Here is my list of free, macOS apps that I have installed and use often. Many are also open source! When I first got my Mac I searched the internet for lists of useful apps but found most outdated. I decided to compile this list as part of a cleanup and "audit" of what's useful IMHO.

  • free, open source
  • free, closed source
  • free on Mac App Store, but who knows, this may change

In no particular order:

System tray:

  • Itsycal pop up calendar with next 7 days of events
  • Spectacle move and re-size windows
  • f.lux "night shift" mode for macOS (similar functionality is now built into macOS Sierra 10.12.4 thought f.lux is more configurable)
  • Shade hides desktop icons
  • gfxCardStatus for MacBook Pros with discrete GPUs (graphics cards like the Radeon)
  • MonitorControl to control external display brightness
  • BetterDummy HiDPI / Retina virtual display for mirroring (from the makers of MonitorControl)
  • Rectangle move and resize windows using snap areas (ala Windows)


Graphics and drawing:

  • ImageOptim losslessly shrinks PNGs and JPGs with OptiPNG, Jpegtran, etc.
  • GIMP photo editing and drawing
  • Scribus Desktop publishing
  • Krita painting
  • MediaBang Paint painting with tools for comic artists like panels, perspective gridline, etc.


Browsers and networking:

Audio Video:

Updated Feb 2017: A few small additions including Privoxy and Kodi.

Updated April 2017: Both Parallels Desktop Lite and ForkLift 2 seem to be permanently free, but Typeeto is not.

Updated May 2019: Added Karabiner and gfxCardStatus, removed Parallels Desktop Lite which requires annual subscription.

Updated May 2020: Cleanup, added Glance and Strongbox, removed Typeeto and Parallels.

Updated Dec 2021: Added MonitorControl, BetterDummy and Rectangle.