Top 100 Mac Apps

I’ve compiled a list of my top 100 Mac apps for your perusal, since so many people have been asking for it. Thanks to Taylor Olson and Jason for helping me put all the icons and links in place! These apps are certainly Tiger compatible, and most of ’em work inside Leopard (though the VNC utilities are now unnecessary). I did my best to avoid overly popular titles, but couldn’t avoid it in some cases.

A rolling list of ‘Honorable Mentions’ follow the Top 100, so… keep reading. 😉 Only one application is missing.

I’m also happy to announce that both VMware and Shiny White Box are coming aboard as official video sponsors – but their presence in this list is based on app merit. It’s my hope to find exclusive coupons and pricing for any of the following commercial applications… or any commercial Mac app, for tha tmatter. Stay tuned!

Which apps did I miss – especially for Windows switchers? 😉


     (Compress / Decompress 7zX Archives)

ACP Suite

     (Ultimate OS X Power Toys Array)


     (Universal Instant Messaging App based on Pidgin)

AP Grapher

     (Searches and Displays Wireless Networks)


     (Keeps Third Party / Apple Apps Up-To-Date)


     (Drag and Drop Uninstall Applications)

ASCII Projecktor

     (View Live or Recorded Video in ASCII)

Battery Health

     (Maintain Your Battery)


     (Simple Word Processor)

Bonjour Browser

     (Browse Local Bonjour Services)


     (Quickly Run Recurring Tasks)


     (Monitor Networks from the Menu Bar)


     (iTunes Controller from the Menu Bar)


     (Control your Mac’s Sleep Schedule)


     (Add Effects to Live Video)

Carbon Copy Cloner

     (Clones your Entire Mac Hard Drive)


     (Distributed Play or Movie Script Builder)


     (Open Source Virus Checker)


     (View and Track Battery Info)


     (IRC Client)


     (FTP / SFTP Client)


     (Make your iPod an OS X Toolkit)


     (Changes your Desktop with Flickr Images)

Disk Inventory X

     (Disk Usage Utility)


     (Convert Video to/from Any Format)


     (Gets Photos from Flickr)


     (Drag and Drop Disk Imaging)


     (Free VPN Client)


     (DVD to MP4)/li>


     (Converts Images)


     (Alarm System for OS X)


     (Icon Extraction and Conversionl)


     (Getting Things Done / Personal Organizer)


     (PSP Management on OS X)


     (Extreme Screencasting Tool)

iStat Menus

     (System Monitoring from the Menu Bar)


     (Wireless AP Discovery Tool)


     (.JAR Explorer)

JES Deinterlacer

     (Deinterlacer for Videos)


     (Fast VNC Client)


     (Digital Journal)


     (Clipboard Extender)


     (Item Locking, Instant Google)


     (Adjusts Audio Levels in Podcasts)

Librarian Pro

     (Personal Inventory System)


     (Enable Soft Playthru of Audio)


     (Motion Sensor Liquid Fun)

Mac Pilot

     (Enable Hidden Features in OS X)


     (Motion Sensor Lightsaber)


     (Menu Bar Task Manager)


     (Control CD Audio Extraction)


     (Recover Deleted Files from USB)


     (Computer Monitoring Tools)


     (Metadata Tagger for MP4s)


     (Finance Manager)


     (Removes Unnecessary Languages from Mac OS X)

MPEG Streamclip

     (High Quality MPEG Converter)


     (Free Office Suite)


     (OS X Tweaker)


     (“Edit” plist Files)


     (Project Management)


     (Enhance QuickTime Playback Range)


     (Print “Finder” Folder List)


     (Quick Application / File Launcher)


     (“Extreme Tetris” Game)


     (Customer Relationship Management)

Resize ‘Em All

     (Quick Image Resizing Application)


     (On-Screen Rulers)


     (Transfer from iPod to Mac)

Service Scrubber

     (Restructure the Service Menu)

Simple Comic

     (Comic Viewer)


     (Simple Screen Shot Sharing Utility)

Sleep Display

     (Puts Your Screen to Sleep)


     (Mac Player for SlingBox)


     (Control the Speed of MacBook Fans)


     (Free XML Editor)


     (Video Re-compressor)


     (The Classic Archive Manager)


     (Clone Mac Drive / Backup Utility)


     (Virtual KVM for Macs)


     (Yet Another Cool Text Editor)

The Unarchiver

     (Ultimate Archive Un-doer)


     (Thumbnail Creation Tool)


     (System Tweaker)

Roxio Toast

     (Burn CDs and DVDs)


     (Simple Torrent Application)


     (H.264 Video Converter)


     (Track Torrents of TV Shows)


     (Anti-theft Software)


     (Unarchive RAR Files)

Vine Server

     (VNC Server for Tiger)


     (Easy Batch Video Converter)


     (The Ultimate Media Player)

VMware Fusion

     (Virtual Machine Software)


     (Set a Screen Saver as the Wallpaper)


     (OS X Firewall Config Tool)


     (Clone BootCamp Partitions)


     (Better Than Command+Tab)


     (Slightly More Advanced Text Editor)

You Control

     (Puts all of your info into one spot on your Mac)

Honorable Mention (Rolling List):

232 thoughts on “Top 100 Mac Apps”

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  13. Chris, sorry but I have to say this is a profoundly unhelpful post. In most cases the name and icon don’t even give me a clue what kind of app it is. So to learn about your whole list, I have to click 100 links. Some of those clicks take me to landing pages which in turn don’t offer me a clue. (e.g. ACP Suite. What does that landing page teach about what the software does? Or even that it’s software–I’m taking *your* word for that.)

    This is one of those cases which demonstrate that the random-access web is a little over-sold, where taxonomies and organizing principles really help. The top-100 lists I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from have all been those that group their objects in some way. That way I can learn about a cool new backup utility by knowing I’m about to look at a backup utility, not by clicking 100 links which to me are random, in hopes I’ll find something of interest.

    Still, my hat’s off to you, knowing how much work these lists are to compile.


  14. Thanks, a nice list.

    Is any of those a file manager like Midnight Commander for Linux or FAR Manager for Windows? Wikipedia Mac apps list misses this category altogether but I find it one of the most essential tools.

    Tried a cross-platform muCommander, but seems like in this category a native application is preferable. It did freeze as soon as I tried to do file transfer via SCP. Not good.

  15. Chris,

    Wow! Nice list!
    I should probably take another look at Butler; I’ve been using LaunchBar for years and grew used to it – I do think it’s excellent. I am a huge fan of Peter Maurer, and rely heavily on Witch and Desktop Curtain. Yesterday I moved from Cyberduck to FileZilla, which is more complex but gives you a broader navigation experience. BTW, Onyx – which is great – is not yet certified for Leopard. iStat menus looks awesome. I use iStat Pro. Looks like they’ve developed a lot of cool new apps.

    Great job. Looks like a lot of new items to check out!


  16. This was a really great list of apps… Though some of these were PPC only, I found SEVERAL applications I didn’t know about and have been searching for as a solution to various annoyances. Thanks 😀

  17. I know that all lists like this are subjective, but I’ll offer my take in on a couple of apps. You include both Butler and Quicksilver, but omit LaunchBar. I know the first two are free, but after extensively time with all three, LaunchBar was clearly better for MY needs, and well worth the modest registration fee.

    I am surprised at the omission of TextMate, one of the reasons I switch to the Mac from Linux.

    ffmpegX has got to be one the most frustrating apps I’ve ever used. It works fine for awhile, then suddenly stops working. I uninstall all the pieces, re-install, and again it works for awhile, always with the same error message. Many other users report the same error, but no solution ever offered by the authors.

    There are many apps on the list that are totally unfamiliar and I am looking forward to checking them out. Thanks for putting this list together!

  18. Chris: Which apps did I miss – especially for Windows switchers? 😉

    You missed Fugu, a free FTP client. I haven’t done that much with it, but it looks very well-designed and other people I know really like it.

    You missed Intego VirusBarrier, which I think is the best antivirus software for OS X.

    You missed Seashore, a simpler and more Mac-native version of the Gimp. It’s the best free graphics software available for OS X that I’ve seen. This is important for switchers because it seems to be really hard to find any free graphics-editing software for Macs—the OS doesn’t even ship with something like MacPaint or MSPaint.

    You missed OmniGraffle, which I’ve only used once (at school) because it costs money, but which is a very nice mindmapping program (like Microsoft Visio). Freemind (cross-platform) is a free alternative, but it has the worst user interface of any program I’ve ever used, so it’s not much of an alternative.

    Also, I won’t say you missed Vienna (RSS reader), because it probably doesn’t deserve to be on this list, but I like it. So there.

  19. Instead of using Teleport, I prefer Synergy because it works with Windows as well. So I from my Macbook, I can control my Mac Mini and my PC with only one keyboard and one mouse.
    That’s probably one of the most amazing softwares I’ve ever found.

  20. Without any explanation it’s hard to find this list useful. A one-liner detailing what the program does would transform it to useful.

  21. great list…can you set aside another list of freeware/shareware for mac? i know, another project for another time, but a worthy one, at least for me.

  22. Wow beautiful collection..

    I am new to this Mac thing, bought a MacBook couple of months ago and still don’t know most of the things in it.
    This list will help me doing some good stuff and work!


  23. G’day. Connect360 is worth mentioning too… it allows your mac to share files with an Xbox 360 on the network.. that being everything in your iTunes (podcasts, music, purchased tunes (except DRM tracks..) iPhoto and Movie folder. Very neat software… worked well until I upgraded to Leopard. I’m waiting for an update now 😛

  24. Nice, but– where’s the picture viewer?

    Serious Mac users shell out for Graphic Converter.

    For free is Toy Viewer.

  25. Not sure how you missed PopCopy2 (indispensable tool for me) and Cha-Ching for financial management 😉 Others in my dock that you don’t have include Transmit, Cocoalicious, ecto, and NetNewsWire.

  26. Pacifist (opens Mac OS X .pkg package files)
    Transmit (cool ftp client)
    Hex Fiend (hex editor)
    Media Rage (MP3 manager/tag editor/etc.)
    TextMate (ultimate text editor for OS X)
    NetNewsWire (best RSS editor on platform)
    HoudahGeo (add geo-information to EXIF data in JPEGs)
    Mellel (wp program with some interesting capabilities)

  27. That’s a very nice list of apps, there are some of them I haven’t heard about before, I’ll have to take a look at them. Thnx, nice work !

  28. Nice helpful post. I’ll be investigating ones of interest.

    For me one glaring omission typeit4me saves keystrokes and time humunguously.


  29. Hi,

    Great list. But you missed my two faves…
    Himmelbar – for accessing the full applications directory in list form
    Desktopple – for hiding all the wretched desktop icons

  30. I used to need screen grabs all the time when developing websites and no app does it better than Paparazzi: grabs the entire page, no matter how far you need to vertically or horizontally scroll to view.

  31. Is this supposed to be a list of the best cheap or free apps? I’m a little put off by any “top” Mac application list that omits everything from Omni (for at least OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle) or Panic (Coda, Transmit). Maybe if you “did [your] best to avoid overly popular titles” it’d be better titled as a “top 100 lesser known” mac apps list?

  32. Turbo.264 only works together with the USB dongle that you buy from Elgato. I don’t think it’s fair to include a programme that requires external hardware to simply work.

  33. could you classify your top ten apps by some kind of categories, like:

    – Desktop apps (mac management)
    – System Preferences
    – Productivity (working offline, photoshop, etc)
    – Connection – Internet
    – games
    – small apps (Dashboard, widgets, etc)
    – etc

    And also, evaluate or rate each app?

    Versiontracker do the same

  34. Sorry, Transmit is far superior to Cyberduck. It’s much more stable (in terms of stability, Cyberduck is a joke). It also has tabbed FTP/SFTP browsing.

    We do big web development work and rely on Transmit every day. (And pay for it, too.)

  35. Great list. What is even cooler is the talk it provokes. You always learn about new programs from the list, but about others who comment on it. Everyone has their own preferences in habit.

    I, for instance, love Butler because it is free and allows me to emulate the Menu where my mouse is idea from MAYA. That is me. But I see things in QuickSilver and Launchbar that are nice to. In the end it helps everyone keep an eye on what our options are. That is the best.

    Thanks for the time you put into it Chris,

    Thanks everyone else for your comments.

  36. MCH: It’s a bit like coming to a clover leaf or an intersection. In the case you cite there are a total of fourteen [14] further links on the click through page. You can go in any one of fourteen [14] different directions. Chris left you with freedom of choice. As you said, it’s a lot of work putting together a list like that. Everyone has to pitch in – yes even the readers.

    mh: This is his opinion. Obviously. He ‘thinks different’.

  37. You Fag!!!!!!, I have to say this is a profoundly unhelpful post. In most cases the name and icon don’t even give me a clue what kind of app it is. So to learn about your whole list, I have to click 100 links. Some of those clicks take me to landing pages which in turn don’t offer me a clue.
    Alex from Russia

  38. You fаg !!!!!!, I have to say this is a profoundly unhelpful post. In most cases the name and icon don’t even give me a clue what kind of app it is. So to learn about your whole list, I have to click 100 links. Some of those clicks take me to landing pages which in turn don’t offer me a clue.
    Alex from Russia

  39. Great list Chris. I am always impressed with what you find. I kinda did the same thing on my site. Although, It is a mix of software for a variety of platforms.. Mostly FOSS. I am not linking it in this post though, this is your show and I am not a spammer 🙂 I did leave the link in the URL box above if you want to check it out.

  40. Please look at Zooom (

    Zooom allows you to set up keyboard shortcuts for moving and resizing any window from any place in the window.

    There is no need to go to the title bar with the cursor to move the window or to the bottom right corner of the window to resize the window. Both can be done from any where in the window.

  41. The people who like OmniGraffle clearly are better artists than I am–not hard, to be sure. What I am looking at is a replacement for MacDraw–simple, decent interface, easy to use. Color would be nice but not necessary.

  42. I stumbled this! Great List!
    I’m still a noobie to mac. I have only had mine for 8 months; i’m never goning back!!!!!

    You also might like to add FileZilla for mac; its a free FTP clients from mozilla that allow drag and drop up and down loads to your server. Very user friendly.

  43. hi, my name’s matt, and i used to be a windows user.

    i still can’t find a decent replacement for winamp. i’ve tried vlc, cog, audacity (i think), and am bored. please help. PLEASE!

  44. The lack of Graphic Converter demonstrates Chris’ lack of Mac history. I’ve been using it since version 1 in OS 8 something. Great image editor that gets better with every release.

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  46. That’s really cool. I wish that some of those apps were free :(. Oh well. Must’v taken a long time to put this whole thing together.

  47. XShelf make the Drop Stack function of Cocoatech Pathfinder! So you could stay in mac Finder (that is better for me). 🙂

  48. PEEL – the greatest Mac MP3 blog reader and player – worth every penny, I don’t understand how this isn’t at the head of every list since it lets you get and capture a daily dose of new music. Try it, you’ll love it guaranteed. Bill

  49. Hello,

    I would like to see Mozilla Firefox and perhaps which is a free open-source office suite.


  50. Nice and interesting list indeed, as are (most of) the comments.

    A couple of omissions if you ask me though 🙂
    1) BBEdit: the best editor there is IMO (offers an educational discount too)
    2) Script debugger: Sublime applescripting tool (but pricy)
    3) Omniweb: Featurerich web browser.
    4) Thoth: my preferred usenet reader (not being developed anymore though)
    5) Path finder: like Finder but better.
    6) Devonthink: information management system.
    7) JournalX: like above but cheaper (doesn’t have applescripting support though)
    8) MS Office 2008 🙂


  51. some of the best apps around massive on the vlc player thugh already had it n senuti is masssive bigg upps on this site

  52. Mac the Ripper needs to be on your list. It’s essential to backup your fave dvds. Since I have kids, they are always getting scratched or cracked. It works slick. I couldn’t live without it!

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  54. I’m amazed to not see Kismac here. The development has fallen behind a little since the German government made any and all security research illegal, but it is still an excellent tool and definitely the most powerful wireless scanning/security tool out there.
    I find iStat Menus to be much more powerful and customisable compared to MenuMeters.
    Vienna is my RSS reader of choice so far.
    XSlimmer definitely gets a nod too, the amount of space you can shave off of some applications is amazing.

  55. This is a great list, Chris. I just bought my first Mac (well, technically my second, but the first one was for my daughter–this one’s for me). I’ve added this page to my bookmarks for reference later.

    I only have two suggestions. First, 100 apps is an awful lot. What would you consider the top 10 or maybe 20 essential apps. What would you install first?

    Second, to make it easier to sort through the 100, a little more description to go with each app would be nice.

    Still, it’s a great list and this will save me a lot of time. Thanks!

  56. Your page takes too long to scroll through. Keep in mind some of us are running Vista on slow dual core computers with only 2 GB of RAM.

    Have some pity on us.

  57. awesome!! the a new mac user..found this really useful…i wanna know if u cud help me..i need to boot camp and install clue how though..

  58. Great list and a other apps I would add are FileZilla a great free FTP app, utorrent, CorD, Firefox, and facebook exporter for iphoto.

  59. I cant seem to find out if my idea for an iphone app is out there. i put a search on apple site, but nothing came up. Is there a way to find a list? do you have any suggestions?


  60. Would be really handy mate if you could design a website, this one …each time you choose an app to look at and try to return to the page it brings me back to your ugly mug at the top of the page, really not very helpful

  61. This is a really great list, but please do NOT buy appzapper. The demo is fine, but it is not worth buying, because all it does is move the apps to the trash on your mac. You can easily do it yourself buy dragging the app to your trash bin. Like i said, the demo is fine, but it doesn’t really do much.

  62. A very useful compilation… thanks a lot. Though there are a few notable omissions. I think Parallels is of utmost importance for a Windows to Mac switcher.

  63. Great list, I would add those 🙂

    • Growl – Unobtrusive Systemwide
    • Fresh – Pop up recent files handy do-dadd

    • Jumpcut – Simple Clipboard History
Saves the
    • Fluid – Site Specific Browser aka Turn Gmail
    • Adium – Multi-Account, Multi-Network IM
    • Caffeine 
    • Evernote – The Best note taking software
    • Tweetie – Twitter client for Mac. FINALLY.
    • 1Password – This is the BEST password
    • Coda – One Window Web Development
    • Firefox with Firebug – The reason I didn’t
    • I Love Stars – Easy iTunes Ratings in Menu
    • Skitch – Take screenshots, draw little arrows

    – iAntiVirus
    – HimmelBar
    – Evernote
    – Things oder The Hit List oder OmniFocus (alles GTD applications)
    – Sizlingkeys (itunes controller)
    – Gmail!! > GoogleNotifier
    – GoogleReader HelvetiaReader
    – Senuti
    – Stuffit Expander
    – Quicksilver
    – iStatMenus
    – Flip4Mac
    – SafariPlugIns
    – AppCleaner
    – iConcertCal (itunes Plugin)
    – Quicksilver
    – Evernote
    – Skype
    – FacebookDesktopNotfication
    – Adium
    – Automator

  64. What about Monolingual? Most people only use one or two languages on their mac. This app will go through all of your apps and your system architecture and remove unneeded language packs. There are gigabytes of them on your mac! And you can’t beat the price! FREE!

  65. thanks so much for the long list of mac apps this was needed badly after switching to mac for the first time and not knowing what to download, i especially liked camTwist and the anti virus..

    but one app i thought was very bad and would advise if any one needs a ftp app to NOT download CyberDuck… while the name is funny and the ducky icon is cute.. the app sucks the way it downloads from ftp it tries to connect multiple times to the http://ftp... my advise would be to get Filezilla this is the best mac ftp i have tried so far, its a shame you cant get flashfxp with mac though using wine is a good option for that.. ty again pirillo and ppl who added to the list

  66. Hello Chris!
    I just recently moved back to Spain and while I was in the states I got addicted to some of the episodes from
    Now that I am back, I just tried to watch and it will tell me it can’t due to being outside of U.S territory.
    Is there any program I could download to make my mac think I am in the states?

  67. FileVista is a web file manager for storing, managing and sharing files online through your web browser. It is a web based software which you install on your web server to fulfill web file management requirements of your company or organization. This web file manager allows your users to upload, download and organize any type of file with an intuitive user interface.

  68. Thank you!!!

    I just removed 2.2 G from my hard drive. I think I can live without Chinese, German, Japanese and all the other languages I don’t speak. And if I suddenly learn to speak those languages (hey… it could happen!) I’ll have them tucked away safely on my boot disk.

    Thanks again,


  69. Have somebody iso maker for Mac ??? Leopard Snow !!! plz guys, i want to run WINDOWS from image on viritual mashine ..

    1. Osx has one built into the os. Disk Utility, what you do is create a image of the disk then from there click cd/dvd master which will create a .cdr file just change that to .ios and you are set. 

  70. Very nice list. I’d do a couple of changes – replace 7zX with Entropy Archiver ( not free, but a lot better ) and add TextMate ( far better than xPad ).

  71. Mr Pirillo, I have dvd recordings of my son playing in soccer matches and I would like to extract just the parts of the particular dvd that he is in action and then create a totally separate dvd of all the collated clips. Can you advise the best app for this purpose. I have a macbook.
    Many thanks

  72. Mr Pirillo, I have dvd recordings of my son playing in soccer matches and I would like to extract just the parts of the particular dvd that he is in action and then create a totally separate dvd of all the collated clips. Can you advise the best app for this purpose. I have a macbook.
    Many thanks

  73. Hi mr. pririllo,  i am new in using mac, so pls tel me how to make my mac can read and write to my external hard drive which formatted with windows 7. thanks so much

  74. hi
    does anyone know how visiting cards could be scanned using the camera on the macbook and stored directly into the address book. is there an app available?? please let me know

  75. Thanks for taking the time to put the list together, without doubt some nice apps there. MPlayerX (video player) and WolfCalc (math homework helper) would be a very nice addition.

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