My Favourite Mac Utility Apps

From a non-technical gal

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Utility apps are a rather new find for me.

I will describe them as things that make my interactions with my actual Macbook and apps on it, better, faster and more enjoyable. I value this a lot as I like to move fast to match my chaotic brain.

Let’s get into them!

Raycast

Download here, free!

Raycast is marketed as an extendable launcher, meaning you can open apps with it and so much more. I can view my schedule, do unit conversions, calculations, add extensions, see my clipboard history and more, all for free, through a command bar. I open Raycast with the command space shortcut (I replaced Apple Spotlight with this), and it pops up in front of your active window. You can do what you need, press escape and then get back to what you were doing.

This is as distraction free as it gets for me, letting me stay focused, which is something I struggle with. It also helps me navigate my Macbook way faster, which I like so I can move across my laptop with little friction.

You could do so much more with it too but there are so many options it’s almost overwhelming, so I tend to pick one or two things a month to get into the habit of using them! This month I’m using the currency conversions and emojis 🤩.

See this tweet for more magic Raycast can offer:

Curiosity.ai

Invite code here*, we both get a month free! (€9.99/month otherwise)

I truly, with a passion I cannot yet articulate, hate folders. They are the antithesis of my chaotic brain and they actually make me feel stressed. I started rebelling and putting all of my saved files in one place (so no folders at all), opting instead for better naming conventions, but of course opening that one place full of files is also very overwhelming. So I feel I can’t win.

Curiosity.ai has helped no end.

You can connect all of your cloud storage and other digital files to a smart search engine (all done locally on your computer) and then search everything you have through one place. You can also add email, calendar, Notion.. everything, and there are more integrations coming.

This search is done through a global shortcut, essentially allowing me to search all of my digital files through one shortcut, from any app. I don’t even have to open the 500GB of overwhelm I have stored in the cloud. This helps a lot, so I’m happy to pay for this.

You can do way more than browse files too if you need:

I think it’s time to make the most of this, to get more out of my money! Like Raycast, I suggest trying to add in one functionality to your workflows at a time to reduce the overwhelm, and make your workflows more likely to stick.

Paste

bought through Setapp* (we’ll both get a free month if you sign up through this)

Paste is a clipboard history manager. Whilst Raycast has this and I did use that for a long time, I enjoy Paste a lot more. It’s faster to get to (control shift V) than Raycast, it’s more aesthetically pleasing and it️ has a great search.

I don’t think you need both this and Raycast if you’re looking to streamline, but I tested it out of interest, and very much preferred the speed and aesthetics, so have stuck with it.

It’s beautiful!

Clean my Mac X

Purchased from the App store until this year, now I use Setapp*!

I bought this when I got my first Macbook in 2020 because I was influenced by all the people doing sponsored videos on it.. but they were all correct.

Unsurprisingly, you can clean up your Mac with this (not sure how, I just feel it’s doing something…). You can see where your big files are, check your RAM usage, your internet speeds, scan for threats, uninstall apps, empty your trash and more.

I have no idea how much this would cost to do by myself, or how easy it would be to do myself but it’s £29.99 a year for all of this in one easy to access app, which feels worth it for my non-technical self who has no understanding of computer hardware.

Even better, it’s on Setapp*, which makes the subscription I already pay for even more cost-effective!

Hookmark

Gifted, but you can purchase it through Setapp* or through the Hookmark website.

Discovering Hookmark and learning how to use it really felt like it unlocked a previously untouched portion of my brain!

It’s not a utility app in the same sense as the others, as instead of making my interactions with my Macbook better, it makes the interactions in my digital system better. But because I interact with this system on my Macbook, so I feel it still could count as a utility app. If you disagree, fair enough but look at Hookmark anyway. It’s genius!

Essentially, Hookmark forges missing links between apps. This is how I work towards interoperability between the apps I currently use, which I believe is the more sustainable model to a functional, digital system than the one-app-for-everything approach.

I did a recent deep dive and intro here:

And if you want to see what apps make up my digital system, take a look at this article:

So those are my top utility apps for my Mac at the moment. I can do useful things with all of them, quickly, easily and with confidence, which a non-technical person like me values a lot!

Let me know if there are any utility apps I should check out, I’m always happy to learn!

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