5 app recommendations in November 2023

Today you are presented with the penultimate Mac app collection for this year. As in previous months, here are again five app recommendations from different application areas. This time there are programs for data exchange across Apple devices, for extracting information from documents, for protection against harmful USB hardware, against accidental use of the play/pause button and for darkening program windows in the background. As always, the majority of the apps are free to use. If you don't find the right one yet, you'll find dozens of other app suggestions at the end.

1. LocalSend

The LocalSend app takes the principle of AirDrop and continues to run it on non-Apple devices. This means that you simply install LocalSend on your Mac, iPhone, Windows and/or Linux computer, Android device, Amazon tablet or other devices and can then easily send files back and forth between them. A WiFi connection is also required for the individual devices. This is used locally to send or receive files via the WLAN router. No online servers are used. For secure data exchange, everything is encrypted using the LocalSend protocol. The whole thing is open source and can be viewed on GitHub.

2. Chatd

The Chatd app is also a free, open-source and locally running service. The software builds on the one introduced last month Ollama software and offers AI chat with locally available documents. This requires the Mistral-7B language model with a size of 4 GB, which can be downloaded via Chatd. Questions and tasks can then be formulated with reference to PDFs and other documents, which are then answered or carried out by the artificial intelligence. This means that the most important information can be extracted more quickly, questions about the content can be asked, and so on. However, the language model only understands English inputs and outputs. In theory, German language models can be loaded and used (I haven't tried them out).

  • Name: Chatd
  • Category: Chatbot
  • Price: Free
  • Info and download: Website / GitHub

3. swiftGuard

The swiftGuard app is not for home use, but rather something for corporate offices, authorities, offices and similar places. The software offers monitoring of the USB ports on the Apple Mac. This means that certain USB devices or storage media (USB sticks, external hard drives, etc.) can be released for use and others can be blocked. It can also be set so that connecting a USB peripheral causes you to log out or put the Mac into sleep mode. This is intended to prevent data theft. As I said: this is probably not for the family, hobby and homework Mac. But maybe you're looking for something for your office Mac. The whole thing is free and open source.

  • Name: swiftGuard
  • Category: Security / Hardware Management
  • Price: Free
  • Info and download: GitHub

4. Music Decoy

With Music Decoy there is another, more specialized app tip on this list. So specialized, in fact, that the app only has one small task: Prevent the Music app from opening when you press the Play/Pause key (F8 on the Mac keyboard). Personally, I have the Music app open all the time, but there are probably many of you who don't listen to music and/or play other media while working on your Mac. If you accidentally press F8, the music app can open because macOS thinks you want to play songs from the in-house offering. Music Decoy prevents this, but does not use any resources. It is a small and unobtrusive utility.

  • Name: Music Decoy
  • Category: Utility
  • Price: Free
  • Info and download: GitHub

5.HazeOver

The effects of the HazeOver app are clearer. Because it ensures that only the active program window is displayed in the set display brightness. All content behind it, such as the desktop and other app windows, are dimmed. This makes it possible to work more concentratedly. You can also avoid excessive glare if you do a Mac night shift and use multiple windows. There are various settings for dimming the screen contents away from the active window. You can define the dimming level, set a key combination for (de)activating it, highlight one window per monitor and more. HazeOver is available at, among others Setapp-Package.

  • Name: HazeOver
  • Category: Utility / System Extension
  • Price: Setapp subscription for €9,99/month (single license) or €19,99/month (family subscription)
  • Info 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 there will again be an overview every month with five practical Mac apps. And that's why here in the blog you will find lists of Mac app recommendations from January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October of this year:

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