I use a MacBook as a daily driver, and over the course of the past four years, I’ve built an understanding of what I really want to have on the machine to make myself efficient. Coincidentally, I’ve been asked by a couple of friends for recommendations of tools they should have on their macOS-based laptops - this blog post is an answer to that question. An Oprah’s Favorites version for Mac apps. I tried to exclude some of the more obvious must-haves - things like Microsoft Office and Visual Studio Code.
These MacOS apps might just make your life a little easier. Also, be sure to check out our many other guides, including the Best MacBooks, Best iPads, Best iPhones, and How to Back Up Your iPhone.
Package management can be complicated, and Homebrew makes it easy.
brew install became second nature for me by now. Homebrew definitely tops the list of must-haves - it makes managing various tools and applications a breeze, and even has built-in capabilities for easy snapshotting. No, really - you can call
brew leaves to get the list of packages, and then use
brew install < list.txt to get the packages provisioned on your system again, which is handy when you need to backup and restore your system.
By the way, Homebrew package repositories are full of absolutely necessary tools like
One of the things I like to do is record GIFs to either share how to do things with my friends and family, or for blog posts and tutorials. On Windows, there are such marvelous tools as ScreenToGif, but I was struggling to find something similar for macOS. That is, until I found Kap - a tool that lets you record your screen, portions of your screen and convert the output to many formats. It has a sleek tray integration and can be easily triggered without much disruption to your workflow. The tool is also open-source, so you can always contribute if you find any issues or have feature requests.
I’ve never thought that using the terminal was that glamorous, until I found out about OhMyZsh - a framework that allows me to transform my
zsh shell into something I look forward to working with every day. It features a powerful set of hooks for theming and shell customization, which makes the Terminal look like a space shuttle control deck. And of course, you should switch your shell to
Recommended by Dan Fernandez, Spectacle.app helps you manage Windows on macOS in the same magic way you did on Windows.
I like this tool because it has similar keyboard shortcuts to Windows, which makes muscle memory work to your advantage. And if you don’t like the default shortcuts, you can always customize them to your liking.
If you ever wanted to know what apps are chatty and send web requests from your machine, this app is for you. Radio Silence is a mini-firewall control center, that allows you to control which apps can talk to the outside world. One-click block for those you don’t want sending anything out, and you’re done! It also allows you to inspect the destination of outbound requests for each entity that runs on the machine. And last but not least - its memory footprint on your machine is minimal - you almost never know it’s there, until you need it. For $9, this is absolutely worth your money.
One of the best utilities for archive management on macOS, The Unarchiver supports all compressed formats you’ll need - from ZIP to PDF (yes, PDF). What’s more surprising is that this app is free - you can get it from the Mac App Store.
I like Spotlight, but sometimes it’s just not enough. Alfred comes to the rescue as the one-stop-shop for everything you expect to get from a quick launcher - integration with search, your music app and even automation scenarios. You can build workflows that will make you a much more efficient power-user of your computer.
For those that work late at night, display light level controls can be a lifesaver - no more being blinded by your screen and ruining your sleep. Night Shift is natively integrated in macOS, but once again - it’s very basic for what you actually want to get from a display color control tool. f.lux allows you to control the light settings on your displays at a much more granular level. The folks making the tool have put a lot of thought into making it adaptable as well - it takes your location and time of year in consideration to make sure that automatic adjustments are done properly.
On Windows, you have Fiddler. On macOS - it’s
mitmproxy. Helpful if you are a developer that works a lot with any networking stack.
mitmproxy helps you analyze what is truly going on within a device in terms of requests being sent and handled. It is fantastic in analyzing web traffic, and if a feature or capability is missing, there likely is already something implemented for the scenario you have in mind by the community around the tool.
I was an avid Photoshop and Lightroom user, until I realized that I was paying too much in subscription fees for tools that I did not use as frequently. Then I discovered Affinity Photo - an application that has the same powerful set of capabilities that I am used to seeing in the stack I used before, at a much more affordable one-time fee.
When sharing images with friends or family, or even when preparing images for a blog post, I don’t always need to send the 25MB version - I need an optimized file. ImgOptim does that with flying colors, while also giving you control over the quality and levels of adjustments, all while supporting a wide variety of image formats. It’s lightweight, it’s free and it just works - what’s not to like?
While it’s not a tool per-se, I really like the work done in
drduh/macOS-Security-and-Privacy-Guide. The repository contains a set of guidelines for you to set up your macOS machine in a way that makes it more secure and overall, better suited for day-to-day operations that don’t expose you to potentially malicious components. A lot of the recommendations within the guide are applicable if you want to maintain your privacy as well (e.g. by blocking ads and trackers through
Have any thoughts? Let me know on Twitter!
Get a new Mac and wonder which apps should you install? See this list of 2021 best Mac apps and you will find the top app for video, shopping, security, and more.
So you've got a new Mac and you're looking to install the best Mac apps 2021 for your daily computing life? Well, we've got you covered. There are a wealth content of apps arriving and updating on Mac App Store every single day, which makes it nearly impossible to keep track on the latest and greatest. We've compiled the best of the best Mac apps 2021 that remember your passwords, organize your notes or to-dos, make data backup, edit the media files, and connect your friends etc.
At the mention of what your Macbook is used to do, entertainment accounts for a large proportion, no matter on watching videos/movies, listening to music, editing photograph etc. If there is an absence of the best Mac apps 2021 in entertainment, you will suffer from a obscure and upsetting journey even on your brand new Macbook.
If you are ready to turn your DVD collection s into a digital library in iTunes, MacX DVD Ripper is no doubt the best Mac app in 2021 (macOS Big Sur also supported), as Handbrake has issues now that libdvdcss doesn't work with Sierra. It has dozens of great features, like 1:1 copying with original video quality, excellent protection bypass tools (including for region codes and Disney DRM), output DVD to iOS/Android, and batch conversion.
With a streamlined design and intuitive editing features, iMovie lets you enjoy your videos and tell stories like never before. Browse your video library, share favorite moments, and create beautiful movies for iMovie 4K editing. Still, it can be treated as the best free app for iPhone iPad, allowing you to start editing movies on an iPhone or iPad, and finish them on a Mac. And when your movie is ready for its big premiere, you can enjoy it on all your devices in iMovie Theater.
Video formats compatibility is always the top issue for video watching on Macbook Pro/Air, iMac etc. MacX Video Converter definitely keeps you away from this by converting 4K HD/SD videos to MP4, AVI, MPEG, FLV, MOV, WMV, MKV, MP3, etc for playback on QuickTime, iPhone, iPad, Android flawlessly and editing with iMovie and Final Cut Pro. Plus, as an essential Mac app (macOS Big Sur supported), it also stands out on downloading video from 1000+ online video sites, recording screen, editing video, etc.
If you're a video connoisseur, or if you're always finding that you have to convert your videos to make them playable (or streamable) to all of your devices, then you're going to want Handbrake on your macOS Sierra, pronto. This is one of the best OS X apps for video conversion and DVD ripping. It's detailed enough to give power users plenty of options to play with, but it's also simple enough in its core functionality that even newbies will be able to figure out how to convert a video with Handbrake. Best of all, it's free.
5KPlayer is the rising media player app for Macbook in 2021, which plays videos/DVDs in high definition, downloads videos online, and even sends them to your TV or big screen through AirPlay. It's much easier than other media players yet still quick and reliable in everything it does. In short, the best free app for macOS is perfect for those who just want to play videos without complications.
VLC media player is better than Quicktime in nearly every facet that matters, most notably speed and file compatibility. It is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. Here stating as the best free application on macOS, it's also widely regarded as the first DVD player on Macbook Pro/Air, supporting playback of encrypted DVDs (region code, CSS) by using the libdvdcss DVD decryption library.
Apple Music isn't for everyone. With Spotify, it's easy to find the right music for every moment on your phone, your computer, your tablet and more. There are millions of tracks on Spotify. So whether you're working out, partying or relaxing, the right music is always at your fingertips. Choose what you want to listen to, or let the free music download app surprise you. You can also browse through the music collections of friends, artists and celebrities, or create a radio station and just sit back.
Photoshop is one of the most comprehensive photo editing apps on Mac now brings you even more creative possibilities. It has professional-quality tools, like advanced color manipulation and 32-bit/64-bit channel editing. It also has dozens of useful features, like multiple editable layers, vector graphics tools, advanced image processing, and retouching and correction masking tools for MacBook Pro, Air, iMac users to explore and use.
Have you ever lost your photos, videos, data, apps, memories by accident? There must be! But if you have make a copy of your significant data, you will free from the troublesome matter. To solve how to backup data on Mac OS X, some must-have Mac apps are to be downloaded.
Mac data backup becomes simple and fast with the help of MacX MediaTrans. It's a feature-rich file backup software for Mac with data transfer, backup and management function combined. It can turn iPhone iPad etc. mobile devices to an external hard disk drive to save all your Mac data, including music, video, photo, ebook, ringtone, apps, documents files folders etc. Meanwhile, this data backup application on macOS (macOS Big Sur incl.) also empowers you to sync and transfer all your music, video, photo, ebook, voice between Mac and iDevices as well.
We'd be surprised if you hadn't heard of this super-popular cloud storage service. Here's the gist: Install Dropbox, and you'll get 2GB of cloud storage free. The best free app for OS X dumps a simple Dropbox folder onto your Mac, and anything you drag into there will be synchronized with the cloud. If you have multiple computers, anything in your Dropbox folder will be synchronized across all the other systems the app runs on.
Whenever I set up a new Mac, these are the first apps I install. While I can use a Mac without them, I am not nearly as productive. A good productivity app should reduce friction and amplify good habits, and all of these meet those criteria.
Alfred is an award-winning app for macOS which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion and more. With the essential app for Mac, you can quickly perform calculations, execute web searches, and quickly find word definitions, among many other functions. It fills the gap between Siri and your Spotlight search, by allowing you to automate tasks and perform advanced functions that, frankly, Siri should be able to handle without voice input.
Evernote is the undisputed king of Mac apps on note taking, and for good reason. It's simple, organized in a highly intuitive way, and syncs with just about any Web service you can imagine. It's a free app for Mac with a paid upgrade for additional features and more storage space, and allows you to quickly store information using the web clipper and access your information when you need it on any device.
Wunderlist is a simple todo list and task manager app that helps you get stuff done. Whether you're sharing a grocery list with a loved one, working on a project, or planning a vacation, Wunderlist makes it easy to capture, share, and complete your todos. The essential Mac app for to-do list also instantly syncs between your phone, tablet and computer, so you can access all your tasks from anywhere.
Yes, we lived in a life filled with all kinds of passwords and there comes a time we forgot our password. Whereas with 1Password for Mac you only ever need to remember...one password. All your other passwords and important information are protected behind your Master Password, which only you know. Still, you can also sync between devices with the best app for Macbook Pro/Air, iMac etc.
f.lux is a tiny little utility that makes the color of your display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day or more accurately mimic outside light. It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use the best free app for Mac because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.
Caffeine is a tiny program that's always a favorite for Mac users. It keeps your Mac computer from going into sleep mode, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. It's ideal for reading long documents, or any other activity in which you don't touch the keyboard or mouse for extended periods of time. Just give it a click.
You do need an antivirus program on your Mac. That statement may cause some Apple users to stop listening and walk away, but with the amount of Mac malware on the internet today, this issue is no longer up for debate. So once you get your new Mac, make it to be defended in all round with the best antivirus App for macOS. Here are some suggestions.
Is your Mac running slow? Annoying adware, like pop-ups, or malware could be the problem. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac scans for and removes code that degrades system performance or attacks your system. Making your Mac, once again, your Mac. By the way, it removes all kinds of malware from your Mac, including Trojans.
Most people don't think twice about using public wi-fi (but you should). Cloak is the easiest way to automatically secure your connection on public networks and keep your sensitive data safe from prying eyes. It turns on automatically the moment you connect to an untrusted network.
Of course, internet surfing and connecting with friends also take much of your time on Mac computers daily. Internet users are able to communicate with each other from all around the world instantaneously. With the essential Mac apps, you can share photos, send virtual birthday and Christmas cards and develop better relationships with family and friends.
Google Chrome is arguably the fastest browser available for desktop platforms, one that also features the ability to automatically sync all your information, bookmarks, open tabs, recent searches, etc. - across multiple computers and mobile devices. That, combined with its robust customization and instant search capabilities, make it worthwhile.
Airmail treats your email like a to-do list. You can triage your inbox by scheduling when you are going to take care of an email. If you can't get to it right now, snooze it for later. If it's an email that requires an action, send it to your to-do folder. If it's something important that you'll want quick access to, mark it as a memo. And, when you've finished dealing with your email, send it to the 'Done' folder to get that sweet satisfaction of having completed something on your task list.
Skype, the instant chatting app for free on Mac has a fresh new look and feel. Here are just a few of the great things you can do: Chat every day with free instant messages; share files and photos for free in an instant; see your family come together over a free group video call; switch between calling and messages with one click, or do both together; low-cost calls and text messages to mobiles and landlines.
The power user's Twitter client started out on iOS, and its desktop counterpart is one of the best ways to use the social network on a Mac. Tweetbot provides all of the mute filter options you'll need to tune out hashtags, users and even keywords, and it syncs with its mobile sibling, so your streams are up to date on all platforms. It also provides a multiple-tab view, so you can keep track of all of your lists at the same time.
Hot Search: Free Download Videos from Twitter on Mac
It's an era that people go shopping at home from Amazon, Apple, eBey and various shopping webpages. But online shopping is not as simple as you think, there are also something to worry about, for example, payment method, courier tracking etc. So if you download and install the best free Mac apps related to shopping, you can buy your beloved things easier.
If you are a big online shopper, ordering a lot of things online, you'll definitely want an easy way to keep track of your packages. Deliveries does this, and will even detect a tracking number on your clipboard and add it to the application for you. You can even get notifications when your packages are delivered from a number of different services (Amazon, Apple, UPS, the USPS incl.) if you're so inclined.