Get more out of your Mac with these preinstalled software gems, hidden away in OS X Mavericks (and in many cases earlier versions of OS X too).

1. Keychain Access

Hidden deep in the Utilities folder of the Applications list, Keychain Access is a powerful app designed to store your username and password details for websites and apps, amongst other things. But for most ordinary users it has a useful trick up its sleeve.

If you’ve set an app or website to login automatically, and have since forgotten the password, Keychain Access can reveal it to you. Open the app, then type the name of the app or website into the search field. Results will appear in the main app area, and look for any that are marked either "application password" or "web form password". Double-click one then, in the dialog box that appears, put a tick in Show Password. Then type your login password when prompted.

Read our tips for using iCloud Keychain here.

2. Stickies

Few apps have the power to transform the way you work but Stickies is one of them, and it can be found in the main Applications list. Put simply, Stickies brings Post-it notes to your Mac.

You can type what you want into a note, just as you would a real-life sticky note, and create as many as you wish and place them anywhere on the desktop. When you quit the app all the notes are automatically saved. In other words, it’s like having a virtual noticeboard that only appears when the app runs – perfect for quickly jotting down notes and ideas, or even usernames and passwords for websites.

3. Grab

Grab can be found in the Utilities folder of Applications and lets you take screenshots. However, it has two very useful features.

First, it can take screenshots after a short pause. Just click Capture > Timed Screenshot. Once you click the Start Timer button, you’ll have 10 seconds before the screen is captured (watch the stopwatch icon for the countdown). Click File > Save As to save your screenshot.

Second, Grab can capture screenshots with the mouse cursor included – just open Preferences (Command+comma), then select which pointer you want to appear.


 

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. You’ll need to install the Windows Migration Assistant on the Windows PC, however.

5. QuickTime Player 7

All new Macs come with QuickTime Player X but the previous version – QuickTime Player 7 – is better in some ways. Depending on the age of your OS X setup you may find the older QuickTime Player 7 lurking in the utilities folder of your Applications list but you can also install it for free, and it’ll happily sit alongside its newer brother even on OS X Mavericks.

Alongside better support for older movie types (including Windows Media if you have Flip4Mac installed), QuickTime Player 7 lets you adjust the brightness/colour quality of movie playback (click Window > Show A/V Controls), and has better slow-mo support to boot – use the controls at the bottom of the A/V control panel, or tap and hold the right or left-facing cursor keys.

Read our tips and learn how to use Mavericks here.