It’s been 2 years that I have been using Macintosh now, and I find it better and more consolidated than Windows. It was a little difficult to use it in the start, but now I am more comfortable than I was with Windows. There are many great apps from Apple and other third-party developers, that make it the best OS, and most of them don’t even have a Windows alternative.
In this article I have covered the 21 best apps for Mac OS. If you have any other app which you would like to be included in this list, do let us know in the comments.
1. VLC (Free)
VLC is the best media player for playing video files and is available both for Windows and Macintosh operating system. I have nothing against QuickTime, but its limited support for formats make me choose VLC over it. Moreover, VLC can download subtitles too.
2. Google Chrome (Free)
Available for almost every platform, Google Chrome is the browser of my choice. The stock browser, Apple Safari, is good if you want to use the same on all your devices (provided an app for them exists), or you don’t want cross-synching of your bookmarks, passwords and the sites you visit. Since I use many devices for surfing the web, I love the Chrome’s sync functionality, and hundreds of extensions built for it.
3. Apple Safari (Free)
I am a huge fan of Chrome since its launch. But after buying Macbook I had to switch to Safari. The reason was the slow responsiveness of Chrome on my Macbook and it also proved to be a battery hog. As a result, I was on a lookout to find a better browser, and Safari came out with flying colours. It is fast, responsive and makes my laptop stay awake for long, much longer when compared to Chrome. There are certainly many features and extensions you will miss, but if you are a normal laptop user, you will have a better experience. You can follow our guide on syncing your bookmarks across browsers, incase you plan to use both Safari and Chrome. Apple Safari comes bundled with Mac.
4. Caffeine (Free)
A very simple and small utility that keeps your Mac awake. Caffeine adds a little icon in the menu bar, that when activated, prevents your Mac from sleeping or dimming the screen. This application is helpful when you are downloading something from the internet or updating your Mac. This app is also useful when you are doing some work that needs a lot of thinking and your Mac keeps on dimming the screen.
5. Evernote (Free)
The Notes app that ships with the Macintosh, is not built for today’s world. It lacks many useful features that the other third party apps provide. Also, it is available only on Apple devices. You can use the web interface to open notes on any device, but there is no native apps for non Mac platforms.
From all the notes taking app available for Mac, Evernote is the best one. Evernote lets you combine multiple notes together into a Notebook and you can ever tag your notes. All the notes are synced to the cloud, and you can view and edit your notes from the cloud. One more advantage of using Evernote for note taking is that it has official apps for most of the deviced and operating systems. Moreover, there are many good unofficial apps that utilize Evernote’s cloud capabilities, and provide a lot of different features.
6. Simplenote (Free)
If Evernote is too heavy for you and you want a slimmer version of it, then you can use Simplenote. It is a simple note taking app available for iOS, Android, Mac and Windows (with Pokki). It also has a web version for devices that don’t have native app available.
Simplenote is a great note taking application with a powerful search. You can search for any word/phrase within your notes to find that note. Moreover, you can also tag your notes to organise them in a better way.
7. f.lux (Free)
f.lux is for all those people who have to work on their Mac machines late at night, or in dim or no light. During these times, the screen of your Mac may appear very bright and can cause huge damage to your eyes. f.lux is a free app available both for Windows and Mac, that adjusts the colours of the screen according to the time of the day. It takes your location into account and makes the colours warmer at night and brighter during the day. It is a must have app for all those people who use their system in low light ambience.
8. NameChanger (Free)
The application does exactly what the name says, it changes the file names, but not like the usual file name of individual files.
NameChanger changes the file name of multiple files in bulk, like adding a string to thousands of image files can be done in a matter of seconds. The application also shows you live preview of what the file names will be, and that too as soon as you type.
9. AppCleaner (Free)
Most people will tell you that you can uninstall apps from your Mac device by just deleting them from the applications folder. This method is acceptable upto a certain limit, but you must not resort to it if you regularly uninstall and delete apps.
This is because the applications you install creates files and folders outside the Applications folder also. And deleting the app from the Applications folder will delete only the files in that folder and leaves the other files.
AppCleaner lists all the applications on your Macintosh, and lets you choose the once you want to uninstall. After you choose the apps, it searches for all the files that the selected apps have created, and then deletes all of them. Doing this leaves no unnecessary files on your Mac device and you get all the used space back.
10. Time Machine (Free)
Time Machine is really a very impressive app built into Macintosh. There is no app for Windows that comes closer to Time Machine for taking backups, neither from Microsoft, nor from any third-party developer. If you want to keep a backup of all your data and your Mac OS, then just enable Time Machine, and it will take care of the rest. You can even change the Time Machine backup schedule if you want.
Having your Mac backed up with Time Machine also saves you from having a paid subscription of any cloud storage. Cloud storage services are much more secure and you don’t have to buy and keep any hardware for that, but if you can protect your backup drive, then there is no reason I can think of it being insecure. If you still want to use cloud storage for your backups, then CrashPlan is your best bet.
11. Pocket (Free)
Pocket is a free application that can download webpages on your Mac device and saves them for offline reading. It also removes the formatting of the web pages and displays them in a very easy to read format. The app is available for all the major platforms except windows, a Chrome app can be used though.
RAR Extractor Free is a free application that can extract ZIP, RAR, Tar and files with various other formats. The reason why I love this app is because it automatically extracts the contents of the file when you double-click on any archive with supported format. What’s more, it can automatically delete the archive once extracted, and can also open the folder containing the extracted files.
In short, this app can extract all the files into a folder with the same name of the archive, delete the archive to save disk space, and can also open the folder containing the extracted files if you specify it in the settings.
You also have the flexibility to specify the location where you want the files to be extracted, on desktop, or at some other location.
13. Lightshot Screenshot (Free)
It is the lightest screen capturing application on Mac OS. Very simple and with not too many options, the application is perfect for taking screenshots of anything on your computer screen.
This app is not for taking professional screenshots. It is the most basic app that just takes the screenshot of your Macintosh device’s screen.
14. AntiRSI ($6)
If you work on the system for long hours, AntiRSI is a must have app for you. According to doctors, you must take regular breaks after every 20 minutes or so while sitting in front of the system. AntiRSI blocks the input devices after every 15 minutes (customizable) for 20 seconds (customizable). During this time, you can look away from the screen and save your eyes from the negative effects of using computer devices for long durations.
If you use your laptop continuously for a long duration, then your eyes are likely to get affected with the prolonged use. According to doctors, you can prevent this by taking regular breaks after every 20 seconds or so. This prevents your eyes from the bad effects that are associated with continuous use of laptops.
AntiRSI is an application which reminds you to take breaks after a set interval. You can customise both the work and break interval duration. Not just this, AntiRSI can also block your input devices, which forces you to leave your Mac and take the rest break.
Taking a 20 seconds break after every 20 minutes of laptop/computer use is advised by doctors to keep your eyes in good shape.
15. Koala (Free)
For CSS developer, LESS and SASS are life savers. But, there are not many good applications to convert LESS and SASS files to CSS. Koala is a great application that comes to the rescue, and is also very lenient on resources.
16. Airmail 2.1 ($9.99)
If you are struggling to put the mail application to work, then suffer no more. The mail application is very different from what an application form Apple is, it is slow, not polished, and lacks many features that third-party apps have. The best app for managing emails on a Mac is Airmail, which includes tons of great features.
Some Great Features of Airmail
- You can configure Airmail to open links in the background, this allows you to continue checking your other emails. This way, you can check all the opened links later.
- You can set up as many accounts as you want, and from any email service provider.
- Airmail can fetch all your emails for as far back as your want.
- Airmail can even download all the attachments to the downloads folders if you want.
17. Hazel ($29)
Hazel is a life saver for those who download tons of files from the internet, or keep all the files scattered here and there. Hazel adds a preference pane in the settings menu, and lets you define rules. Based on your rules, Hazel can move, copy, archive and perform many other function on the matching files, and arrange your files for you.
You can define as many rules as you want, and set as many watch folders as you like. Hazel can:
- Move files
- Copy files
- Upload files to a set server
- Archive files
- Rename files
- Add Tags
- And many more
These are some of the rules you can define to match the files:
- By name
- By size
- By extension
- By date created
- By date modified
- By tags
- And many more
Hazel helps in keeping my Mac organised, and I can always find my files easily, because I already know what Hazel has done with my files, and where they are.
18. Alfred (Free, $19 – Powerpack)
Spotlight is getting better and better with every new release of Macintosh operating System. But third-party apps like Alfred still lead the game by a long distance.
Features of Alfred
- Set any key combination to open Alfred search box.
- You can define the scope of Alfred search. This gives you the ability to tell Alfred what and where to search.
- You can search and view contacts inside Alfred.
- Alfred shows you the definition of words by just prefixing the search term with the word ‘define’. You can even customise the prefix string.
- Customize the search box with any built-in theme you like.
- You can even control your Mac from the Alfred search box itself. Alfred allows you to do the following.
- Hide and quit apps. You can even quit all the open apps.
- Sleep, shutdown and restart your Mac from the Alfred search box.
- Open or empty trash.
- Run the screen saver.
- Run shell commands from the Alfred search box.
- And many more.
19. Bartender ($15)
The menu bar at the top of Mac fills up very fast, and slowly and slowly some icons get hidden from the menu bar. Don’t know why Mac lacks a notification area like feature, which has been a part of Windows since many years. But, if you want to tidy up your Mac menu bar, Bartender is the app for you. It can do the following:
- Hide apps from the menu bar and show it in a sub-menu. This keeps your menu bar clean and tidy. You can choose which apps it hides and which exhibit their default behaviour.
- You can also define apps that will be displayed in the menu bar only when they update, else they will stay hidden.
- You can choose the Bitdefender icon from the menu icons that Bartender ships with.
- You can even hide the Bartender icon from the menu bar completely, you can then show/hide the Bartender icon using the keyboard shortcut.
- Bartender allows you to reposition your menu bar items, both in the menu bar and the Bartender menu.
You can also grab a free copy of Bartender for a trial of 4 weeks.
20. Readkit ($10)
This is the application I can’t live without. Being a blogger, I follow many (a few hundred) blogs and keeping up with all of them was much of a struggle on Windows.
There were RSS feeds reader applications on Windows too, but Readkit is quite different. It lets you export articles to Pocket, Instapaper and many other applications too. Readkit seamlessly integrates with Pocket and you can read all your saved articles on Pocket, within Readkit itself. It also plays well with Feedly and you can follow any number of blogs from one place.
21. iA Writer Pro ($20)
If you are a blogger, an author or anyone who has to or loves to write, then you will love iA Writer Pro for sure. The application supports markdown language and all the HTML tags. You can see a live preview as you type and you can also export all your writings in HTML (.html), Rich Text Format (.rtf) or Microsoft Word (.docx) format.
iA writer Pro also has a focus mode, which highlights the line you are currently editing, and lightens all others. This saves you from searching for the line you were currently editing, at times when you take your eyes off the screen.
Some Great Features of iA Writer Pro
- Supports Markdown: iA Writer Pro also lets you convert documents to HTML format, or copy the HTML code for any file.
- It has a distraction free mode. This mode opens the app in the full screen mode and keeps all the distractions away, so that you can focus on the things that matter.
- Focus mode allows you to focus on the sentence you are currently writing. It has various other modes, which I didn’t found any good use of.
- There are many keyboard shortcuts included in the application. Making text bold, italic, giving heading tags, starting ordered and unordered lists can also be done with a single key combination.
- Utilises the power of iCloud to save your documents.