macOS setup & tools

Following you will find a list of tools I install and use on my Macbook Pro. The list is inspired by a post of But – IMHO – they did leave out some useful tools and had others which I do not need or use (Microsoft Office – uha). That’s why I created my own list. It is also very handy while setting up a new device. 

Graphics & Design

sip (free version): grab color of a specific pixel on screen. Also available for iOS. 

pixelmator (30 €): at work I work with Photoshop and Illustrator – I have to, sorry. At home this one is enough, and my mac stays adobe free! Also available for iOS.

aurora HDR (99 €): create HDR images. Works much better than the free version available for mac. I use an older version – not the 2017 one, but it still works

sketchup (free): to get my DIY projects planned, I use sketchup. The free version is enough

linotype fontexplorer X (free): former (old) version of the current font management tool. I think it is not available online anymore.

sketch (99 €): the vector drawing tool, did not use it, just fiddling around with it a bit

Productivity & Coding

locko (free): password vault – very handy. There is also an iOS-version available to sync data. Not as handy as 1pasword is or would be – but it is a very good free alternative (1password is quite expensive)

a better finder rename (20 €): rename files in nearly any way

alfred (free): start apps, look up stuff with a press of a button. The one and only launcher.

flux (free): adjust the white point of my screen if I have to work late. Unfortunately it does affect video playback in means of color irritations. My confit isn’t perfect yet. Still working on it.

iA Writer (10 €): my preferred writing environment to collect thoughts and cites 

key codes (free): check which key has which code or whether a keyboard key is pressed or released. Handy to create keyboard triggered interaction

textmate (free / open source (???)): best for coding – IMHO. was a payed app, now free – not sure about the future. Also tried – aside from many others – atom and brackets, which are also free and very useful. 

things (50 €): to-do lists manager … somehow lost track of all the lists now. Right now paper and pen seams more useful for me (syncs between versions for iPhone and iPad, which are separately available and a bit expensive, if you ask me – got my license from work).

timer-app (free): set a time easily with just one drag. Very slick. 

Online & Communication

forklift (30 €): my access point to servers and remote systems

brave (free): secure and free browser. Also available for iOS.

wire (free): secure and fast online conferencing. Unfortunately not a standard yet. 

pocket (free): store online articles for later – read it on iOS or macOS or “windows” (registration needed)

dropbox (free): share files between devices – temporarily (registration needed)


handbrake (free / open source): convert videos and dvds to nearly any format 

vlc (free/donation): the movie player

mediathekview (free): german television “downloader” for their “Mediatheken”

plex media player (free): to view my movies from the mac mini server in a comfy way. registration needed

telemac (free): watch german telly online


keynote / numbers / pages (free): you all know these babies

libreoffice (free): in case there might be some files flying in in the – what a pigsty – standard office format


little snitch (30 €): do not tell everything to everybody, thanks

iTerm (free): terminal replacement. Together with the fish command line a real good system tool

mactracker (free): sometimes some facts about the macs is needed, not very often though

onyx (free): set system parameters – but be careful

teamviewer (free version for private use): control my mums mac remotely

wifi signal (5 €): due to problems on my wifi connection at home, I tried to fix it with monitoring values and delays. 

keka (free): can also encrypt archives on creation. Very handy and more mac-like. Or winzip (30 €): yes, a win-prgram on a mac. Works pretty well and got from a bundle hunt buy. Nice to manage ZIP-files and password protected files. the unarchiver (free): dezip archives quickly 

EasyFind (free): find files and folders – also on external docs (which are not of my Spotlight library)

KeepingYouAwake (free): prevent mac from going to sleep temporarily (from 5 minutes to indefinitely). Like Caffeine, but more retina compatible.