Must have free Mac utilities

OS X may come with plenty of great apps and utilities to get you started, but there are a few incredibly helpful utilities that are either missing or could be improved. That’s what we’re focusing on here, with four of the most helpful utilities for OS X that everyone should have on their Mac. Best of all? They’re all free!

1: Dropbox – Cloud File Storage & Sharing

Dropbox in Mac OS X

Dropbox is a cloud file storage and sharing app that integrates seamlessly into the OS X Finder. You’ll get a folder called “Dropbox” where anything dragged into that folder gets stored securely in the cloud… if you have DropBox on another Mac (or iOS device, Windows, Linux PC), those files will instantly appear in the Dropbox folder on those computers too. Want to share one of those files with someone else? Just use the DropBox menu bar item to select the file and choose “Share Link” to get a URL you can send to someone else.

Why doesn’t OS X and iOS have a built-in Dropbox like feature as part of iCloud? Nobody knows, but just about everyone wishes Apple would include the cloud syncing and sharing ability natively, without resorting to unsupported tweaks or third party applications. Whether or not the Mac will ever have such a native feature is a big unknown, but Dropbox is a truly great app with complete cross-platform support that excels at simplified cloud storage.

2: The Unarchiver – Decompress Any Archive Format

Unarchiver decompresses anything

OS X comes with an effective unzipping app that can handle a variety of archive formats, but once you start hitting the more obscure compression formats like rar and 7z you’ll find it to be inadequate. That’s why every Mac user should get The Unarchiver, it’s free and will handle just about any conceivable archive format with ease.

Having The Unarchiver installed basically means never wondering “how do I open this archive I downloaded?” again.

3: AppCleaner – Advanced Application Uninstaller

AppCleaner deletes residual app stuff

Uninstalling Mac apps can typically be done simply by deleting the respective app from the /Applications/ folder, and that works for many apps. But, that doesn’t necessarily remove every single file associated with the app. That’s where AppCleaner comes in. You drag and drop an application into AppCleaner, let it search for all files associated with an app, then choose the “Delete” option to do a thorough uninstall of the app.

AppCleaner is so handy at cleaning up residual app messes and leftover junk that it should become the default method of how apps are uninstalled from OS X. Easily a must-have utility, and it still holds ourrecommendation.

4: ClipMenu – Clipboard History Manager

ClipMenu clipboard history manager

Everyone relies on copy and paste, but there’s only one primary clipboard buffer in OS X (well, two if you count the hidden terminal-centric cut option). Enter ClipMenu, a clipboard manager that stores a history of all files copied into the clipboard for easy and rapid retrieval when needed in the future. Think of this as an endless copy & paste buffer that resides in the menubar.

ClipMenu is so helpful for productivity gains that once you get accustomed to using it, you’ll wonder how you possibly lived without it. Longtime readers will recall that we discussed this one here some time ago, and it’s just as great now as it was then.

Looking for some more great free apps? Here are 11 more must-haves for OS X.

What are your must-have Mac utilities? Did we miss anything crucial? Let us know in the comments.

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