The best Mac apps every average user should download
Want to boost your productivity or kill time on your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air in the robust MacOS application environment? You can find literally hundreds of thousands of compatible programs, not counting all the ones out there on the web. To make it easy for you, we’ve selected the best Mac apps for you to download.
Alfred’s kind of like Spotlight with a little Siri. It’s an application launcher, but it’s capable of doing a lot more. With Alfred, you can quickly perform calculations, search the web, and quickly find word definitions, among many other features.
This application fills the gap between Siri and Spotlight searches, allowing you to automate advanced tasks and features that, honestly, Siri should be able to do without the voice commands. In its version number 4, Alfred improved the workflow design, features rich text and more.
$0 – ALFRED
Always among the favorites, Amphetamine prevents your computer from entering sleep mode, starting the screen saver or performing the auto-dimming function. It’s ideal for watching broadcasts, videos or any other activity where you won’t touch the keyboard or mouse for a long period of time.
Bartender 3 is an application created for when you use too many applications. It is a subtle tool specifically designed with organization in mind, and as such, it allows you to better systematize various aspects of your interface. With Bartender 3, you choose which applications appear in the menu bar and reorganize them as you like. In addition, the latest version added support for MacOS High Sierra, an interface that takes advantage of the new operating system and the ability to navigate through the keyboard.
Once installed, Dropzone 3 really feels like an integral part of MacOS Sierra. The application works as a shortcut tool, which means you can use it to quickly copy and move files, launch applications, and share content through popular services like Facebook and Flickr.
You can also upload files via FTP and Amazon S3, or shorten URLs using the newly added Goo.gl aggregator. It’s all housed inside a tiny icon in the menu bar.
Google Chrome is by far the fastest browser available for desktop platforms. It also offers the ability to automatically synchronize all information (bookmarks, open tabs, recent searches, etc.) across multiple computers and mobile devices. That, combined with its robust customization and instant search capabilities, makes it worth a lot.
It’s not always easy to see multiple windows side by side, at least not without Magnet. The application is made for multitasking and therefore presents a quick way to drag and organize the windows on your desktop.
With Magnet, you can drag and snap windows to the edges and corners of your screen, which then lock into place. It’s a great tool, with predefined keyboard shortcuts, if you want to copy content from one application to another.
Unclutter is a basic piece of software that fits you. The application is accessible with a quick scroll from the top of the screen and, even better, works as a perfect place to store quick notes, recent files and clipboard information.
Recent updates also allow for a light or dark theme and include an option to drag cards onto other desktop windows. Files and notes even sync automatically through Dropbox.
Tired of spending money every month for Adobe Photoshop, all while dreaming of an application that is just as good? Affinity Photo by Serif might be just what you need. It’s a photo-editing application that has won numerous Apple awards (including best application of the year), so you know it’s something special.
Unlike Photoshop, you only pay a one-time fee of $50 and it’s yours for life. And it’s not just any ordinary app, no: it’s a deep, full-featured app that brings you face-to-face with the image editing giant Adobe. It also has sister applications for graphic design and desktop publishing, great alternatives to Adobe products.
Magazines are an age-old tradition. Just ask Benjamin Franklin. That said, Day One, appropriately titled, by the way, serves as a digital companion for those seeking to capture life’s little moments. In addition to text, the app also incorporates photos, reminders and tags, to help you stay organized. But you know what the best part is? The password protection that keeps curious eyes at bay. Day One is free to use, but for journals, unlimited photos and all future updates, we recommend you consider the premium subscription ($35 a year).
Evernote is the undisputed king of note-taking applications and for very good reasons. It’s simple, it’s organized in a very intuitive way and it synchronizes with almost any web service you can imagine. Since it is one of the most popular applications today, there is also a real range of browser extensions and plug-ins available.
Fantastical 2 is the only calendar application you need, as long as you are willing to pay about $50 for it.
This price will give you access to a powerful set of tools as well as a full-screen calendar window that is as beautiful as it is useful and practical.
The real potential of Fantastical 2 is in the way it creates reminders. Just type in “Dinner with Alexa Thursday at 7:30 p.m.” and the application will schedule it as a reminder.
GIMP is a completely free image editor. It has everything you need to replace your Adobe Photoshop subscription: layer control, shadow effects, vector-based paths, filters, exposure, and more. It even offers similar automatic features to enhance colors, equalize, and correct white balance on the fly. It’s simply one of the best Photoshop alternatives yet.
GIMP is an open source project, initially developed by two Berkeley students, which was released in 1996. It works in conjunction with Adobe’s other open source alternatives to create an open source suite: Scribus (InDesign) and Inkscape (Illustrator).
With MacOS Catalina, Apple is redesigning its Reminders applications. We’ve met her, and while it’s a definite improvement over her mediocre predecessor, she still feels halfway there. Actually, Apple should take note of GoodTask, as it is the best reminder application, without a doubt.
If you need to create notes and entries quickly, GoodTask lets you do it. But it really comes to life when you start using its power features. You can make smart lists based on specific criteria, add new reminders using text snippets that GoodTask intuitively understands, and everything – from calendar view to almost every feature – can be adjusted to your liking.
Hazel is an organizing application with a great new feature: you create your own rules about how the application recognizes, sorts and moves all your files or downloads. This allows for incredibly flexible file management, whether you want to sort a particular type of file, apply names and tags automatically or apply other strict rule sets to every file, folder and download on your computer. It is an excellent working application, ideal for home finance and can generally be used in all kinds of scenarios. However, it can take some time to set up all the rules you want for file management, so Hazel is more friendly to handy organizers.
Having to work with PDF files is almost a given and PDF Expert makes it a little easier. Not only does the software allow you to fill out forms and merge PDF files, but it also offers a number of tools for editing, annotation and signing files. And it supports Apple’s continuity and transfer features, so you can switch between different devices while in the middle of a document without fear of losing your work.
Mac users have an incredible selection of excellent photo-editing programs, but even against thousands of competitors, Pixelmator stands out as one of the best. It has a huge list of powerful features and is probably the fastest program of its kind we’ve used.
It consolidates all content in a simple and easy to use interface that is also accessible offline. The application is perfect for sharing your favorite things with friends or for saving interesting articles you might find and uploading them to the big screen with text, photos and links to accompany them when you get home.
Google Reader may be dead and gone, but a proper RSS reader is still a necessity. Fortunately, Reeder is one of the best. The desktop application has a great finish, along with shared extensions, a private browsing mode and support for most RSS services (Feedly, Feedbin, Fever, etc.). Themes, gesture controls, and a great deal of customization also come standard.
As its name might imply, Pocket is a tool that allows you to “save” articles, videos and web pages for later viewing.
The Apple Mail application is fine, but we won’t say much more. Spark, on the other hand, is excellent, and shows what is possible to achieve in a well-made email application. Its stated goal is to allow you to “take control of your inbox”, which it does in several smart and thoughtful ways.
Important mail from people you know is automatically placed at the top, ensuring that you don’t get lost in a sea of ads and spam. You’ll only receive email notifications from your contacts, which will help you eliminate distractions, all while your collaboration tools are ideal for teamwork. The best part? It’s totally free.
Things 3 is a brilliant management and task list application for MacOS. Thanks to a complete redesign, Things is more useful than ever, connecting to your tasks and Calendar in one seamless interface. You can add descriptions, checklists, upcoming tasks, nightly tasks, automatic reminders, and many other unique features. If you want to invest in a high-end task management application for the Mac, trust us that its price will be worth it.
Don’t let Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Wunderlist fool you – it’s still a great tool for MacOS, even without the premium feature set. The elegant application helps with creating to-do lists, each of which comes with custom due dates, reminders, and everything you need to keep track of a schedule. The software also enables collaboration lists, synchronizes your content across different devices, and offers the ability to save web pages and other content for later viewing (just like Pocket).
Entertainment and Social Media
HandBrake shines when it comes to converting media files and encoding videos, especially when you consider how fast and effortless open source software makes the process. It also comes with several video editing tools designed to splice and adjust frames and add subtitles, along with other useful actions.
This application is aimed at online shopping enthusiasts. In fact, it’s a tracking application that works with over 250 services, including UPS, USPS and FedEx, allowing you to see where your packages are with little more than a tracking number. Notifications and Spotlight integration are a plus.
This messaging application is widely used in offices. The service’s desktop application has all the tools available in the browser-based version of Slack, i.e. private channels, Giphy integration, themes, along with better control of notifications and increased support for multiple computers.
Apple Music is not for everyone. Fortunately, Spotify’s official desktop application is the perfect alternative for those looking for a service like Apple Music, but outside the Apple ecosystem.
The Spotify for Mac application gives you access to the entire catalogue, allowing you to search and listen to almost any track, artist or album for free. You can also use Spotify to create custom playlists or take advantage of personal recommendations covering jazz, hip-hop, rock and many more styles.
The Transmission application excels when it comes to download speeds and blends perfectly with MacOS. It is certainly the best choice for MacOS because of its reliability and ease of access to Torrent downloads.
It’s fast, lightweight, and makes life a little easier. However, it had a security breach some time ago, so you should first make sure to download the latest version (2.92 or higher).
Tweetbot 3 is for the advanced user who prefers to omit the official and obsolete Twitter application for the Mac in favor of something more capable. Like the next generation version of the software, the latest version features multiple columns and windows, along with tools to mute users, hashtags and specific keywords. It’s also compatible with third-party applications such as bitly and Paper, and features an optimized interface that blends seamlessly with the latest MacOS look and feel.
VLC media player is better than Quicktime in almost every facet that matters, especially speed and file compatibility. The open source software also supports almost every media file you might have, from AAC to Theora, offering fast video conversion, extensive subtitle support, and a host of video filters that allow you to trim, de-sharpen, and customize playback. And its interface isn’t so bad either.
Security and Storage
Do you hate having to remember every password for every account you have? 1Password is a fantastic password manager that protects your passwords in a fully encrypted vault, which you access with a master password.
Carbon Copy Cloner is a super simple to use backup application. It’s the kind of app we hope you’ll never have to use, but when disaster strikes, you’ll be glad you did.
One of its best features is its ability to create backups of your home disk. This means that if your primary drive fails and you can’t turn on your Mac, you can start it from your backup and continue your work. In other words, a real lifesaver.
You can also back up your files and data to an external hard drive or another Mac, and then restore everything with a few clicks. It will only back up files that have been updated, which will save you space.
Dropbox makes syncing files to all your devices fast and painless. The desktop application works similarly to the web and mobile version, giving you access to your files and folders, while offering you the ability to upload photos, videos, and various documents directly from your desktop. You’ll receive 2GB of free storage just for signing up, and you can also earn more by inviting friends or connecting to Dropbox through the usual social networking channels.
Most likely you already know the merits of Google Drive, however, you may not realize that you can work on your documents, spreadsheets and presentations when you can’t access the Internet.
The desktop application gives you quick access to all your files and folders, providing you with a folder where you can sync up to 15GB of content – assuming you haven’t paid for additional storage.
Little Snitch 4 is a permission blocker that allows you to control all incoming and outgoing connections. If you have a program that does not want to connect to the Internet, the software can block it on your behalf. You can set it to block a single instance, until you leave a particular application, or forever. It’s great for control freaks who prefer to know everything their Mac is doing.
If you’re constantly switching between MacOS and Windows, moving files between the two systems can be a hassle. That’s where OneDrive, which is built into Windows, comes in. With OneDrive installed on your Mac, you can easily sync files, allowing you to open images, documents, and more on any device without any extra effort on your part.
If you have a Microsoft 365 subscription, you get up to 6TB of OneDrive storage (or 1TB per user). That means you don’t have to pay for Apple’s iCloud if you need more than the free 5GB.
Native applications on MacOS can’t do everything, especially when it comes to compressed or archived files. Fortunately, Unarchiver can handle virtually any format, whether you’re working with RAR files or older formats like StuffIt, ARC or Tar. The software also doesn’t require you to open a separate application, so you can access your files with a single click.