Best Mac Utilities 2015

Default Folder X. This has to be our most-used utility because Default Folder X inserts itself.

  • May 05, 2020.
  • Here, then, are some of the utilities that make the Mac feel like home for me. Go beyond launching apps A few years ago, there was a surge of utilities that provided quick access to your Mac.

It's October, which means it's time for sweater weather, pumpkin spice everything and new iMacs.

Apple on Tuesday updated its 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display with better specs. It also introduced a new model, a 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display.

See also: The new MacBook is the future of laptops: Our review

Last year, I reviewed the first 5K iMac and found it to be a great machine with a truly amazing display. This year, I'm reviewing the newest model, which features Intel's Skylake processor, faster AMD graphics and better RAM.

The look of Mac

The outer design of the 27-inch iMac is the same as last year. It has the same insanely high-resolution (5,120 x 2,880) display and the same port configuration that includes four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and gigabit Ethernet.

On the inside, however, things start to get different. In addition to updated internals, the display on the new 2015 iMac is now better than ever.

Instead of the standard sRGB color gamut, the new iMac features DCI-P3 color gamut that has a color space of 25% more available colors to display.

In practice, what this means is that reds and greens really, really pop. Looking at images in sRGB mode versus those in wide gamut, it was astounding to see the kind of details the new display allows to show up.

The end result is the display — which was already one of my favorites ever — is even better. I watched Inside Out on the new iMac and it was a glorious, glorious experience.

The display is the heart and soul of the 27-inch iMac, and it's the reason you'll want to buy this machine. A year later, I'm still wowed by 5K.

The good news for new iMac buyers is that in 2015, all 27-inch iMac computers come with the 5K display.

The numbers game

The model we tested came with a 3.2GHz Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, an AMD Radeon R9 M390 graphics card with 2GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive for storage. This configuration sells for $1,999 and is a step up from the base model 27-inch iMac.

Running Geekbench, the CPU results were actually slightly behind the iMac I reviewed last year. That makes some sense because that machine, which had Intel's Haswell architecture, was clocked at 3.5GHz.

But in graphics tests, I found I got better performance from the GPU on the new iMac than last year's model. This was true on synthetic tests and on some games I played.

The graphic improvements aren't earth-shattering, but the improvements are real.

The RAM in the 2015 iMac is faster than before, though that didn't seem to impact my tests.

Apple did change how the Fusion Drive works in 2015. To allow for a lower-cost Fusion Drive option, Apple paired a 1TB hard drive with a 24GB SSD. In the past, the 1TB Fusion Drive matched a 1TB standard hard drive with a 128GB SSD. Now, if you want the 128GB SSD, you'll need to have a 2TB or 3TB Fusion Drive offering.

The upside of the new Fusion Drive configuration is that it makes the feature — and its faster response times — affordable for anyone. The downside is you don't see speed improvements of documents and apps offloaded to the SSD as much because the cache is smaller.

For the average user, your hard disk performance is still going to be really strong — especially once OS X starts to sort of learn your habits. Still, if you're ponying up the money for a new iMac, I would recommend going ahead and paying for either a larger Fusion Drive configuration or just going with a straight SSD upgrade.

The iMac is a very powerful machine. I have friends who have moved from the Mac Pro to the 5K iMac, simply because it's a great machine with a fantastic screen.

That remains true in 2015. I look forward to seeing benchmarks from the other Skylake-equipped models because I think the performance of that chipset will really show at higher clock speeds.

New Magical friends

Best Mac Utilities 2020

Apple took the arrival of the new iMac to update its accessory line. The Apple wireless keyboard, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad all received major updates.

All three devices now have built-in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. If you've ever owned a wireless Apple accessory, you've probably invested in some rechargeable AA batteries and have experienced the annoyance of having to track down an extra battery just so you could finish your work.

The new accessories charge via a built-in Lightning connector. A fully charged mouse, keyboard or trackpad will last about a month during normal use. Even better, the accessories come with Lightning cables so you can easily plug into the back of the iMac if you need a quick charge.

The keyboard — now known as the Magic Keyboard — features the new 'San Francisco' font, larger key caps (and full-size function keys) and a new scissor method that is supposed to make it 33 percent more stable. The keys themselves resemble those on the new MacBook — but the travel is more akin to the exiting wireless keyboard and the keyboard on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Because it gets rid of the big battery hump, the Magic Keyboard is now thinner than before and its incline isn't as steep. Apple has also eliminated a lot of spacing on the top and bottom of the keyboard, which means it takes up 13% less space overall.

The Magic Mouse 2 looks the same as the old Magic Mouse — at least until you turn it over. The bottom no longer has a battery door, it just has a Lightning port — as well as new feet that are designed to move better around your desktop surface.

The Magic Trackpad 2 gets a complete overhaul. Not only is its surface area substantially larger (29 percent bigger), it now features Force Touch. This means that just like the Apple Watch and MacBook/MacBook Pro trackpads (and similar to 3D Touch on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus), the harder you press on the trackpad will determine what happens on the screen.

The trackpad still has moving parts but it has four force sensors underneath that pick up how hard you're pressing. Force Touch has the potential to be a user-experience paradigm on the desktop the same way 3D Touch is becoming one on mobile. But until now, users who didn't have the latest MacBook or MacBook Pro couldn't use it. Adding the feature to the Magic Trackpad 2 is a big step in helping Force Touch adoption.

One nice additional feature about the new 'Magic' accessories is that you can speed up the Bluetooth pairing process by simply taking a Lightning cable, connecting it to an accessory and then plugging it into your Mac. As long as you're running OS X El Capitan, the machine will automatically pair to your accessory, no entering of codes needed.

The 21.5-inch 4K iMac

Although I didn't review the 21.5-inch 4K iMac, I got to preview it with some hands-on time. It has a 4,096 x 2,304 4K display with the same wide gamut display.

The new 21.5-inch iMac with 4K display doesn't run on Skylake — it's running the latest iteration of Haswell — but it does have faster RAM. You can hook the 21.5-inch 4K iMac up to second 4,096 x 2,304 display.

Its price starts at $1,499, which includes a 1TB 5400-rpm hard drive.

Apple will still sell the 1,920 x 1,080 21.5-inch iMac, at $1,099 and $1,299 configurations.

Final thoughts

All in all, the new iMac is a solid upgrade that starts at an even lower price. As always, the real story here is the screen — and now it's even more beautiful than before.

With Apple making the entire 27-inch iMac lineup 5K, while also introducing the new 21.5-inch 4K iMac, it's clear the company wants to make every Mac a Retina Mac.


It's notable that Apple is coming in aggressively on price. Although we would recommend not buying the $1,799 model (spend the extra $200 for a better GPU and the Fusion Drive), simply because non-SSDs make us cry — it's still amazing that such a great display in such a powerful machine is at this price point.

A year after the 5K iMac's debut, we haven't seen any all-in-one offerings that come close to performance or quality.

Best Mac Utilities 2015

If you're in the market for a solid all-in-one with the best screen on the planet, the new 5K iMac is for you.

Apple iMac with Retina 5K display (2015)

Best Mac Utilities 2015 Full

The Good

Best Mac Utilities 2015

Amazing screen with even better color detail Reduced price New accessories have built-in rechargeable batteries

The Bad

Fusion Drive not available on base model

The Bottom Line


The 5K iMac remains the best all-in-one on the market, and in 2015 it gets an even better display and — even better — a lower price.

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