Useful Mac/iPhone software

To give a bit of background I have been a Windows user since the first time I touched a computer and only not until a year ago I bought a MacBook Pro and really started using MacOS. For me the full transition took around a month before I got used to the keyboard shortcuts and how the system is working. At first I was kind of disappointed because everything was a little different and my productivity with computer was very low, but once I got the idea now I cannot use Windows (:-)) - that is a joke of course but talking usability wise Mac is far superior, so if you are switching OS's like I've done be patient - it all be fine.

So what I thought is that is would be a good idea to create a short overview of the apps that I have found usefull and would recommend other Mac user to use. BTW if you have any other cool apps that should be on this list please drop me a line on feedback form

I have split the apps into two sections: users and developers. So here it is:

For users:

Launch Bar (quick access to files)

Launch Bar

This is an absolutely must have. This app is basically a far more advanced Spotlight App. But the best part of it is that is adjusts to you by learning what you use. So if you have frequently used app it will make suggestions starting from the first two letters - and it makes it absolutelly accuratelly. It is not free but it absolutelly worth the money.

Here is the official link:


Adium (universal instant messaging client)

Adium Logo

Adium has support for most common IM such as: MSN, ICQ, Yahoo, Google talk, Jabber, Facebook, AOL, LiveJournal and many many more, and the best thing is that it is absolutelly free. Furthermore it has massive themes library so that you can personalise the look and feel.


Here is the official link:



Fantastic replacement for the OOTB AddressBook app. Includes awesome features like integration with AddressBook, iCloud, LinkedIn,Twitter, Facebook, contacts tagging, search auto-completion and many many more. An excellent addition to your mac. It is still in Beta but so far looks very good. Free for now.

Here is the official link:


Dates to iCal 2 (address book plugin)

Dates to iCal 2

I simply adore the integration between AddressBook app and the iCal app, but for reasons unknow iCal only synchronizes birthdays in address book. After searching the web I have found this nifty plugin. It allows you to add any date that you assign for a contact in address book to be displayable in iCal. It is not free but it is cheap and works perfect. One thing to mention is that is sometimes takes a few moment for the new type of date to be synchronized to do not worry, just wait a little.


Here is the official link:


DropBox (file sharing utility)


If you want to have a worldwide file share that does not require going onto web this is an absolute must. It works lightning fast and if you require under 2Gb's of storage it is free. It creates a directory on your hard drive and synchronizes files in the background. Also you can have several shared account budled together, so that if any of other people in your group update files you almost instantly see them on your Mac.


Here is the official link:


Evernote (app for saving your notes with text recognition !even in images!)

Evernote Logo

Personally I like to read small articles and blog post, or sometimes during my work I found usefull stuff and I had always had problems with keeping it all together and then finding the right stuff in the pile over piles of files. That was until I got this app. Evernote is a notes repository that allows to store any kinds of files and web clips. Further more it provides excellent searching utilities and not only in text documents but pdf, doc, xsl and even images! There are lot of features like tagging and notebooks organizers and more. And what is best is that is it free to use, with some little limitations but in my experience of using it for over 9mts now I have never exceeded the limit which is replenished every month.

Here is the official link:


ID3Mod2 (utility for mp3 tag modifications)


This is a life saved when you transfer music from PC to Mac. Without any doubt iTunes is a great utility for music BUT it is just trying to be too smart sometimes. For example I had a lot of russian music on my PC and when I transfered it to Mac the names all turned into "funny" characters. Later I read about the cause of this - it turns out that iTunes encodes the mp3 ID3 tags differently depending on timezone that is set for your OS. So unless you set it to Russian you are not gona see russian names, same with chineese and other that require UTF-8. Now obviously you can set different time zone to correctly import the music, but when you switch it back it re-indexs the names and turns them into ?##?#. So the ID3Mod2 alows to manually recode the ID3 tags and set the character encoding manually so that iTunes uses the correct encoding. This utility also auto detects the encoding. Great stuff but very hard to find. There are a lot of unofficial sites that allow to download it. But if you have trouble drop me a line using feedback form.


ScreenFlow (desktop recording, presentation app)


To say this app is amazing is to say nothing. It provides excellent screen/ web cam video capture, built in audio, microfone audio capture. Recording editor allows to mix in media and add additional audio tracks, resize the video on the fly, encode it to different format. This is absolutelly fantastic app for creating professional looking presentations. But to understand this you need to use it because no word can describe how perfectly it works. Absolutelly worth the money spent!


Here is the official link:


iChm (*.chm file viwer/encoder)


This app allows to read *.chm file (Windows help files). I like to read electronic books and sometimes they come in CHM format. This is a must have app for this. It also allows to conver chm file to pdf. And the best part that it is free


Here is the official link:


LabTick (keyboard illumination utility)

Lab Tick

I know that MacBook already has it's utility for this BUT some people (myself for example) do not always agree with MacBook on when to switch the keyboad lighting on. I found myself struggling with this since it does work but MacBook's sensor is kind of working strange. So I found LabTick which is a free utility to manually manage keyboard lighting - very cool.


Here is the official link:

smcFanControl (Fan speed control utility)


Again, Mac has a smart system to control the fans, but sometimes it stars to ridiculously overheat. Personally I would rather help my Mac to understand that it needs to speed up the fans. And this free utility does exactly that.

Here is the official link:



For Developers:


MacPorts (all-in-one, the first thing you should install on Mac!)


MacPorts provides a repository for all developer apps that might think of. So DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT attempt to install anything by hand it is a waste of time, because MacPorts had done it for you already!

So fisrt you need to install MacPorts, then whatever you want. Say you want MySQL just open Terminal type:

port search mysql

Then chose the package you want and type:

port install mysql5

And you have it on your sustem fully configured and ready to use.

Any other software is intalled in much the same way, so to recap: DO NOT TRY TO BE SMARTER AND INSTALL BY HAND - USE MACPORTS

Here is the official link:


Versions (SVN Client)


The best SVN Client I have ever used on Mac. I think better that Versions is only SVNTortoise but that is only for Windows. The interface is adorable and user friendly. Allows to save bookmarks and keep track of working copies in addition to the SVN functions. Not free but worth the money.

Here is the official link:


VirtualBox (Virtual machine emulator)


If the target environment is important for you then this is your best choice. It is free and if configured properly allows a seemless transition between the OS's. Basically you run your other OS as an application. In order to do this you need to install VirtualBox, install and OS that you want on virtual machine and then install on that OS VirtualBox client that will allows to on the fly grand your mouse and keyboad controls whenever you are in the Virtual machine window. This is amazing stuff try it.

Here is the official link:

This page was last updated on: 22/03/2012 10:36