Must-have Mac apps and utilities

Here are some of the best performance, security, and productivity apps and utilities for you Mac.

WWDC 2019: Finally, Apple frees the iPad and Watch from iPhone's shadow Can the iPad now become a serious business tool? Are the iPad and Mac platforms headed toward unification? Will developers take the time to get it right? TechRepublic's Karen Roby gets some answers from Jason Perlow and Jason Cipriani. Read more: https://zd.net/2Wlin3A

My main work machine these days is my MacBook Pro, so it needs to be ready for anything I throw at it. This means that I have kitted it out with a selection of performance, security, and productivity apps and utilities.

Must read: iPhone, iPad, and Mac buyer's guide: July 2019 edition

CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X

Without a doubt, CleanMyMac X is the best way to rid your Mac of the digital detritus that it accumulates, allowing you to free up storage space and even speed things up.

I'm always amazed by its capacity to seek out digital junk that's otherwise buried deep within the bowels of the operating system.

Price: $39.95 | More information

TechSmith SnagIt

TechSmith SnagIt

My job involves taking countless screen captures every week, and of all the tools and utilities I've tried -- even the tools built into macOS -- nothing comes close to the power and flexibility of SnagIt.

Not only does this tool allow me to capture all sorts of screenshots -- from simple captures to complex stuff like scrolling windows and such -- it also features powerful editing tools to help me get those screen captures ready for posting on the web or putting into publications.

Price: $49.95 | More information

Parallels Toolbox

Parallels Toolbox

Parallels Toolbox is a suite of easy-to-use tools that streamlines all routine computing chores that you do many times a day and turns them into actions you can carry out with a click or two, massively boosting productivity.

This suite of tools allows you to carry out a variety of tasks, from creating animated GIFs from videos to batch resizing images.

Price: $19.99/year | More information

Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Best Mac browser. Yes, it eats quite a bit of system resources, but it's rock-solid even with dozens of tabs open, and the ability to expand its capabilities using extensions makes it a powerful web browsing platform.

Price: Free | More information

F-Secure Freedome

F-Secure Freedome

Browsing the web without a VPN leaves a digital footprint that others can use to track you down. A VPN can allow you to step over the geographical fences that some want to put around content. On top of that, a good VPN can keep you safe when accessing the web using wired and wireless networks that are not under your control.

Having tested many VPN offerings, I settled on Freedome, because it offered good security and high levels of reliability at a decent price.

Price: From $49.99 | More information

Backblaze

Backblaze

While Time Machine is good for carrying out local backups, it's also a good idea to have an up-to-date offsite backup, and I've found that Backblaze offers the best combination of value, storage space, and performance.

Price: From $6/month | More information

iStat Menus

iStat Menus

I love this app because it allows me to geek-out on a massive amount of system information!

iStat Menus is an advanced Mac system monitor, covering an enormous range of stats from system temperatures to CPU performance.

iStat Menus puts an awful lot of important and useful information right at your fingertips.

Price: $11.99 | More information

Amphetamine

Amphetamine

Amphetamine is a little app that lives in your menu bar and allows you to quickly and easily override your energy saver settings and keep your Mac awake.

Price: Free | More information

Parallels Access

Parallels Access

After trying many different solutions, Parallels Access is my favorite method for accessing my systems remotely. With Parallels Access I can connect to my Mac (or PC) from pretty much any device, and work with the applications and files on that system as though I'm sitting at it.

This has been an absolute lifesaver for those times when I've left an important file on my computer at the home or office.

Price: $19.99/year | More information

The Unarchiver

The Unarchiver

While the tool built into macOS can do a reasonable job with some compressed file archives, the Unarchiver has you covered no matter what crazy file format you have to deal with.

It will open common formats such as Zip, RAR, 7-zip, Tar, Gzip and Bzip2, more obscure formats such as StuffIt, DiskDoubler, LZH, ARJ and ARC, and can extract files from ISO and BIN images.

It can also extract files from some Windows .EXE files.

It's an awesome tool that I use regularly!

Price: Free | More information

Got an app or utility that I should check out? Feel free to let me know below.