Key MacOS software

I recently started at Wonde, and for the first time I’m now using a MacBook as my daily driver. The experience is fairly mundane — it’s just a computer! But there are a few tweaks and adjustments that I’ve made to make it more comfortable for myself. This post is more a reference for my future self than a set of explicit recommendations.

I’ll doubtless add more apps to this list as I go forward!

Gives you a Windows-like alttab experience — that is, the ability to tab through windows, not just applications.

Clipboard history. I’m surprised that this isn’t baked into the OS!

Probably the most significant workhorse app that I’ve installed. Allows you to remap individual keys, or pull down (or build) more complex adjustments. I use it to make changes like cmdbackspace deleting a word (rather than a line), home and end actually working, and various other Windows-like shortcuts. It’s particularly useful when you’re using an external (Windows) keyboard.

I find myself reaching for the config on this app almost daily at present — normally when I use a muscle-memory keyboard shortcut that doesn’t quite do the right thing (like cmdleft or cmdright moving in lines, not words — something I found while writing this post!).

Allows you to move the dock into the touchbar. (Yep, I’m using the only MacBook Pro still with a touchbar!). This lets you free up more desktop space.

Gives you about 60% of the functionality of Aero snap in Windows. Unfortunately it doesn’t let you resize windows that are side-by-side simultaneously, and it doesn’t include the Win11 22H2 placement functionality, but it’s still an absolute necessity. I really would love for Apple to copy Windows directly here!

With all these hundreds of “fixer” apps, you end up with a menubar full of cruft. Vanilla lets you hide icons in the menubar (like the system tray in Windows!). The free version needs to be manually set to open on login, and doesn’t automatically re-hide, but it’s still really key.

Out of the box positive things

There are some great little features out-of-the-box on the Mac. In no particular order:

  • It’s great that you can add background blur to the camera at a system level (although I’d love a higher resolution camera!).
  • I appreciate being able to choose microphone voice-focussing modes at a system level.
  • When moving the mouse across displays, even unmatched non-retina ones, the cursor never “disappears” from one and reappears on another. This is a (super minor) niggle that’s been around forever on Windows.
  • It’s fast! The M2 processor really does fly. I’ve not noticed any slowdowns or significant issues, and the machine I’m using only has 8GB of RAM. (Yes, really!)
  • The speakers are great. Really great. Surprisingly great, especially for Meet and Zoom calls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.