Apple’s macOS is highly regarded for offering stellar features, a bevy of customizations, and a myriad library of apps on Mac App Store. You’ll rarely hear someone say, “My Mac seems a bit slow. How do I have so less space left?” Whether you’ve bought a new Mac recently or are familiar with it, organizing things on a daily basis gets overbearing over time. Thankfully, the Mac App Store and the developer community offer several macOS apps to optimize your Mac and tune it to its potential.
Every Mac owner aims for a consistently stable performance. For that, one might resort to spring cleaning occasionally. It’s only wise to automate tasks like dumping old/unused files, managing menu bar items, organizing files by archiving together, and so on. How about letting some apps undertake that automatically and make your life easier? That’s why we have curated a bunch of useful macOS apps to optimize your Mac.
Most of the apps on this list offer a trial option to let you experience them before you decide to purchase them.
Note: A few apps on this list require permissions such as Full Disk Access and Accessibility permissions to function properly. So ensure you permit them accordingly.
1. CleanMyMac X
We all have to pay the price for trying out several new apps. At the same time, everyone wants their Macs to be zippy and responsive. Doesn’t happen if you keep dumping apps. CleanMyMac X eliminates the need to roll up sleeves to search and get rid of unwanted files or apps to speed up your Mac. It identifies the unused files, the leftover components after app uninstallations, and other unused apps. By removing those junk files and apps, you can reclaim the precious storage space — makes a world of difference on MacBooks with 128GB or 256GB storage.
CleanMyMac X trial will let you remove junk files only up to 500MB and a few exclusive features are hidden behind the paywall. The paid version is available from Mac Store and MacPaw Store with an annual subscription or one-time purchase. Heads up — Mac Store version lacks a few features, and that makes it slightly cheaper. If you want all features, you’ll have to buy the ‘full no holds barred’ CleanMyMac X version from the MacPaw Store directly by paying a few extra bucks.
2. Bartender 3
The menu bar can appear crowded with too many icons and apps sitting there. Bartender 3 can organize those menu bar items by clubbing them together smartly, autohiding them, and letting you access them with keyboard shortcuts or a tiny search box. You can use that small search bar to look for and launch an app if you don’t want to reveal the entire list of apps. Also, you can rearrange the app icon order in the menu bar list to access it with a single click and can browse through it quickly using your keyboard.
The best part — it works with the dark mode of macOS Catalina flawlessly. Bartender 3 comes with a free 4-week trial to let you experience a smart, minimalist menu bar. The full version will cost you $15 and it is only available from the official site.
3. Alfred 4
Batman’s butler Alfred J. Pennyworth is exceptionally efficient in aiding him during dangerous missions. Just like that, Alfred 4 will assist you in finding and launching the apps or documents you’re looking for with minimal effort. You can even perform web searches from Alfred’s search bar. It does sound like a search box juiced up by mixing the Spotlight and Siri — except the voice commands part. But, there’s more.
You can add more capabilities with a Powerpack, which lets you hook it directly to several popular services like Spotify and 1Password. Also, you can use features like clipboard history, text auto-expansion, themes, and more.
You can cut down on performing repetitive manual tasks by crafting smart workflows to open apps, search the web, and expanding texts or sentences. You can also run Terminal commands right from the search bar instead of opening the Terminal app. That’s pretty cool. While the app is free to download, the Powerpack will cost you 25GBP for a single license or 45GBP for a Free Lifetime Upgrade from the official site.
Dealing with archived or compressed files on Mac can be tricky. However, Keka does the job quite smoothly. It’s a nifty file archiver that can also extract a variety of archive formats — yes, even IPA and APK files. It has one of the simplest interfaces that includes two areas in a small window — top part to compress files and the bottom one to extract files. You’ll see that as soon as you drag and drop a few files on Keka’s app window.
The brilliant thing about Keka is that you can extract files directly without the app. For that, right-click on the archive file, select Open with > Keka from the context menu, and that should do the needful. The support for compressing RAR files exists in its beta version. You can download it for free from the official site. Keka is also available for $2.99 on the Mac App Store to support the developer’s efforts.
5. Hazel 4
Let’s say you have CleanMyMac X to purge the junk files, and Alfred 4 to help you look for the precise documents that you’re looking to revisit. What about the photos and files that are littered across different folders and even external volumes? Well, you can organize those files and folders smartly with Hazel 4. First, you have to create some ground rules and patterns for Hazel 4 to organize your photos, files, movies, and important documents. Then, the app automates its organization process every time you make a change.
Also, Hazel 4 can remove duplicate files that you create by mistake and toss away those incomplete downloads — these two things can help you reclaim storage space. Apart from that, you can configure it to organize files by name, date, or any other combination. Also, you can batch-rename files and archive them. Hazel 4 does make your life easier, but it will cost you $32 for that. You can buy it from the official site. The current build (Hazel 4) doesn’t support the dark mode in macOS Catalina.
Resizing windows in macOS is so much fun that you can spend hours trying to predict how an app window will resize. With Magnet, you can overcome that by turning your workspace into a multitasking station. It allows you to drag, align, and snap windows of the open apps. That means you can work or browse the web on one side of the screen and keep Netflix or YouTube running in the browser on the other side. Just like the Split View on iPadOS and the Snap feature in Task View on Windows 10.
Working on documents while stacking two of them on top of each other becomes so convenient with it. You can customize keyboard shortcuts for snapping windows in a particular direction — right or left, top-left or bottom-left, and so on. If you don’t recollect the keyboard combinations, click the Magnet icon on the Menu bar and pick the direction you want to snap the current active window.
Magnet is available for $1.99 on the Mac App Store and is best suited for those who hook their MacBooks to a monitor or a TV for a larger screen estate.
7. coconutBattery 3
The macOS 10.15.5 Catalina update will bring battery health management for Mac notebooks. But how often will you check battery health, which could be nestled deep inside the settings? That’s why coconutBattery 3 is a better alternative since it shows battery-related details like Charge Cycle counts, Temperature, State of Health, and even its status with a single click on the menu bar.
Such details are incredibly crucial for folks who travel a lot, use their MacBooks with external displays, and put those Macs to sleep often to understand the battery health better. The coconutBattery 3 is free to use. However, you can buy the Plus version from the official site if you want a detailed view of your iOS and Mac battery health and print device health reports.
Spruce up That Mac
Apple’s MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models come with a fast yet limited storage. And that could pinch at times. That’s why it’s necessary to keep disk space organized and speed it up for the maximum performance. Of course, you can spend hours trying to fix those things manually. But why do that when you can save time and automate apps to manage those tasks?
By working with apps mentioned on this list, you can certainly offload those repetitive activities and optimize your Mac. Which are your favorite macOS apps that others should also try out and use? Share your experience of using them in the comments section below.
Last updated on 15 February, 2023
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.