menus to the system, which means productivity stuff like Google Docs is stuck with redundant in-browser menus.


some of us just prefer native apps. you never get as much functionality out of a browser tab as you do from a full app


But you can extend things so much easier inside of a browser tab (Greasemonkey, etc) than you can with a native app.


I know this is a thing, but really…who does this? The last thing I want to do is spend time tweaking someone else’s web site (unless I am getting paid to do it).


Wanikani users apparently.


This is actually a solid counter-point. My concerns with browser extensions is that you can't necessarily trust them or find something you want done, but I concede that having the option doesn't require you to do anything, whereas a native app doesn't necessarily give you the option.


Since it hasn't been mentioned, I use this every day (mostly silent in the background):

> LuLu is the free, open-source firewall that aims to block unknown outgoing connections, protecting your privacy and your Mac!

https://objective-see.com/products/lulu.html


Not a fan of Rectangle, much prefer Tiles. Same thing, but the snap rectangles are much easier to see.

I'm not sure I agree that window management in macOS is the worst, though. Just different. If you're used to Windows-style management, the position of windows probably is a bit more important; if you're used to macOS-style management, you're heavily using Mission Control and Exposé to switch anyway so their actual position doesn't matter much.

But things like Tiles, Rectangle, and BetterSnapTool still sure are nice.


I agree, macOS is just different. I still have Magnet installed though.


> If you're used to Windows-style management, the position of windows probably is a bit more important

Is it? I only use programs in full screen or half screen, unless they are a specific kind of program (shell for a quick task, file picker, that kind of thing). I switch with either the multiple desktop feature, or alt+tab before. I honestly don't see the point of floating windows, except for exceptions like the one I mentionned.


> Is it? I only use programs in full screen or half screen

For which a whole mode exists in macOS, but for some reason that's not what a lot of ex-Windows users want.

I got a lot of flak about suggesting those people use it in one previous thread a few months back, with people coming back with how they wanted to have maximised-but-not-fullscreen windows.

And yet full screen windows in macOS can be paired with another full screen window for half-'n-half of the screen, the two halves can be resized, the virtual desktops that they create can be switched between with Mission Control and by using Ctrl-Left and Ctrl-Right.

So I figured, for that crowd, it's not the end result but the way it's done. They just want it to be more Windows-like. shrug

PS: I mean, I guess it's true that the Dock becomes unavailable to view in full screen window mode (so you can't see the badges) but macOS will make the Dock tiles bounce when there's something for you to see.


> And yet full screen windows in macOS can be paired with another full screen window for half-'n-half of the screen, the two halves can be resized, the virtual desktops that they create can be switched between with Mission Control and by using Ctrl-Left and Ctrl-Right.

That sounds exactly what like I use, I'm not sure what these people are missing. Maybe they're not used to change?


I prefer Moom[1] over Rectangle for window management because I find Aero Snap style management annoying due to the visual noise it creates by unintentionally triggering while moving around windows. It also has a nice unobtrusive UI summoned by hovering over window resize buttons.

[1]: https://manytricks.com/moom/


Spectacle also works as an alternative if you don't want the edge snapping


and I prefer amethyst over both :)


+1 for Amethyst! And custom JS based layout is in progress, although I don't need it anymore.


Not interested in any of those apps. However I'd recommend Bartender to everyone. https://www.macbartender.com/Bartender4/


doozer(https://github.com/Mortennn/Dozer) is not as cool but it's opensource


Bartender was one of the very first apps on the Mac App Store, IIRC.


Here is a category of lesser known apps I use everyday: Text recognition. Want to copy text in an image? Or copy text on a website that won't allow you to copy? Both of the following apps use a similar keyboard shortcut to the screenshot shortcuts you already know, command + shift + 2. Now you can copy any text on your screen.

TextSniper - $6.99 https://textsniper.app

TRex - free https://github.com/amebalabs/TRex


And if you want to invoke it from Terminal: https://github.com/schappim/macOCR


A feature that’s now Built into Preview in the next macOS release


It's present in Safari, Photos, and presumably some other apps that make use of the native image view widget as well.


Apple Silicon only, isn't it?


I think it the late betas it was added to very recent Intel Macs.


Love the TRex!


Most of these "apps" are distraction machines. Play background music, get screen messages every 20 minutes, download apps for addictive websites, make videos stick on top of display.


Background music letting you adjust volume on a per app basis is the biggest selling point to me. Hate that Zoom's volume is tied exclusively to system volume.


Just glancing at my menu bar for any that might be less known...

Jettison is great for ejecting and optionally remounting external disks when you put the Mac in and out of sleep.

Turbo Boost Switcher is useful for getting the Mac to run cooler and prolong battery life. Mine is nearly always plugged in at my office, so I use it when I don't want the fan to get loud (like when recording with a microphone).

I'm not sure if BetterTouchTool qualifies as "less known", but it's really useful. I use it to launch new iTerm windows and various apps on the f16..f19 keys on the Magic Keyboard. I also use it to extend other applications with macros. It would be great if Obsidian had Emmet-like facilities to expand abbreviations, so you can set up BetterTouchTool to expand expressions like "h4" followed by the tab key into "####". Things like that really speed up markdown entry.

https://stclairsoft.com/Jettison/

http://tbswitcher.rugarciap.com/

https://folivora.ai/

https://emmet.io/


Is typing 'h4<tab>' really faster than typing '####'? Do you also prefer, say, 'h2<tab>' to '##'?


That was one example that came to mind.

Clearly (?) the shortcut can be only a character or two and the text it expands to can be as long as you like.


I used to read a website that interviewed people (often successful people) and asked them about their setup. They'd explain all the apps and gadgets they used. I forget what the site was called.

Are there any updated sites like that? I find it super interesting to understand the apps/gadgets and workflows that super productive people use.


You probably mean https://usesthis.com


yes. Thanks!


I feel physical pain using Mac's broken Command-Tab switcher without first installing https://contexts.co/


> It is no news that window management in macOS is a joke compared to Microsoft’s Windows. However, you can quickly fix that with the help of the free app called Rectangle.

I feel offended.


That's the only thing on macos that's been buggging me. rectangle is the only one on the list that I'm going to use.


TheClock. Love the calendar and timezones. By seense


Background Music and Rectangle are great. I recently discovered rectangle after looking for a better tiling solution.


I use rectangle, it's a nice one




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