What software comes with MacBook Pro

The best free software for Mac

Thomas Joos, Peter Müller, Michael Simon

These free programs belong on every Mac in 2021: system tools, useful extensions and lots of other freeware.

EnlargeFree software that every Mac should have
© Emilia Dragomir - shutterstock.com / Apple

The Mac is equipped with a lot of programs ex works. Various utilities to help keep things running. Useful tools for reminders, notes and short texts. Of course a mail program, the browser safari and the preview for PDFs and image documents of all kinds. The increasingly powerful photos for macOS.

If you like, after installing the system and setting up your Mac, you can still get the iWork programs Pages, Numbers and Keynote free of charge from the Mac App Store for texts, tables and presentations. Garageband is suitable for beginners in music production, the first video cuts are done with iMovie. In a sense, the Mac is complete from day one.

And yet beyond Cupertino there are software manufacturers whose products are essential. We have compiled the most important and (mostly) free ones in this ever-expanding collection and sorted them into categories.

System tools

macOS is based on the FreeBSD kernel, so the Mac operating system is essentially a UNIX variant. This means that the system also comes with all sorts of components and tools that specialists prefer to operate via the terminal. For every function of the substructure, there are also programs with more or more helpful interfaces. You should know these here - and use them from time to time.

Free up storage space with CleanMyMac

Easy Find

Easy Find is a file search that perfectly complements Spotlight. The tool can also search media that are not recorded by Spotlight. NAS servers are listed with a quick look. Complex search queries are available to professionals, so the tool supports so-called wildcards. The Devonthink software searches library folders and package contents as well as package contents and invisible folders if necessary.

Mac tracker

This program gives a detailed overview of all Apple devices. Here you can read technical data, configuration variants and other details. Mactracker goes back to the first Mac and first iPhone. Helps, among other things, with identifying used Macs and learning the history of Macs.

Blackmagic Disk Speed ​​Test

This simple tool measures the throughput rate of hard drives. How fast is my new SSD really? Is USB enough for my applications? You can find out more here. We select the target disk in the settings and determine the size of the segments with which Blackmagic should test. The two speedometers for reading and writing then show us the speed. Video professionals can still see below which uncompressed video formats work with this disk, but this is less interesting for normal users.

Tip: Unclutter app for the Mac: Always have important files and notes close at hand


Mac veterans have been singing praises of Alfred for years, but some of the newer users may not have heard of the powerful app launcher. Free to everyone but the most serious professionals, Alfred will increase your productivity with its unique system of keyboard shortcuts and keystrokes that you can use to launch apps, find files, solve calculations, and control your Mac with quick precision. As customizable as it is powerful, it could be said to bring the shortcomings of macOS to the fore.


Having the date and time in the menu bar is super helpful, but if you want a little more control over your appointments, Itsycal is the clock replacement of choice for menu bar optimizers. As the name suggests, Itsycal adds a tiny but hugely useful calendar to your menu bar, complete with appointment points and a list of all upcoming meetings. You can also add an event without starting the calendar, but the best reason to download Itsycal is for how good it looks, whether you like it light or dark.

App Cleaner & Uninstaller

The free "App Cleaner & Uninstaller" can uninstall applications and delete files that are no longer required. The app is available in the Mac App Store. After the app is given the appropriate permissions, it can scan the Mac and view space from programs that can be freed up.

Tip: Create storage space with CleanMyMac

Open Any Files and Open Any Files: RAR Support

The "Open Any File" tool and the "Open Any File: RAR Support" extension are able to open and display files of unknown format in macOS without additional tools having to be installed. Open Any File also opens archives. For financing purposes, the tool displays advertisements from the developer, but they can be ignored. To open files, all you have to do is launch Open Any Files and then open the file in the Finder window.

EnlargeOpen Any File can open many files without additional tools and also displays information about files.


With the freeware Amphetamine you can revise the power settings of Macs and, for example, ensure that the Mac remains active. Separate settings for screen and hard drives can be made in the application. The state can be changed with a click of the mouse. Keyboard shortcuts are also available.

Cinebench - benchmark for macOS

Maxon's freeware Cinebench is a benchmark program. The free tool can be used to determine the performance of Mac computers. Cinebench is the tool of choice, especially for comparing CPUs and graphics adapters on different computers. As part of the tests, a reference list is also displayed in order to better classify the performance of your own computer. After starting the tool, the tests are tested using the two buttons "Run" for "OpenGL" and "CPU".

Omni Disc Sweeper - data media under control

With the free Omni Disc Sweeper tool, users get an efficient overview of the data that is stored on the individual data carriers. The advantage is that the tool can be used to quickly find and delete large files in particular. The tool is therefore ideal for creating free space. Omni Disk Sweeper reads out all hard drives quickly and easily, including external data carriers.

EnlargeArthur activates hidden system functions in macOS.

Power Shell 6 Core for macOS

Microsoft also offers a core version parallel to the standard version of PowerShell for Windows. This is available as an open source version. You can also install the core version on computers with macOS. This gives you the advantage of using the Power Shell to manage your Mac or, via the network, Windows computers or other computers with which a connection via SSH is possible.

Homebrew is required for the installation, instructions for installing Power Shell can be found on Github.

EnlargeFor PowerShell, homebrew is required on the computer.

After the installation, start the Powershell in the terminal with "pwsh". With the command " Get-Command ”The PowerShell Core shows all commands that the shell makes available.

Touch switcher

Anyone who owns the new Macbook Pro with the touch bar will like the small application "Touchswitcher". The 3 MB program practically replaces the keyboard shortcut cmd-Tab and allows the user to switch between programs very quickly. Once the app has been installed, an app icon appears in the control strip area, as is known from the Mac App Store logo. Alternatively, an additional abbreviation can be set up for this in the settings. A tap on it shows all recently opened apps, you can now switch between them. But the app can do much more than just open programs or bring them to the foreground: Use the option button to hide several apps, and the control button to close several. The developer provides a detailed list of the functions on his website: Touchswitcher. ( hk )

Nightingale (Mac / Linux / Windows)

Nightingale does the job of data synchronization with the iPhone not only on Mac and Windows, but also on Linux computers.


With the TinkerTool, you can influence macOS settings that Apple has actually hidden and that can otherwise only be accessed with the terminal. The advantage of the application is that no administrator rights are required. So you can't break anything either.

Deeper - Customize Mac Interface

Deeper can unlock hidden functions in macOS. As a result, you can use the software to adapt the graphical user interface to your own requirements.

CCleaner for Mac

The well-known cleaning tool CCLeaner is not only available for Windows, but also for Mac computers. With the tool you clean up the hard drive of your Mac and remove numerous junk data such as cookies, temporary files or remnants of installations. In addition to more disk space, CCleaner also gives you a more secure Mac.

Onyx for macOS

With the free Onyx for macOS tool, Mac computers can be cleaned up, indexes rebuilt, network problems solved and much more. In terms of functionality, the tool is roughly equivalent to CCleaner.

EnlargeOnyx helps keep the system healthy. The tool has various utilities that also help with troubleshooting.


As mentioned at the beginning: With Safari, Mail and Messages - also known as iMessages - the Mac itself has everything on board that it needs for digital communication. But a little more doesn't hurt here.

All messengers in one tool with Franz

With the Franz