Some apps are essential and everyone who's anyone knows to have them on their computer. Some apps, however, are fantastic yet fly under the radar. Today, we look at our top 10 underhyped apps for Mac.
We've shared our favourite underhyped webapps a few times before, but we were shocked to find we hadn't done the same for our beloved desktops. Last week we tackled Windows. Now it's time for the Mac.
Even though it's now out of development, Sonora is still our favourite iTunes-alternative music player — especially now that it's open-sourced and free. The latest version greatly improves on an already awesome interface and updates Sonora's excellent on-the-fly song queueing features. My favourite part of Sonora, however, is the global hotkey that lets you bring up a search panel and type what you want. It works like an app launcher, except you get music results as you type. You can play a playlist, album, or just a song. If you still need to manage your music with iTunes because you use an iPhone (or other iDevice), Sonora will sync your collection at startup (or manually at any time of your choosing). It's a fantastic music app and we hope someone else continues its development, but in the meantime the latest beta is solid and deserves to be your music player of choice.
Download Sonora (Free)
Need to sign a document? Got a multitouch trackpad? All you need is Autograph and you can sign with your finger or a capacitive stylus. All you do is invoke the Autograph window with a hotkey of your choosing, sign and insert the signature into whatever document you need. It's pretty much the easiest way to digitally sign anything.
Download Autograph ($2.99)
ScreenSharingMenulet does one great thing: it puts a menu of computers available for screen sharing in your OS X menubar. Why Apple hasn't added this to OS X itself is hard to understand, because it's such a useful feature for anyone who accesses their computer screens remotely with any kind of regularity. Local and Back to My Mac Hosts show up in the menu by default, but you can add bookmarks to other desktops if you want as well. It may only do one thing, but it's one vital thing if you care about remote desktop on your Mac.
PopClip has a very simple premise: add iOS-style copy and paste to your Mac. When you select text, PopClip will show copy and paste buttons. If that's all it did, however, it wouldn't be worth the cost. Fortunately, PopClip is extensible and allows you to integrate lots of other features of your choosing. Want to search for selected text on Google/Amazon/virtually anywhere else? No problem. Need an instant word count for your selection? Done. If you can think up a selected text function, PopClip can probably do it. It'll set you back $US5, but a free trial is available if you want to give the app a shot first.
To learn how to get the most out of PopClip, check out our guide.
Download PopClip (Free trial, $US5)
Google Voice is awesome, but replying to text messages and checking voicemail from your computer could be quite a bit easier. GrowlVoice solves that problem on your Mac by shoving everything you'd want to do into your menubar. The elegant interface provides an easy way to send and respond to text messages, plus you can listen to voicemails and even call back if you want.
Download GrowlVoice (Free trial, $US5)
Unclutter stores all sorts of useful things at the top of your screen. Just move your mouse to the menu bar and swipe down with a couple of fingers to reveal a clipboard, file storage area and a notepad. Basically, the app takes three handy tools you could use access to and throws them into one convenient, accessible-when-necessary space.
Download Unclutter ($2.99)
You saved a file... somewhere. It might've been on your computer, or perhaps you left it on a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. No matter, because Found will search it all — and quickly, for that matter. If you're dealing with issues of data fragmentation due to storing it in many different places, you won't have to worry about losing things anymore if you install this free app.
Download Found (Free)
Most of us us the wonderful Handbrake to convert videos, but the user interface isn't exactly intuitive for someone unfamiliar with video encoding. On top of that, formats are limited and you can't convert audio files or images. What free can do all of that? Adapter, the lesser-known multimedia powerhouse that deserves a lot more attention than it gets. It can convert all your movies, encode audio, and change the format of your images. It's pretty much as fast as Handbrake, too, as it uses the same encoding libraries. If you have media of any kind to convert, be sure to check it out.
Download Adapter (Free)
XtraFinder adds a bunch of useful features the OS X Finder is lacking, such as cut and paste, putting folders on top in list view, dual panel and dual window view, global hotkeys and tabbed windows — just to name a few. While Pathfinder can do much more, it costs $US40. If you want to supercharge the OS X Finder without paying, XtraFinder is the answer.
Download XtraFinder (Free)
Dropzone is one of my personal favourite apps. If there's anything you want to do via drag and drop, Dropzone can handle the task. It can upload files to FTP sites, speak text, print documents, upload pictures to Flickr, and tons more. If a capability isn't built-in, Dropzone is extensible and might have a third-party option. If not, and you're feeling ambitious, you could even write an extension. All you do is drag a file to the menu bar, then move it to the task you want to complete. Dropzone will handle the rest. When uploading, it'll even copy a URL to the clipboard automatically. If you want to know more about what you can do with Dropzone, read our guide. It's a really awesome way to create a variety of useful shortcuts.
Download Dropzone (Free trial, $US10)