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Turn websites into desktop apps with Unite 4 for macOS

Unite 4 can turn webpages into macOS desktop apps.

Stop using a regular web browser to access online services on your Mac by using Unite 4 to display web apps as if they are fully-fledged macOS applications.

Over the years, online services have gradually moved from using complete on-device apps to web-based versions. Doing so means developers can offer the same application on multiple platforms since they are accessible by a browser, saving them from needing to maintain dozens of platform-specific apps.

Using web apps offers flexibility to users, but it also introduces other problems. For a start, accessing them via a web browser like Chrome can be a drain of resources that could be better used elsewhere.

Moving away from the browser, many such services also offer a desktop app to their users. However, as they can often use the resource-hogging Electron or Catalyst app, they may not necessarily be running as optimally as they could.

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

Enter Unite 4

Another route to fix the issue is Unite 4, an app designed to convert any website into a desktop app for macOS.

Utilizing a lightweight WebKit-based browser as its backend, Unite 4 can make a website into a separate app on your desktop. It's also straightforward to use as you tell it the URL and give it a name, and it will make an application for you.

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

The process of making an app using Unite 4 is extremely straightforward.
The process of making an app using Unite 4 is extremely straightforward.

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

There is extensive customization available for the Unite 4 apps. They can be run as compact apps, namely mobile-facing versions of the sites rather than desktop-designed versions if required.

You can also choose if you see the window or icon in the window bar, and whether to show or hide the window title bar and control buttons. You can even change the primary colors of the app and window title bar, if the auto-detected colors aren't to your liking.

The resulting apps can be run in various 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 improvements in Unite 4, such as Htaccess login support, basic auth, and even access to a developer console.

Powerful utility

Users of Unite 4 will quickly find many different uses for the tool within a few minutes of installation.

For example, you can set up Discord and Slack within a Unite 4 app, potentially running faster than the standard standalone versions. This is all done without the usual bloat from running a full browser.

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

Unite 4's apps look like standalone applications, and can be highly personalized after creation.
Unite 4's apps look like standalone applications, and can be highly personalized after creation.

Users of online services like Robinhood that don't currently have macOS desktop apps could create their own using Unite 4, instead of waiting for one to be made by the company.

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

Where to buy

AppleInsider readers can get a 20% discount on the usual $24.99 price for the next week when buying Unite 4 via the official store.

A single license is normally $24.99 but is discounted to $19.99, while a two-Mac license is $27.99, down from $34.99. Further multi-license bundles are available, discounting the cost for larger Mac installations.

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

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