Work Tooling — macOS

Ever wondered, whether there are others out there, that experience the same quirks and potholes in modern operating systems?

Even in macOS, there are some things missing. For instance a good overview of what you can do with shortcuts:

Here is my list of mostly free tools, that make work somewhat more efficient.

System Tools:

  • Homebrew: The missing package manager in macOS. Very handy, if you want to install software and keep it up to date.
  • Alfred: The modern butler for your mac. Think of it like Spotlight. Only infinitely better. You can start apps, search for documents and integrate workflows like translation and more… One of the tools, that really pay off.
  • iTerm2: If you are working in the console, this for you.
  • Flux: tones down the blue light portion of your screen. makes the evening hours more comfortable. Since 10.12.4 its also now included as “night mode” directly in the OS.
  • Amphetamine: Keeps your Mac awake according to a schedule, triggers, or just by the click of a button.
  • MacVim: Small good editor, that works on the Desktop. Added benefit: you can now also use an editor in the command line as well… Try the exellent vimtutor cli tutorial. Also check out the VIM tips under the console section below. Alternative: Atom.
  • Outline: Wonderful replacement for OneNote. Combines the best of Notetaking in one app. Can sync to many Cloud Storage Services and even your own WebDAV! And if you only want it local, no problem. Encryption made easy.
  • nvALT 2: Simple, extremely fast and local notes management. Unfortunately not very heavily developed. But the features are quite sufficient for simple notes. Provides synchronization to as well. Can handle Markdown formatting. I use it for quick local notes, before it either goes to Confluence or Outline.
  • Cyberduck: Versatile remote file manager with many supported internet protocols. Even Dropbox and Google Drive are supported.
  • Boxcryptor: Encrypt your cloud storage! Works on mobile and desktop. Indispensable! Alternative: Cryptomator.
  • Last Pass Authenticator: easy to use authenticator. Can also backup your MFA tokens in your vault. It kind of weakens a bit the premise of a single device. But still, the process is mature and all is Zero Knowledge. Alternative: Use 2 YubiKeys.
  • Magnet: Window Manager for macOS. Once you start using it, you wonder why its not included in the OS itself.
  • BeardedSpice: Manage Audio Playback with the Mac keys for all the sources, including websites in the browser.
  • Helium: Floating Browser window for displaying video. In case you want to watch a video on the side…
  • Kiwi for Google Apps: Unchains Google Apps from the Browser Window.

Web Applications:

  • Pocket: You want a list of all the items you want to read, watch and so on? Find them again a year later? Search for tags? Read it offline on the go? Even let you read articles by TTS while you in your car? Boom.
  • Wunderlist: Simple, fast, synchronized small to mid-sized task management. Was so good, has been purchased by Microsoft. Has been discontinued unfortunately. Successor still unknown.
  • LastPass: excellent password manager. Alternatives are 1Password or Dashlane.
  • Spotify: Have all the music in your pocket. Works on mobile, desktop, has local sync. Costs a couple of bucks per month. Check out the Family tariff.

Console Stuff:

If you start to work more in the console you will be often faster, than through a UI. Here are some indispensable little helpers, that support you even more! Kudos to Vitaly Belman for his cli utilities list and Amir Salihefendic vor his Vim RC and tips and tricks.

  • ranger: very useful file manager for the cli. works really well with an editor as well.
  • pbcopy: copy stuff from the cli to the clipboard. can be combined with pipes. really helpful!
  • lnav: navigate and search logfiles easily.
  • peco: an interactive version of grep. Stunning.
  • realpath: gives you the realpath of a file.
  • ncdu: whats eating up my space? shows you right there in the cli.
  • hub: interact with Github better. You can now open pull requests right from the command line.


Fonts are important for Designers and Programmers alike. Seeing the difference between a i and a l or between a 0 and O makes the difference. Some of my favorites:


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