Despite my warnings, more than a few of my relatives, friends, and co-workers– who switched from Windows to the Mac– have purchased all kinds of somewhat expensive utilities that they think are needed to keep a Mac running optimally.
Spending money is easy, but there’s a better way that’s easier and saves money. Allow me to introduce you to, or remind you of, three free mac utilities; well regarded apps which help a user maintain, optimize, and enable a bunch of hidden features in Mac OS X and macOS Sierra.
Onyx. Maintenance. Deeper.
This trio of apps has been around the Mac community for many years, improving steadily, updated often. Using just one may lead to the usage of the others. All three are free. First up is the one I recommend to Mac users the most. It’s called Onyx and you can pay money for utilities which do less.
Onyx has a number of modules which perform various and sundry maintenance and optimization functions, including cache cleaning, cookie removal, and the like, and it lets you open hidden parameters on the Mac’s Finder, Dock, Spotlight, and elsewhere.
Upon startup, Onyx checks your Mac’s volume structure, and lets you check Permissions, run the Mac’s schedule cleaning scripts, and even rebuild LaunchServices (sometimes helps when things go wonky on your Mac).
The Cleaning option deletes cache files in 11 different categories, all with a few clicks if you want, but there’s a built-in Automation pane which handles maintenance, rebuilding, and cleaning with a single click.
Personally, I think Onyx is an excellent utility for about 95-percent of all Mac users. The number of options can be intimidating, but there’s little to fear when using Onyx as almost every option can be reset.
You’ll find many options for the Mac’s Dock, Safari, iTunes, the Login window, Mission Control, and others– all tweakable with a click. For example, you can turn on the Quit Finder option, or remove menu items from the Finder or OS X app menus, and much more.
Remarkably, Onyx is free and straightforward to use.
The only caveat here is that Onyx is an unsigned Mac app, which means you’ll have to jump through a couple of hoops to launch it. Open Security & Privacy in System Preferences, click the padlock to unlock, and allow the app to be launched. Apple’s security system is a bit tight at times, and this is one example.
The other two utilities, Maintenance and Deeper, actually come from the same developer and the same website, and there’s some crossover in functionality, though both are different. Maintenance focuses on functionality for basic system maintenance, some of which are found in Onyx. Deeper takes on the personalization and customization options, especially those that for some reason Apple hides in Mac OS X and macOS Sierra but which have been around for many years.
All three are highly recommended, free and mostly simple to setup and use, but I recommend Onyx first.