If you are a Mac user, you would already be having an inbuilt mac dektop launcher in the form of Spotlight. It started out pretty simple with one agenda: Help users to find and launch apps faster than the routine navigation to the application with a mouse.
Launchers nowadays have a come a long way since Spotlight. They can give you instant feedbacks like showtimes, articles, and news. They also allow you to accomplish a series of tasks with just a couple of keystrokes. We tried to find out which launcher gave us the best day-to-day experience, powerful features and at what cost.
1. Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac: Dual OS Mac Desktop launcher
Stuck between windows and Mac? No need to be. With Parallels Desktop 10 for mac, you can get the Windows experience on your Mac. It is extremely easy to set up. Once done, it allows you to switch between Windows and OS X effortlessly. You can damn well interchange your files between the Windows and OS X environments.
Latest updates have made the application faster than before. Having windows on your Macintosh allows easy access from your mobile devices that are not Apple. It uses speech recognition in Mac, puts Windows apps into your Dock and allows seamless integration with iCloud.
This mac desktop launcher can consume up large resources on your hard drive and slow down the overall Mac performance. But you can always change the amount of RAM allocated to Parallels and hard disk space and acceleration. It leaves behind components after uninstallation.
Just like the name suggests, Winclone comes in handy when you want to clone multiple Boot Camp partitions. You can clone on a separate drive or on the one with your Mac OS X partition. It also supports Vista cloning. It allows you to manage several partitions of different operating systems on different drives, within your Mac.
This makes it ideal for programmers and game developers. Fast speed coupled with provisions to create a Boot Camp partition from the application itself, make Winclone a must have app for Mac users.
Though Macintosh has a built-in brightness tool, ScreenShade allows you to easily darken your screen completely or increase the brightness full on.
The program is accessible from the menu bar. Setting it on “Toggle ScreenShade” automatically adjusts screen brightness with respect to the surrounding. You can open ‘Preferences’ to manually select brightness. “Redetect external monitors” helps to reset and get a new brightness level. It is a powerful tool to have under your belt if you have to work in dim lighting.
4. SwitchResX for Mac: Mac Desktop app to control resulution
This application manages resolutions on your Mac. This is a key element when you change your screen size, display Macintosh contents on other screens or just want the best possible resolution. You can easily choose the resolution manually, from the list of default resolutions in the drop down menu, to find the one that works best for you.
You can also create and customize resolutions to fit your situation. If you can work with scripting, SwitchResX can link your monitor settings to special events. If you are not satisfied, you can always revert back to the default using ‘Restore’ button.
How many times have you lost your pointer while juggling between a series of elements? Lots of times, is probably what you are thinking. PinPoint is a preference pane plug-in that displays an image to locate your pointer.
It ensures that your pointer is always visible. The advanced settings allow you to customize the locating image and the speed of an animation. It also allows you to set toggle on and off settings.
It reduces the hassles of finding files and folders from among the huge spatter of data on your desktop. It hides icons and everything on the desktop leaving behind only your desktop wallpaper.
Finding items on the desktop or clearing away the same has never been easier. Camouflage works with multiple monitors and supports dragging and dropping files on its interface just like dragging on your desktop.
It is integrated with Finder and works through Spotlight as well. Just click on Camouflage to wipe your slate clean.
The updated version supports a hotkey to activate it, which may disturb the stability of the application. You can overcome this minor glitch by accessing the application directly from the menu bar.
Highly useful and efficient, CheatSheet provides keyboard shortcuts in an instant. It displays keyboard shortcuts of the application you have open at any given point of time. Just press ‘Command’ and it shows all the shortcuts, sorted by the section, in the foreground.
It is very useful for remembering keyboard shortcuts for certain applications like uTorrent, AppCleaner etc. Though it may not work for all apps, the net result is loads of saved time, less need of mouse work and a much slicker OS X experience. It is an ideal tool for those looking to increase productivity on Mac.
8. XMenu for Mac: Easiest mac desktop launcher
It brings back the Apple menu to Mac OS X. It also includes a complete application launcher. You can easily access your files, applications, and documents by simply adding one or more global menus to the right side of the Menu bar.
It does not require any configuration. Though it operates as an extra menu, it does not require any hacks or extensions. It presents itself as five predefined folders viz. Developer Applications, Applications, home, Documents and User-Defined. These things make this as one of the easiest mac desktop launcher.
A little preference plug-in, it allows you to change colors of all the elements constituting your Dock bar. It comes with a typical color palette that allows easy customization of your Macintosh Dock. You can even go ahead and save a new Dock or revert back to your semi-transparent default one.
But it requires you to restart your Mac before the changes become applicable. It includes for both, applying a new Dock or reverting to the default one. Apart from this drawback, it is an excellent Application Enhancer that allows you to spice up your Dock menu.
10. iCPU for Mac
A dock icon, it changes depending on the CPU load. It is lightweight and consumes minimal resources. Plus you can funk up the icon on your own so that it doesn’t get boring and matches your desktop.