I have been using Mac OS X for almost 3 years now and over the time, I have found few apps that adds a lot to your Mac experience, specially if you are a software developer. The main intention behind using most of these apps is to use keyboard most of the times (and minimize use of the mouse). Even if you are not a developer, some of these apps still add a lot of value and improves your productivity while using a Mac. The best part - most of these apps are free! You can buy to have some extended features, but for me the free stuff is enough most of the times.
So, here are my favorite apps that should be useful even if you don’t develop on mac:
Alfred (Free): This is one of my most favorite app that I must have used thousands of times till date. It not only allows to search - applications, files, folders - but also a number of other cool features like calculations, spelling etc. A must have for anyone using Mac.
Spectacle (Free): Its a great windows manager for Mac that allows you to use keyboard shortcuts to adjust window sizes and positions. The best part, it is free and open source!
2Do ($29.99): If you are looking for getting things done, then 2Do is the best you can get among thousands of productivity apps that claims to follow GTD. Though it has a price tag ($29.99), its worth the money. I have been practicing GTD for last few months now using this app on my iPhone and Mac and so far very happy with the results. I will soon post my setup with this app on this blog.
Caffeine (Free): If you hate it when your mac goes to sleep or start the screen savers when you don’t want it to, then Caffeine is the great tiny app to solve that problem.
TextWrangler/BBEdit (Free/$49.99): If you are looking for a better text editor than that ships with Mac OS X, then go for either TextWrangler (free) or BBEdit (paid). TextWrangler, as the company calls it ‘little brother’ to BBEdit, is the stripped down version of BBEdit. I use TextWrangler as I don’t need a lot of features that come with BBEdit.
Evernote (Free): Well, I don’t think this app needs any introduction. Though I like the Notes app that shipped with Mountain Lion but still it can’t match Evernote. It provides you so many features that you can’t ignore. Again, its free!
These apps are more useful for those that prefer to develop software:
Intellij ($199.99/Free): A great IDE that allows you to write code in tens of different languages. I used to use Eclipse, but that felt like a heavy weight with lot of plugins/features that I don’t need. Though their is a price tag on this IDE for their Ultimate version but its those very few apps for which I am willing to pay the money. Having said that, they do have a free Open source version but naturally with less features than the Ultimate version.
But in case you don’t need those additional features, then you should try out the free version. See the comparison between two editions.
iTerm2 (Free): If you are a command line person like me and don’t like the Terminal app that ships with OS X, then iTerm2 is the right app for you. Its a lot faster and customizable than Terminal app.
HomeBrew (Free): As the project page mentions, it is ‘the missing package manager for OS X’. If you crave for all the wonderful *nix apps, then this is the right app for you. Its amazingly easy to install and use.
Mutt (Free): If you are overwhelmed with the email apps like Outlook, and prefer to read your emails as text and be more productive while handling your email then you should go for Mutt. There are a lot of references on web to setup and run Mutt on Mac, this is one of my favorites. But be aware that this isn’t prettiest of all and might take you few days to setup and get used to it, but once you do its a great tool.