Top 5 ‘unknown’ built-in Mac apps: Get more out of your Mac with these hidden OS X gems

“Get more out of your Mac with these hidden OS X gems,” Keir Thomas writes for Macworld UK.

Covered in the full article:

1. Keychain Access

2. Stickies

3. Grab

4. Migration Assistant: Setting up a new Mac offers the chance to grab data from an older Mac or even a Windows PC but this isn’t a one-time opportunity – once OS X is up and running you can use Migration Assistant (found in the Utilities folder of the Applications list) to transfer data from any other Mac or PC on the same network. Selling an old PC or Mac? Or just want to make a backup of another PC or Mac’s data? Migration Assistant will do the job quickly and automatically.

5. QuickTime Player 7

More helpful hints in the full article here.


  1. QT Player 7 is head & shoulders more capable than QT Player X. I cringe when a new version of MacOS comes around, expecting the next “upgrade” to kill QT7. Why in the world Apple presented us with a crippled player is beyond me.

    1. Agreed, although I’ve switched over to VLC. It’s not as nice, but I don’t think it will ever crap out on me after an upgrade. At the time they were practicing for iWorks downgrades.

      1. BTW: Perian development has been discontinued. 🙁

        A notice to all of our users and supporters
        We began the Perian project over 6 years ago. We wanted to simplify viewing your content. Our team has attained that goal and with that in mind, Perian will be retired soon. Our stewardship has been a blast but it’s time for all of us to move on. . .

  2. iWork, FCPX, Mail, iPhoto, QT X, the list of dumbed down one star apps from Apple gets longer and longer.
    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if ‘Aperture X’ removes RAW support.
    Lesson one: Always keep old Apple dmg files.

    1. Easier to use does not directly equate to “dumbed down”.
      I agree on Mail and QuickTime X, but FCPX is a better app than the previous version, which I had used and taught since ver 1.15. I have FCP 7 and FCPX on my work machines, but only ever launch 7 if I absolutely have to.

      1. Yes, in Apple’s case it absolutely does.
        If you have used FCP professionally, for example, you’d know that there is a lot more to editing than the editing. In asset management and sourcing of materials, multiple timelines, etc, FCPX fails miserably.
        Same goes for the rest if the list. Instead of hiding confusing complexity (or, to use the technical term “features”) Apple chooses to rip it all out so they don’t get too many noobs calling AppleCare.
        Guess what? It should be painfully obvious by now that Steve had no long term roadmap and TC is all out of ideas.
        If the new guy at M$ executes in the mobile space Apple is screwed.

      2. I know you are not doing broadcast hd closed captioned video with 8 channel audio delivered as .mxf with Fcpx. Or not easily. With a couple big workarounds. Or sending to audio programs and back. I wish I could get in touch with you to see if you can prove some fcpx work flow. I’m sure your YouTube videos have lots of views. Cool. The clear picture I’d that Apples strategy of dumbing down all programs and OS is killing the productivity. Apple has NO EDGE. Name it. Allstar kids want to be the best. They want the best. Apple threw that edge away. Mavericks sucks iWork is worse. No pro apps, phones and ios7 fading. Much more. Get rid of light-on-his-feet Tim cook.

        1. I need apple to excel. They lost their edge. I am not kidding that many of us will not live to see apple dominate windows in terms of user base. 90-10 has barely changed. And now they threw their entire advantage with mobile away. And not one new product since Steve passed. W-T-F?????? How is maps not contracted to be in every car? Where is I wallet? Watch? TV? Wtf with Siri? No ad space with Siri? Why not go head to head with google search and advertising. Fat pussycat Timmy cook cashed in and is tipping wine with other fellows. Giggling to the bank. Get rid of this guy.

    2. Hmm. I don’t think Apple will remove RAW support, seeing as they provide RAW support as part of OS X, not just as part of Aperture.

      But YES! I entirely agree about keeping old DMG files. I made it a habit yonks ago. It’s right along side the #1 Rule Of Computing: Make a backup. I’m very happy I have access to BOTH the new iWork AND iWork ’09.

      As for QuickTime X: Shameful. I’ve passed this opinion on to Apple for years on many’s the occasion. They did listen to one thing. This year they FINALLY made all of QTX 64-bit. How many years did we have to put up with 32-bit QTX components? Five?

      Apple has a consistent blind spot regarding QuickTime. It continues to be Apple’s least secure software EVER. Someone over there deserves a flying wedgy for QuickTime X.

  3. TextEdit – Yes, I have Pages and Word, but TextEdit is quick & dirty, has 98% of what I need in a word processor, and is what I use 99% of the time I am writing. (typing her doesn’t count)

    Dictionary – It is also built into TextEdit, and Safari, and almost anywhere you can type in a Mac.

    Calculator – Good also for conversions and currency exchange.

    Preview – Kicks Acrobats but.

    1. TextEdit: I’m actually sick of the annoying iCloud ‘services’ that TextEdit crams down the user’s throat, like it or not. I’m back to using good old reliable, hyper-functional Tex-Edit Plus. Thank you Tom Bender.

    2. I couldn’t agree more with all 4 that you list. I use the “command-control-d” keyboard combo all the time to see the definition of a word.

      Now how about for some REAL OS X utilities that this article ignores:
      Activity Monitor
      AppleScript Editor
      DigitalColor Meter

  4. Maybe I should give QT7 a shot. My biggest gripe about QTX is how the playback controls appear on top of the video, an interface decision so stupid that it astounds me that it’s never been changed this many years in.

    Sure, the controls disappear while the video is playing, but if you’re trying to freeze-frame or scan, the image is partially covered. And sure, they let you move the controls anywhere you want… as long as it’s inside the player. If you want the controls outside the frame, you’re out of luck.

    Who the hell thought this was a good idea? And why the hell do they continue to think so??


  5. Why is my comment about Network Utility missing in Mavericks being blocked? Why can’t I point out that WhatRoute is the next best thing? Why can’t I post the link to the WhatRoute developer site? Why can’t I point out that it’s donationware? Is there a ghost in the machine?

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