Download and keep YouTube videos with this simple app
The newly-updated Airy - YouTube Downloader for Mac does what almost every word in its title says. It downloads YouTube videos, it runs on a Mac. Run this, grab a YouTube video, and save it to your Mac to watch later. It's so simple, you'll be surprised YouTube itself doesn't come with this functionality.
Excellent free app psychoanalyzes your batteries
The curiously-named CoconutBattery 3.2 is a free app that examines the batteries in your MacBooks and your iOS devices. One click and you know everything: it gives you the skinny on every possible scintilla of information about the state your battery is in.
Improvements continue in latest pre-releases, along with feature additions
[Updated with further details] On Monday, Apple released new second betas for both OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3, along with a second Xcode 6.3 beta. While any new information on the latest betas is presently scarce, the first releases of the 10.10.3 beta brought the Mac version of Photos to the surface for the first time -- and the new beta version appears to have supplemented that release with some new features, including the return of social sharing services. Meanwhile, iOS 8.3 continues to sport Wirless CarPlay, new emojis, an enhanced Siri voice, and more.
How to use the automatic text expansion in OS X and iOS to save typing
It's a funny world where most Mac users have heard of TextExpander by Smile Software, but so many of us don't even know that OS X has much of the same functionality built in for free. Strictly speaking, it is identical: your Mac can let you type a few characters, and it will expand that out into whole sentences, phone numbers you keep repeating, words you always find difficult to spell, and more -- assuming you've done some pre-configuration.
Redesigned calculator app gets excellent new features
You need a pretty compelling reason to ditch the calculator that Apple supplies on iPhones – and the new Calcbot 2 from TapBots offers several. Weirdly, Apple still doesn't provide a default calculator on the iPad, so at some point you're going to want one, and when you eventually need it, you'll find this app compelling.
Solid database app with good templates
Back in January, and during a review of the poor iDatabase, we lamented how database users have been abandoned by FileMaker's Bento app, and how we were struggling to replace it. Readers and developers alike chimed in with alternatives, and Tap Forms is a particularly strong one.
Superb complement to and improvement on Apple's Calendar
Fantastical is a calendar app, and there are separate versions for iPhone, iPad and OS X. If you read this late one horrible night, if you read it when your head is spinning from all your commitments and meetings and appointments, buy Fantastical -- even if it is not on sale. Yes, for all three device platforms (as you need). In other words, this program is so great that you shouldn't wait for the occasional sale price; we wouldn't be raving about it if the sale prices were the best bit.
Wide variety of app updates bring instant hotel rooms, streaming video, bug fixes, more
A number of apps for both iOS and OS X have received notable updates lately, ranging from the official NBC app gaining live streaking to Kayak adding a service that allows same-day discounted hotel rooms. Apple has updated iTunes 12.1 specifically for Windows users, while Snapchat now lets users play music while snapchatting. Yelp has added translations of reviews to its own app, and The Sims 4 has debuted on the Mac.
ABC sitcom Modern Family to set episode on OS X desktop
An upcoming episode of ABC sitcom Modern Family is going to take place entirely on the Mac. Due to air under the episode title "Connection Lost" on February 25, Recode reports the entire show will be using the OS X desktop to show the episode's action, with the cast using the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 tablets borrowed from Apple for filming. Despite the appearance of being a Yosemite desktop, the post-production team apparently spent months creating a replica that could be tightly controlled and easily readable by television viewers.
Customize and colorize your Mac folders
Folderol does one thing: it lets you change the color of any folder you drag on to it. There is slightly more to it than that, but this is its core function, and Folderol does it well. Think of it as OS X Yosemite's colored tags, just done bigger, brighter and without taking up a tag.
Play dress-up for your house
Home Design 3D is for you if you're addicted to shows like HGTV's Dream House rather than, say, Selling New York. It's for property fans who already know that the way to choose the right color paint is to try some out on a box. Seriously. Get a large cardboard box and paint it: there is something about seeing that color on a surface with corners that really gives you a better feel than if you just toss a can of paint at your wall.
Strong To Do app with tags and timers
No, you're wrong: we do need another To Do app. If we didn't always have more To Do apps to try out, we might have to actually start doing things. The Hit List enters a very crowded field, and after a tumultuous, prolonged and controversial beta, but it does so with verve -- and brings good features in a smart pair of Mac and iPhone apps.
Flexible productivity system across Mac and iPhone
It's hard -- bordering on impossible -- to have just one piece of software that you use to stay on top of everything you've got to do and when. DayMap 2 intends to be that one place, and calls itself an entire productivity system. It is. It's an entire system that works, too -- so our only real caution against it is the more conceptual issue that not every application suits everybody.
Fun and promising music controller, but it's not quite there yet
If you have a minute, go get the free ControlAir app just for the fun of seeing it work. It's a way of controlling the music your Mac plays, and doing so by gestures rather than pressing any buttons. Given that it is meant for people who are working at their Macs, it doesn't seem a gigantic saving, waving your finger in the air instead of using it to press down on the keyboard's Skip button. Except pushing buttons was never this entertaining.
Get more from Apple's own Calendar
The Calendar app in OS X doesn't get the respect it deserves. Weirdly, in the years that it wasn't the most reliable thing, and it didn't have many features, it effectively stopped all rivals just through how it was included with every Mac. Now that it is much stronger and is the backbone for syncing calendars across our Macs and iOS devices, suddenly it is getting a lot of competition. You might benefit from trying the others, but you don't have to: you just need to see how powerful Calendar is.
Use Omniplan to drive agendas, manage projects
We reviewed the Omni Group's most famous Mac software, a To Do app called OmniFocus, back in June 2014, and we were impressed. Some of us became converts, some of us became evangelists, some of us became outright bores about it. Yet even the most enthusiastic OmniFocus users among us readily agree that there are areas that the software is just not right for. What about OmniPlan? Does it fill in OmniFocus' weak points with a grander vision, or is it too different, too much, too big? We answer that question in our review.
Photos includes iCloud Photo Library beta, will replace iPhoto, Aperture
Apple on Thursday seeded a new, first-release beta of OS X 10.10.3 to developers and testers. Most notably, the update includes the first full Photos application for OS X, the program that will eventually supersede both iPhoto and Aperture in an effort to give iOS and Mac users a consistent photo-management experience across both platforms. While the current programs will continue to work for the foreseeable future, Photos will offer new new features.
FontDoctor 10 arrives for 64-bit OS X, offers bad font 'quarantine'
FontGear Inc. has released version 10 of FontDoctor for Mac. The software scans the fonts installed on a system to find and correct conflicts, or corrupt or damaged files, missing bitmaps and other problems that could cause performance issues. The Mac version of FontDoctor is compatible with OS X v10.7 (Lion) through to 10.10 (Yosemite), and costs $70 for a single use license. New features include continuous font health monitoring, a new Font Quarantine for damaged fonts, and full 64-bit compatibility.
Create and send graphically designed email newsletters
If you just send a lot of ordinary emails, you can skip this. If you're in a company that already has designers in-house crafting gorgeous and on-message email newsletter designs, you can skip this. If you're in the middle, though, such as a small company sending out newsletters or HTML updates to a few thousand people, or even just the newsletter editor for a club with a few dozen scattered members, Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 are worth looking at.
You'll want to use PDFs more when you've got one of these
Right, here's the thing: by the time we're done here, you really must own PDFpen for Mac. It's just a question of which version -- and it's a more complicated question than it might be. For while there's now a new version 7 and it introduces some excellent features, it introduces them in two editions -- PDFpen and PDFpen Pro -- yet its very best abilities are already right there in version 6. Plus, there is the iPad version which we've already said we rate very highly.
Major additions include Hamburg, Liverpool
Apple has added 12 new towns and cities to the list of Apple Maps locations with Flyover coverage. Of these only one is in the US -- that being Amarillo, Texas. The others include three places in France -- Beziers, Clermont, and Saint-Tropez -- along with Aguadilla and Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Brno in the Czech Republic, Cittadella in Italy, Hamburg in Germany, Helsingborg in Sweden, Liverpool in England, and Odense in Denmark.
Upgrades Time Machine with iCloud Drive browsing
Simultaneous with the launch of iOS 8.1.3, Apple has also released the finished version of OS X 10.10.2. As anticipated, the one feature addition is the ability to browse iCloud Drive items from within Time Machine. Elsewhere, the update is dedicated solely to squashing bugs, such as Wi-Fi disconnects, webpages loading too slowly, and various security and stability problems in Safari.
Update should also fix Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Mail security problems
[Updated with claims about Thunderstrike fix] Apple has seeded a new beta of OS X 10.10.2 to its workers -- build 14C109 -- that includes release notes explaining the update's major changes. The most significant may be the addition of iCloud Drive browsing within Time Machine, which should let people track related changes and find items that were previously stored in the cloud. Apple has also made a number of fixes though, most notably solving a Spotlight vulnerability that automatically loaded remote content in Mail messages.
Thorough online and anti-malware security – if you want that kind of thing
Look, it's not that Macs are completely free of risk, but we're not running Windows here. One of the advantages of our platform of choice is that it isn't so riddled with viruses, that there aren't so many malicious applications that you need third-party security software just to be able to sleep at night and work in the day. Macs currently face no known virus threats, and almost no malware (apart from a recent scourge of "adware" that attacks both Mac and Windows web browsers, and the ongoing issues with Flash and Java). So what's the point of a OS X "anti-virus" program like Kaspersky Internet Security?
Third exploit may have already been patched
OS X 10.10.2, still in beta, fixes a pair of zero-day exploits uncovered by Google's Project Zero, reports say. The Project Zero team has newly-published data relating to three OS X vulnerabilities, in accordance with a 90-day disclosure policy; Apple was informed of them in October. One is believed to have already been fixed in OS X Yosemite as of January 8, but in theory the remaining two could be used to attack v10.10.1 users.
Major update for already-superb audio recording app
When Audio Hijack 3 was announced, one of us actually squealed in delight. It wouldn't be right of us to mock him, but you can. In fairness, many people who had heard of the software -- and certainly every one who had used it -- was pleased too. For this is one of those applications that isn't just a regular part of your toolbox, it's one that reminds you every time why it is just so much handier working on a Mac than a PC.
Bluetooth drops from testing focus
Apple is now seeding a sixth beta of OS X 10.10.2,, listed as build 14C106a. It follows just less than a week after the fifth release, 14C99d. As before, testing efforts are being directed toward Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, though Bluetooth has apparently been dropped from the list. A version of the latest beta has also been made available to public testers who previously signed up for the Yosemite beta.
Quick and fairly easy-to-use database, but with serious flaws
The best database you can buy for the Mac or iOS is Filemaker Pro -- if by "best," you mean the most powerful. It's also comparatively easy to use, at least when what you're comparing it with is Microsoft Access for Windows. But even so, there is a market for a database that is so simple even non-technical users can get a benefit from it. For some years, that database was Bento, from the makers of Filemaker Pro, but it was discontinued in 2013. One alternative has been iDatabase, and on the surface it has a lot going for it.
Cloud storage firm ends support for 10.5, earlier on May 18
Users who are still using OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and 10.5 (Leopard) are probably used to it by now, but yet another company has announced it is dropping support for the 10- and seven-year-old (respectively) operating systems. Dropbox, the well-known cloud storage firm that offers browser-based and native-app cloud storage for a wide variety of platforms, is informing users who access the service on the obsolete OS versions that support for them will end on May 18.
Excellent blogging app for Macs
There can't be a blogging platform or service in the world that doesn't already come with an editor where you can write, you know, your blog. Certainly WordPress and Blogger have perfectly adequate, even good, text editors for you to do this and doubtlessly millions of people stick with them. It's not as if millions of people can be wrong, but it can be that millions of people haven't used MarsEdit yet.
Run your Mac from the keyboard in this utility that should be on every computer
Get it. Here it is on its official site. Go get it now: LaunchBar is that good. There are alternatives, that's about the only thing that should give you pause -- but the most obvious rival to LaunchBar is OS X's own Spotlight, and that is no competition at all. Sure, both let you tap a couple of keys and begin typing things like application names or search terms, but as excellent as Spotlight is, LaunchBar crams more power into the same space. With a couple of keystrokes, you can be entering an event into your calendar, you can be sending files to someone, you can be pasting something from the clipboard that you copied yesterday.
The Mail software that comes with your Mac is more powerful than you think
Welcome to the second installment of Pointers, a weekly column that offers tips and tricks for getting more out of your Mac or iOS device. Check back each Thursday for a new useful technique designed to demystify, declutter or de-stress you -- and hopefully add some delight as well. This week's Pointers tutorial is a set of 10 (count 'em!) Apple Mail tips that are little-known, little-used, and presented for your inspection in no specific order. You'll find that almost every element of almost every tip works in OS X Mail from as far back as OS X Leopard, but we used OS X Yosemite for the latest little extras.
Sims slips, but will arrive for OS X in February, EA says
Fans of the Sims series of games who were disappointed that the latest entry didn't make a promised 2014 ship date can look forward to next month, when the game The Sims 4 will finally debut on OS X. While developer Electronic Arts doesn't yet have a specific date, the company says it will definitely land as a download only sometime in the month, and be priced similarly to the Windows version (around $50). Current Windows version owners will receive the Mac copy for free, and PC players can transfer their progress to the Mac version (and vice versa).
The best contacts manager for OS X right now
You may never even think to replace or supplement the Contacts app that comes on your Mac or iOS device, but also you may never have realized that you can. Next time someone gives you a phone number, and you write it down on paper rather than keep them waiting while you fire up Contacts, think about getting Cobook for Mac and/or for iOS .
Beautiful Mac wallpapers chosen to match the weather near you
You could just look out of your window, of course, but Weather Wall aims to set your wallpaper to an image that's right for the weather where you are. But if you ever had views like these from your office window, you would not stay sitting at your desk. These wallpaper shots are simply beautiful.
Service set to automatically load email images despite Mail settings
OS X Yosemite's incarnation of Spotlight is potentially sharing personal data with spammers and possible malicious parties, reports say. An option in Mail lets users turn off the loading of remote content in emails, something security experts recommend in order to avoid letting third parties track behavior. The new Spotlight can search through Mail messages alongside other sources, but in doing so will automatically load remote images, regardless of whether Mail is set to do so or not.
$30 off 2.6GHz i5 Mac Mini
Today at MacMall.com, get the Mac Mini on sale for $1,069. That's a savings of $30 off the list price of $1,099, and around $20 less than the next lowest price. This Mac mini features a 2.6GHz Intel dual-core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive, along with Intel Iris Graphics. It comes with Mac OS X Yosemite pre-installed, and as always this Mac comes with Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
Make transferring files from Mac to iPhone as easy as you thought it was
Editor's note: welcome to the first installment of Pointers, a new weekly column that offers tips and tricks for getting more out of your Mac or iOS device -- or, in this case, both. Check back each Thursday for a new useful technique designed to demystify, declutter or de-stress you -- and hopefully add some delight as well.
When you know what's happening, AirDrop is as convenient and simple as Apple made you think it would be. You can transfer anything from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac (or vice versa), without emailing or messaging, without any concern for how many items you can send, without any concern about the size of those files. The first time you try flinging a document from iOS to OS X, though, it is Cotton-Eyed Joe: where did you come from, where did you go? We'll fix that with this handy tip.
Likely includes better compatibility with recent iOS 8, OS X 10.10 changes
On Thursday, Apple updated its productivity apps for OS X and iOS -- previous sold together under the banner "iWorks" -- with no specified improvements or features other than the usual "bug fixes and stability improvements tag." Keynote for OS X has been update to version 6.5.2, with Pages at v5.5.2, and Numbers at version 3.5.2. The three corresponding iOS apps are all updated to v2.5.2. The update may also reflect some changes made in recent updates of Yosemite and iOS 8, or hint at some security fixes.
Wi-Fi, VoiceOver, Mail, general system compatibility are focus areas
On Wednesday, Apple released a new build of the forthcoming 10.10.2 maintenance update to developers and testers. The new version, 14C94b, indicates few new binaries since the previous developer build (14C81f) issued nearly a month ago, and could hint that the patch update is nearing release. Testers are again asked to focus on Wi-Fi, Mail, and VoiceOver, the latter two areas of which were added in the last developer build. Apple has also released the build for previously-signed up public beta testers.
Exceptional algorithms improve nearly any picture with little assistance
Unless you are a supremely-gifted photographer with a bucketful of top camera gear, you may often find yourself wishing a shot you had taken could be sharper, clearer, or otherwise "better," and are always looking for an app that can deliver this magic to your pictures consistently. Honest to gosh, we think we've found it -- or at least, pretty darn close. The program is called Perfectly Clear by Athentech, it's available as a mobile app or a plug-in for Photoshop or Lightroom, and -- we kid you not -- it's like Windex for most photos.
Group and compress files for easy sending and storage
Curiously, Stuffit Deluxe was the king of compression -- or at least serious monarchy -- back when our files were always minuscule anyway. It was when hard disks were measured in megabytes instead of terabytes, and a large file was one that filled a floppy disk. Now that we routinely fling around gigabytes of files and complain when we can't just email a feature film to someone, Stuffit Deluxe could be making a comeback with the new version 16.
Rename one, a thousand, or all your files in one go
It's been a long time since you came back from a vacation with just 24 or 36 photographs. These days, you're taking hundreds of shots on your iPhone, and every tourist spot you visit is trying to sell you a few more. It's not really as if it will take you another vacation in order to sort out your photos, but it feels like it, and one problem is how they're all named. If cameras could automatically label a photo as 'Great Day at Santa Barbara With Aunt Mabel 001' you'd be set and A Better Finder Rename 9 would be out of business. For ABFR--– a utility that saves you time really shouldn't have such a long name -- will help with exactly this.
Send anything from your Mac to your iOS device, but not the other way round
Is it our typing speed, or just our attention span? Back in the olden days, we would copy out a telephone number, and type it into our cell phones. Mind you, back in the even more olden days, we would just remember the numbers and, let's be fair, that's completely unreasonable. Now that we all tend to have Macs and iPhones or iPads, we are forever going between the two -- and sometimes, that means the information we need is on the other one. Scribe is a clipboard utility for, well, copying anything from your Mac. If you can select it, you can copy it, and Scribe will send it on over to your iOS device.
Automatically count every word you write in every application
There's a famous Charlie Brown cartoon where he writes out the title "What I Did On My Summer Holiday" and then counts the words. Seven. He has to write some impossibly high number of words, something like a whole hundred, and it is going to be agony. With WordTarget by Kickcode, he wouldn't even have the hopeful delay while he counted: WordTarget displays the number of words constantly.
Converting graphics is just the start for this comprehensive image application
Perhaps you're used to getting a BMP image from a Windows user, and having to convert it to JPEG to make it usable online. If you do that a lot, you immediately see the benefit of software like GraphicConverter 9, which is best known for its conversion abilities – though you can also use Photoshop if you're the sort that does this for a living. Both can do myriad conversions, and you can set them up to run in batches: drag a folder full of images onto Photoshop, and it chugs through converting the lot for you. GraphicConverter does this too, but as part of a rather dizzying number of options. If you do any serious work with images, GraphicConverter is for you.
Make maps with this dedicated cartography illustration software
Ortelius is map-making software designed to be used by anyone -- from the amateur wanting to show you where the fire exits are, to the cartographer making maps for tourists. If you're doing this for a living, or at high resolutions for print publishing, then there are Geographic Information System applications and there are even fractal coastline-generating apps. Ortelius, by Mapdiva, is more for the non-specialist -- and it's made by the same company that does the similar but more general illustration package Artboard.
Send audio messages straight to anyone on your local network - with a catch
We've all had days in the office when there is great pressure and you can't afford time to leave your desk. Some of us have also had the rather less-satisfying situation where bosses frowned on you stopping to chat, and while those do tend to be the same sorts of bosses who won't let you install non-corporate-approved apps, if you can get it by them, Echoes (for Macs and iOS devices) is a way to bring a little humanity into your day. Possibly also a lot of irritation, as well -- but that'll depend on your colleagues, not on Echoes.
Software to run your life, or at least your working life
This is going to be like reviewing a car by focusing on how great the radio is. DevonThink is a massive application that might as well aim to be your personal Wikipedia. Every thought you have, every note you make, everything you spot on the web, you can throw it all into your personal DevonThink database. So far that sounds very much like Evernote -- and it is indeed similar -- but DevonThink is equally focused on arranging and sorting that material.
Vulnerability found in Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite
Apple has released what it calls a "critical" patch for OS X, dubbed the NTP Security Update. The code is currently being pushed to users via the Mac App Store, and solves vulnerabilities within the Network Time Protocol. The update is available for Mountain Lion (10.8.x), Mavericks (10.9), and Yosemite (10.10). While no known attack exploits the now-patched vulnerabilities, the discovery appears to be serious enough to merit immediate attention.