Geoff's List of Awesome OS X Apps

by Geoff Blair, 2013 Apr 26

Geoff's List of Awesome OS X Apps

I’ve been using a MacBook Pro as my primary development machine for 6+ years now. As such, I’ve collected a bunch of great OS X applications which make my life easier.

Today, in the same vein as The Setup, I’d like to share some of my favorite apps. Many of these apps require you to purchase a license, but most are in the $5-15 range. Quite a steal, if you ask me.

Although I’m linking to each app’s homepage, many of them are also available from the Mac App Store. When I can, I’ll choose to purchase/download apps from there since it’s easier to stay up-to-date with newer versions.

Some of these apps have previously been mentioned on Lostcast, but I’ve picked up a few new ones since recording that episode.

Enough talk! Here is my list of awesome OS X apps, in alphabetical order:


1Password is an excellent password manager and one of the apps that I don’t know how I ever lived without. It has great organizational features and can store other bits of sensitive information such as credit card numbers and software licenses.

I create unique, complex passphrases for various sites so that if any particular service is hacked I don’t need to change a bunch of different passwords.

Dropbox can be used to store your 1Password keychain and sync your data across multiple devices. I personally use the Mac desktop and Android versions every day.

If you’re not using some kind of password manager stop reading here and go download one.


Alfred is another app I use many times a day, every single day. Aside from just launching apps quickly from a hotkey, you can also search your files for certain documents, look up word definitions or spelling. My personal favorite is using the calculator to perform quick math operations in order to check some game development math.

I cannot say enough good things about Alfred. The base version is free but you should buy the Powerpack in order to support the developer.


Creating mockups is a great way to visualize game flow and UI elements. I’ve found Balsamiq really easy to use and it comes with a ton of standard UI elements that cover most use cases. This one is a bit pricey, but totally worth it.


A useful little app which allows you to keep your Mac awake (or not) with a simple toggle in the menu bar. Great for presenting.


Need to grab an RGB or hex color value from anywhere on your screen? ColorSnapper does the job with a simple hotkey. In addition, it keeps a log of recently used color values which is very handy.

Daisy Disk

Want to know what’s taking up all your hard disk space? Fan of pretty graphs? Daisy Disk provides a great visualization of space usage and allows you to drill down into various sections.

If you’re looking for a free alternative, try out Disk Inventory X.


Managing windows sizes on a Mac is a terrible experience. Luckily, Divvy makes that problem go away. With a simple set of user-defined hotkeys you can snap applications to full screen, half screen (left or right) and any other size and position of your choosing.


I just recently discovered DMGCanvas while creating our Mac installer for Lava Blade. This simple app allows you to create professional looking disk images (.dmg files) for your games. Easy WYSIWYG editor for adding background images, text, shortcuts and files to your disk image.

The built-in Disk Utility in OS X can do some of these same tasks, but it’s a little more complicated and involves using the command line.


A handy drag and drop buffer. DragonDrop is invoked by dragging some files and wiggling the mouse. The buffer floats above all other windows making it easy to then drag the contents into another application. I mostly use this for batching up files to attach to emails.


Automatically adjusts screen brightness to coincide with time of day. Great for working on games in the middle of the night in bed!

Icon Slate

Handy little app for creating .ico and .icns files, among others. As we start supporting more and more platforms, I’m finding this app to be a great resource.


I personally cannot stand reading source code diffs in Terminal. Kaleidoscope is a clean and simple diff viewer which can be integrated with many source control systems. I use it as my git diff tool and I can’t begin to count the number of times I use this app every day. It also diffs images!


CSS sucks. LESS makes it suck a little less. Less.app is a handy tools that scans LESS files and automatically compiles them into CSS on the fly.

There’s also CodeKit from the same developer, which compiles many more types as well as LESS.


An excellent Markdown viewer. These kinds of apps are a dime a dozen, but Marked is the best one I’ve used. I typically write Markdown in Sublime Text 2 and view the results live in Marked. (Using Divvy to snap each application to one half of the screen.)


I find Photoshop to be too expensive and bloated for my tastes. Pixelmator is a great alternative for OS X users and has many of the same features. This is my go-to image editing software for games and the web.


I’m a big fan of small apps that serve a very specific purpose. Reggy is an excellent tool for testing and debugging regular expressions on the fly.

Sublime Text 2

My text/code editor of choice! I could probably write a whole blog post on the awesomeness that is Sublime Text 2. For now, I’ll just say that if you’re more of a TextMate person than a Vim person, Sublime Text is for you!

What about you?

What are some of your favorite OS X apps? Let us know in the comments!

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