Everything I’ve had to install to make macOS mine.

Unfortunately, it seems macOS relies on indie apps to make it more than baseline usable. Here's what I use.

I’m happy with my MacBook Air overall. It just happens to be the best daily-use laptop/system, even if a compromise still. I’m still shocked I run a local Docker development environment, PyCharm, and Firefox on this thing considering the Air is entry level. Doesn’t even have a fan!

So while this post might make you go, “I knew macOS wasn’t great, but I didn’t know the situation was so dire”, that really isn’t my intention.

Let’s get to it.

  • Bartender: So. Many. Menu Icons. I don’t care for the order as much as I do about it crowding away my focus. Costs about ₹1410 — which is…a lot. I haven’t yet got a license and I might not. Know of any free/cheaper alternatives?
  • Vanilla: So. Many. Menu Icons. Not anymore. Vanilla is neat and clean.
  • Kap: System screen recorder saves in MOV. A file format that isn’t understood widely. Kap allows us to decide what format to save in. Gleefully open source.
  • Command-Tab Plus: The default Command-Tab UI includes hidden/closed windows as well as apps from all desktops. Which is far from desirable. Costs about ₹3990 for lifetime updates and 3 users. (Thanks, Nicholas!)
  • Maccy: Unlike Windows 10, the default clipboard manager is…pretty darn basic. Maccy gets us competing again in this department.
  • Stats: I just want to see the network usage live. That’s all, really. Gleefully open source.
  • Raycast: Spotlight replacement that does currency conversions so well — it supports every currency I can imagine, unlike Spotlight. I don’t have any other complaints from Spotlight — just this currency stuff, but it’s so vital to my daily usage that I kept this replacement around. Raycast does so much more, but I don’t want to have more stuff to miss when their free plan becomes paid (you know it will one day!).
  • Scroll Reverser: Use natural scrolling on one peripheral, but not the other. For example: enable it on the touchpad, but not on an external mouse.
  • Rectangle: I was told window management isn’t great on macOS. I was told correctly. 99% of the time, Rectangle is just here so I can have side-by-side windows for a quick task. Gleefully open source.

There you go. I wish all of this was native, but it’s not.

The only thing I can excuse Apple for is screen recordings in .MOV — knowing Apple, they will never change that (never also being a euphemism for a really long time).

The rest of the stuff? Yeah, that shouldn’t be coming from indie devs.

Photo by Dmitry Chernyshov on Unsplash.


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