I remember very vividly the experience of opening and setting up my first Mac – a 2006 MacBook Pro! She was a beauty – a real beast of a notebook that would mark my transition away from Windows and change the way I think about computers forever.
As with many people who get a new Mac, my first thoughts were about what sorts of programs I could get for my new MacBook. Sure, Apple’s built-in apps are great – but I wanted something more. For those of you in the same boat, I’ve put together a list of ten of my favorite Mac apps.
1. 1Password ($49.99, Mac App Store)
There are very few apps that I’ve found more useful than 1Password – it does a great job of remembering all of my passwords. It can also help you create secure passwords, which can really come in handy (especially when it does all the remembering for you)! It also integrates with a companion app for iPhone and iPad, so you have all your data no matter which device you are using.
Besides remembering all of your passwords and logins, 1Password can also store your credit card info, as well as your contact information, and can use that info to automatically fill out forms, making signing up for websites or making online purchases a much faster and easier process. It also encrypts and stores all of your information securely, and syncs through Dropbox, so you always have access to your password database.
1Password is a little bit pricy, but definitely worth it in my book.
2. Alfred (Free, Mac App Store)
Alfred is the ultimate productivity app, designed to make is easier to launch apps, and search both your computer and the web. It can also help you quickly perform certain tasks, like emptying the Trash, performing a quick math problem, starting or stopping iTunes playback, and more!
I use Alfred on a daily basis, and would have a hard time getting along without it.
3. Fantastical ($9.99, Mac App Store)
Fantastical gives you a simple and efficient new way to interact with the Calendar app in OS X. You can create appointments by typing them in natural language, such as “Meet with Jim at Starbucks on Friday at 3 PM,” and Fantastical takes care of it! It can also create reminders for you.
Besides making it quick and easy to schedule things, Fantastical also makes it easy to quickly glance at your schedule. Just tap on the menu bar icon, and you’ll be presented with a full list of things you have scheduled for the entire month!
4. Found (Free, Mac App Store)
Apple’s own Finder built into OS X is certainly capable of finding files on your Mac, but Found takes things to a whole new level – it’s like Finder on steroids! Found offers a lightning-fast search experience that not only finds files on your Mac – it can also search Dropbox, Gmail (including attachments), Google Drive and Google Docs. And it does all of this nearly instantly!
Even better, Found hides in your Mac’s menu bar, so it stays out of your way when you don’t need it, and can be called up in a moment’s notice by using a keyboard shortcut. Best of all, Found is absolutely free!
5. CoBook (Free, Mac App Store)
What Fantastical does for your calendar, CoBook does for your contacts! CoBook calls itself the “smart address book for your Mac,” and I’ve found that designation to be quite true.
CoBook enables you to quickly find, add, or edit contacts. It can also import and update your contacts using Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and allows you to tag your contacts to make it easier to organize them and find them more quickly. CoBook is also absolutely free!
6. Dropbox (Free, Dropbox.com)
If you’re in need of a convenient place to store your files that you can access from anywhere, look no further than Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with 2GB of free space to store anything you like.
The free Dropbox Mac App can sync that content with your Mac, and you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection using Dropbox.com. You can also earn free space by telling your friends about Dropbox, or pay a monthly fee for additional storage. You can also access all of your files from your iPhone or iPad using Dropbox for iOS.
There are also many useful plugins available for Dropbox, such as MacDropAny, which lets you sync any folder on your Mac with your Dropbox account.
7. Clocks ($2.99, Mac App Store)
If you deal with people in other time zones, Clocks is an essential. Clocks is a neat and tidy little app that lives in your menu bar, and shows you what time it is in other places. You can create a list of cities, and see what time it is in all of them with a single click.
Clocks also supports both AM/PM and 24-hour time modes. You can also rename cities to titles of your choosing – such as naming a location after a friend or family member who lives there.
8. iWork ($19.99 Each, Mac App Store)
For those times when you need to get work done, Apple offers a great set of office apps that rival Microsoft Office – and in my opinion, are much more effective and easy to use. There are three different applications in the iWork suite, each of which are available separately:
- Pages – Word processor
- Numbers – Spreadsheets
- Keynote – a PowerPoint-like tool for creating presentations
9. BetterSnapTool ($1.99, Mac App Store)
BetterSnapTool is a fantastic utility for managing windows on your Mac. By dragging apps to the sides or corners of your monitor, you can automatically maximize or resize them. Run two apps split-screen, optimize windows sizes for a larger display, and more! You can even create your own custom snap areas anywhere on your display!
You can also use custom keyboard shortcuts to move and resize your windows. There’s also a free version available outside of the Mac App Store called BetterTouchTool – but in the name of condensing my apps on the Mac App Store (and supporting the developer), I prefer grabbing BetterSnapTool.
10/11. Adium and Trillian
Aside from Apple’s own iMessage/Messages for Mac apps, I prefer using a third-party instant messaging app, and both Adium and Trillian are great alternatives to Apple’s own offerings. They support a broader range of instant messaging services, and have a lot more features.
I highly recommend trying both to find out which you prefer!
We hope you find our recommendations useful. Did we miss your favorite app? Do you disagree with our choices? Sound off in the comments!