There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with OS X in Apple’s App Store – not to mention the thousands more that are scattered across the Web. In this list, we’ve compiled some of the best Mac apps available. Since there are so many apps available, we pared it down to only include programs that are most likely to be useful to the average Mac user.
There are loads of great window management tools out there, and each one seems to take a different approach to the same task. Afloat is a wonderfully simple utility that allows you to ‘float’ certain windows and keep them on top. You can also pin windows to the front of the screen, and adjust the transparency of any window you choose. This transparency function is especially useful for users working with limited screen space, which makes Afloat a must-have for 13- or 15-inch MacBook owners.
Give your Mac a volume boost with Boom. The tiny program allows you to turn up the volume past Apple’s pre-determined boundaries. This might not be the most useful app on this list if you already have volume-boosting PC speakers, but if you’re working with your Mac’s built-in speakers, then this utility is especially useful. While it’s generally not a good idea to push your speakers past their limit, Boom comes in handy when you’re watching or listening to things that aren’t very loud to begin with and need an extra boost to be audible.
Breakaway is a simple utility that pauses iTunes when it detects that your headphone jack is unplugged. You can also set it to pause your music and movies when you hit mute to make your life that much easier. Never again will you have to suffer through an embarrassing moment when your headphones pop out for a second and cause your computer to blast Ricky Martin’s greatest hits at full volume for a few seconds as you fumble to plug your phones back in.
Sometimes your Mac gets hot. When it does, and you feel like it could use some extra cooling down, use the Fan Control app to designate how many RPMs your fan spins at.
Always a favorite, this one keeps your computer from going into sleep mode or performing the auto-dim function. Great for reading long documents or any other activity in which you don’t touch the keyboard or mouse for extended periods of time.
Perian is essentially a codec pack that augments QuickTime and makes it capable of reading pretty much any file format. It’s extremely lightweight and it saves you from having to download another program just to play your media.
F.lux is a tiny little utility that makes the color of your display adapt to more accurately mimic outside light. If you stare at a bright computer screen late into the evening, all that blue light from your screen can screw with the melatonin levels in your brain and can make it hard to fall asleep. Flux helps fix that problem.
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