In Defense of CleanShot X

Oct 04, 2022 — Reyan Chaudhry

It's very rare you will find me writing such an article like this, especially since lately I've barely been writing any articles at all lmao. But something I saw on fellow my fellow mac-cracker Jayden Ramm's article about trash software caught my eye. Although me and him usually see eye-to-eye (e.g. I have no qualms about any of his other "trash software" qualifications), this is not one of those times, and it has gotten to a point where I simply refuse to tolerate any more baseless slander towards software I quite literally deemed worthy enough to pay for.

Heresy in text

Before we begin our defense, let's see what exactly Mr. Ramm has to say about CleanShot:

I understand that some people love this program, but for me, it’s just not satisfactory. The default screenshot tool for macOS already does a great job, and I don’t need all the extra features it offers. I also don’t like the fact that it’s a paid program. I don’t mind paying for software, but I don’t think it’s worth it for this program.

First and foremost, calling macOS's built in screenshot tool "good-enough" is wildly subjective, although it is enough for most basic tasks, it begins to struggle when any slightly specific task is needed of it. Take for example screen recording, although the built-in one can record areas (or the entire screen) just fine, the export format is far from optimal and we have no way to edit the video in place without opening the file in yet another program.

CleanShot's purpose is to solve little problems like these, and it solves so many that it becomes very attractive as a program of its own. It offers a far superior in-place video and photo markup tool, the ability to instantly upload an image to a cloud service, a neat little “pin screenshot above all windows” tool, and even an OCR function that completely deprecates apps like TextSniper and whatnot. Hell, on top of all that, CleanShot offers a positively life-saving “scrolling capture” tool for all of your exam-snagging and message-archiving needs! The list goes on and on really.

just a peak at the power of CleanShot!

If all these features and the increase in quality of life that they provide over time aren't enough to warrant the measly $20 price tag for the program, than what even is the point of charging for software? Sure, tools like Flameshot and exist, but can you really ever forgive yourself for coping with a FOSS “alternative”?"


If you haven't already realized, this article is just a harmless jab at Jayden but, much more importantly, a necessary metacommentary on the state of paid software and the supposed “illusion of value” that they provide.

I genuinely believe that if you can afford to shell out the cash in order to support the developer or something as well-made as a true mac app, that you should do it without a second thought. After all, if we want more tools like these and to avoid being absorbed by the ever-expanding amoeba of glued-together shitscript that is Electron Apps, then we'll have to incentivize the production of what we truly want instead of shunning it.