Your Mac comes preloaded with a bunch of great applications like iMovie, iTunes, and Calendar (just kidding about Calendar). But while these default apps are good in their own right, there are so many applications available that will improve your Mac experience dramatically. If you want to create the perfect balance of productivity and usability than check out our carefully curated list below.
MacID is one of the coolest applications a Mac user can have. With MacID you can automatically lock your Mac whenever you walk away using the proximity feature or even create a haptic unlock code with your trackpad or Magic Mouse. Simply connect your iWatch, iPad, or iPhone running at least iOS 8 to your compatible Mac and enjoy a more secure and more awesome way to secure your Mac. Download the free Mac app here, and download the mobile app for $3.99 in the App Store.
Your Mac will run like new for years if you keep up with the maintenance. There are tons of individual applications that can help keep your Mac running at its most optimal. But CleanMyMac is an all-in-one application that is easy to use and well worth the download. We already reviewed how you can quickly scan your computer for unused programs, completely uninstall apps and their associated profiles, and more using the app. Download the free trial, or purchase the full version for $39.95.
QuickTime Player is the default Mac app for watching media. And while QuickTime is a perfectly adequate application, VLC media player is simply the better option. It will play almost any type of video format you throw at it, has a bunch of great features, while still being extremely lightweight and best of all, it’s completely FREE! Download VLC Media Player for Mac here.
What’s the shortcut close all tabs in Google Chrome? If you don’t know the answer, it’s all good. CheatSheet was designed to answer all your shortcuts questions, for any of your Mac apps. Simply hold the command key to access each app’s shortcut list. That’s what you call a cheat sheet. Download CheatSheet for free here.
1Password is a popular app amongst mobile users as it provides extra security for all passwords and applications if a phone were to be lost or stolen. 1Password creates complex, unique passwords for all of your favorite sites and allows you to log in with your “one password.” All your new and old passwords are safe behind your own 1Password password. Check out Agile Bits 1Password for “simple, convenient security” for your Mac.
Jailbreak fans will recognize one of Cydia’s essential iOS apps, f.lux. The application is super simple, but so helpful. f.lux automatically adjusts the brightness of your Mac screen based on what time of day it is. For people who stay up late working, you don’t have to worry about being blinded by your computer’s backlight or needing to adjust the brightness anymore. Download the free Mac app here.
PopClip by Pilotmoon is a super handy application for writers and pretty much anyone that uses the internet. Simply put, you can select text with your Mac mouse or trackpad to bring up an assortment of actions like auto-translate, add quotations, or speak. There are over 100 PopClip extensions to make PopClip work just the way you want. Download the free trial here, and purchase the full application for 6.99 in the Mac App Store.
There is one major reason why multitasking on a Windows PC is so much better than a Mac -- the Snap feature. Being able to snap windows side-by-side is so useful and there is no real way to replicate this with any of the default Mac apps. If you want to resize, move, and enjoy multitasking on your Mac then you need to download Spectacle.
Alfred seems to have surpassed the former fan favorite Quicksilver in recent months. Both applications basically do the same thing, but Alfred was recently updated and bodes a sleeker UI. While Alfred is technically an application launcher, it does so much more. Think of it like Spotlight Plus. You can launch applications, search the web, play iTunes music, create workflows, and even complete system commands. Alfred is a free download, but has the PowerPack option that comes with many of the best features. You can grab the PowerPack for $18.76 here and the Alfred Remote for $4.99 in the App Store.
Yes, I put Dropbox on the list. While the app may be a household name, it’s still an essential Mac app for users that want to get the most out of their computer and enhance their productivity across multiple devices. The seamless integration of Dropbox to your computer still makes it the best cloud-based file management tool available for personal use. Grab your 2 gigabytes of free space and start syncing your files.
For those of us that like to keep organized, creating lists and setting tasks are all part of the routine. Wunderlist is an application (recently joined with Microsoft) that provides its users with an easy way to create list, tasks, and events across all your devices.
Mac App Blocker lives up to its name and provides users with an option to password protect individual apps on their Mac computers. Don’t want people opening up Photos and checking out all your pictures from the Taylor Swift concert you “didn’t go to”? If so, Mac App Blocker is the choice for you. Download the 15 day free trial or purchase the individual license for $9.95 from their homepage.
Mac does have its own Archive Utility for opening ZIP or RAR files, but I have found it to be somewhat unreliable. I download apps from developers, music from random blogs, and games for my Android and sometimes you need a little bit more punch. The Unarchiver has yet to fail me, and I suggest it for anyone that downloads common and uncommon file types.
Saving things for later was something I had to remind myself whenever I bought candy. While consuming an entire bag of Skittles would be undoubtedly pleasing, saving some for later prolongs the satisfaction. Same goes for reading on the wonder inter webs. Pocket makes it super easy to save articles, videos, blogs, you name it, and come back to it later. All saved items are stored in one convenient place ready for whenever you have the time to consume them.
My Mac can go to sleep when I tell it to. If you have ever been watching a movie or reading an article and your Mac screen turns off, Caffeine has come to the rescue. The devilishly simple application can prevent you Mac from dimming the screen, going to sleep, or starting the screen saver without your command. Download Caffeine for free from the Lighthead homepage.
Your favorite app not on the list? Let us know what Mac app you think we overlooked in the comment section.
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