Top 10 macOS Tools and Settings for Increased Productivity
These apps and settings will instantly make your MacOS more handy.
I have always loved Mac, not only because of the beautifully designed hardware but also because of its reliable macOS —but I cannot imagine using my macOS without tweaking it a bit.
This is not about “to-do” or “note-taking” apps — it is about how to make your macOS more user-friendly, and enable patterns that will allow you to run faster while using your Mac.
1) BetterSnapTool — Window snapping and resizing made easy
BetterSnapTool allows you to easily manage your window positions and sizes by either dragging them to one of the screen’s corners or to the top, left or right side of the screen. This enables you to easily maximize your windows, position them side by side or even resize them to quarters of the screen.
2) TopNotch – Hide the notch of your 2021+ MacBook
This little app hides the notch of the new MacBooks, by making the rest of the menu bar black. Simple, but yet a very creative and “invisible” solution. TopNotch also allows you to round the corners of the screen, making your screen looks even slicker.
TopNotch for macOS
TopNotch is a little macOS app that makes your menu bar black and hides the notch.
3) Itsycal – A pocket calendar solution
macOS has one huge issue – missing a tiny calendar in the menu bar, like on Windows. If you want to check calendar, dates, and so on, you have to go to the Calendar app of your Mac. But with Itsycal it’s super easy – it adds a tiny calendar in your menu bar.
4) HazeOver – Dim everything except the app on focus
This app allows you to reduce distraction by lowering the brightness of every window except the one that is on focus right now. Especially powerful if you are working on a large screen with multiple windows opened at the same time.
HazeOver: Distraction Dimmer™ for Productivity on Mac
Turn distractions down and focus on your current task…
5) Next Meeting – A tiny reminder in your menu bar
This app is especially useful for when working remotely and having lots of meetings.
6) Vanilla – Hide menu bar icons on your Mac
It is unknown why Apple hasn’t built this into MacOS, but this tiny app is a very good solution for anyone with too many items/icons in the menu bar and needs to hide some of them.
"Why Apple hasn't seen fit to build this function in... is a mystery surpassing human understanding."
7) Clocker – View time in across the world at a glance
Especially helpful when working with colleagues from different time zones…
Clocker is designed to help you keep track of your friends and colleagues in different time zones.
8) HandBrake – Powerful video converter
As a video editor, I heavily rely on this app for many things, but I also find it powerful for anyone who has to deal with content creation. HandBrake lets you easily convert any video in any format.
HandBrake: Open Source Video Transcoder
HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs…
9) Tiny Softbox — Turn your Mac into a softbox
This is a super-smart lighting solution, when you have to record yourself, or when you need to take a picture of something. Tiny Softbox turns your Mac’s screen into a softbox, allowing you to adjust the light.
10) Cleaner Pro – clean up memory and cache files
This little tool will help you in many ways to keep your Mac clean – remove cache files with one click, deep clean/uninstall any application with ease, and keep your memory usage free — with the click of a button you can clean your RAM.
Optimize old Macs and keep new ones healthier for longer Delete junk, duplicated photos, and files to get back lost…
(Bonus) Settings that will make your macOS faster, more productive
1) Do the hot corners
Hot corners are a macOS feature that enables you to set shortcuts once your mouse reaches a certain corner of the screen. My personal favorite is show desktop when I go to the top right corner with my mouse. This is especially useful if you are using your desktop a lot.
Go to System Preferences > Mission Control > Hot Corners
2) Enable Zoom by scrolling
This is unique and irreplaceable feature enables you to scroll on any part of the screen with your mouse/trackpad by pressing ⌘ Command and scrolling.
Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Zoom and check “Use scroll gesture with modifier keys to zoom”, then select the preferred for your shortcut. I like ⌘ Command.
3) Edit your dock preferences
Default dock settings can be annoying. In my case, I disable the animations (save time, everything works out instantly) and I remove the “recent applications” from the dock.
Here are a few shortcuts that I use every day like a million times.
1) Quick search
⌘CMD + ⎵ Spacebar – opens up a quick search (Spotlight). This is the way I launch any application I want – simply open up search and type in the first few letters of the app – hit enter. It is also the way I look for files.
2) Type in any Emoji
^Control + ⌘CMD + ⎵ Spacebar – opens up emoji panel.
3) Cut instead of Copy Paste
⌥ Option + ⌘CMD + V – If you ever used Windows you will know the “Cut” command. In Mac, it is a bit hidden via this screenshot. Copy anything and then instead of pasting it with ⌘CMD + V, simply add the ⌥ Option to the combo
⌘CMD + ⌫Backspace – Again, if you’re coming from Windows, you will find that Mac's “Delete” key is missing. This way any file will go to the trash can. And if you want to permanently delete stuff, just toss in the ⌥Option to the key combo.
5) Taking screenshots
You can check Apple’s guide on taking screenshots on your Mac.
It is an entire science when you look at it first, but when you get used to it — it is the most powerful and easy-to-use (native) screenshot system ever made.
I hope you found something useful. We all have different workflows, tips, and tricks on how to use macOS better – I’d be happy to hear your top finds and gems in the comments.
And if you’re interested in other tools and equipment I’m using in my home office – check out the post I wrote about my home office.
My Home Office — Setup, Tools, and Equipment
Here is a sneak peek at my home office and the tools that I use every day as a video editor and motion designer to make…