These are the apps and tools that I cannot live without, broken down into various categories. I spend the first waking moments with a new Mac setting all of these up.
All of these mac apps are carefully designed, tested, and developed with such incredible levels of quality. And as such sometimes carry a price-tag, but as a developer myself, I want to support the developers that go above and beyond. Plus I am more than willing to pay for convenience, productivity, and privacy.
The terminal emulators and terminal tools are all free and open source.
Little Snitch 4 ($45)
Crazy powerful firewall to get insight into how apps are using the internet. I use it to block trackers, block certain apps from talking to the internet (like clipboard managers), and for monitoring any new outbound connections
Micro Snitch ($5)
Micro Snitch is a menu bar application that will notify you whenever your camera or microphone become active. Can be bought as a bundle with Little Snitch. This is what I use instead of taping my webcam.
Cookie.app allows you take control over the cookies in your browser (supports multiple browsers) by removing tracking cookies, removing blacklisted cookies, or setting up whitelists and removing everything else.
I hate invasive adtech, tracking your every click, web visit, purchases, interactions just to shove ads down your throat. One way to reduce the amount of tracking is by only using your browser (Safari) in incognito mode. But there are certain types of websites that I would prefer to stay signed-in on (usually mostly related to work). Cookie.app allowed me to take control of my privacy.
Maccy (free and OSS)
Clipboard managers are a life-changer. Keeps track of a configurable amount of your clipboard history. Super light-weight and keyboard-shortcut friendly.
Bartender 3 ($14)
Simple app that allows you to control when and which apps are allowed to be on your menu bar. Keep your important ones always visible, hide the rest. Plus you can toggle them, as well show them on changes.
Control your window positions and size with super simple keyboard shortcuts. Effectively brings the advantages of a tiling window manager to MacOS.
Retina Display Manager (free and OSS)
Ridiculously simple menu-bar app to change screen resolution. Plus has the added benefit of unlocking many more resolutions (including true native resolutions) than you can access via the preferences pane.
gfxCardStatus (free and OSS)
A menu-bar app that allows you to see which graphics card you are using (integrated vs discrete) and which apps are triggering the switch. Super useful to track down apps which force the power-hungry discrete card.
Next Meeting (free)
A menu-bar app that displays your next upcoming meeting (with minutes until meeting). Super configurable and super helpful to keep tabs on your calendar at a glance.
Menu World Time (free)
A menu-bar app that displays any number of timezones. Super configurable. Since I work with people in multiple time-zones this is a must have
kitty (free and OSS)
Super fast, GPU-accelerated terminal emulator. Supports layouts, splits, multiple copy/paste buffers, and is buttery smooth.
alacritty (free and OSS)
Ridiculously fast, GPU-accelerated terminal emulator. Extremely light-weight and simple, doesn’t have splits, layouts (can use tmux or screen for that), lowest latency I have ever experienced in a terminal emulator.
homebrew (free and OSS)
The macOS package manager that should have been. Absolute must for software development and installing open source software.
oh-my-zsh (free and OSS)
Take zsh to the next level with this group of plugins, configurations, themes. Instantly transforms your terminal into something from the future and super configurable.
neovim (free and OSS)
A re-write of ViM with sane defaults, better architecture, and much cleaner and extensible codebase. Used to be the only vim with async plugins but it pressured original vim to implement it.
thefuck (free and OSS)
Super simple premise: if you make a typo on a command and it failed, type ‘fuck’ and it will be auto-corrected. Use it all the time.
z (free and OSS)
Tremendously helpful at navigating your filesystem. Learns which directories you work in the most and allows you to navigate with intuitive fuzzy-matched commands
zsh-autosuggestions (free and OSS)
Terminal suggestions on steroids (shadow predictions)
the silver searcher (free and OSS)
Like grep but better, like ack but faster, best code searching tool. Honors .gitignores, skips log files, and is blazing fast.
fzf (free and OSS)
A general purpose command-line fuzzy finder, useful for recursively finding/opening/editing files. Works with commits, bookmarks, command history. And is the basis for many useful plugins
git-number (free and OSS)
Increases git productivity by 10x. Adds numbers to any files output by git (for example git status) and allows you to perform commands based on the numbers instead of having to type the full file-path. Don’t think I could ever go back to not using this.
git-extras (free and OSS)
Adds many extremely useful commands to the git command. Turn into a swiss-army knife. For example tools to checkout upstream PRs, add co-authors, see commits since, and many more.