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When it comes to the web, smaller is always better. If an image-heavy site takes too long to load, visitors will just click over to something else. While there are plenty of software tools for optimizing image files on the Mac, few do it with the simplicity and speed of Squash.
Over a year ago, I reviewed a useful Mac utility called JPEGmini, which reduces image files with no discernable loss in image quality. Although limited to JPEG, the software was easy to use and produced impressive results, but at $99, it’s clearly not aimed at casual users.
Enter Squash ($20, available on the App Store), which offers the same quality and simplicity for less, and does it faster. The premise is the same: Drag and drop one or more images onto the application window, and within seconds you’ll have optimized versions a fraction of the size that look identical to the naked eye.
The more versatile Squash works with PNG and GIF files as well as JPEG, and can also be used to create JPEGs from TIFF or PSD files; there’s currently no PDF support, however. While Photoshop users can perform such conversions, Squash launches in the blink of an eye and is nimbler at quick conversions you may want for sending client approval emails or uploading images to the web.
Make some noise
Squash displays the cutesy animation of a vice squeezing a photo into a gift-wrapped present as it works. It’s mildly entertaining the first few times but gets old after a while, especially accompanied by raucous sound effects. Thankfully, you can disable them entirely in settings. There’s no way to cancel the process once it’s started, short of quitting the application, but everything happens quite fast.
Squash reduced an 852.5MB folder containing 230 JPEG files to 258.2MB in just under 40 seconds, a savings of 594.3MB with no visible differences in image detail. By comparison, JPEGmini took three times as long but only saved 581MB, gobbling up significantly more CPU time in the process. JPEGmini displays animated thumbnails as images are optimized and an option to resize images, which Squash does not.
Both are minimalists when it comes to settings. By default, Squash users must choose where to save converted files, but this can be changed to a specific location or replace original files instead. (Originals are never actually replaced, only moved to Trash in case you change your mind.) You can also drag-and-drop optimized images from the save button to any desired destination, a convenient hidden shortcut.
Step aside, JPEGmini. Squash for Mac is now the fastest, cheapest, and most versatile image optimization utility in town.