Small customizations to make macOS better

MacOS is my preferred operating system, these days. Sure, I run Ubuntu on the side at home on my “home server”, but I interact with the user interface of that system pretty infrequently. Its customizations are pretty minimal overall, compared to my work and personal macOS machines.

Overtime, I have collected various quality of life improvements in the form of macOS utilities. I am not a hyper-customizer on macOS either. I like keeping things nearly vanilla. This list is not exhaustive and I will add to it occasionally.

  1. Hidden Bar via GitHub, an open source menubar icon manager.

    I use Hidden Bar to cleanup a bunch of the other utilities messes. I usually hide Docker Desktop in there too, because I rarely interact with its control panel.

  2. OneThing via Sindre Sorhus, a little menu bar utility that displays one thing.

    OneThing is probably supposed to be used as a task focuser, but I use it as an easter egg for the screenshots I take over time. I usually change the the quip every week or so, and usually include an emoji. I have no idea if anyone reads the screenshots that closely, but it’s fun for me anyway.

  3. iStatMenus via Bjango, a system monitor widget. 💸 Paid.

    I bought this in the Mountain Lion era, and I am always surprised it keeps on working in newer versions of macOS. Activity Monitor exists of course, but it’s not as accessible as an icon and dropdown widget in the menubar. I like having the CPU usage as the visual but you can pick almost any other metric. The dropdown summarizes CPU usage, memory capacity, network utilization and more. There’s even an uptime monitor.

  4. BetterTouchTool via Folivora, a system wide macro app. 💸 Paid.

    There are a lot of apps that add to and enhance macOS’ built-in window management. Spectacle, Magnet, Rectangle. Most of these will add one of the only features Windows that is still somehow missing in macOS by default, natively. Just silly. BetterTouchTool can perform these features too (with manual customization, that’s the tradeoff). BetterTouchTool can also do so much more. Keyboard macros (like Text Expander, but simplier), mouse scroll reversals (trackpad and regular mouse can scroll as they were intended) and more.

    💡 I found out recently that BTT can also tinker with the menubar but I prefer Hidden Bar right now.

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