Turn websites into desktop apps with Unite 4 for macOS


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Stop using a regular web browser to access online services on your Mac by using Unite 4 to view web apps as if they were full-fledged macOS apps.

Over the years, online services have gradually shifted from using full-featured apps on the device to web-based versions. This means that developers can offer the same application on multiple platforms since they are accessible through a browser, which saves them from having to manage dozens of platform-specific applications.

Using web applications provides flexibility to users, but it also introduces other issues. For starters, accessing it through a web browser like Chrome can be a drain on resources that could be put to better use elsewhere.

Moving away from the browser, many such services also offer a desktop application to their users. However, since they can often use the resource-intensive Electron or Catalyst app, they don’t necessarily perform as optimally as they could.

With the choice of using a full browser to access the web version or a potentially equally slow Electron desktop app, users have options available, but not particularly good.

Enter Unite 4

Another way to solve the problem is Unite 4an application designed to convert any website into a desktop application for macOS.

Using a lightweight WebKit-based browser as a backend, Unite 4 can turn a website into a separate application on your desktop. It’s also simple to use when you give it the URL and give it a name, and it will create an app for you.

The app will also generate an icon for the new app that will match the others on your Mac, rather than being an obvious Favicon pull. The icons are even styled to match the macOS variant you’re using, including Catalina and Big Sur.

The process of creating an application using Unite 4 is extremely simple.

Each app uses a separate instance of the main Unite 4 browser, keeping them isolated from each other.

Extensive customization is available for Unite 4 apps. They can be run as compact apps, i.e. mobile versions of sites rather than desktop versions if required.

You can also choose whether you see the window or the icon in the window bar, and whether you want to show or hide the window title bar and command buttons. You can even change the application and window title bar primary colors, if the auto-detected colors don’t work for you.

The resulting apps can run in different modes, be set as status bar apps, and support macOS dark mode if enabled. There is support for HTML5 notifications and keychain support to save time when accessing apps with authentication.

Power users will also be able to take advantage of other Unite 4 enhancements, such as Htaccess login support, basic authentication, and even access to a dev console.

Powerful utility

Unite 4 users will quickly find many different uses for the tool within minutes of setup.

For example, you can set up Discord and Slack in a Unite 4 app, which potentially runs faster than standard standalone versions. All of this is done without the usual bloat of running a full browser.

If you work in social media, you can easily set up multiple separate apps for Facebook, Twitter, and more to make it easier to manage isolation and switching between accounts.

Unite 4 apps look like standalone apps and can be highly customized after creation.

Unite 4 apps look like standalone apps and can be highly customized after creation.

Users of online services like Robinhood who don’t currently have macOS desktop apps could build their own using Unite 4, instead of waiting for the company to build one.

Yes, you can use a dedicated app to access Gmail instead of your browser, but Unite 4 lets you build an app that provides the same browser-based experience instead of a third-party developer’s interpretation.

Or buy

AppleInsider readers can get 20% off the usual price of $24.99 for next week when purchasing Unite 4 through the official store.

A single license normally costs $24.99 but is reduced to $19.99, while a license for two Macs costs $27.99, down from $34.99. Other multi-license packages are available, reducing the cost of larger Mac installations.

A free trial is available, allowing you to test the app by creating three apps before purchasing it.

Setapp subscribers can also use the app as part of their subscription.


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Steven L. Nielsen