Macs come standard with a good collection of native applications that, in some cases, are more than enough to use your computer. But that is not always the case, and many people need to “vitaminize” their computer with a complete software.
In the following article, I want to comment on some of the programs for Mac that I could not live without. Valuable applications that can make a big difference on a day-to-day basis. I include options of all kinds in the list, from productivity tools to software to perform maintenance tasks, office suites, and much more…
The Best Mac Apps: Do more with your Macbook!
If you are looking for new software for macOS and want the best applications, then you have a good list to start getting much more out of your computer, whether laptop (any range of MacBook) or desktop (iMac, Mac Mini, or Mac Pro).
macOS (formerly OS X), like any other operating system, deteriorates with use. To alleviate this, it is necessary to regularly perform maintenance on the equipment, and CleanMyMac X helps significantly.
This application can delete all temporary files and caches that macOS stores and unnecessarily take up disk space. Thanks to its mode of operation, it can detect different types of unnecessary files (files of languages that we do not know, temporary, caches, remains of applications that are no longer installed). It can recover up to hundreds of GB of storage space and a matter of very few clicks.
It also has a potent uninstaller, thanks to which we can delete any application from our Mac without leaving unnecessary files (something that happens when deleting an app by dragging the icon to the Trash simply). 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.
As if all this were not enough, it 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, very good news.
Setapp is not just another application, but it is a complete alternative to the Mac App Store, in which you can access a large selection of software under the subscription model. Setapp gives access to complete applications that individually would cost thousands of euros with a small monthly fee.
Among the Setapp catalog, there is software such as CleanMyMac, Paste, Ulysses, 2Do, Disk Drill, Focus, ForkLift… All applications with an excellent reputation in the market, well developed, with good maintenance and of course with the same functions offered by the individual licenses of each of them.
The 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 type of file, you probably need to go a little further, and at this point, PDF Expert is one of the best options you can find 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 a long etcetera of possibilities.
The design of the application is meticulous and has full integration with iCloud, Apple’s cloud. Thanks to the latter, you can keep your PDF documents synchronized with the iOS version, something beneficial to work on the go, 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., etc …) from any copy of an iDevice that you have saved on your computer, something that iTunes still does not allow, no matter how strange it may seem.
Indeed on some occasions, you have needed to move 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.
With this program, you can easily convert between different videos, audio, and images. Thanks to this, you can, for example, convert one or more images from PNG to JPG (or other formats) simply 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).
One of those programs you may not need to use daily, but that 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 a 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 any photo and editing it to make it better entirely 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 important data such as passwords to access the services to 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 that has been earned after numerous years in the market. Considering that all browsing data will pass through their servers, this is a critical point to keep in mind.
And yes, trust is crucial, but they have also created a very easy-to-use product with an accessible interface for people who have a lot or no technical knowledge. This makes the difference compared to other more complex services of the style. CleanVPN has servers in 20 different countries, and the speed once connected to them is excellent.
I can not help but put this application among the first since it has been a before and after in the day to day with my Mac and other devices. Thanks to 1Password, you will no longer have to remember many passwords, and you can use a different one in each site where you register, thus improving 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.
Although Apple has its office suite, iWork, I far prefer the Microsoft option. The Redmond company has managed to adapt its suite to Macs correctly, and the latest version has all or practically all the functions available in Windows.
The Microsoft suite can be purchased from the company’s website and offers different types of licenses according to your needs.
I admit it, I love Instagram, and it’s probably the social network I spend the most time on today. The “problem” is that the experience of using the Instagram website is not good at all and that on top of that, it is not possible to access many options. Luckily, I discovered Flume, an Instagram client for Mac with which you can access practically all the social network functions from the comfort of your computer.
Review the feed with the publications of the accounts you follow, make comments, give likes, do searches… And, perhaps best of all, you can post photos to your accounts without using your smartphone. This will make it easier for you to upload the images you take with your camera and retouching using Lightroom, Photoshop, or any other editor.
ScreenFlow is software that has earned to be in the tops of best applications for Mac. It is a powerful video editing and screen recording tool (full or partial) with advanced features.
Thanks to this software, creating video tutorials is a child’s play, editing videos and applying different effects is much easier and more intuitive than other available options.
Recently ScreenFlow has reached version 8 and with it has released beautiful features such as track thumbnails, styles, templates, quick additions of narration and voice in of, separable temporary control for editing, export of animated PNG files (APNG), freehand annotations … Useful features for anyone who needs to be able to edit video and that add to the tons of options that the software already had.
We all have tasks to do in our day to day, and often we forget or have them constantly in our heads for not writing them down somewhere. Todoist is the perfect tool for this. It is a cross-platform task management application with lots of possibilities.
Thanks to it, you can access your tasks from any Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Windows thanks to its native apps or from any other device that has a web browser.
Todoist offers a free version sufficient for many cases and a paid version with an annual subscription for those who need to access the most advanced features.
We all, at some point, need to organize our thoughts, and for this task, mind maps are a great help. In this field, there is no better application for Mac than MindNode. The program will make it very easy for you to start working with this type of organization tool if you are not used to it and will take you by the hand until you learn to get the most out of them.
MindNode can generate innovative mind maps from a simple bullet list, and then you can edit it manually as much as you need. You can create different nodes, edit the icons assigned to each map level, use images, etc. In addition, it offers compatibility and synchronization with the iOS versions of the app, so you can always access the maps wherever you are.
Fantastical 2 is another app that will help you be more organized and productive. Thanks to it, the management of the calendar will be much simpler and more comfortable. It offers synchronization with Google Calendar, Yahoo, or iCloud calendars and, of course, version for iOS devices.
Among its features, you will find some as valuable as the introduction of natural language citations, a powerful search option, a very well-designed user interface, etc …
The Notion is one of those services that you realize the enormous potential and how useful it can be for day-to-day after starting to use them. It is difficult to explain the service’s functionality since it can be a complete all-in-one that can perfectly replace applications for managing tasks, notes, calendars, databases.
Since it is possible to access from many different sites, this application or service will allow you to organize all kinds of information to keep it unified and insightful. You can, for example, create a “note” and then vitaminize it with different blocks of a bunch of types: tables, kanban boards, calendars, databases, headers, columns.
The learning curve of the application can be somewhat complex. Still, it has an extensive help section (created with the tool) that explains its operation in a very detailed way. Turn Notion into your information center, and you will see how you get a lot out of it in a short 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 users of the service, 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.
Photoshop is available for Mac, but if you need such software and don’t want to buy a license of adobe’s tool, Pixelmator is a very, very good option.
The photo editing software offers practically all its competition features and integrates perfectly with our Macs.
As if that were not enough, it has recently been updated. It now also incorporates extensions for macOS, so it is possible to use the editing options directly from other apps such as, for example, Photos. In addition, there is also a Pro version that includes even more functions than the standard version, so you will indeed find in some of them everything you need.
Final Cut Pro
Do you need to edit the video professionally? Then Final Cut Pro is for you. It is the video editing tool of choice for many video professionals, from film studio staff to wedding videographers or YouTubers.
The software has been rewritten from scratch recently to offer better performance, which made some users show their discomfort with the disappearance of some options. However, since then, Apple has continued to work, improving the tool, and currently, its acceptance is increasing for its enormous possibilities and its simple interface.
There was a time when Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture were the only worthy options for editing and classifying photos, but nowadays, the possibilities are much greater.
Affinity Photo is one of these options. A photo development and retouching software are full of useful functions for any user: from the most experienced professional photographer to the one starting in the beautiful world of photography.
It accepts Photoshop files, offers support for RAW files from most cameras on the market, and of course, offers layered work. In addition, it is developed from scratch thinking about Mac, so it uses all the native technologies developed by Apple. The performance of the software is much higher than other similar apps.
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.
It is possible that on some occasions, you have connected a Pendrive on a Windows computer, and you have come across a . DS_Store or similar. These temporary files are created by OS X internally, and when you extract a drive and then use it on another computer, you can find them.
OptimUSB is a software developed by Diego Arraez, which allows you to avoid this type of file. Its operation is simple when you want to remove a drive from your computer (a Pendrive or a portable hard drive), you have to use the app, and before disconnecting, it will clean these files thoroughly.
Capto is software that has just arrived on the market, and that is causing delicious sensations. Thanks to it, you can make a recording of everything that happens on the screen of your Mac. Once captured, you can use the tool to edit the images or make videos quickly and easily.
It offers a complete file manager, the possibility to share the final results of our works, make screenshots, etc.
It is easy for you to save duplicate files on your Mac over time. This causes the hard drive or SSD memory to fill up, unnecessary since you have the same file several times. Gemini 2 is designed to avoid this problem.
The software can analyze all the files on the hard drive or SSD drive and determine if any are duplicated or very similar. Once identified, it offers a summary with the files and storage space that could be recovered, giving you the possibility to delete duplicates to recover those MB or GB so valuable, especially in the case of MacBooks.
Magnet is one of those straightforward applications, but it offers functionality that can quickly become essential for many users. If you usually work with several apps at once and need to see them at the same time, you will be tired of modifying the size of their windows, right?
With Magnet, this is over since you can place them in the way that best suits your needs through several methods: drag, keyboard shortcuts, and also from an icon in the menu bar. You can make the window of an app occupy half of the screen (horizontal or vertical), a quarter, thirds, etc. Make window management much more convenient on Mac.
All Macs can compress and unzip some file types natively through Finder, but it’s easy to come up with some files that macOS can’t work with. Files .rar, .7z, .tar, etc, etc… For these situations, The Unarchiver is an option to consider for several reasons.
The first reason is that it is an application to compress/decompress available in the Mac App Store, facilitating its installation, updating, and offering an additional guarantee. The second reason is that it is entirely free.
In recent years I have tried a lot of email clients for Mac, and if I had to choose one as the best, I would stay with Airmail 5. It has all the functions that a good email client should have and is compatible with practically all commercial mail services and, of course, with protocols such as POP and IMAP.
Unified inbox, quick response, multi-touch gestures to be more productive, possibilities to schedule the sending of emails, reminders, and many more functions are present in the application. Also noteworthy is the user interface design, very clear and easy to understand.
There are many video players for Mac, but certainly one of the best is VLC. It is an open-source application available on many platforms, including macOS, completely free of charge.
Thanks to this application, you can forget to install codecs since VLC dares with practically all audio and video formats. In addition, it also has additional functions such as IPTV playback, the possibility to insert and edit subtitles, repair video files, etc …
Little Snitch is one of those Mac programs you could live without, but when you try it, you don’t want to get rid of it anymore because of its vast potential. It is a firewall with a friendly and easy-to-use interface with which you can keep an eye on all the connections made by your computer.
Thanks to this application, you will know which applications you have installed are sending traffic over the Internet and block those that you do not want to send data for any reason. In addition, it can be beneficial to detect the spyware or any other type of malware that may be installed on your computer.
Evernote is presented as a notes application, but it is much more, and thanks to all its features, it could end up becoming an “extension” of your brain (hence the elephant of the app icon). The idea behind Evernote is that you can save any information within the app and, most importantly, retrieve it quickly and quickly.
To achieve this, the tool has a powerful search engine that not only allows you to search within the text written in a note, but you can also do it within PDF files and other formats (these files can be attached within the notes). In addition, it has further advanced and automatic functions such as related notes, which shows at the end of a note others that could be related.
But that’s not all. Within the notes, you can insert tables, different text forms, links to other internal notes, create notebooks to organize all the information, labels, reminders, checklists, etc. Of course, all this information is kept synchronized in the cloud and accessible from the Mac where you install the application and has an app for mobile devices and even a very accessible web version.
The service can be used for free, although it is true that if you want to make the most of the app’s advanced features, you will have to hire one of the subscriptions it offers.
ChatMate for WhatsApp
WhatsApp is the most widely used instant messaging service in the world. It is not the one that has the best app, but it is undoubtedly the one with the most significant number of users, and that is something that is a service of this type makes it the best possible option since the chances of all your contacts being in it are higher.
With ChatMate, you can use WhatsApp’s web version in a wholly dedicated application with a series of extra functions that make it very interesting. Unlike the standard web version of the service, with ChatMate, you will not be obliged to have an open tab of your browser, but it will be a completely independent application.
You will be able to use all the native functions of the WhatsApp Web, such as sending and receiving messages, files, blocking users, creating or managing groups, etc. In addition, you will also have functions such as a do not disturb mode that you can activate whenever you want, customize notifications, activate the dark mode, etc.
If you need to always be available on WhatsApp and you want everything to be more comfortable, do not hesitate to give this app a try.
FaceTime is a perfect option for private and small group video shows, but if you need something more complete to have chats with many people, Zoom may be one of the best options available today. It is true that in the past, it has had specific security and stability problems. Still, with the covid19 and the change in communication needs, those responsible for the service have put the batteries, and today it is one of the most used platforms in this field.
Possibility of making video calls with up to 100 people, screen recording, the possibility of sharing what several members of the conversation see on their screens, different audio and video settings. And all this with the free version of the app. A “must” if you need to hold regular meetings with different groups of people.
Telegram is one of the main competitors of WhatsApp, although to be honest, it lacks something significant. This user base uses it daily to maintain contact with friends and family, as with its main competing app. Despite this, I have decided to include Telegram in this list of best applications for Mac, thanks to the number of communities that have been created within the service.
If you are interested and want to find other people who share it, it is very likely that in Telegram, you can find channels in which hundreds or even thousands of people are talking about it. For me, this is one of its most significant advantages over WhatsApp and other messaging services, but it is not the only one.
Telegram is a complete service that you can use in countless different ways and does not need to be associated with a phone number to work. You can create bots that send you messages when a sure thing happens. You can use the service to exchange files with your friends (the files are kept forever on their servers, so you can download them whenever you need them). You can also use it to send messages that self-de-destroy after a while, and, of course, you can use the service to chat with anyone who is a user.
In short, this app is a complete substitute for the Finder. Because, let’s face it, Finder is great to start with, but as soon as you need features that go outside the basics, the native macOS file manager quickly falls short.
The forkLift is an application that responds to different requests Mac users have had for a long time. One of the main ones is a double panel to work with the files stored in the computer’s internal storage or external devices (USB sticks, hard drives, or cloud drives). Thanks to this function, it is straightforward to move files between drives or folders, compare the contents of two different paths, etc.
But this is not the only useful feature of ForkLift. It also offers a powerful function to rename multiple files simultaneously using patterns, FTP client, and possibilities to connect to cloud services such as Amazon S3, Backblaze B2, Google Drive, etc.
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 in the comments section below.