Posted August 4, 2012 by Matthew A. Ramirez in Products & Tech

Roundup of the Most Essential (And FREE) Applications for Your Mac

Essential Applications for Your Mac, Oh And They’re FREE

I value my iPad and my Macbook Pro more than the average human simply because my entire life is there. Comics, music, movies, TV shows, and games. Considering that all of the above require an application, nothing amuses me more than seeing a new bouncing image on my dock. I have spent countless hours on blogs solely dedicated to apps, I’ve browsed just about every corner of the App Store, and here I am about to tell you my best kept secret:

The most essential (AND FREE!) apps out there for your Mac and iPad. Keep in mind that while some of us might consider Angry Birds as essential as a text-editing app, the following apps are those I cannot live without that also happen to be extremely underrated.

This might as well wear a crown for the top productivity application on the Mac. It saves you time by bundling all your searches, whether it’s on your own computer or on the web, onto one keystroke. You can open other applications, search on world-renowned websites (Amazon, Google, Ebay), and search for actual documents. Those of you familiar with the Quicksilver application will know how much time an application like this can save you. Unfortunately, Quicksilver just isn’t getting as much attention from its programmers as Alfred is. Best part: it’s free. A powerpack is available for purchase but this application is so useful as it is, I think the money will sit better in your pocket. Download it through their website or via the App Store.


Just about the tiniest app I have ever downloaded. It’s simple, extremely user-friendly and it does the job: keep your computer awake. This app will place a tiny icon on your menu bar that will keep your computer up and bright for as long as you want. Even better, the icon is a tiny coffee cup and all you have to do is click on it. If it’s got coffee in it, it’s on. If it doesn’t, it’s off. Download here or via the App Store

Next up on the list is Cheatsheet. It’s also a small app that reveals every keystroke and shortcut available for any given app in use by holding down the Command button. Simple, right? Download it here or via the App Store

This can easily be an extension of Alfred. With this and Alfred, you can search for virtually anything. So what does Found do that Alfred doesn’t? Well, if you plug-in your account information for various services such as Dropbox and Gmail, it will search for any email and any file. Download it here or via the App Store

The perfect act for customization geeks. GeekTool uses plug-ins in order to display any kind of information on your home screen. This might require a little bit more than average computer knowledge in order to get the most out of it. Download it here or via the App Store
PS. Keep in mind this isn’t average user-friendly.

Simple Comic
As MacUpdate describes it, this app “was written for one specific task, viewing comics, nothing more nothing less.” Download it here or via the App Store

SMC Fan Control
The app made for hardcore computer users. Simply, it keeps your Mac cool. While it may not be super user-friendly and the interface can sometimes feel limiting, it does the job. Download here

Tiny Alarm
Yet another tiny app, and appropriately named. Similar to Caffeine, it places a tiny clock on your menu bar and it enables you to set up alarms. Easy to use, really tiny, and if you’re an aesthetic freak like I am, it keeps your computer looking nice as always. Download here

VideoLAN (VLC)
I debated or not whether I should include this on my list, but I would be kidding myself if I pretended like I don’t get everything out of this application possible (on a daily basis). It allows you to watch virtually any video file, and sometimes even works more smooth than Quicktime. Give it a shot. This may be the least underrated app of all and rightly so. Download here


– Matthew A. Ramirez

Matthew A. Ramirez

Matthew is a Star Wars fanatic first, human second. He lives and breathes for video games, books, and anything out of this world. His life is heavily influenced by his Peter Pan Syndrome. He's a Slytherin and a Lannister. He currently studies at Florida International University as an elementary education major and pursues web design & development during his free time. He lives in Miami, FL with his girlfriend, Ana and their cat, Khaleesi.