List of recommended utilities

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Utility software is any kind of system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain the computer. (Utility programs are so classified in contrast with application software programs (apps). The latter are the reasons for having a computer, as they generally do something useful or entertaining, e.g. helping you to write a Bible study, make music or play a game.)

The following wiki pages and other links cover utility programs that have been recommended on the Mac-Ministry List.

Precautions for being connected

Hard disk repair

Apple's Disk Utility, installed on every Mac by default, does some basic repairs. "Repair Permissions" used to be worth running periodically, especially before and after major software installations or updates. In versions of macOS around 2014 it showed a large number of warnings that could safely be ignored, see this archived Apple Support page.

More recent versions of macOS manage permissions better, and it is no longer necessary to Repair Permissions on a routine basis. Permissions can still be reset if necessary; see this 2019 Apple support page.

If you need more than that, the good tools do not come cheap. Our best buys are:

Managing files

  • OnyX, a free program to run system maintenance, configure hidden system options and delete old cache files (see OnyX at MacUpdate)
  • Cocktail, a non-free but highly-rated alternative
  • To delete apps, AppDelete (shareware) puts all of the pieces in one file in your trash where it will remain until you delete your trash, or AppCleaner (free)
  • IExplorer to manage files on your iPhone/ iPad / iPod Touch from your Mac

Note that CATUG members do NOT recommend a widely-advertised app called MacKeeper.

Other stuff to manage your Mac

  • Activity Monitor is a free Apple utility which monitors CPU and memory use, among other things.
  • Caffeine keeps the Mac awake; you don't want it going to sleep during backups, downloads etc.
  • Mactracker tells you whether you can upgrade to the latest operating system, and loads more useful info about your Apple Mac model.

Burning CDs and DVDs

The Mac's standard apps (iTunes, iDVD, Disk Utility) will do the basics. If you want an app to do more, the market leader is called Toast, but a free alternative which probably does all you need is Burn.


Compiled by Neville Reid, January 2012–August 2016; updated by him in January 2020.