Get the most out of your Mac's Menu bar with widgets that give you all the info you need at a glance.
The Menu bar on the Mac is a nearly forgotten bastion of productivity. With the right widgets, you can have access to some of your most important apps and info without having to pause your current activity. There are lots of great apps that also have useful Menu bar widgets, like Fantastical 2 and 1Password, but this list focuses specifically on apps whose sole purpose is to sit in your Menu bar and make your life easier.
DeskConnect is much like Apple's AirDrop feature, but it has a little more flexibility. I use it all the time to copy and paste text from my iPhone to my Mac and vice-versa. I know, iOS 10 adds universal clipboard, but DeskConnect has been around since 2013, so I've gotten used to using it.
Whatever you send via DeskConnect will stay put for 30 days, so you don't have to pick up what you sent yourself right away. If you are out of the house and want to remember to check out a website on your desktop later, you can send it from your iPhone while you're out and about.
If you tend to share content between devices a lot, but think AirDrop is somewhat limiting, try DeskConnect.
You'll need DeskConnect on your iPhone or iPad and Mac in order to share content between devices.
Browserism provides a quick and easy way to switch between browsers on the Mac. If you use a different browser for different reasons, you can use this little tool to switch which one is the default. You can even schedule a time for the default browser to switch. For example, if you work in Safari during the day, but your child works in Chrome for school purposes in the evening, you can schedule the browser to switch from one to the other every day at a certain time.
You can also use a few customizable settings that make your browsing experience better, like opening a new window from a link in the background. So, if you're reading your mail, you can click on a link and it will open up behind the mail app, so you don't get interrupted by the browser.
You can even set up Browserism to open certain websites in certain browsers. For example, when I use Hangouts, I always open Chrome. Whenever I open a Hangouts invite, it always defaults to Chrome, even if my current browser is Safari.
If you use different browsers throughout the day, Browserism will speed up your productivity exponentially.
- $1.99 - Download now
iStat Menus 5
iStat Menus is a system monitoring tool that sits in your Menu bar and keeps you abreast of everything that's going on with your Mac. The amount of data it collects for you is somewhat staggering. I haven't even used everything available yet.
You can keep track of CPU and GPU usage, how much memory you're using and how much disk space you have left, your current network upload and download activity, sensor data, and more. When you click on a status, you'll see a detailed report of that particular dataset.
You can customize what items appear in the Menu bar, so if you are only concerned with your CPU usage and network upload activity, you can limit what you choose to see. If you prefer graphs to numbers, you can switch which active item is displayed. You can even reorder the stats and move them to the far left of your Apple Menu bar content.
If you like being informed on your Mac's performance and want to closely monitor your system, iStats Menu 5 is exactly what you need.
- $18 - Download now
I'm sure you've already heard all about Night Shift on iOS, and might even use it regularly. I sure do. Automatic screen dimmer software is not new and f.lux has been available on the Mac for years. I learned about it when I was complaining to my friend about how my eyes hurt when I start working right after I wake up in the morning. Harsh blue light at 6 a.m. makes Jane a cranky girl.
f.lux automatically adjusts the brightness of your screen based on where the sun is. If the sun is setting or rising, so will your screen. It adds a soft yellow tint to the screen, as well, making it more comfortable for you to work in dimly lit rooms.
You can set your screen to "Movie Mode" so you can stare at your screen for two hours straight without having the harsh light burn your eyes. "Darkroom" turns your screen red so you can work in, well, a dark room without your computer screen lighting up.
If you find yourself staring at your computer screen early in the morning or late at night, f.lux will save your sight.
- Free - Download now
When your iPhone or iPad reaches 20 percent, you get a notification that your battery is running low. But, what if you want to be sure that your device is charged up more than that before you walk out the door? iBetterCharge will send a notification to your Mac when your battery capacity drops below a threshold you choose, from five to 50 percent. When it drops below your chosen limit, you'll get a ping to remind you to charge up.
In order to connect your iPhone and iPad to iBetterCharge, you have to enable Wi-Fi syncing in iTunes. That way, the software can communicate with your devices. When they are connected, you will also always be able to tell how full their batteries are, even if they are in another room. So, if you are working in your office, and want to make sure your iPhone is fully charged for your Pokémon Go walk later that evening, but it's in the living room, you can click on the Menu bar widget to see if it's got enough juice for you to catch 'em all.
If you like keeping track of all of your devices' batteries in one place, iBetterCharge has you covered.
- Free - Download now
Do you use any Menu bar widgets? Which ones are your favorites and why do they work so well?