Right out of the box, your Mac can do a lot of things. With these utilities, you can make it do nearly everything.


When you buy a new Macintosh, it comes pretty well equipped. It’s got an assortment of software already installed, including a top-notch browser (Safari), a fine instant-messaging program (iChat) and an industry-standard media player (QuickTime). Many system maintenance tasks are handled by Mac OS X‘s own built-in, Unix-based routines that clean up old files, monitor the health of your hard disk and more. On top of that, Apple‘s included Disk Utility can diagnose and fix the most common threats to the smooth operation of your hard drive.

Which isn’t to say there’s no room for improvement. The addition of a few select utilities can fill in some of the missing pieces in your Mac tool kit or extend the capabilities of the built-in tools. I’m not referring to the full-fledged applications almost everyone needs, such as a word processor or spreadsheet program, but rather the kind of inexpensive program that makes using your Mac easier, safer or more fun.

Here’s my list of the 22 must-have apps for the Mac in 11 different categories, plus a few bonus apps worth the download. These are tools that should be installed on every Mac — and Apple didn’t include them, so here’s where to get them yourself.

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