Utilities. Tools that do what Apple’s apps don’t. Whether it’s something simple like deleting cache files, or monitoring the MacBook’s battery, most of us collect utilities that are tried and true. Here’s my list of the best free Mac utilities.
Free Is Good
Apple has actually changed the nature of free with both the Mac App Store and the iTunes App Store (for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch apps).
Free just doesn’t mean what it used to mean, thanks to in-app purchases. Download a free app, and then find out it has limited functionality, and a price tag on the most wanted features.
Here’s my list of my 10 favorite Mac utilities that don’t come with a catch.
FreeMemory – Who doesn’t need more memory? RAM still isn’t dirt cheap, so it’s good to have an app like FreeMemory which helps to free up RAM from apps that are not busy using it at the time.
System Lens – You can pop open the Mac’s Activity Monitor and click around to see what’s going on inside your Mac, but you still won’t have as clear a picture as you will with System Lens in the Menubar. It’s a quick and easy tool to monitor system resources at a glance.
Alarm Clock – Either give me a memorable name, or a descriptive name. Or, both. That’s Alarm Clock, the simple utility that picks up where the Mac’s clock left off. Set alarms and sounds, wake up to iTunes, and go to sleep with built-in white noise.
CleanMyDrive – It’s not summer yet, so there’s still time to do a little spring cleaning, particularly on those USB thumb drives, memory cards, and external storage devices attached to your Mac. That’s what CleanMyDrive does for free as it disposes of Thumbs.db files, .Spotlight files, hidden Trash files, even those pesky DS_Store files that clutter up extra storage.
Battery Health – Most of the Macs that Apple sells these days are of the MacBook line, and you know what that means. Battery. Don’t rely on Apple’s built-in but anemic battery power indicator, use Battery Health to get more information about your battery, and closer monitoring of the battery’s performance.
iAntiVirus – A large number of Mac users today are made up of former Windows PC users. That means there’s a little paranoia when it comes to viruses. Yes, there are no in-the-wild viruses for the Mac, but better safe than sorry with Symantec’s free iAntiVirus app which scans your Mac for the latest, Mac or Windows.
CalcMadeEasy – Sure, the Mac comes with a built-in calculator, but since calculators are a dime a dozen, there’s bound to be a few free ones like CalcMadeEasy. It’s a scientific calculator with notes. And big numbers. And big buttons. And a place to take notes while you calculate how much month is left over at the end of your money.
CCleaner – Here’s a crossover app that’s popular among Windows PC users because it cleans up after Windows. CCleaner isn’t an app that should be mandatory on every Mac, but it does a nice job of cleaning up after OS X and Mac apps, ridding your computer of cache files, cruft, and leftovers with a few clicks. Oh, and it securely deletes files, too.
That’s a look at eight basic Mac utilities that do a little more than the tools that come with OS X. What’s on your list that’s not on mine?
Now, one more thing. Kate’s out on her insightful analysis limb again with the 5 Reasons Why Microsoft’s Xbox One Will Fail, and 5 Reasons You Won’t Buy an iWatch or iGlasses From Apple (I like #3 and #5).