Small but Useful Apps for Mac

Posted on October 18, 2012
Updated October 2, 2015

I’ve been a Mac user since 2010 when I discovered the Macbook Pro. The finding was serendipity, and the same machine is still going strong a few years and updates later.

Here are some of the smaller apps I use that improve my life or computing experience. Most of these are unobtrusive task bar apps, meaning they won’t clutter your workspace.


A colour temperature corrector. It makes the screen more pleasant to look at under artificial light (i.e., at night, when we’re all using our macs!). Read more about it here.


If you’re not plugging your mac into a speaker system (like me, right now, on the kitchen bench), you can use this small task bar EQ utility to boost the bass and remove the middle, vastly improving the listenability of the MacBooks tiny speakers (which may have improved since the 2010 model, but still). Boom’s also useful for adding a volume boost for unusually quite media files.

Notational Velocity

A fast and intuitive note taking app. And if you’ve ‘heard that before,’ you’ve still gotta take a look at Notational. Great for storing any blips of info. I use it for code excerpts to drop in projects and product serials.


This allows the immediate replacement of certain phrases with others. Useful for commonly typed but hard to remember or long wads of text. Now works with images and more.

iA Writer

A very simple text-editing app. There are no preferences but the app has a beautifully plain interface, nice text and a full-screen ‘focus’ mode that helps you concentrate on the sentence being written.


Prevent or allow your mac from going to sleep without messing with the power options.


Similar to Caffeine, but with more options, such as disabling lid-sleep on MacBooks.


Allows you to sample a colour from anywhere on your screen. Simple and handy for designers and developers.

Send to Kindle

Drag any document file onto the Send to Kindle icon and it will automatically upload or convert to the kindle eBook format.

Stuffit Expander

Works with compressed files. It’s great because it can dispose with the original zip after expansion, so you don’t have unnecessary files littering your drive.