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Best Free Software for Mac OS



Mac OSWith the advent of "iDevices", OS X has arguably become one of the fastest growing user bases in the last decade. Not only for graphic design and audio/video editors anymore, OS X, with its simplistic design, has caught the appeal of many more common users who want a system that just works.

One of the largest shortfallings, however, is that enhanced functionality comes at a cost. Many software solutions for OS X are paid options that allow certain functionalities. The goal of this group is to break down that barrier and provide a large database of free software for OS X to enhance your Mac experience.

Ranging from comic book readers to programming editors, chess to media centers, our team has taken the time to review and recommend the best free software for Mac OS.

How To Use This List

This is a multi-page article. To quickly find what you want, either check out the Page Index below or view everything as one huge page by clicking here .

Page Index:



This list of Best Free Software for Mac OS now includes 149 applications in 89 categories. To read brief descriptions of the applications, click a page number from the Page Index or check out the new and recently updated apps below.


New and Updated Apps:

 SmallDVD | SmallShrink | DigiSigner | Hotspot Shield | Paintbrush | MuseScore | GanttProject | PANDA-glGo | Luminance HDR | Smart Converter


Related Links



This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Sea Mac. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.



best, top, free, software, applications, freeware, Mac OS, apple, OS X, multi, cross, platform, list, listing


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by Elwood Nose on 11. January 2014 - 14:13  (113529)

Since Bean is no longer being developed, I'd recommend replacing it with Growly Write, which is excellent, small, and very actively supported by its developer Chris Mason, long ago project head for Microsoft Word 5 ("back when Word was fun," as he says).

Also, nothing wrong with FileZilla, but why a separate app installed when you can use the excellent FireFTP add-on for Firefox?

by Sea Mac on 18. January 2014 - 5:18  (113683)

Thank you for the suggestions. I'll add them to this category in the next few edits.

by Panzer on 27. June 2013 - 7:25  (108747)

Mac Linux USB Loader - a tool allowing you to take an ISO of a Linux distribution and make it boot using EFI:

by Panzer on 19. June 2013 - 8:46  (108591)

fish is a smart and user-friendly command line shell for OS X, Linux, and the rest of the family.


- Autosuggestions
- Glorious VGA Color
- Sane Scripting
- Web Based configuration
- Man Page Completions
- Works Out Of The Box

by Panzer on 13. April 2013 - 7:26  (107041)

MPlayerX provides you a super easy way to enjoy your favorite multimedia collection, without losing any functionalities:

by reidthaler on 5. April 2013 - 19:09  (106843)

Is Carbon Copy Cloner free? It looks like it's croakware

CCC is no longer donationware. In order to grow our support and development team, we have made the transition to a commercial product. This will allow us to to continue offering frequent updates to our software, including new features. This will also enable our stellar customer support to remain that way. Transitioning from donationware to a commercial offering underscores our commitment to deliver the best Mac OS X cloning and backup utility on the market.

by MidnightCowboy on 13. April 2013 - 8:12  (107044)

Thank you Reid. Carbon Copy Cloner is now removed from the list. MC - Site Manager.

by Panzer on 27. March 2013 - 9:09  (106575)

Quicksilver leaves beta:

Vecte is a very simple app, designed as a replacment for the OS X application switcher.

- Faster. Vecte is far faster then the OS X switcher. Don't wait for the window to disappear before switching apps...
- No setup. Simply open the Vecte app, and hit Command-Tab.
- Simple. Vecte is very simple and out of the way. Don't worry about a thing.
- No system resources. Vecte is exceptionally light weight, and will not effect your battery life.

by JTAlsman on 9. March 2013 - 5:48  (106070)

I Just found out about this Mac utility app called Magician. It has many functions-various cleaning utils,duplicate finder,memory optimization,left and right fan speed adjustment,app uninstaller, and more.

I was impressed by what this program can do, definitely worth giving it a look to compare it to CLeanMyMac and others...

by AlecJBrock on 11. March 2013 - 3:17  (106108)

Hi JTAlsman,

I've added Magician to the list. Thank you for brining it to light!


by Kazi (not verified) on 2. November 2012 - 6:14  (101718)

So far so good, a year after I got my iMac...its the best PC system I ever laid my hands on. Forget Windows, this is the best.

by Harry (not verified) on 21. October 2012 - 19:49  (101153)

I am new to Apple and just got the Imac 27". It has 1tb. With my Windows PC's and smaller hard drives, I always partitioned my hard drive to maybe 3 or 4 drives. With this new computer, should I do it with the mac? What is recommended or suggested? I have had this for a few weeks now and I really like it and I been with Windows since Windows 98, lol What's your thought?

by AlecJBrock on 10. February 2013 - 9:32  (105261)

Hi Harry,

Sorry no one could respond to you sooner. It depends on why you want to partition your drive.

If you're doing it to backup your data, it's a good idea, but I recommend getting an external drive for backups rather than partitioning; data loss is generally caused by hard drive failures, in which case the best way to recover data is to access it from an operational backup. With an external drive you can easily and constantly backup your data using Mac OS X's Time Machine.

Perhaps your partitioning your drive to use services like Boot Camp or operate multiple OS's, then partitioning your drive is easy to do and is more reliable than running OS's off of an external drive.

Why did you partition your drives on your PC?

by mgarrett27 on 22. October 2012 - 1:29  (101158)

Well the answer's up to you. You don't have to do that but personally the way I setup my Mac is one partition for my OS and programs and one for all my data but I know a lot of people who just use one big partition for everything and they do just fine. It really all depends on how you work. Truly dividing your "Programs" and "Data" does take a little bit more work especially if you use iPhoto and iTunes but it sure does make it easy to reinstall everything if you ever have an issue. I'm not sure you would need more than 2 thought but if you prefer to have 3 or 4 go for it. If you need any pointers on partitioning with the Mac just let me know.


by jporter on 24. September 2012 - 3:06  (99669)

Some time ago I had a program in which a psychiatrist in character offered to listen to my bitching and he would come back with question and answers. Any one know of a program like this one???? or close????


by mgarrett27 on 24. September 2012 - 13:57  (99690)

There is an easter egg hidden for that in Mac OS X. You can do it with the Terminal App which is under Applications - Utilities.

Open the Terminal.
Type emacs
Type ESC - X together
Type Doctor and hit enter

Check that one out and see if it's close to what you used before.



by PaulMcDonald (not verified) on 4. August 2012 - 9:40  (97201)


I tried the "Best Free CD Recovery Utility for Mac OS - PhotoRec" and found it way to complicated to use.

I am sure it works great but unless it has a nice graphical user interface it is not suitable for the average punter like myself.

I will try and find a data recovery program for Mac that is similar to Recuva which I use on my Windows PC's.

Seriously with Photorec you can't use the mouse for a start and what you get is something that looks like the command prompt in Windows. It then shows various partitions / directories which looks confusing. It then asks where you want to save the recovered files but trying to make sense of all that is even harder :-)

I am a reasonably experienced computer user but this program is just too difficult for me.

And no, I am not associated with any competitor etc.

Will post back once I've found something more usable.


by mgarrett27 on 14. September 2012 - 23:47  (99274)

Hey Paul. While this might be a bit delayed I just took over the list and I'm looking around to find a good, easy to use graphical data recovery program that is unlimited.


by Datababe on 8. October 2012 - 23:31  (100509)

I remember coming across Disk Drill a while back. It has reviewed well, but the free version scans only (no recovery). I'll see if I have something more useful stashed away. I *thought* I did find a working freeware tool - hopefully I didn't put it in a "safe place".

by PaulMcDonald (not verified) on 5. August 2012 - 4:24  (97221)


Ok, I found a couple of free versions of data recovery software.

The first, Minitool Mac Data Recovery is very intuitive and found all the deleted files I needed. Unfortunately for the free version, you are limited to recovering only 1Gb of data.

The second will recover an unlimited number of files and was also easy to use however EaseUS MacPhoto Recovery Free (as the name suggests) only recovers a limited number of file types specifically bmp/jpg/png/tif/mp3 and if you want to recover more types then you have to purchase the paid version.

I'll keep trying to find an unlimited version that has a nice graphical and easy to understand interface.



by MidnightCowboy on 5. August 2012 - 4:48  (97222)

Thanks Paul, your efforts on behalf of the Mac community are appreciated.:) Whether you are successful or not, maybe you'd consider writing up one of the mac comparative reviews for us? If so, please register and send me a contact.

by PaulMcDonald (not verified) on 5. August 2012 - 6:11  (97224)

Hi Midnight Cowboy and thank you.

I'm actually not a Mac person but have Windows 7 which I can dual boot with Ubuntu.

The Mac in question is my sisters G4 which fortunately has the OSX Leopard operating system which means that Minitool and EasUS will work.

Using a combination of both free tools I was able to find all her missing photos plus 1Gb of deleted documents including cv etc.

At the risk of being flamed, I'd rather limit my exposure to Mac at this time :-)

Hopefully there are some Mac Gurus out there who can assist more.



by MidnightCowboy on 5. August 2012 - 6:18  (97225)

No problem - thanks for responding. :)

I too am a dual boot fan, using Windows mainly for testing. My main desktop is dual booted with 7 and Korora 17 (KDE) and my laptop with 7 and the excellent Voyager Linux 12.04. I also have a very shaky old desktop which refuses to run most things including all version of Windows, :D, but Bodhi Linux functions on it perfectly.

by FrankO on 31. May 2012 - 8:46  (94226)

HashTab is not free in the AppStore. It costs $0.99.

by Jojo Yee on 31. May 2012 - 12:27  (94239)

HashTab 2.0 is still available for download from Softpedia or MacUpdate for free, but version 2.1 is not free.