Ask HN: What macOS apps/programs do you use daily and recommend?

This page summarizes the projects mentioned and recommended in the original post on news.ycombinator.com

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  • iTerm2

    iTerm2 is a terminal emulator for Mac OS X that does amazing things.

    iTerm2[2] and I'm astonished there's less mention of it on this thread (though there is some).

    That is mainly because I switched mostly to Linux a few years ago, and you'd think the lack of a good terminal app wouldn't be the biggest pain point of switching from Mac to Linux, but it absolutely is.

    There's no terminal app on Linux even close to as good as iTerm2.

    [2]: https://iterm2.com/ but it's v3 tho ¯\_(ಠ_ಠ)_/¯

  • InfluxDB

    Power Real-Time Data Analytics at Scale. Get real-time insights from all types of time series data with InfluxDB. Ingest, query, and analyze billions of data points in real-time with unbounded cardinality.

    InfluxDB logo
  • hammerspoon

    Staggeringly powerful macOS desktop automation with Lua

    Besides the usual Firefox/Chrome, Spotify, etc I use the following:

    - Karabiner-Elements for key remapping, specifically, for making caps lock into ctrl/esc. I don't know of anything else that does this job. Everyone who remaps keys seems to use this.

    - Kitty as my terminal of choice. I spend most of my time logged in remotely to a server via ssh where I attach to a tmux session. Kitty was easy enough to configure/theme and seems well-documented.

    - Hammerspoon[2] for a DIY automation/keybinding/window management sys scriptable via lua. I use a private fork of this config: https://github.com/jasonrudolph/keyboard/tree/main

    - Vivid[3] to make my macbook's screen brighter when outdoors on sunny days. This is important for me, since I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

    [0] https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/

    [1] https://sw.kovidgoyal.net/kitty/

    [2] https://www.hammerspoon.org/

    [3] https://www.getvivid.app/

  • MonitorControl

    🖥 Control your display's brightness & volume on your Mac as if it was a native Apple Display. Use Apple Keyboard keys or custom shortcuts. Shows the native macOS OSDs.

    * MacPorts: Everything you need to make Apple Unix equivalent to a Linux box, plus more. Works with the Apple OS, not against it. Doesn't put things in weird places or expect to disable SIP etc. Updates the old versions of CLI stuff that is in the standard MacOS (eg bash, GNU utilities etc).

    * iTerm2: Awesome terminal.

    In terms of MacOS stuff to enhance the out-of-the-box:

    * Bartender to control what shows on the menu bar https://www.macbartender.com/ (note, it has recently changed hands and people are suggesting to use "Ice" instead)

    * Rectangle: To control windows and screens via the keyboard

    * Arq: Better than Time Machine, allows selective backups and supports multiple destinations (OneDrive, NAS, etc)

    * Monitor Control: Controls brightness across multi-screen setups https://github.com/MonitorControl/MonitorControl#readme

    * Stats: Puts various meters in your menu bar (CPU, fans, network etc) https://github.com/exelban/stats

  • kitty

    Cross-platform, fast, feature-rich, GPU based terminal

    Besides the usual Firefox/Chrome, Spotify, etc I use the following:

    - Karabiner-Elements for key remapping, specifically, for making caps lock into ctrl/esc. I don't know of anything else that does this job. Everyone who remaps keys seems to use this.

    - Kitty as my terminal of choice. I spend most of my time logged in remotely to a server via ssh where I attach to a tmux session. Kitty was easy enough to configure/theme and seems well-documented.

    - Hammerspoon[2] for a DIY automation/keybinding/window management sys scriptable via lua. I use a private fork of this config: https://github.com/jasonrudolph/keyboard/tree/main

    - Vivid[3] to make my macbook's screen brighter when outdoors on sunny days. This is important for me, since I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

    [0] https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/

    [1] https://sw.kovidgoyal.net/kitty/

    [2] https://www.hammerspoon.org/

    [3] https://www.getvivid.app/

  • Rectangle

    Move and resize windows on macOS with keyboard shortcuts and snap areas

    MicDrop - Add a global "mute microphone" button in the status bar (https://getmicdrop.com/)

    AltTab - Give the same (sane) behaviour to cmd+tab as alt+tab on Windows (https://alt-tab-macos.netlify.app/)

    Rectangle - Window snapping (https://rectangleapp.com/)

    Maccy - A clipboard history manager (https://maccy.app/)

    DropZone - Add a "shelf" zone in the same way as Dropover. It's less good than Dropover, but it's available in Homebrew (whereas Dropover is only available in the app store) (https://aptonic.com/)

    Notion Calendar (previously cron) - I love having my next meetings displayed in the status bar, and its notifications are very useful (eg. they have a "join google meet" button)

  • KeepingYouAwake

    Prevents your Mac from going to sleep.

    - KeepingYouAwake: a small program for the menu bar that wraps around the caffeinate command line utility [https://keepingyouawake.app/]

  • yabai

    A tiling window manager for macOS based on binary space partitioning

    If your into the tiling window manager experience, I would highly recommend looking into yabai + skhd + Sketchybar

    - https://github.com/koekeishiya/yabai

  • SaaSHub

    SaaSHub - Software Alternatives and Reviews. SaaSHub helps you find the best software and product alternatives

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  • skhd

    Simple hotkey daemon for macOS

  • SketchyBar

    A highly customizable macOS status bar replacement

  • git-split-diffs

    Syntax highlighted side-by-side diffs in your terminal

    if i had to recommend 1 app/script that i use daily: https://github.com/banga/git-split-diffs

    `karabiner elements` (https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/) to disable things like "Apple + Q" -> nothing worse than going to close a single tab and then your whole app quits. also able to re-map caps-lock into escape, ect

    `iterm2` for terminal (colored tabs are great; albeit i disable the hell out of many of the options like "clickable urls" ect)

    for cli, i try to gnu all-the-things (and i just explode my PATH to the paths `brew` installed dynamically - will try another package manager at a future date)

    `sublime text`

    `firefox`/`librewolf` + plugins (containers, netmon, request interceptor, dark reader, adnauseam)

  • stats

    macOS system monitor in your menu bar

    * MacPorts: Everything you need to make Apple Unix equivalent to a Linux box, plus more. Works with the Apple OS, not against it. Doesn't put things in weird places or expect to disable SIP etc. Updates the old versions of CLI stuff that is in the standard MacOS (eg bash, GNU utilities etc).

    * iTerm2: Awesome terminal.

    In terms of MacOS stuff to enhance the out-of-the-box:

    * Bartender to control what shows on the menu bar https://www.macbartender.com/ (note, it has recently changed hands and people are suggesting to use "Ice" instead)

    * Rectangle: To control windows and screens via the keyboard

    * Arq: Better than Time Machine, allows selective backups and supports multiple destinations (OneDrive, NAS, etc)

    * Monitor Control: Controls brightness across multi-screen setups https://github.com/MonitorControl/MonitorControl#readme

    * Stats: Puts various meters in your menu bar (CPU, fans, network etc) https://github.com/exelban/stats

  • AeroSpace

    AeroSpace is an i3-like tiling window manager for macOS

    yabal requires quite some privileges. Did you check out https://github.com/nikitabobko/AeroSpace ?

  • keyboard

    ⌨ Toward a more useful keyboard (by jasonrudolph)

    Besides the usual Firefox/Chrome, Spotify, etc I use the following:

    - Karabiner-Elements for key remapping, specifically, for making caps lock into ctrl/esc. I don't know of anything else that does this job. Everyone who remaps keys seems to use this.

    - Kitty as my terminal of choice. I spend most of my time logged in remotely to a server via ssh where I attach to a tmux session. Kitty was easy enough to configure/theme and seems well-documented.

    - Hammerspoon[2] for a DIY automation/keybinding/window management sys scriptable via lua. I use a private fork of this config: https://github.com/jasonrudolph/keyboard/tree/main

    - Vivid[3] to make my macbook's screen brighter when outdoors on sunny days. This is important for me, since I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

    [0] https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/

    [1] https://sw.kovidgoyal.net/kitty/

    [2] https://www.hammerspoon.org/

    [3] https://www.getvivid.app/

  • Komet

    Cocoa editor for creating commit messages

    I'll try to point out some things I haven't seen in the list so far:

    - https://github.com/zorgiepoo/Komet for Git/Hg/etc commit messages

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/multi-monitor-wallpaper/id5042... for splitting a single (large) wallpaper over multiple displays

    - https://proxie.app for network traffic inspection

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/the-clock/id488764545?mt=12 for a multi timezone-aware clock

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/patterns-the-regex-app/id42944... for quickly writing/checking Regular Expressions

    - https://tableplus.com for an RDBMS client

  • TablePlus

    TablePlus macOS issue tracker

    I'll try to point out some things I haven't seen in the list so far:

    - https://github.com/zorgiepoo/Komet for Git/Hg/etc commit messages

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/multi-monitor-wallpaper/id5042... for splitting a single (large) wallpaper over multiple displays

    - https://proxie.app for network traffic inspection

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/the-clock/id488764545?mt=12 for a multi timezone-aware clock

    - https://apps.apple.com/th/app/patterns-the-regex-app/id42944... for quickly writing/checking Regular Expressions

    - https://tableplus.com for an RDBMS client

  • alt-tab-macos

    Windows alt-tab on macOS

    MicDrop - Add a global "mute microphone" button in the status bar (https://getmicdrop.com/)

    AltTab - Give the same (sane) behaviour to cmd+tab as alt+tab on Windows (https://alt-tab-macos.netlify.app/)

    Rectangle - Window snapping (https://rectangleapp.com/)

    Maccy - A clipboard history manager (https://maccy.app/)

    DropZone - Add a "shelf" zone in the same way as Dropover. It's less good than Dropover, but it's available in Homebrew (whereas Dropover is only available in the app store) (https://aptonic.com/)

    Notion Calendar (previously cron) - I love having my next meetings displayed in the status bar, and its notifications are very useful (eg. they have a "join google meet" button)

  • MeetingBar

    🇺🇦 Your meetings at your fingertips in the macOS menu bar

    I use MeetingBar for the menubar calendar... open source. https://github.com/leits/MeetingBar

  • CotEditor

    Lightweight Plain-Text Editor for macOS

  • secretive

    Store SSH keys in the Secure Enclave

  • zed

    Code at the speed of thought – Zed is a high-performance, multiplayer code editor from the creators of Atom and Tree-sitter.

  • sublime_text

    Issue tracker for Sublime Text

  • sublime_merge

    Issue tracker for Sublime Merge

  • draw.io

    draw.io is a JavaScript, client-side editor for general diagramming.

  • Latest

    A small utility app for macOS that makes sure you know about all the latest updates to the apps you use.

    Latest is a modern, OSS replacement for Bodega (IIUC). https://github.com/mangerlahn/latest

  • syncthing-android

    Wrapper of syncthing for Android.

  • RectanglePro-Community

    Bug reports and discussion for the Rectangle Pro app

  • HomeBrew

    🍺 The missing package manager for macOS (or Linux)

  • hacker-tools

    a list of tools that can be used for IT repair & maintenance.

    Perhaps relevant, I'm working on a repo for indexing IT repair tools (I call it Hacker Tools) for Windows, Mac, Linux. I'm looking for contributions and feedback.

    https://github.com/neontomo/hacker-tools

  • Ice

    Powerful menu bar manager for macOS

  • Amethyst

    Automatic tiling window manager for macOS à la xmonad.

    I use Amethyst https://github.com/ianyh/Amethyst in my day to day. Slightly different management philosophy but one that works well for me.

  • pagerduty-cli

    A command line interface for PagerDuty

  • SaaSHub

    SaaSHub - Software Alternatives and Reviews. SaaSHub helps you find the best software and product alternatives

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NOTE: The number of mentions on this list indicates mentions on common posts plus user suggested alternatives. Hence, a higher number means a more popular project.

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