5 app recommendations in December 2023

With this article you get the last regular Mac app recommendation of the year presented here in the Sir Apfelot Blog. Because today there are the five software tips for December 2023. This time there are also various practical apps. Below you will find tools that will help you use Apple displays brighter than the macOS settings, customize key combinations, understand physics, use thousands of scanners on your Mac, and take better notes. Because it's about the programs SuperBright, Switcher, Physics 101, VueScan and SideNotes. At the end of the article, this year's other recommendations are waiting for you.

1. SuperBright

The SuperBright app is a free way to get more brightness out of Apple displays. Because e.g. Some devices, such as the XDR display on 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros or the Apple Studio Display, only apply their maximum brightness when showing HDR content. While they can actually shine at 1.600 nits, you can only adjust them to a maximum of 500 nits for everyday normal tasks via the macOS settings or the menu bar. SuperBright can be downloaded quickly and free of charge from the App Store, started and controlled via the menu bar. My tip: Don't try it in a dark environment with an open word processor, spreadsheet or other app that mainly has a white surface - it's blinding!

  • Name: SuperBright
  • Category: System Expansion / Mac Hack
  • Price: Free
  • Info: Website
  • Download: Mac App Store

2. Switchers

The Switcher app is also free, but is more concerned with input devices than output devices. You can use Switcher to determine whether and in which apps certain key combinations need to be confirmed. In addition, the scrolling direction of the mouse wheel and trackpad can be changed and, last but not least, key mapping can be operated on an app basis. With the open source project you can prevent accidental entries, change scrolling for work and gaming, and shorten key combinations. The app actually requires longer instructions, but you can also find some information about how to use it on the app's GitHub page. Or you can just try them out.

  • Name: Switcher
  • Category: System tool
  • Price: Free
  • Info and download: GitHub

3. Physics 101

With the learning and teaching software called Physics 101 there is once again a knowledge app this month. The Physics 101 app serves as an interactive collection of formulas that can help with physics and mathematics thanks to numerous tools. A lot is included, from simulating an electrical circuit to virtually firing a projectile for a better understanding of ballistics. The download for the Mac is completely free and can be done from the Mac App Store. From gravity and orbits to optics and electronics to graphs and vectors, everything is included. However, there is a small setback: the app can only be used in English. A German or other language localization is still pending.

4. VueScan

If you want to scan documents and use their images on the Mac, then the VueScan app offers you a useful interface for this. VueScan can handle both flatbed and document scanners and offers a variety of settings for both types of scanners. So you can scan documents in the format that suits you, in color or monochrome, with or without duplex merging, with or without filters and so on. VueScan can handle around 7.100 scanners and can be used from OS X 10.10 Yosemite to macOS 14 Sonoma. There are subscription and purchase models, from 9,95 euros to 19,95 euros per month or a one-time payment of 24,95 euros to 99,95 euros.

  • Name: VueScan
  • Category: Scanner Drivers / Scan UI
  • Price: varies depending on subscription or version license
  • Info and download: Website

5. Side Notes

The SideNotes app offers you a quick way to make notes and lists that can be synchronized between different Macs. The notes from the SideNotes app can be displayed, written, added to, checked off and deleted on the edge of the display. In addition, files associated with individual notes and to-do lists can be assigned. The appearance of the notes can be customized to match the background image or light or dark mode. There is Markdown support and the ability to insert text as monospace input. The offer is also suitable as a coding note. You can get SideNotes as part of the Setapp-offer.

  • Name: Side Notes
  • Category: Productivity
  • Price: Setapp subscription for €9,99/month (single license) or €19,99/month (family subscription)
  • Information and download: Setapp

Setapp offers 240+ full app versions at a low subscription price

The Setapp software subscription brings you over 9,99 apps as a full version with all updates and no advertising to your Mac starting at €240 per month. An interesting app package for iPhone and iPad is also included. For families there is the family subscription for just €19,99 per month, which can be shared between four people. Everyone gets their own account and can use the offers for macOS, iOS and iPadOS.

On the offer's website you will already find all app titles from the categories Maintenance, Lifestyle, Productivity, Mac Hacks, Developer Tools, Task Management, Writing & Blogging, Education, Creativity and Personal Finance listed. New apps are regularly added to further fill the package. Included are other MacPaw apps, a VPN and so on. Here are the individual booking options: Setapp Single License / Setapp family subscription.

All previous app recommendations for 2023

All "App Recommendations" posts that I published between June 2021 and December 2022 can be found here: The best Mac apps for 2023 - app recommendations for all areas of application. But in 2023 I have again put together five programs for your Apple Mac every month. You can find the individual articles from January to November in this list in addition to the December tips above:

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.