Essential Developer Apps For Your Brand New Mac

If like me, you’re a developer and you finally decided to switch to Mac then trust me you did the right choice but, you’re likely searching for those cool Apps that you’ve seen in your twitter feed, you were amazed with what they can do, but you just ignored them thinking ”One day when I’ll have a Mac”. Well that day is finally here And I’ll save you the hassle of going through your feed searching because they are probably listed here.

In this article I’ll introduce you to some Apps/Tools that I found useful. Some of them are free but others are paid and I’ll try to present some alternatives when available.

Apps & Tools

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iTerm

In my opinion the number one thing that you should make pretty and powerful is the terminal. iTerm is a replacement for the native OSx Terminal. It comes with a lot of great features. Coupled with Tmux & oh My Zsh you can unleash your repressed powers.

I highly recommend you checking this article by Badr Chouai on iTerm, Vim and Tmux and this book for Tmux.

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Sublime text

This one don’t need any introductions, it’s probably the most lightweight, fast Graphic Text Editor out there.

Alternatives: Atom

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Alfred (free for limited usge)

No this is not Batman’s butler, it’s a tool that let you search within your Mac, control a lot of things using hotkeys and much more.

Alternatives: The native app Spotlight

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Alternote (Paid) Think of it as the Sublime Text of Evernote clients, ridiculously fast and simplistic.

Alternatives: Evernote

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Audacity Probably the first audio editing app in the history of mankind, no kidding this app has been out there for 15 years and still works as a charm, that’s software my friend!

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Bartender (Paid) Well what if Alfred - form Batman this time - was an app and he was responsible of organizing your menu bar apps, it would be Bartender.

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CleanMyMac (Paid) This app helps you clean, optimize and maintain your Mac.

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Downcast (Paid) This one helps you manage your podcasts and download them for offline listening.

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Droplr Let you quickly capture and send screenshots, video & files with a simple link.

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Ember I like making screenshots of beautiful UIs that I found on the web, but I always end up saving them in my hard drive unorganized and it’s hard to explore them later. That’s where Ember comes in, it lets you store, search screenshots by name, tags and even colors.

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F.lux This app will save your eyes from bleeding. It makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.

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Github Desktop It’s a Git client especially tailored for Github usage.

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iA Writer Simply put it this way: This app is a modern typewriter.

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iStat Menues An advanced Mac system monitor for your menubar.

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Keynote (paid) That’s Powerpoint’s big brother.

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ScreenFlow (paid) My favorite screencasting software for Mac.

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Sequel Pro A simplistic yet powerful, MySQL database management app.

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Shazam How many times you were watching a movie or a TV show and you heard a cool song but you end up pulling your hair out because you couldn’t find it on the Internet. Shazam helps you identify any playing sound by a click of a button.

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Sketch Take Illustrator, Photoshop and Fireworks then put a lot of simplicity and speed into the mixture and you will get Sketch.

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Slack Mac client for Slack

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Spectacle Mac lucks the ability to arrange and resize the windows with ease, that’s what Spectacular is here for.

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Spotify Spotify client for Mac.

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The Unarchiver For this app alone you should buy a Mac, have you ever been frustrated by decompressing .zip or .rar files, you have to check if it contains a bunch of folder or only one then you have to act accordingly finally you have to remove the compressed file once finished, that’s a lot of work and you don’t have to do that ever again, ladies and gentlemen I Intoduce you The Unarchiver.

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Transmission My favorite BitTorrent client.

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Tweetbot (paid) Well when it comes to Tweeter clients the avalaible solutions have really poor user experience. The one that stood out form the rest for me is Tweetbot.

Alternatives: Twitter, TweetDeck

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VLC Seriously, just wanted to check if you have it installed.

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1Password (Paid) Helps you manage and store all your passwords in one place, the great thing about this one in comparison with the other solutions is it gives you the ability to save it locally (works very well with Dropbox).

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Dropbox Save your stuff on that thing called the cloud.

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Hazel How many time you found yourslef with a cluttered Desktop and a chaotic Download folder wouldn’t be simple if a tool could help you organize them for you and it wouldn’t be even more cool if you could tell it how, like take all PDF files and put them somewhere or remove torrent files that are older than 1 week. Well Hazel is every flexible app that does just that.

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OpenEmu The heaven of retrogaming fans!!

(Thanks to Badr for adding this one).

Built-in Stuff that you should make use of

One of the great things about Mac is it has a lot of native apps that are fantastic. I’ll compile a list of great tools that will make your life easier.

- Activity Monitor

Well like his name says, it helps you monitor your mac, see who does what.

- Force quite application

If your coming from Windows then you must be very familiar with the famous Alt+Ctrl+Del, well here’s it sister.

- Reminders

Huh! For reminders?

- Calendar

Really helpful for managing appointments, holidays and related stuff.

- Calculator

Yeah, you never knew.

- Dictionary

This! is a very helpful app folks, I use in two ways:

Edit: You can activate a three fingers tap for the second usage that I mentioned, in the Preferences > Trackpad > Point & Click. (Thanks to Saad for pointing that out in the comments.)

- Mail

Very great Desktop mail client that works with pretty much any email service provider.

- Spotlight

Think of it as the native Alferd.

- Disk Utility

This you have just to know that it exists, for Hard drive manipulations. Be very carful when working with it.

- Previewer (for PDF stuff)

Up to now, I didn’t found a better PDF reader.

Tips

Personalize the finder

Again if you’re coming form Windows, Finder can be really frustrating. You hit Enter it renames, you hit Back space nothing happens. What if you wants to go back 2 steps behind? what if you want to go somewhere by path?

Here are some short cuts & customiztion that will make your interactions with finder less stressful.

- Hotkeys

- Customization

In the menu:

PS: There’s an app called XtraFinder that personalizes the finder, but I like to stick to the native one in this case.

Personalize Doker

The Dock is something that you will be interacting with a lot, so make sure to making it behaves and looks as you expect.

- Disable Genie effect:

Come’on we are not in an Aladin movie, disable the damn thing, it kills performance. You can do that by going to System preference > Dock > Minimize windows using > Scale effect.

- Add space separators:

Wouldn’t be great if you could group icons by function? well you can add spaces as separators using the command line.

Open Teminal && copy this .language-powershell defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add ‘{“tile-type”=“spacer-tile”;}’ && killall Dock That will add a space (that you can drag and drop as a normal icon) and close the Dock so changes can take place.

Here’s mine

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Quick tip here, you can rearrange the Toolbar icons by maintaining ctrl and moving them where you want.

Stuff that they won’t tell you if you’re coming form Windows

App (by that I mean files with .app extension) within the ‘Applications’ directory are actually … well real folder not like .exe file like you would expect if you’re coming form Windows. Right click any app and chose Show package contents to check that out.

Why you should know this? I don’t know, I thought it would be cool.

A better control key

This one is not related to Mac. Well the Tip is to change the Caps lock key to Ctrl. You may have tow questions, first Why the heck I would do this? the response is it’s more easier to hit Caps lock that Ctrl it require less effort and Second you may ask and where the Caps Lock will goes? Think of it, do you really use it for something. 99% of the time you’re probably using shift.

Super corners

There’s a very cool feature in OSx that let you set custom events when you move your cursor to one of the four corners of the screen. You can play with it in System preference > Mission Control > Hot Corners (at the bottom).

Dragging tip

When I saw the Three fingers Drag of the trackpad I said, “Hell no! Dragging with one finger is no fun and now let do it with 3! Crap!” but it turns out it’s a very great feature and the guy who design it deserves all our deepest respect.

Now! Go active the damn feature and head to this very well explained video and thank me later.

Bonus tips

Closing

Well folks, that’s it, I hope you found this article useful and let’s keep it running in the comments section, share with us your cool tricks.

They didn’t lied when they said:

Once you go Mac, There’s no going back!

Acknowledgement

Thanks to the awesome @Badr, @Anouar & @Saad for helping me out discovering those awesome apps. Your efforts will live on.