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MACs come with a good collection of native applications that are more than enough to use your computer. But that is not always the case; many people need to “vitaminize” their computers with advanced software.
In this article, I will share the best programs for Mac that I could not live without. This list will include practical applications that can make a big difference daily. You can choose from productivity tools to software to perform maintenance tasks, office suites, and much more.
Best Mac Apps: Do more with your Macbook!
If you are looking for new software for macOS and want the best applications, you have a good list to start getting much more out of your computer, whether it is a laptop (any range of MacBook) or desktop (iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro).
macOS slows down with time, like any other operating system. To overcome this, it is necessary to perform maintenance regularly, and CleanMyMac X helps significantly.
This application can help you recover up to hundreds of GB of storage space by deleting all temporary files and caches that macOS stores and unnecessarily take up disk space. It can detect different types of unnecessary files, such as files of languages that we do not know, temporary caches, and remains of applications that are no longer installed. It is designed to work in a way that makes it easy to use and recover storage space in a few clicks.
This application also has a potent uninstaller that allows you to delete any application from your Mac without leaving unnecessary files. This happens when deleting an app by simply dragging the icon to the Trash. It also has tools that allow you to optimize the Photos database, analyze for large files, or a cleaner that will enable you to delete any file irretrievably.
This application has recently added a new function to the arsenal: malware removal. Considering that malicious software attacks on Mac computers are becoming more common, incorporating this new feature is very good news.
Setapp is a complete alternative to the Mac App Store, where you can access a large selection of software under the subscription model. With Setapp, you can access complete applications that individually would cost thousands of $$$ with a small monthly fee.
The Setapp catalog includes software such as CleanMyMac, Paste, Ulysses, 2Do, Disk Drill, Focus, and ForkLift. All applications have an excellent reputation in the market, are well developed, have good maintenance, and have the same functions offered by the individual licenses of each of them.
The default Preview application that all Macs include allows us to open any PDF and perform basic actions with them. Still, if you usually work with this file type, you probably need to go further. PDF Expert is one of the best options for computers with macOS. The application allows you to read and edit documents, make annotations, fill out forms, sign, highlight text, join several PDFs into one or separate and long, etcetera of possibilities.
The application’s meticulous design integrates with iCloud, Apple’s cloud. Thanks to the latter, you can keep your PDF documents synchronized with the iOS version and always have the files you may need to work with from anywhere.
If you do not like iTunes and are looking for a suitable alternative, you should not stop trying iMazing. The software is all-in-one for managing iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch and includes features that make it very useful. Among them is the ability to pass photos from iOS devices to Mac and vice versa, manage music, apps, contacts, notes, call logs, backups, and much more.
iMazing also has features that allow you to quickly transfer data from one iOS device to another, so a migration or change of device becomes a straightforward task. In addition, it is also capable of managing backups, so you can easily extract the content (photos, calendar appointments, contacts, etc.) from any copy of an iDevice that you have saved on your computer. This is something that iTunes still does not allow, no matter how strange it may seem.
Sometimes, you may need to change a file from one format to another. The usual thing in these cases is to look for specific software for the type of conversion you need to do, but Permute is an all-in-one app with which you can make conversions in a straightforward, fast way and get excellent results.
This program allows you to convert between different videos, audio, and images easily. Thanks to this, you can convert one or more images from PNG to JPG (or other formats) by dragging the original photos and clicking on the software. In addition, it also offers you the possibility to switch from video to audio-only and even adapt videos to be played optimally on specific devices (for example, adjust any video to the most suitable format to play on an iPhone or iPad).
This is one of those apps you may not need to use daily but should certainly be available in your arsenal for when you need it.
Good editing can turn a regular photo into a perfect one. Changing framing, adjusting colors correctly, or highlighting specific photo areas can give new life to a shot. The problem is that not everyone can spend the time to learn to use the necessary tools to make these edits, although their developers are making it more accessible.
If you are in this situation even worse, so you do not want to miss the opportunity to give a spin to your photographs in a simple way, you should try Photolemur. This application has an artificial intelligence capable of analyzing and editing any photo to make it better automatically.
Of course, not everyone will like the results it achieves, but if you give it a chance, you will indeed be surprised by the effects it can obtain.
Another perfect option to keep your Mac’s data safe is to use a VPN to connect to the Internet, mainly if you use public or private networks but share with people you don’t know.
A VPN is responsible for encrypting all the data that leaves your computer, and thanks to this, no one connected to the same network will be able to spy on you or steal critical data, such as passwords, to access the services which you connect. In addition, it will also improve your level of privacy since you will browse with a different IP than your connection, so the sites you visit will not know from which geographical place you are connected.
There are tons of VPN services on the market, and one of the best options you can find today is ClearVPN. Behind this service are the developers of powerful and recognized software such as CleanMyMac or Setapp, something significant since MacPaw is a company with an excellent reputation earned after numerous years in the market. Considering that all browsing data will pass through their servers, this is a critical point to remember. Here is a list you may like: Best VPN for MAC or iPhone.
And yes, trust is crucial, but they have also created a very easy-to-use product with an accessible interface for people with little or no technical knowledge. This makes the difference compared to other more complex services of the style. CleanVPN has servers in 20 countries, and the speed once connected to them is excellent.
I cannot resist ranking this application among my top choices, as it has been a game-changer in my daily interactions with my Mac and other devices. Thanks to 1Password, you no longer have to remember multiple passwords and can use a unique one for each website you register on, enhancing your security.
This “vault” keeps all passwords securely and makes it easy to identify yourself on each website or service you need to enter, simply with a keyboard shortcut or a couple of screen presses in the case of the iOS version.
Even though Apple provides its office suite, iWork, I prefer the Microsoft alternative. The Redmond-based company has successfully tailored its suite to work effectively on Macs, and the most recent version contains nearly all the features available on Windows.
The Microsoft suite can be purchased from the company’s website and offers different licenses according to your needs.
I must confess that I am fond of Instagram, and it’s likely the social media platform I devote the most time to present. The predicament is that browsing Instagram on the website is an unpleasant experience, and several features are not accessible. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Flume, an Instagram client for Mac. With Flume, you can comfortably access nearly all of the social network’s functions from your computer.
You can browse through the feed of posts from the accounts you follow, leave comments, give likes, conduct searches, and the best part is that you can upload photos to your accounts without utilizing your smartphone. This simplifies sharing the images you capture with your camera and editing using Lightroom, Photoshop, or any other editing software.
ScreenFlow is a software application that rightfully earns its spot as one of the best tools for Mac. It is a full screen recording and video editing tool that offers advanced features for full or partial screen captures.
This software makes creating video tutorials a breeze, and editing videos while applying various effects is more intuitive and straightforward compared to other options.
The recent release of ScreenFlow version 8 includes an array of beautiful features such as track thumbnails, styles, templates, easy addition of narration and voiceovers, separate timeline control for editing, export of animated PNG files (APNG), freehand annotations, and much more. These features benefit anyone requiring video editing capabilities and add to the software’s numerous options.
We all have daily tasks to accomplish, but we often forget to write them down or keep them in our heads. Todoist is an ideal tool for this purpose. It is a cross-platform task management application that provides extensive possibilities.
With Todoist, you can access your tasks from any device, including Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows, using its native apps or any web browser.
Todoist offers a free version that is sufficient for many use cases and a paid version with an annual subscription for those who require access to more advanced features.
At some point, we all need to organize our thoughts, and mind maps are an excellent aid for this task. There is no better option for mind mapping applications for Mac than MindNode. This program makes it effortless to begin working with this type of organizational tool, even if you are new to it, and guides you through the process until you become proficient in using it.
MindNode can generate innovative mind maps from a simple bullet list, which you can edit manually as much as you require. You can create different nodes, modify the icons assigned to each map level, use images, and more. Additionally, it offers compatibility and synchronization with the iOS versions of the app, ensuring you can access your mind maps from wherever you are.
Fantastical 2 is an application that can help improve your organization and productivity. With it, calendar management becomes much more accessible and comfortable. It offers synchronization with Google Calendar, Yahoo, or iCloud calendars, and a version is available for iOS devices.
This app boasts several valuable features, such as natural language input, a robust search function, and a well-designed user interface.
Notion is an incredibly powerful service that becomes increasingly useful the more you use it. It can be challenging to explain the full extent of its functionality, as it can replace several applications used for managing tasks, notes, calendars, databases, and more.
Because Notion can be accessed from various locations, it allows you to unify and streamline all types of information. For example, you can create a “note” and add different types of blocks, such as tables, kanban boards, calendars, databases, headers, and columns.
While the learning curve may be steep, the application has an extensive help section (created with the tool) that explains how it works. Turn Notion into your information center, and you will see how it can be incredibly beneficial in a short amount of time.
For those of us who work remotely, Dropbox is an essential tool. Thanks to it, you can store any file and keep it synchronized between several devices, in addition to having the possibility to access them from any location. Dropbox also allows you to share folders with other users, whether or not they are service users, which facilitates teamwork even if hundreds or thousands of kilometers separate them.
The service offers a free version with 2 GB of storage capacity (2.5 GB if you register here) and two paid versions with 1 TB and unlimited capacity.
If you need photo editing software for your Mac but don’t want to purchase Adobe’s Photoshop license, Pixelmator is a great alternative. This software offers practically all the features of its competitors and integrates seamlessly with Macs.
Moreover, Pixelmator has recently been updated to include macOS extensions, allowing editing options to be used directly from other apps such as Photos. If you require even more advanced functions, the Pro version covers you.
Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is an excellent choice if you’re looking for professional video editing software. It’s widely used by video professionals, including those who work in film studios, wedding videographers, and YouTubers.
Although some users were initially dissatisfied with the disappearance of specific options after the software was completely rewritten to improve its performance, Apple has continued improving the tool. As a result, Final Cut Pro has become increasingly popular due to its extensive features and intuitive interface.
In the past, only Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture were considered top options for photo editing and classification, but now many more choices are available. Affinity Photo is one of these options – a photo development and retouching software packed with valuable features for all users, from professional photographers to beginners.
It can handle Photoshop files, supports RAW files from most cameras, and provides layered editing. Developed exclusively for Mac, Affinity Photo leverages all of Apple’s native technologies, resulting in impressive performance compared to similar apps.
Download from the App Store
An application that can help you in a significant way to be more productive. Its primary function is to improve the macOS clipboard and allow you to copy and paste more than one item.
With Paste, you will have a history of the elements you have copied on your computer that you can quickly access with a simple keyboard shortcut. In addition, it has a very successful interface. No more losing something you had copied by making a new copy before pasting the above.
Sometimes, you might have connected a Pendrive on a Windows PC and encountered a .DS_Store or similar file. These temporary files are created internally by OS X, and when you extract a drive and then use it on another computer, they can show up.
To avoid these files, you can use OptimUSB, a software developed by Diego Arraez. Its functioning is straightforward. You can use the app whenever you want to remove a drive from your computer, whether it is a Pendrive or a portable hard drive. Before disconnecting, it will clean these files thoroughly.
Capto is a recently launched software that has been receiving great feedback. With this tool, you can record everything that happens on your Mac screen and, once captured, edit images or videos quickly and easily. Capto also has a complete file manager, the ability to share your work, take screenshots, and much more.
Over time, it is common to accumulate duplicate files on your Mac, needlessly taking up valuable hard drives or SSD memory. Gemini 2 is a software solution designed to address this problem.
With Gemini 2, you can analyze all the hard drive or SSD files and identify duplicates or near-duplicates. The software then provides a summary of the files and the storage space that can be recovered by deleting duplicates. This feature is handy for MacBook users who have limited storage capacity.
Magnet simplifies window management on your Mac, making it an essential tool for multitaskers. If you frequently use multiple applications simultaneously and find resizing windows cumbersome, Magnet is here to help.
With Magnet, you can effortlessly arrange windows how you want, whether by dragging, keyboard shortcuts, or using the menu bar icon. You can easily split a window vertically or horizontally, adjust it to occupy a quarter or third of the screen, or any custom size you prefer. Take control of window management on your Mac with Magnet.
While Finder on Mac can handle some file types of compression and decompression, it might not be able to work with files like .rar, .7z, .tar, and more. In such cases, The Unarchiver can be a useful option for several reasons.
One of the reasons is that it is available on the Mac App Store, making its installation and updating easy and providing additional security. The second reason is that it is entirely free of charge.
After trying out numerous email clients for Mac, I’ve concluded that Airmail 5 is the best option. It encompasses all the features one would expect from a top-notch email client and is compatible with almost all popular email services and protocols, including POP and IMAP.
Airmail 5 offers a unified inbox, quick reply options, multi-touch gestures for increased productivity, email scheduling, reminders, and many other functions. Its user interface design is also noteworthy, as it is straightforward to navigate.
Numerous video players are available for Mac, but VLC is undoubtedly one of the best. It is an open-source application that can be downloaded on various platforms, including macOS, and it’s completely free.
With VLC, you no longer have to worry about installing codecs since it supports nearly all audio and video formats. Furthermore, it has additional features like IPTV playback, subtitle insertion and editing, video file repair, and more.
Little Snitch is a Mac program that, once you try it, you won’t want to live without. Its potential is vast, and it functions as a firewall with a user-friendly interface that allows you to monitor all connections your computer makes.
With Little Snitch, you can track which applications installed on your computer send traffic over the internet and block those you don’t want to send data to for any reason. Additionally, it can help detect the spyware or any other type of malware that may be present on your computer.
Evernote is not just any note-taking application but an all-in-one solution that aims to become an extension of your brain. Its elephant logo represents the idea of never forgetting anything. The app allows you to save and retrieve any information quickly and easily.
The app boasts a powerful search engine that searches within the text of a note and within attached PDFs and other formats. The app offers advanced and automatic functions such as related notes, which show other notes that could be related.
Furthermore, you can insert tables, different text formats, links to other notes, create notebooks to organize all the information, and use labels, reminders, checklists, and more. All this information is kept synchronized in the cloud and can be accessed from any device, including Mac, mobile, and web.
While the app is free to use, advanced features require a subscription.
ChatMate for WhatsApp
WhatsApp is one of the most widely used instant messaging services globally. While it may not have the best app, its vast user base makes it the go-to option for many.
ChatMate is a dedicated application that allows you to use WhatsApp’s web version with added features. Unlike the standard web version that requires a browser tab to be open, ChatMate is an independent app.
You can use all the native functions of WhatsApp Web, such as sending and receiving messages and files, blocking users, creating or managing groups, etc. ChatMate offers different roles, such as a do not disturb mode, customizable notifications, and dark mode.
If you want to be always available on WhatsApp and have a more comfortable experience, try ChatMate.
While FaceTime is great for private and small group video calls, Zoom may be the best option available today if you need something more comprehensive for large group chats. While it’s true that in the past, Zoom has had some security and stability issues, the service has improved drastically since the COVID-19 pandemic and is now one of the most widely used platforms in this field.
With the ability to make video calls with up to 100 people, screen recording, screen sharing, different audio and video settings, and more, all available on the free version of the app, Zoom is a “must-have” if you need to hold regular meetings with multiple groups of people.
Although lacking in significant aspects, Telegram is still one of the main competitors of WhatsApp, with a large user base that uses it daily to stay connected with their friends and family. Despite this, Telegram makes it to the list of the best applications for Mac due to the number of communities created within the service.
Telegram’s channels offer a platform to connect with like-minded people, where you can find channels with hundreds or even thousands of members talking about a specific topic. Apart from this, Telegram is a versatile service that can be used in multiple ways and does not require a phone number to work.
You can create bots that send you messages for a specific event, exchange files stored indefinitely on their servers, send self-destructing messages, and chat with anyone who is a service user.
To put it briefly, ForkLift is a comprehensive replacement for Finder. While Finder is an excellent file manager, it lacks advanced features that many macOS users need. ForkLift addresses this issue by providing a double-panel interface that enables users to manage files stored on their computer or external devices like USB drives, hard drives, or cloud drives. This feature makes it effortless to transfer files between folders, compare the contents of different paths, and much more.
ForkLift offers numerous other useful features besides the double panel interface, including the ability to rename multiple files simultaneously using patterns, an FTP client, and support for various cloud services like Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, and Google Drive.
What other apps should I include in the list?
So far, these are my best recommendations for Best Apps for Mac. Of course, this list is entirely subjective. If you love any such app, please share it in the comments below.