New job, fresh Macbook, what are some must have installs?

almost 7 years ago from , Designer @ Google | Author @ O'Reilly | Podcaster @ DesignReview

I just started a new job and I love having a fresh new laptop to set up.

What are some must have tools I should install?


  • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, almost 7 years ago

    Once you've installed everything in this thread, install Bartender to tidy up your menu bar a bit.

    26 points
  • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Here are some handy ones I get a lot of use out of:

    17 points
    • Jonathan Shariat, almost 7 years ago

      Great list! Thanks.

      0 points
    • David Holman, almost 7 years ago

      It's looking a little old fashioned these days, but I find Quicksilver to be superior to Alfred. It takes a little more effort to get the hang of it, but once you start descending in directories, filtering directory contents with your keyboard, comma selecting multiple objects, and dragging items out of the command window wherever you please QS is really hard to beat. And it's free, not freemium like Alfred.

      1 point
    • Kwanghyun Won, almost 7 years ago

      Good list

      0 points
    • James LaneJames Lane, almost 7 years ago

      Or Atom instead of Sublime?

      I always used Sublime until a recent job change where everyone uses Atom. I'm not against Sublime, just giving an alternative.

      6 points
    • Alex Hazel, almost 7 years ago

      Serious question. I never got into Alfred before Apple added Spotlight search to their OS. What advantages does it have over Apple's implementation that makes it worth co-existing on my Mac with Apple's solution?

      I can read features on a website but I want to know how people use it in their daily lives....Thanks!

      3 points
      • Sam Bible, almost 7 years ago

        Same question. Clearly there must be a lot of value here since so many people tout it, but I've never understood the advantage in light of Spotlight.

        0 points
      • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

        Great question.

        For me, the Alfred workflows are indispensable. They are Alfred specific scripts that you can very easily create using their GUI. And you can also hook in JavaScript, AppleScript, PHP, Bash to turn your computer into the sickest productivity machine in the land.

        Some practical ones I built are:

        • I can type 'local', which displays a list of my local web environments (Corporate site, App 1, App 2), then I can select the local environment I want to run, hit Enter... and boom, my Sass is compiling, my local server is running, my browser opens up the localhost URL, and my Sublime Text package is open to that directory. All in a matter of 10 seconds.
        • I can type 'hidden' and select whether I want my hidden files to display or to stay hidden. Helpful for finding my .htaccess files
        • I can type 'gif' and [query] and it does a Google animated image search for my query. My gif game is very strong, and this is my secret.

        As far as I can tell Apple's Spotlight search is really just for searching for files and programs and opening them.

        5 points
      • Tom CTom C, almost 7 years ago

        First/basic use case: perform a Google search (or other engine of your choice) without having to go to Safari. Say, I'm coding somethign hard - in Atom ;) - and need to quickly look at the framework docs...

        Second: shortcuts for custom searches, for instance i can setup Alfred to search eBay by typing "e macbook".. same goes for virtually any website that uses URL parameters for search strings (most of them).

        0 points
    • Rogin Farrer, almost 7 years ago

      You can consolidate LICECap and Paparazzi with CloudApp.

      I started using it recently for sharing screenshots and gifs for code reviews and collaboration with PMs. I love it because once you complete a screenshot or gif, it places the direct link into your clipboard to share immediately. So far the free account has been sufficient for me.

      1 point
      • Ryan RushingRyan Rushing, almost 7 years ago

        Thanks for the suggestion! I tried CloudApp forever ago, but it got lost in my shuffle of changing computers over time. Definitely reinstalling now.

        1 point
        • Tom CTom C, almost 7 years ago

          CloudApp changed their free plan to be ridiculously limited, so I ditched it forever.. JumpShare offers the same functionalities and it's free with a generous space for your uploads.

          0 points
      • Jimmy OfisiaJimmy Ofisia, almost 7 years ago

        Monosnap is also a good alternative, although it only record video instead of GIF.

        0 points
    • Jansen Tolle, almost 7 years ago

      I prefer puu.sh for screenshots since it uploads them. Makes it very easy to share with colleagues.

      0 points
    • Rob Carreno, almost 7 years ago

      Spectacle is a good free alternative to moom

      1 point
    • Umit KayabasUmit Kayabas, almost 7 years ago

      Um, shouldn't this be profession related?

      0 points
  • Laurens SpangenbergLaurens Spangenberg, almost 7 years ago

    BetterTouchTool for window tiling and the ability to customize all your input devices (trackpad, mouse, touchbar, and more) to basically do anything.

    10 points
    • Seth RSeth R, almost 7 years ago

      This is fantastic.

      1 point
    • matt michelsonmatt michelson, almost 7 years ago

      Yes, yes, yes, this is the best. I have custom scripts for Illustrator that make so many operations a breeze. I also am one of the few people to buy a Leap Motion so I can 'minority report' my music controls :P

      1 point
  • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 7 years ago

    I installed spectacle and I couldn't live without it now. I have it set up so that CMD + ← or → gives the active window half the screen to the left or the right, CMD + ↓ minimises it and CMD + ↑. It doesn't seem to affect PS for some reason so I can still nudge things around.

    I also found an app called Next Meeting which simply shows you the next event in your calendar in the menubar.

    Lastly, Unibox is a great email app if you haven't heard of it already

    9 points
  • Anand DoshiAnand Doshi, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Flux, for better sleep Sip (color picker), a great color picker DiskInventoryX, to use when you are running out of space Free Ruler, to measure anything on screen Itsycal, calendar events at a glance from the menubar

    6 points
    • Cristian MoiseiCristian Moisei, almost 7 years ago

      Have you tried https://colorsnapper.com/ instead of SIP? I don't know if SIP fixed that bug they had for years where a window behind photoshop would always be brought to the front, but CS always seemed simpler and more robust compared to all the crap SIP is trying to work into the app.

      2 points
      • Ethan UnzickerEthan Unzicker, almost 7 years ago

        I use Sip and I haven't noticed this issue. Must have been fixed! The free version is adequate, but the moreI use it, the more I think I'll be springing ($10) for the premium version soon!

        0 points
        • Anand DoshiAnand Doshi, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

          I agree. I find the color names like "Supernova", "Green Blue", "East Bay", etc. really helpful when you have similar colors lined up.

          I use it primarily because Adobe products don't work with tiling managers (I use a laptop), and it is annoying to drag the window to use the eye dropper.

          0 points
    • Rob GillRob Gill, almost 7 years ago

      This reminds me, Grand Perspective is amazing.

      Similar to DiskInverntory but the looks of things. Looks like crap... great app for visualising the size of files!

      1 point
    • Stefan Lechleitner, almost 7 years ago

      Does SIP has the possibility to change the profil? You can do that in the digital color meter and this is a really strong feature to me. But acutally I'm also using Color Snapper but there you can't change the profile so actually I'm looking for a new color picker.

      0 points
  • Simon S.Simon S., almost 7 years ago

    In addition to lots of the apps already mentioned here, in no particular order:

    • Airmail - e-mail; I tried lots and lots of email clients but always keep coming back to Airmail. Not perfect either, but closest to that for me

    • Pinboard.in + Spillo - minimalistic bookmarking

    • Paws for Trello - desktop app for Trello, if you're using that

    • Numi - useful multiline calculator

    • Later - simple reminders, especially useful if you use it with its iOS counterpart for a simple "remind me when I'm back at my mac" option

    Also, if you do coding, I can totally recommend ...

    • Atom - code editor, made by the Github people

    • CodeKit - preprocessor compiler, jshint, etc. all-in-one

    • Tower - best Git-GUI-client I have found so far

    • Transmit - FTP client

    • SnippetsLab - store all your code snippets

    • MAMP - local web server with GUI

    • Sequel Pro - database manager

    5 points
    • Dan Christian, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

      Spillo looks great, thanks! Paws looks good too, if I can get past the icon...

      1 point
    • Anand DoshiAnand Doshi, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

      I have completely shifted to saved.io for my bookmarking needs. It just works, and URL as an interface is a great idea!

      Also, I have been using SparkMail since a few days and it is really good.

      0 points
    • Doug OrchardDoug Orchard, almost 7 years ago

      In regards to the coding bit, i have the same setup (except for codekit, npm or gulp for me)!

      Throw in Hyper, its like Atom but as your Terminal. Super cool.

      0 points
  • Seth RSeth R, almost 7 years ago

    Congrats on the new job!

    One thing I haven't seen on the list is Noizio. It's great for people like me who can't stop singing along with songs. Not always a problem, but when I need to concentrate this is when I need Noizio.


    4 points
  • Alec LomasAlec Lomas, almost 7 years ago

    probably needs some cleaning up, but here's my install script for new machines

    4 points
  • Dillon Headley, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    https://www.spectacleapp.com/ more minimal window management

    Also if you are using the command line:

    https://www.iterm2.com/ - better terminal (split windows etc..)

    https://fishshell.com/ - alternative to bash shell (autocomplete, partial command history, bunch of other stuff)

    http://fisherman.sh/ - super easy plugin manager for fish shell (themes, git stuff, z, etc..)

    3 points
  • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, almost 7 years ago
    • BetterSnapTool is a game changer for managing windows.
    • iA Writer is my go-to tool for notes, posts and random ideas.
    • ImageOptim is a fantastically simple, free image compression tool.
    3 points
    • Jesse Payne, almost 7 years ago

      Always surprised that seemingly no one has heard of BetterSnapTool… literally one of the first things I install on a new mac (after Alfred!)

      0 points
  • Charlie PrattCharlie Pratt, almost 7 years ago

    Couldn't live without Divvy.


    3 points
  • Julie RobertsJulie Roberts, almost 7 years ago
    • ClipMenu works as a robust clipboard manager, but my favorite feature is the snippets. I save addresses/phone numbers I use frequently so I don't mistype them.

    • F.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day

    3 points
  • Sandro P, almost 7 years ago

    Yoink is very useful, and I don't think anyone's mentioned it.

    3 points
  • Suganth SSuganth S, almost 7 years ago

    Congrats on your new Job @ Intuit!

    3 points
  • Matthew Stolper, almost 7 years ago

    CleanMyMac 3

    3 points
  • Vivek GaniVivek Gani, almost 7 years ago

    A few I haven't seen mentioned yet:

    General tools:

    Yoink - Had serious withdrawal when the deprecated dragondrop stopped working on Sierra. I've tried the alternatives (dropzone, sorta-using quicksilver's drag-drop, etc) and yoink's the best so far.

    homebrew - mentioning again

    Ninjakit - greasemonkey scripts for safari.

    Code/text tools:

    Jumpcut - older clipboard history manager, though after reading comments I may try ClipMenu

    FormatMatch - basically strip text decorations when pasting text to make it plaintext - occasionally useful.

    Dash - despite all the recent issues with kapeli and the mac app store, Dash has paid for itself over and over.

    Macdown - free markdown editor/viewer. Also use Marked on occasion for markdown -> pdf conversion.

    NValt - Oldie but a goodie, can't wait for bitwriter. sync it with simplenote.

    Atlassian Sourcetree - still prefer this over the other git graphical interfaces, this maybe out of habit though.


    licecap - old gif-making tool.

    LiveReload - nobody mentioned it but it's still useful for front-end webdev.

    Also, as a shameless plug, I make Thimble as a PS/Sketch/SketchUp gesture plugin, and am looking forward to hearing feedback and doing some more updates in 2017.

    2 points
  • Joe Crupi, almost 7 years ago

    XTree Gold

    2 points
  • Matthew Stolper, almost 7 years ago


    2 points
  • Adam Saint, almost 7 years ago

    I could spend hours playing in Fontstand.

    2 points
  • Bernd Plontsch, almost 7 years ago

    Don't install anything because it's on some list. Just use your computer as is, feel the pain points and then look for specific solutions. Enjoy an uncluttered system as long as you can.

    That being said some nice apps have been mentioned :)

    1 point
  • Doug OrchardDoug Orchard, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Here's my list...

    User Experience for Mac

    • Alfred
    • Flux
    • Spectacle


    • Slack
    • SnippetsLap


    • Bohemian Sketch
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo


    • Chrome
    • MAMP
    • Atom
    • Sequel Pro


    • Hyper
    • Brew
    • Node
    • Gulp


    • ImageOptim
    • Pngyu

    Ummm... That's a good start.

    1 point
  • Ron SchramaRon Schrama, almost 7 years ago
    • Flux Only don't forget to turn it off if your busy with colours.
    • Amphetamine Handy for keeping your mac out of sleep mode when you for example are buffering something.
    1 point
  • Mattias HMattias H, almost 7 years ago

    Polymail Best email client since Sparrow died imo, with some great features like read notifications, undo sent email, etc.

    App Trap Removes associated files when you drag an app to the trash.

    Helium When you wanna watch something while working.

    Clean Archive the files from your desktop when it gets too messy.

    Letterspace Simple note taking app that supports markdown.

    1 point
  • Kyle GillenKyle Gillen, almost 7 years ago

    · Alfred · Divvy · Bartender · Dash · Sublime · Dropbox · Bear App (or Evernote) · ColorSnapper · SnapRuler (though it's been sluggish on the new Mac, so maybe XScope) · Spotify (Apple Music blows) · Fantastical

    1 point
  • Sarfraj Lakdawala, almost 7 years ago

    Split Screen App (https://splitscreenapp.com/) is the great app to manage windows on your Mac. With window snapping and keyboard shortcuts, you can quickly split windows and boost your productivity.

    0 points
  • Markus BerghMarkus Bergh, almost 7 years ago
    0 points
  • Alex Kaul, almost 7 years ago

    Freeter for organizing the workflow.

    0 points
  • Jack Marks-ThomasJack Marks-Thomas, almost 7 years ago

    Panda App extension for chrome, Atom, Slack, pomodorro w/ trello... In fact most of my tools are online now

    0 points
  • Jobe Mesko, almost 7 years ago

    Laravel Valet is freaking amazing and has been the biggest game changer in my development workflow in years.

    Bear is beautiful too and I couldn't live without Wunderlist for task management.

    0 points
  • Michael van HolkerMichael van Holker, almost 7 years ago


    try this and congrats

    0 points
  • Thomas Zoechling, almost 7 years ago
    • Textmate 2, Old but still my favorite text editor
    • Gitbox, Also old but it still covers my whole Git workflow
    • GitUp, Another nice Git client
    • Aerial, Brings the Apple TV flyover screensaver to macOS
    • Claquette, Capture animated GIF/PNG screenshots (Full Disclosure: I am the author of that app)
    • Hex Fiend, Fast HEX editor
    • MindNode 2, For mind maps and brain storming
    • ShrinkIt, Nice free app by Panic to reduce PDF file size
    0 points
  • Cory MicekCory Micek, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Cloud App - easily share screenshots, screen recordings, etc... Sip - collect, organize and share your colors Flux - adjust your monitors color temp based on time of day Boom 2 - The Best Volume Booster & Equalizer For Mac Divvy - window management

    0 points
  • Tony Jones, almost 7 years ago

    Here are some must haves that I need on any new machine.

    • Black tape, Piece of black tape to cover the camera. Old habits from working as it security engineer at a DOJ level 4 data center.
    • Onyx, deep cleaning and maintenance utility for saving GBs of space.
    • CCleaner, light cleaning for internet cache and unused files.
    • Visual Studio Code, Microsofts open source code editor. Fast like Sublime, modern like Atom (also based on Electron), and with killer features like Intellisense.
    • Homebrew, package manager to install things like git, node, etc.
    • Sketch Toolbox, install sketch plugins easily
    • Grammarly, spelling and grammar correction for anything you type on your machine.
    • Spotify, streaming music
    • Virtual Box, open source virtual machine alternative to VM Ware. I use to test things on Windows and Ubuntu from my mac.
    0 points
  • Tom CTom C, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    Surprised no one mentioned Forklift, a powerful FTP, SFTP, S3 (and more..) client & dual-pane file manager. $19.99 on the AppStore, but sometimes it's heavily discounted.

    0 points
  • Cory MalnarickCory Malnarick, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    better touch tool

    0 points
  • Andreas StormAndreas Storm, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    https://medium.com/@st8rmi/my-top-10-mac-statusbar-apps-58cb71a2de6c#.7zpjdb2qp & Gestimer

    0 points
  • Samuel ZellerSamuel Zeller, almost 7 years ago

    Flycut - Clipboard manager. You never knew you needed this until you try it... Copy between multiple documents, then paste in a different order? Not a problem anymore... No back and forth. Also ThumbsUp - Drag and drop any image file to convert it to another format (it's free). For example drag 20 PSD files and obtain 20 renamed JPEG, resized, resampled, ready to be sent by email.

    0 points
  • BAKA .kidBAKA .kid, almost 7 years ago

    i wrote a whole big list with links etc and then it all disappeared.... so here is the abridged version: Magnet - window management hocus focus - hides inactive windows wetransfer - menu bar uploads affinity photo/designer - enough said polarr - photo editing rocket - slack style emoji input everywhere

    0 points