For the sake of argument, let’s say no; they’re not. Apps are major programs like Mail, Safari, Calendar, iTunes, Photos, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, et al. Utilities are apps with specific functions, such as Disk Utility, Activity Monitor, and others, including some of my favorites– those in the Menubar.
Considering just how useful a Menubar utility can be, the genre hasn’t been given much love by Apple through the years. Menubar utilities are those useful little tools, those one-trick pony apps, the one-click wonders that reside in the upper left of the Mac’s screen. Apple has their own Menubar apps, too.
There’s Notification Center, Time and Date, Wi-Fi and Sound, Bluetooth and Spotlight, among a few others. Through the years, Mac app developers have created something of a cottage industry with Menubar apps; those little utilities that can be used regardless of which app is open at the moment, and without switching to a menu or even invoking Command-Tab.
Here’s my list of favorite one-click Mac Menubar utilities.
Bartender – I put Bartender on the top of the list because the Menubar tends to get crowded and needs a little tender loving care and organization.
Copy’em Paste – This little clipboard manager is a godsend and occupies the first slot in my Menubar app list. Copy’em Paste lets you copy and keep whatever you copied for easy retrieval whenever you want.
Copied – Right next to it is Copied, a Mac, iPhone, and iPad clipboard manager that uses iCloud to keep recent copies synced between devices.
Magnet – Large screen Macs mean app windows all over the place and nothing puts them in their place better than Magnet. One click and an app window moves left, right, up or down, even full screen and stays there.
Sound Control – I have plenty of apps which create their own sound on my Mac. Sound Control lets you control the sound volume on each one.
LastPass – This is what I use now because I fear subscription pricing for 1Password. Both reside in the Menubar and make it easy to open websites with a filled in username and password. LastPass doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but it’s priced right.
Cookie – This great Mac utility tracks and manages and kills web browser cookies of all sorts. Cookie doesn’t do much in the Menubar because it works in the background.
ScreenSharingMenulet – There’s no easier, faster, or less expensive to bring another Mac’s screen to your screen. ScreenSharingMenulet is a bargain at $1.99.
Disksomnia – For those of us who still have spinning hard disk drives connected to our Macs, Disksomnia keeps them away so the Mac’s Open and Save dialog boxes don’t get stuck waiting for a sleeping disk to spin up.
Those are my basic Menubar utilities, but there are others, including Dropbox and Siri, plus a little utility called Mouse Miles that captures how many pixels my screen pointer has moved and turns the number into miles. My pointer has travel more than 46 miles in just a few months.