Have you just got a new Apple Mac Mac OS (OS X) machine, and you want to know what at the top Mac OS apps to install? Or maybe you've had a Apple Mac for a while but wondering what you are missing out on? Well, this guide covers almost everything you would need to do on an OS X Mac (Mac OS)!
I have listed the most important ones first - they are (mostly) free, completely awesome and really useful.
Last updated: 13 Sept 2018
Got a suggestion? Or want to add your product? !
Please if you have any suggestions for best Mac OS apps! I haven't included any of the default apps that come with Mac OS.
All of these apps are actually used by me. Whenever I get a new machine I actually come to this page and download everything! And every so often I go through my apps and see if I regularly use anything that isn't on this list and I update it.
Please email me with your suggestions - but I tend to stick with the apps that I have and already use!
BTW, as of Sept 2018 I have never accepted any payment for any app that was included on this list, and I've not used any affiliate links. There are a couple of Google ads on here but that is just to cover the tiny hosting and domain fees.
Mac OS X App Categories
The Unarchiver is a small and easy to use program that can unarchive many different kinds of archive files. It will open common formats such as Zip, RAR, 7-zip, Tar, Gzip, and Bzip2. It will also open many older formats, such as StuffIt, DiskDoubler, LZH, ARJ, and ARC. It will even open other kinds of files, like ISO and BIN disc images, some Windows .EXE installers. The list is actually much longer - see the program homepage for the full list.
The Unarchiver also tries to detect and correctly handle the filename encoding in the archives it opens, allowing you to open files from every part of the world without getting garbled filenames.
The Unarchiver aims to be the only unarchiving program you will ever need and to stay out of your way.
VLC 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.
It will play almost any kind of video file you throw at it - handy when iTunes or Quicktime Player give you issues!
Amphetamine is a little app that lives in your menu bar. With Amphetamine, you can effortlessly override your energy saver settings and keep your Mac awake.
- Keep your Mac (and optionally its display and drives) awake
- Choose from numerous activation time presets, or enter your own
- Activate/deactivate with a single click in the menu bar
- Use global hotkeys for activation/deactivation
- Allow/prevent screen saver
- and more
Every time you copy text, Flycut stores it in history. Later you can paste it using Shift-Command-V even if you have something different in your current clipboard. You can change hotkey and other settings in preferences.
I use this app most days - it sits at the top of your screen, you click its icon and you can see a full month's calendar. Don't let the name trick you: it doesn't add an extra day to the year.
I've actually been using it since the previous version, however that isn't available on the Mac App Store anymore. If you often finding yourself wanting a quick overview of the current month then this is useful - just click the icon at the top of your screen and a calendar (along with your events) appear. It is a bit pricey at on the Mac App store but it gets quite a bit of usage from me. It is also available for sale on their website.
An (older) alternative to Amphetamine (see above). Caffeine is a tiny program that puts an icon in the right side of your menu bar. Click it to prevent your Mac from automatically going to sleep, dimming the screen or starting screen savers. Click it again to go back. Right-click (or ⌘-click) the icon to show the menu.
You might not need it right now, but it can be super handy when you do realise you need it! .
Get to all your files from anywhere, on any device, and share them with anyone. Dropbox lets you sync your files between all your computers and devices. Highly recommended.
Alfred is an award-winning app for Mac OS X which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys and keywords. Search your Mac and the web effortlessly, and control your Mac using customised actions with the Powerpack.
BetterTouchTool is a great, feature-packed app that allows you to configure many gestures for your Magic Mouse, MacBook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad and also Mouse Gestures for normal mice. It also allows you to configure actions for keyboard shortcuts, normal mice buttons, and the Apple Remote. In addition to this it has an iOS companion App (BTT Remote) which can also be configured to control your Mac the way you want.
As soon as you’re connected to the Internet, applications can potentially send whatever information they want to wherever they want. Sometimes they do this for good reason, on your explicit request. But often they don’t. Little Snitch intercepts these unwanted connection attempts and lets you decide how to proceed.
Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow?
Or wake up ready to write down the Next Great Idea, and get blinded by your computer screen?
During the day, computer screens look good—they're designed to look like the sun. But, at 9 PM, 10 PM, or 3 AM, you probably shouldn't be looking at the sun.
f.lux fixes this: it makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.
It's even possible that you're staying up too late because of your computer. You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better, or you could just use it just because it makes your computer look better.
Have you ever forgotten a password?
1Password creates strong, unique passwords for all of your sites and logs you in with a single tap. It's simple, convenient security. You can also sync between devices
Bartender 2 lets you organize your menu bar apps, by hiding them, rearranging them, or moving them to the Bartender Bar.
You can display the full menu bar, set options to have menu bar items show in the menu bar when they have updated, or have them always visible in the Bartender Bar.
There are many ways to configure Bartender as you wish.
Give it a go and find out.
A simple Mac app designed to make uploading images and screenshots to Imgur quick and effortless, as recommended by someone on Reddit.
The application will listen for new screenshots taken by the built-in screenshot functionality of OS X. In addition, images can be uploaded manually by either dragging and dropping an image on the status bar icon or clicking the 'Select images' option in the status bar menu.
As soon as an image is uploaded, the link is copied to your clipboard and a notification pops up.
Itsycal is a tiny calendar for your Mac's menu bar.
If you want, it will display your calendar events as a companion to the Mac Calendar app. You can also create and delete (but not edit) events.
aText accelerates your typing by replacing abbreviations with frequently used phrases you define.
E.g. make an abbreviation “myname” to insert your name “First Middle Last” in any application.
With aText you can easily avoid typing the same thing over and over.
Over 14 million people use Pocket to easily save articles, videos and more for later. With Pocket, all of your content goes to one place, so you can view it anytime, on any device. You can even read articles offline, making Pocket indispensable for subway commutes, flights, or anywhere else you find yourself without mobile data or Wi-Fi.
Save articles, videos, recipes, and web pages you find online or from your favorite apps.
If it’s in Pocket, it’s on your phone, tablet or computer, even when you’re offline. Perfect for commutes, traveling, and curling up on your couch.
Using iStat Menus you can instantly see stats about your MacBook, MacMini or other Mac OS App - such as hard drive space, temperature, wifi stats, world time, and more.
Curb is designed to facilitate emptying the trash from removable media such as USB Keys.
When files are deleted on removable media, it is stored in a special trash folder on the media. These files take up room, robbing your drive of free space. Ordinarily to remove these files the user must empty their own trash, which includes files you’ve deleted on the local system. This is not always desirable.
With Curb, emptying trash from a USB key becomes as easy as drag and drop. Drop any number of mounted USB keys onto Curb and each one will have the trash removed, all without losing your local trash.
Getting your laptop or your phone stolen sucks, but there is something you can do about it. Prey is a lightweight theft protection software that lets you keep an eye over them whether in town or abroad, and helps you recover them if ever lost or stolen.
After installing the software on your laptop, tablet or phone, Prey will sleep silently in the background awaiting your command. Once remotely triggered from your Prey account, your device will gather and deliver detailed evidence back to you, including a picture of who's using it – often the crucial piece of data that police officers need to take action.
Think Mac OS X's Spotlight could use some help, especially when searching for text files? Download EasyFind, an alternative to (or supplement of) Spotlight and find files, folders, or contents in any file without indexing. EasyFind is especially useful for those tired of slow or impossible indexing, outdated or corrupted indices, or those just looking for features missing in the Finder or Spotlight.
Dr. Cleaner is the #1 free Mac cleaning App around the world! It is the ONLY free App that offers Memory Optimization, Disk Cleaning and Big Files Scanner to help you free your hard disk and speed up your Mac.
Disk Inventory X is a disk usage utility for Mac OS X 10.3 (and later). It shows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called 'treemaps'
If you've ever wondered where all your disk space has gone, Disk Inventory X will help you to answer this question.
AppCleaner is a small application which allows you to thoroughly uninstall unwanted apps.
Installing an application distributes many files throughout your System using space of your Hard Drive unnecessarily.
AppCleaner finds all these small files and safely deletes them.
Simply drop an application onto the AppCleaner window. It will find for the related files and you can delete them by clicking the delete button.
Data Rescue is hard drive recovery software that can recover your photos, videos, documents from crashed, corrupted or non-mounting hard drives, accidentally reformatted hard drive or reinstalled OS, or previous deletion, damaged or missing files.
Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.
The new OmniFocus 2 features everything you need to seriously get stuff done:
• Clarify your goals as Projects, and break them down into manageable Actions.
• Assign Contexts — the place you need to be, the person you need to contact, or even a state of mind — to Actions and Projects
• Track essential details on everything, including dates, notes, and file attachments
• Keep it all at your fingertips by syncing with OmniFocus for iPad and OmniFocus for iPhone
From short lists to lengthy research, no matter what form your writing takes, Evernote keeps you focused on moving those ideas from inspiration to completion.
Things is a delightful and easy to use task manager. You'll get started in no time, entering and organizing your to-dos. You'll discover how Things truly makes you more productive. And soon you'll realize that achieving your goals comes more naturally – one to-do at a time.
Clear is an app that'll let you organise your life, with its clever system of getting you to do your tasks/reminders.
I used to use it a lot, but recently I've made the switch to using paper and pen. But I still think this app is worth a mention.
With Numbers for Mac, sophisticated spreadsheets are just the start. The whole sheet is your canvas. Just add dramatic interactive charts, tables, and images that paint a revealing picture of your data. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And work effortlessly with people who use Microsoft Excel. Updated for OS X El Capitan, Numbers is now more powerful than ever.
Pages for Mac is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully. Redesigned for OS X El Capitan, it lets you work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And even work effortlessly with people who use Microsoft Word.
Keynote for Mac makes it simple to create and deliver beautiful presentations. Updated for OS X El Capitan, Keynote employs powerful tools and dazzling effects that bring your ideas to life. You can work seamlessly between Mac and iOS devices. And work effortlessly with people who use Microsoft PowerPoint.
Open text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings created in a large number of applications like OpenOffice, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Visio, WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Lotus 1-2-3, AutoCAD. Even documents created in old and historical applications such as MacWrite and ClarisWorks
Unmistakably Office, designed for Mac. Get started quickly with new, modern versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote—combining the familiarity of Office and the unique Mac features you love.
Airmail was designed from the ground UP to retain the same experience with a single or multiple accounts and provide a quick, modern and easy-to-use user experience. Airmail is clean and allows you to get to your emails without interruption - it's the mail client for the 21st century.
Simplenote is an easy way to keep notes, lists, ideas and more. Your notes stay in sync with all your devices for free.
The Simplenote experience is all about speed and efficiency. Open it, write some thoughts, and you're done. As your collection of notes grows, you can search them instantly and keep them organized with tags and pins. You can also share notes and publish them for other people.
The best way to learn about Simplenote is to try it. You'll be asked to create an account. This allows your notes to be backed up online and synchronized automatically.
The #1 Desktop Blog Editor for the Mac - The best way to write, preview, and publish your blog. Works with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, TypePad, Movable Type and dozens more through standard MetaWeblog and AtomPub interfaces. Work offline with local drafts on your Mac, preview the formatting and content of your posts, and publish when you're ready to share with the world. Easily browse for a photo from your iPhoto, Aperture, or Lightroom libraries, and embed it for automatic upload with your blog post. Perfect for professional bloggers and casual writers who don't want to mess around with clunky web-based interfaces. If you're lucky enough to have a Mac, nothing is more powerful or more elegant than MarsEdit.
Do you blog on Tumblr? Then you should get the Tumblr app. It lets you post to Tumblr from almost anywhere on your Mac. If a window has a share button, you can share the things in that window to Tumblr. Got a photo lying around on your desktop? Throw it right onto your blog with a couple of mouse clicks.
It’s also a browser that goes to Tumblr and only to Tumblr.
Enhance and perfect your photography anywhere.
With Lightroom, your photography goes where you go. Organize, edit and share your photos from anywhere.
Your photos don’t always match the scene the way you remember it. But with Lightroom, you have all the tools you need to bring out the best in your photography. Punch up colors, make dull-looking shots vibrant, remove distracting objects and straighten skewed shots. Plus, the latest release includes powerful new ways to adjust atmospheric haze, create incredible HDR images and panoramas, import and edit faster and so much more.
The world’s best imaging and design toolset now brings you even more creative possibilities, connecting your desktop and mobile apps with all your creative assets so you can make amazing visual content on any device or screen.
Pixelmator takes full advantage of the latest Mac technologies, giving you speedy, powerful tools that let you touch up and enhance images, draw or paint, apply dazzling effects, or create advanced compositions amazingly simple. Once your images are ready, access them anywhere with iCloud, send them to iPhoto or Aperture, email, print, share, or save them to popular image formats–all right from Pixelmator.
RawTherapee is a powerful graphics editor. for fine-tuning your images. Check it out - it's completely free.
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
See something that sparks an idea? Use Skitch to snap it, mark it up, and send it on in an instant. Your bold ideas stand out even brighter with Skitch.
GIF Brewery is the best video to GIF creator on Mac OS X. GIF Brewery lets you convert clips from your video files to GIFs. There is no more need for extracting frames from your movies and fiddling with Adobe Photoshop. Let GIF Brewery do all the hard work for you.
HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs.
Reasons you’ll love HandBrake:
Convert video from nearly any format
Free and Open Source
Multi-Platform (Windows, Mac and Linux)
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 that you can edit at resolutions up to 4K. You can even 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.
A (very) tiny BitTorrent client - µTorrent is a little over 1 MB (smaller than a digital photo!). It installs ultra-fast and will never hog your valuable system resources. Download your files as quickly and efficiently as possible without slowing down your other online activities.
Transmission is a cross-platform BitTorrent client that is designed for easy, powerful use
Safari is faster and more energy efficient than other browsers, so sites are more responsive and your notebook battery lasts longer between charges. Built-in privacy features help keep your browsing your business. Handy tools help you save, find, and share your favorites. And Safari works with iCloud to let you browse seamlessly across all your devices.
Firefox, from Mozilla is a free web browser for all platforms including OS X. It has plenty of extensions and plugins to do so much more than just web browsing
Chrome, from Google, is a fast browser that is very popular on OS X. It also has plenty of extensions you can install that can give a wide range of extra functionality
Adium is a free instant messaging application for Mac OS X that can connect to AIM, MSN, XMPP (Jabber), Yahoo, and more.
It is Skype. Everyone knows what Skype is, right? It is free to use (for some features), almost everyone has it. Useful for making international fees as the prices are much cheaper than calling through your normal phone.
Now in 2018 I've switched (I always used to use Sophos Anti Virus) and only use AVG for Mac. It is quick, doesn't hog resources and once or twice has popped up with alerts. Better safe than sorry. I'll also list a couple of alternatives.
As Apple products grow in popularity, they have become attractive targets for cybercriminals. Yes, Macs can be infected by a growing number of viruses and other malware. Sophos' free Antivirus for Mac keeps you safe from all the latest Mac threats detected by SophosLabs.
Full Mac protection from viruses, Trojans and worms
Stops all threats, even those designed for Windows. Not only is your computer safe—the people running PCs you send files to are safe from threats too.
Removes adware and malware, Revives your Mac
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.
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 Spotify surprise you.
You can also browse through the music collections of friends, artists and celebrities, or create a radio station and just sit back.
Soundtrack your life with Spotify. Subscribe or listen for free.
Xee is a streamlined and convenient image viewer and browser. It is similar to Mac OS X's Preview.app, but lets you easily browse the entire contents of folders and archives, move and copy image files quickly, and supports many more image formats. It also shows animation for formats which support this.
It is designed to take full advantage of touch controls, allowing you to swipe through images in a folder one by one. You can of course also zoom and rotate files using multi-touch gestures.
Xee can also display huge amounts of metadata from image files. Loading images directly from archive files is also possible, and Xee works very well as a comic book reader.
BTW you can find the older, open source versions on Github.
A super handy tool when using Finder and you want to open a terminal window to the current directory. Install this app, drag it to a finder window (instructions on the app page), and you always have a button in your finder windows to click and open a terminal window in that directory
Version control with Git - made easy, in a beautiful, efficient, and powerful app.
A free Git & Mercurial client for Windows or Mac.
Say goodbye to the command line – use the full capability of Git and Mercurial in the SourceTree desktop app. Manage all your repositories, hosted or local, through SourceTree's simple interface.
Simplify DVCS for your team. SourceTree can bring everyone up to speed with Git and Mercurial. Create, clone, commit, push, pull, merge, and more are all just a click away.
Homebrew is a package manager for OS X.
This is the complete Xcode developer toolset for building apps that run on Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It includes the Xcode IDE, simulators, and all the required tools and frameworks to build apps for iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and OS X.
Instant search and offline access to any API documentation you may need.
Dash is an API Documentation Browser and Code Snippet Manager. Dash helps you store snippets of code, as well as instantly search and browse documentation for almost any API you might use
Price: Free to try, .99
XAMPP is the most popular PHP development environment
XAMPP is a completely free, easy to install Apache distribution containing MariaDB, PHP, and Perl. The XAMPP open source package has been set up to be incredibly easy to install and to use.
Text Wrangler is a general-purpose text editor for light-duty composition, data-file editing (where the data files consist of plain [unstyled] text), and manipulation of text-oriented data. TextWrangler supports working with both plain-text and Unicode files (with the exception of files written using right-to-left writing systems, such as Hebrew or Arabic).
BBEdit a professional HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides an abundance of high-performance features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text. An intelligent interface provides easy access to BBEdit’s best-of-class features, including grep pattern matching, search and replace across multiple files, project definition tools, function navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages, code folding, FTP and SFTP open and save, AppleScript, Mac OS X Unix scripting support, text and code completion, and of course a complete set of robust HTML markup tools.
Coda is everything you need to hand-code a website, in one beautiful app. A fast, clean, and powerful text editor. Pixel-perfect preview. A built-in way to open and manage your local and remote files. And maybe a dash of SSH. Say hello, Coda.
Sublime Text is a sophisticated text editor for code, markup and prose. You'll love the slick user interface, extraordinary features and amazing performance.
Atom is a text editor that's modern, approachable, yet hackable to the core—a tool you can customize to do anything but also use productively without ever touching a config file. Available for OS X, Windows and Linux, it has many cool features like a built-in package manager, smart autocompletion, support for themes and is completely customizable.
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