My free productivity essential apps for macOS

I’m usually not a big fan of the term “essential” apps, especially since most of the lists out there are just the same 30 – 40 apps that you already know about. In this blog post I focus more on some tools you might not know yet but which definitely can make you more productive. Of course, it always depends on your use cases.


Boop is a handy tool and very powerful to manipulate any kind of strings. I use it most of the time to format JSON, unserialize serialized code from PHP or URL encoding/decoding. But there’s so much more, everything built in one tool.

Website to “Boop”


If you’re using Homebrew, Brewlet is a helpful tool to stay up-to-date with your formulae. It just sits there and automatically updates all your packages installed via Homebrew on a regular basis.

Website to “Brewlet”


Working with APIs such as REST APIs often requires much testing. Bruno is a handy tool for that and relatively new in contrary to the top dog Postman or Insomnia. But contrary to them, it’s completely open source and has an open data format, which is stored solely on your device.

Website to “Bruno”


This one should be the most popular of the list. HandBrake lets you compress videos with easy – or with much customization. Choose a preset or use a wide variety of options to squeeze the last bit (pun intended) out of your videos. It just makes them super small.

Website to “HandBrake”


Keep your software up-to-date. That’s what’s Latest job. It can search automatically for updates of nearly all of your installed apps and can often even update them automatically.

Website to “Latest”


Pika is just another color picker, but it comes with basically two pickers, which can then be checked by their contrast. It also automatically displays whether the current contrast ratio complies with a WCAG standard, which is great if you care about accessibility (you should!).

Website to “Pika”

Red Lines Tools

Whenever you build the UI of a website, you can use Red Lines Tools to show a grid or even a custom layout raster, which helps you in creating a consistent web UI. You can widely customize it and even add custom lines to it.

Website to “Red Lines Tools”


Adding emojis on the Mac is rather clunky and not very fast. Sometimes, opening the emoji picker doesn’t even work (at least for me). With Rocket, you can just start typing the emoji name starting with : (which is customizable) and immediately include it into your message. It just makes writing so much faster if you use emojis.

Website to “Rocket”

Sequel Ace

My goto app for managing MySQL servers is Sequel Ace. It has some quirks but overall it’s the best I could find, especially since it’s a native macOS app with a clean UI.

Website to “Sequel Ace”


In summer, I’m usually working outdoors on my terrace, where it’s much brighter than inside. SuperBright uses the HDR capabilities of your modern screen and unlocks different higher brightness settings, which allows to make the screen more readable in bright conditions.

Website to “SuperBright”

Text Differ

Text Differ is a small handy tool to properly display differences of two text files (or of content in the clipboard). It runs completely local on your device and is super fast and lightweight.

Website to “Text Differ”

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