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Here you have it – our ultimate list of must-have Mac apps. From email clients to system utilities, time savers to productivity boons; on this page you’ll find the best Mac software used by MakeUseOf staff and readers alike.

We will continue to update the list on a regular basis, so be sure to add your favorites in the comments and we’ll consider them the next time we update this page.

Last updated: September 29, 2016

Navigation: Audio | Browsers | Email | News | Virtualization | Photos & Images | Productivity | Code & Text Editors | Writing | Timesavers | Security & Privacy | System Tools | Video | Others

Audio

Audacity

An open-source, cross-platform audio editor that can handle most common audio tasks without breaking the bank The Best Free & Cheap Audio Editors For Mac OS X The Best Free & Cheap Audio Editors For Mac OS X Considering Apple's media-savvy approach with free apps like iMovie, it's surprising that there's not a simple audio editor bundled with OS X. Read More .

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Fission ($29)

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If Audacity isn’t cutting it and you want a polished, lossless audio editor built from the ground up for macOS, Fission is a solid option.

Soundflower

A completely free kernel extension for macOS that allows you to pass audio between applications by acting as a virtual audio device. Essential for recording system audio when paired with Audacity (above).

Clementine

clementine_best_apps

One of the best free alternatives to iTunes for listening to local media Alternatives to iTunes: 5 Best Free Music Players for Mac OS X Alternatives to iTunes: 5 Best Free Music Players for Mac OS X Unless you're chained to the iTunes ecosystem and have no choice but to use it, you may want to consider switching to one of these alternatives. Read More , Clementine supports a huge number of audio formats and external services including Spotify and cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox. You can also transcode music, manage podcasts, and enjoy visualizations while listening.

Tomahawk

osx-music-player-tomahawk

Another completely free alternative to iTunes, with a focus on bringing music that’s scattered all over the web into one app. Supports Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Amazon Music, Google Play, and more.

Spotify

Spotify changed the game when it first launched, bringing unlimited streaming music to desktops and mobiles for a fixed fee. You can also stream for free, if you’re not bothered by adverts.

iTunes

itunes_best_apps

Included with your Mac, iTunes is the only way to access the Apple Music streaming service which is one of the best alternatives to Spotify.

Browsers

Safari

Safari is the default browser installed on every Apple computer. We think it’s the best browser for most Mac users Mac & iOS Users: Why Aren't You Using Safari Yet? Mac & iOS Users: Why Aren't You Using Safari Yet? Apple's browser is now a polished first-party product that's exclusive to Mac and iOS devices. So why aren't you using it? Read More , especially where energy usage is concerned.

Chrome

Google’s own browser, Chrome is a powerhouse for those who need developer tools, extensions or multiple profiles for separating work or play.

Firefox

An excellent alternative to Chrome, Firefox has focused on slimming down over the past few years after complaints it had become bloated. If you haven’t tried it for a while, it might be time to give it another go.

Also consider: Opera

Email

Mail

Basic and included as part of your operating system, Mac Mail is still a very popular client. While it’s a bit crusty and lacking in new features compared to some of the more adventurous clients; smart mailboxes Five Essential Smart Mailboxes For Apple Mail [Mac] Five Essential Smart Mailboxes For Apple Mail [Mac] Read More , plentiful plugins Mac Mail - 5 Plugins That Will Rocket Your Productivity Mac Mail - 5 Plugins That Will Rocket Your Productivity I have previously covered timesaving features in the latest version of Apple's Mail client, but despite its improved user interface, search features, favorites bar and VIP folders, there are still missing features Mac power users... Read More and in-built stationery Beautify Your Emails With Apple's Mail Stationery Beautify Your Emails With Apple's Mail Stationery Take your emails from plain text to personal. Apple's Mail includes often-overlooked attractive Stationery templates for making your messages stand out. Read More are just a few reasons many still prefer it.

AirMail 2.0 ($9.99)

AirMail is probably the best Gmail client on the Mac Airmail for Mac OS X Is Making Email Beautiful Again Airmail for Mac OS X Is Making Email Beautiful Again When I first heard of Airmail, I must admit I questioned if I really needed a new way to check my email. Like many people, Mail.app satisfied all of my email requirements, and I struggled... Read More , with a beautifully simple aesthetic and full support for labels and starring, among other Google features.

Mail Pilot 2 ($20)

mail-pilot1

The second version of Mail Pilot continues the “to-do list” approach to email in a bid to make you more productive by focusing on what’s most important. A new feature called Dash provides an at-a-glance overview of new emails, outstanding conversations, and responses that are overdue.

Nylas N1

nylas_n1

Nylas N1 is a bit of an oddity in terms of an email app. It’s both a premium sync service and an open source roll-your-own extensible email client 5 Apple Mail Alternatives for Mac OS X 5 Apple Mail Alternatives for Mac OS X Every Mac comes with a free email application, but it's not the be-all and end-all of OS X email solutions. Here's five of the best alternatives. Read More . If you’re happy to compile it yourself and run your own sync engine, you can enjoy one of the best email experiences completely free of charge (otherwise it’s $7 per month).

Also consider: Inky, Unibox & Postbox

News

Reeder 3 ($9.99)

reeder3

The only desktop RSS reader you will ever need, Reeder disappeared for a short while before appearing again in public beta in early 2014 Reeder For Mac Returns; Download The Free Public Beta Now Reeder For Mac Returns; Download The Free Public Beta Now Reeder for Mac is back! You can download the free beta right now right now. The app is everything you remember Reeder to be, but with support for more services. Read More . The latest version is more striking than ever with a redesigned interface, new themes, more supported services, and the same premium reading experience.

ReadKit ($9.99)

Justin raved about ReadKit Is ReadKit The Perfect Reeder Replacement For Mac? (Yes) Is ReadKit The Perfect Reeder Replacement For Mac? (Yes) Still looking for the perfect Mac RSS reader? It's here. Read More and for good reason. This powerhouse reader works with all major RSS providers and “read later” services, features a new clutter-free reading mode and an interface reminiscent of the original Reeder.

Vienna

If your budget looks something like $0, Vienna is as good as it’s going to get. Fortunately, you get much more than you pay for with this capable Open Reader compliant RSS app.

Related: Stay on Top of RSS Feeds from Your Mac Menu Bar Instead 3 Great Menu Bar Apps To Stay On Top Of Your RSS Feeds [Mac] 3 Great Menu Bar Apps To Stay On Top Of Your RSS Feeds [Mac] For me, RSS feeds are the ideal way to keep up to date with all the websites I'm interested in - a centralised news-pool, so you don't have to check your browser every five minutes... Read More

Virtualization

VirtualBox

Run Windows on your Mac for free with VirtualBox, though you’ll still need a valid Windows license to get anywhere.

VMware Fusion ($79.99)

If Virtualbox doesn’t cut it, VMware Fusion is another great option with better support for demanding applications, like games – though it’ll cost you just shy of $80.

Parallels Desktop ($79.99)

Parallels is a virtualization environment that lets you run windowed Windows applications on your machine without having to switch to a virtual desktop first.

Wineskin / WineBottler

Wineskin and WineBottler are two (separate) free programs that let you create “wrappers” for Windows applications that run via a compatibility layer on your Mac.

Related: 5 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Your Mac 5 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Your Mac 5 Ways to Play Old Windows & DOS Games on Your Mac Want to play classic Windows and DOS games on your Mac, but unsure where to begin? Today we'll be looking at all your available options, and how to choose between them. Read More

Photos & Images

Photos

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Don’t dismiss your Mac’s default image management application just yet. Its basic image editing features The Best Free & Paid Image Editors for Mac OS X The Best Free & Paid Image Editors for Mac OS X We thought it was about time we compiled a list of our favourite raster image editors for Mac OS X. Read More  and filters are fine for small edits, plus it can handle RAW files and recognize people, places, and objects since the macOS Sierra update.

Photoshop CC ($20/month)

The undisputed king of image editing, Photoshop CC is almost affordable now at only $20 per month for a single license. Perfect for RAW processing, photo retouching, designing graphics and logos, 3D elements and terrible memes.

Affinity Photo ($80)

affinity_photo

Apple’s “App of the Year” for 2015, Affinity Photo delivers a powerful image editing package for a one-off fee that makes it a solid budget alternative to Photoshop. Work with Photoshop files, edit RAWs straight from your camera, use adjustment layers, and a whole lot more.

Pixelmator ($30)

Need a capable image editor but can’t justify spending too much? Pixelmator might be the answer. It has many of the same features found in Adobe’s pride and joy, except you can use it forever for a single payment of $30.

GIMP

If you’d rather go the free route, open source editor GIMP comes in a Mac-enhanced version that includes a range of photo editing plugins, including RAW support.

Inkscape

Inkscape is your key to a world of vector graphics. Cross-platform and open source, it’s the choice of many designers, illustrators and web comic aficionados the world over.

RawTherapee

If all you want to do is edit your RAW photos The Best Free RAW Image Processors For Mac OS X The Best Free RAW Image Processors For Mac OS X Photoshop is expensive, and while many are happy to fork out a monthly fee for Adobe's revised Creative Cloud system, others will always turn to free software first. One thing is for sure: if you're... Read More , then you should give RawTherapee a shot. The interface can at first be overwhelming, but that’s only down to the sheer number of options it provides you with – and it’s completely free.

AstroPad

AstroPad isn’t an image editor but an app that turns your iPad or iPhone into a full-fledged graphics tablet. It works best when paired with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil stylus, fusing the intuitive touch controls with the precision of a high end stylus.

Also consider: Aperture & Lightroom

Productivity

Evernote

Evernote is probably the most popular, widely used and best-supported note-taking solution in the world. Recent changes mean that the free version is limited to just two devices, but it’s still a note-taking powerhouse.

Microsoft OneNote

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The closest Evernote competitor is OneNote, and it’s completely free. Access your notes from any device, save files and sketches, clip web pages and collaborate with others — all without Evernote’s two-device restriction.

Apple Notes

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Apple’s own Notes app was a bit useless until it received a makeover in El Capitan and iOS 9. Now it resembles more of a cut-price Evernote, and while it lacks many of the features you’ll find in dedicated rival products it’s a solid choice for users of the macOS and iOS ecosystem 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Apple Notes on OS X 10 Tips to Get the Most out of Apple Notes on OS X Have you switched over to Apple's vastly improved Notes app? Here are a few tips on improving your workflow. Read More .

Fantastical 2 ($50)

The number-one alternative to Apple’s basic Calendar app 5 of the Best Mac Calendar Apps & Add-Ons 5 of the Best Mac Calendar Apps & Add-Ons There are plenty of great third-party apps that serve as a replacement for your Mac's Calendar application, or as add-ons to take it to the next level. Here are our favorites. Read More , Fantastical allows you to schedule appointments by typing a description of your event. It enjoys excellent support, and has integration with Apple’s reminders system and a separate iOS app as well.

Reminders

This one also comes with Mac OS X by default. Not only does it sync automatically with iOS devices and integrate nicely with Apple’s own calendar solutions, it even works with IFTTT 8 iPhone IFTTT Recipes You Can't Live Without 8 iPhone IFTTT Recipes You Can't Live Without When IFTTT launched an iPhone app in July, it opened up a whole slew of new possibilities about how to put the incredibly handy service to even better use than ever. Read More these days.

Wunderlist

If Apple’s own Reminders app doesn’t cut it, you can’t do much better than Wunderlist, a completely cross-platform system that’s easy to use and powerful to boot.

Clear ($6.99)

Appearing on iOS first, Clear is a slim and easy to use to-do list manager which places an emphasis on aesthetic value and mobile access.

Simplenote

If Evernote is overkill, Simplenote might just be what you’re looking for. Free, lightweight and cross-platform; it also gives Apple Notes a run for its money.

Dictater

dictater_best_apps

Do you use Apple’s in-built text to speech services? Whether you rely on the accessibility feature or you’re just feeling lazy, Dictater makes the feature even better by allowing you to pause, skip, replay, and even read along (plus it’s free).

Related: Mac Home Office? Boost Your Productivity with These Apps 10 Productivity Apps For Your Mac-Based Home Office 10 Productivity Apps For Your Mac-Based Home Office If you work at a home-based office like I do, you no doubt spend a significant amount of time getting things done on your Mac. While I have already written about the advantages of using... Read More

Code & Text Editors

xcode 8

Everything you need to start writing apps for Apple devices The Best Places to Learn Swift, Apple's Programming Language The Best Places to Learn Swift, Apple's Programming Language If you want to learn Swift, now is the time to dive in. The language has a bright future and the faster you learn it, the sooner you'll be able to reap the rewards. Read More , including macOS, iOS, tvOS, and watchOS. The development tools are free to download, but you’ll need to pay a yearly fee and enroll in Apple’s developer program to list your apps on their various storefronts.

Sublime Text ($70)

If you need a serious text editor (and if you have to ask that question, then you probably don’t) you should consider dropping $70 on Sublime Text.

TextMate ($50)

Just like Sublime Text, TextMate is a highly capable text editor for those who write code for a living. You should probably try them both before settling on a favorite.

TextWrangler

TextWrangler is the completely free fork of BBEdit. Though it omits a few of the advanced features found in its bigger brother, it’s still the best free text editor on the platform.

Dash ($19.99)

A document browser and code snippet manager, Dash is designed to provide fast-access to reference materials Dash Brings Coding Documentation To The Mac Desktop Dash Brings Coding Documentation To The Mac Desktop If you're a programmer, you already rely heavily on documentation. Dash is a Mac app designed to make your required reading a more pleasant experience. Read More for a huge number of programming languages.

Writing

FocusWriter

If you need a simple distraction-free writing environment for free, FocusWriter is the app for you. For such a lightweight and minimal app there’s a surprisingly long list of features (but you don’t have to use them all).

iA Writer ($10)

Looking for something a little more capable? iA Writer is another distraction-free word processor iA Writer for Mac & iOS: The Best Word Processor You've Never Used iA Writer for Mac & iOS: The Best Word Processor You've Never Used Be it a school paper or a blog post, all of us at some point find ourselves in the position of having to dump a bunch of characters into a text file. While cell phone... Read More , coming in both macOS and iOS varieties. Among the key features is auto-markdown support, syncing over iCloud and support for importing Word documents.

Ulysses ($45)

Ulysses prides itself on two things: excellent markdown support and a distraction-free environment. It’s one of the most powerful writing tools on any platform, and it does away with many of the distracting features found in the bigger packages while still providing an impressive array of writing, productivity, and organization tools.

Microsoft Office 2016 Home & Student Edition ($149)

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Despite the eye-watering price, if you think you’ll get enough mileage out of the whole Office suite then you can’t do much better than the Home & Student Edition. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and (free app) OneNote for a one-off fee.

LibreOffice

Looking for an office suite but can’t justify the $150 Microsoft is asking for their budget version? LibreOffice might just do the job. The open source word processor, spreadsheet tool, and presentation app lacks polish but it’s completely free and much less temperamental than most browser-based alternatives.

Scrivener ($45)

A few staff members at MakeUseOf swear by Scrivener, the cross-platform and highly capable written project manager Scrivener: The Best Writing Program for the Mac and PC Scrivener: The Best Writing Program for the Mac and PC Scrivener has been around since 2006, and it is a favorite application amongst novelists and screenwriters. Scrivener is not a desktop layout application like Word and Pages, but it helps you organize and export your... Read More . It’s popular among screenwriters and novelists for its efficient workflow Power Up Your Writing Workflow: Make Better Use Of Scrivener Power Up Your Writing Workflow: Make Better Use Of Scrivener When it comes to getting a research paper, ebook or novel completed, Scrivener can help you stay organized and motivated — that is, if you know how to use some of its best features. Read More and rich feature set, and we’ve produced a guide to help you get started Your Guide To Scrivener Your Guide To Scrivener Read More .

DayOne ($9.99)

If you’re looking for a diary application, then look no further than Day One Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Keep a Digital Diary with Day One for Mac OS X and iOS Everyone has a story to tell. It's not always a story in need of an audience, sometimes a story just needs to be told. You may want to continue the journal you started when you... Read More . It syncs over iCloud or Dropbox with your iOS devices, allowing you to update your journal regardless of where you are.

Pages ($12.99)

If you’ve bought a Mac in the last few years, there’s a good chance you have a free copy of Pages, Apple’s equivalent to Microsoft Word. Despite lacking much of the Microsoft feature set, it’s a competent word processor and even includes collaborative features.

Related: 5 Mac Word Processors to Help You Write That College Paper 5 Mac Word Processors To Help You Write That College Paper 5 Mac Word Processors To Help You Write That College Paper Finding sources to cite is easy. Planning a paper is easy. Sitting down and writing the thing? Much harder — do yourself a favour and get the right tool for the job. Read More

Timesavers

BetterTouchTool (donationware)

BetterTouchTool allows you to execute a huge number of commands using gestures Power Up Your Mac With Advanced BetterTouchTool Automations Power Up Your Mac With Advanced BetterTouchTool Automations I started using BetterTouchTool back in 2011, and since then it has become one of the top three Mac applications for boosting my productivity and streamlining my workflow. Though BTT can be used by any... Read More on a touchpad, mouse and even Leap Motion Control Your Mac By Waving Your Hands With Leap Motion & BetterTouchTool Control Your Mac By Waving Your Hands With Leap Motion & BetterTouchTool Control your Mac with the wave of your hand instead of keyboard presses. BetterTouchTool and the Leap Motion controller can power-up your workflow with dozens of mouseless shortcuts. Read More . It now uses a “pay what you feel” donationware model, allowing you to pay anywhere from $3.99 to $50 for a license.

Dropzone 3 ($4.99)

Just like the name suggests, Dropzone is a small icon that lives in your menu bar and when you grab and drag files it offers a variety of oft-used functions, locations, applications and even actions Dropzone 3 Turbocharges Your Mac With Drag & Drop Actions Dropzone 3 Turbocharges Your Mac With Drag & Drop Actions You could waste time putting your files and folders to use the traditional way, or you could save time and do everything directly from your menu bar using Dropzone. Read More to perform.

Unclutter ($5.99)

Best-Mac-Apps-2015-New-Updates-Unclutter

In the style of Dropzone, Unclutter provides a place to store files at the top of your screen. It also adds support for pasteboard clips and notes, speeding up your workflow by providing you with fast access to everything you need.

Tether

tether_best_apps

macOS Sierra allows you to unlock your Mac using an Apple Watch, but if you haven’t got an Apple Watch you can use your iPhone instead Unlock Your Mac Using Your Apple Watch or Android Wear Device Unlock Your Mac Using Your Apple Watch or Android Wear Device Typing a password is just so much hassle, don't you wish you could use your iPhone, Apple Watch or simply have your Mac unlock when you walk near it? Well, now you can! Read More . Download both Tether for Mac and iOS to automatically unlock your Mac when you approach.

Alfred

alfred3_best_apps

Part Spotlight, part Quicksilver but with more functionality than both 9 Awesome Alfred Workflows I'm Loving [Mac OSX] 9 Awesome Alfred Workflows I'm Loving [Mac OSX] Alfred is a task launcher for Mac OSX - hit a shortcut, start typing the name of a file, folder, contact, application or search term, and bam - there it is. Since version 2, the... Read More , Alfred is an advanced launcher for OS X that lets you do more with your files, applications and online service How To Create Your First Workflow System In Alfred 2.0 [Mac] How To Create Your First Workflow System In Alfred 2.0 [Mac] Computers should be about getting things done faster and more efficiently. This is where the award-winning productivity Mac application, Alfred comes in. Using a few keyboard shortcuts, and/or keyword commands, Alfred enables you to quickly,... Read More . Check out some of the more advanced ways you can put it to use 6 Amazing Alfred Workflows To Make You More Productive 6 Amazing Alfred Workflows To Make You More Productive Now that users and developers are able to extend Alfred's capabilities by adding their own workflows, calling it an 'application launcher' seems a bit limiting. Read More .

TextExpander ($45)

Text expansion is a wonderful thing What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? What Is Text Expansion & How Can It Help You Save Time? If you could save yourself even a small fraction of the time you spend typing, you could save hours of your time every week. That's exactly what text expansion is for. Read More . It allows you to add shortcuts for often-used phrases or words, correct your most common typos and get more done with less effort. TextExpander is the gold standard for text expansion on the Mac Save Time & Typing With TextExpander [Mac & iOS] Save Time & Typing With TextExpander [Mac & iOS] Normally we don't review applications priced over $10, but I constantly run into computer users who don't use a text expansion program, though they do a significant amount of typing. I shake my head in... Read More , complete with a companion iOS app to boot.

Remind Me Later

A must-have app for anyone still using Apple’s in-built Calendar app, Remind Me Later provides a Fantastical-like interface for adding events by simply typing. For example, “meeting with Justin on Thursday at 10 @30m” would create a new entry that reminds you half an hour beforehand.

iClip Solve Your Mac OS X Clipboard Management Problems With iClip Solve Your Mac OS X Clipboard Management Problems With iClip If you want to reduce the hassles of copying and pasting text or managing clippings, you should take iClip for a test drive. Read More ($14.99)

iClip is a clipboard manager that keeps a copy of everything you copy to your Mac’s clipboard so you can quickly access it again. Discreet and highly customizable, iClip is perfect for casual and power users alike Solve Your Mac OS X Clipboard Management Problems With iClip Solve Your Mac OS X Clipboard Management Problems With iClip If you want to reduce the hassles of copying and pasting text or managing clippings, you should take iClip for a test drive. Read More .

Security & Privacy

iCloud Keychain

safari_icloud_keychain

Integrated into Apple’s Safari browser is a password management solution called iCloud Keychain. The service syncs with iOS devices and other Macs, so you have access to your credentials wherever you go. If you rely on Safari then this might be perfect for you Should You Use iCloud Keychain to Sync Passwords on Mac & iOS? Should You Use iCloud Keychain to Sync Passwords on Mac & iOS? If you primarily use Apple products, why not use the company's own password manager completely free of charge? Read More .

1Password ($65)

Despite the steep price tag, 1Password is a highly recommended password manager MakeUseOf Must-Have Mac Apps Giveaway Day #3 - 1Password 3 MakeUseOf Must-Have Mac Apps Giveaway Day #3 - 1Password 3 Read More that stores and generates passwords and other sensitive information.

LastPass

If 1Password’s steep price has put you off, LastPass is technically free to begin with. You can use it for free on any one device (including your Mac) but when it comes to syncing and accessing your passwords elsewhere, you’ll have to go premium for $1 per month.

KeePassX

Just like 1Password, except open source and built around the KeePass standard KeePassX & MiniKeePass: A Free, Secure iOS & Mac OS X Password Solution KeePassX & MiniKeePass: A Free, Secure iOS & Mac OS X Password Solution Your options for a truly free and secure password solution that syncs with iOS and OS X are limited, but thankfully a combination of KeyPassX and MiniKeePass makes it possible. Read More ; this free password manager stores your sensitive information in an easy to use (if a little barebones) package.

CCleaner

The Mac version of CCleaner doesn’t get anywhere near as much use Does Your Mac Really Need Tools Like MacKeeper? Does Your Mac Really Need Tools Like MacKeeper? System cleaning tools and utility suites aren't just for Windows PCs. But what do these tools do, exactly? And should you use them? Read More as the Windows version, but it’s still handy if you want to rid your Mac of potential privacy concerns Full Version of CCleaner Now Released For The Mac Full Version of CCleaner Now Released For The Mac No matter how intuitive and reportedly "trouble free" Macs are to run, believe me, several months after you add hundreds of files, applications, and download thousands of webpages, your shiny new iMac or MacBook Air... Read More and free up space in a click.

MalwareBytes Mac

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Your Mac can get malware, but it’s not a particularly common occurrence. There aren’t too many security apps your Mac needs Here's The Only Mac Security Software You Need Here's The Only Mac Security Software You Need For most people, OS X is fairly secure out of the box — and there are a number of programs out there that potentially do more harm than good. Read More , but MalwareBytes is a nice free safeguard to have around.

Little Snitch ($35)

Block unwanted connections with Little Snitch, a dedicated firewall tool for your Mac Which Apps Are Using Your Internet Connection? Find Out With Little Snitch [Mac OS X] Which Apps Are Using Your Internet Connection? Find Out With Little Snitch [Mac OS X] We've shown you how to enable the included firewall in OS X, but it's quite limited. It allows you to block traffic on a per-app basis, but beyond that there's not a lot of configuration... Read More . Not only does it show you exactly who your computer is talking to, it allows you to control what is said on a per-app basis.

Hotspot Shield

Browse securely, access region-locked video and other blocked material using Hotspot Shield. The basic package is slow but free, and the paid plans aren’t badly priced.

Prey

Prey is laptop and mobile tracking software Track Down and Recover Your Stolen Laptop With Prey Track Down and Recover Your Stolen Laptop With Prey Read More that can be activated remotely once your device goes missing. The free plan allows for a limited number of reports to be generated at a set period, including capturing images using the webcam and uploading desktop screenshots, among others.

Related: Avoid Mac Malware: Don’t Make These Mistakes 5 Easy Ways to Infect Your Mac With Malware 5 Easy Ways to Infect Your Mac With Malware You might think it's pretty difficult to infect your Mac with malware, but there are always exceptions. Here are five ways you can get your computer dirty. Read More

System Tools

The Unarchiver

Unlike Windows users, Mac users don’t have the option of using 7zip. Luckily, The Unarchiver can open just about any compressed archive Unzip Any Archive Using The Unarchiver [Mac] Unzip Any Archive Using The Unarchiver [Mac] Quickly extract practically any compressed file on the planet. If you're a Mac user, and Apple's default unzip tool is struggling to open an archived file, it's time to install the ultimate tool for the... Read More including .ZIP, .7Z and .RAR.

Related: Peek Inside .ZIP and Other Archive Files Without Opening Them First Open .ZIP & Archive Files on Mac OS X Without Extracting Them First Open .ZIP & Archive Files on Mac OS X Without Extracting Them First A friend recently asked me why he couldn't open .ZIP files on his Mac without them automatically extracting, so it was time to find a solution. Read More

Geektool / Nerdtool

Use Geektool or Nerdtool (separate projects) to display various information, terminal commands, images, text documents and more on your desktop. While Geektool has more potential How To Use GeekTool To Truly Make Your Mac Your Own How To Use GeekTool To Truly Make Your Mac Your Own Would you rather have your boring desktop space filled with useful system information or family photos? You need GeekTool. Read More , Nerdtool is probably easier to use Add Any Information To Your Mac Desktop With Nerdtool Add Any Information To Your Mac Desktop With Nerdtool Add whatever information you want to your Mac's desktop, and make it look great. Read More .

DiskWave

Find out exactly which files are eating your available hard drive space Wash Away Unwanted Large Files with DiskWave for Mac Wash Away Unwanted Large Files with DiskWave for Mac Not sure what's taking up all that disk space on your Mac? Disk Wave is a free Mac app that scans your drive and shows you where the biggest files are. Read More with DiskWave, a must-have for most Mac owners – but particularly those with limited solid state drives.

Bartender 2 ($15)

bartender2_best_apps

Mac menu bar looking a little messy? Use Bartender to tidy it up An Easy Way To Tidy Up Your Menu Bar With Bartender Beta [Mac] An Easy Way To Tidy Up Your Menu Bar With Bartender Beta [Mac] The menu bar of Mac computers has become, for many power users, nearly as crowded and used as items in the Dock. Besides the default items that appear in the menu bar - including Spotlight,... Read More and hide the icons you don’t want to see, so you actually notice the rest.

Related: Tidy Up Your Menu Bar for a More Productive Mac Experience How To Customize & Tidy Your Mac Menu Bar How To Customize & Tidy Your Mac Menu Bar Nothing makes OS X look cluttered faster than unwanted menubar icons. Read More

TripMode ($7.99)

tripmode_best_apps

Using your smartphone’s personal hotspot to get some work done on the go? TripMode restricts which apps and services have network access, saving you precious data. A must-have for remote workers The Remote Worker’s MacBook Survival Guide The Remote Worker’s MacBook Survival Guide You couldn’t imagine doing your job without your Mac, but maybe you’re not quite running at maximum efficiency. Read More .

Retinizer

If you have a Retina MacBook Pro, or a new 5K iMac, some older apps will have pixelated UI elements. Free app Retinizer makes it all better Why Do Some Apps Look Bad On My Retina Display? (And How to Fix It) Why Do Some Apps Look Bad On My Retina Display? (And How to Fix It) When Apple released the MacBook Pro with Retina display this time last year, they raised the bar for laptop display technology, as they previously did for the smartphone and tablet industries. The only issue they... Read More .

Amphetamine

amphetamine_best_apps

Stop your Mac from going to sleep with Amphetamine, a small free utility that lives in the menu bar. This is a great replacement for Caffeine The Remote Worker’s MacBook Survival Guide The Remote Worker’s MacBook Survival Guide You couldn’t imagine doing your job without your Mac, but maybe you’re not quite running at maximum efficiency. Read More , which no longer works on modern versions of macOS.

AppCleaner

If you need to get rid of it, you need AppCleaner. It completely removes all preferences and system files when uninstalling apps 3 Free Uninstallers to Clean Up Obsolete Files [Mac] 3 Free Uninstallers to Clean Up Obsolete Files [Mac] Read More , to the point where it can reset many shareware trials.

Amnesty Singles Turn Any Mac Dashboard Widget Into Its Own App Turn Any Mac Dashboard Widget Into Its Own App You probably haven't used Dashboard in years, but there is that one widget you wish you could just turn into an app. Guess what? You can! Read More

This free app takes any Dashboard widget and transforms it into a standalone app Turn Any Mac Dashboard Widget Into Its Own App Turn Any Mac Dashboard Widget Into Its Own App You probably haven't used Dashboard in years, but there is that one widget you wish you could just turn into an app. Guess what? You can! Read More , freeing it of the shackles imposed by Apple’s neglected other desktop. Pin it to the dock, drag it around, minimize it – and then disable the Dashboard altogether These Notification Centre Widgets Make Dashboard Irrelevant These Notification Centre Widgets Make Dashboard Irrelevant The Dashboard is dying. Most users ignore it, and not many developers are building things for it. Replace all of your Mac's Dashboard widgets using the new Today view in Yosemite. Read More .

XAMPP

Run Apache, MYSQL and an FTP server in all but a click with XAMPP. If you want to develop a website locally before putting it online, this is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Video

VLC

Open any media file or stream with VLC, the world’s best media player.

Duet Display

duetdisplay_best_apps

Want to use your iPad or iPhone as a second Mac screen Turn Your iOS Device Into an Extra Monitor With Duet Turn Your iOS Device Into an Extra Monitor With Duet You can now use an iPad app to expand your collection of screens, turning your $500 tablet into a small, portable monitor. It's called Duet. Read More ? Duet Display lets you do this better than any network-based alternative ever has with virtually no lag. The Mac client is free, but you’ll need to pay $20 for the accompanying iOS app.

AirServer ($14.99)

Turn your Mac into an AirPlay receiver and stream your iPhone or iPad’s screen to your laptop or desktop computer. If you’re looking for a way of mirroring the screen, you can also do so using your Lightning cable and QuickTime Record Your iPhone or iPad Screen Over Lightning With Your Mac Record Your iPhone or iPad Screen Over Lightning With Your Mac Apple has made recording easier with a "hidden" feature to OS X Yosemite that lets users stream their iPhone or iPad display to a Mac. Here's how it works. Read More .

PLEX

plex_best_apps

A robust, database-driven media server that automatically scans incoming media and keeps your collection organized.

PS3 Media Center

A universal plug and play (UPnP) and DLNA-compliant media streamer with full transcoding ability, PS3 Media Center allows you to stream pictures, music, video and web sources.

Handbrake

Convert videos with a click using Handbrake, the go-to free video transcoder for Mac, Windows and Linux.

Kodi (formerly XBMC)

The world’s best media center XBMC 11 "Eden" Officially Released: Faster & Prettier Than Ever [Updates] XBMC 11 "Eden" Officially Released: Faster & Prettier Than Ever [Updates] Read More  has a new name but it still plays everything, and looks great doing so. Pair it with Reddit Reddit + XBMC = Virtual Crack. Here's How To Set It Up. Reddit + XBMC = Virtual Crack. Here's How To Set It Up. Reddit always finds the best videos; XBMC is the best media center. Combine these two things to browse the best videos on the web right now, from your couch. Read More for an endless pool of video goodness.

Others

Transmission

Every Mac owner needs a BitTorrent client at some point, and Transmission is probably the best of the bunch. Not only does it support a web UI and magnet links natively, it’s regarded as a “trusted” client by many private trackers.

f.lux

Tired of not being tired after a long day’s work? f.lux attempts to mimic the Earth’s natural light cycle by dimming and tinting your screen depending on the time of day. Perfect for late night web addicts who have trouble sleeping afterwards.

teleport

Use one mouse and keyboard to control a whole army of Macs, perfect if you have a MacBook and iMac or Mac Pro to deal with.

What are your favorite Mac applications?

  1. Kevin Farrell
    September 30, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Sad to see that Pixlr is not on this list. I mean come on, who else besides Autodesk is giving you THAT MUCH functionality for free?

    • Layered comps
    • Full image editing capabilities
    • Layer effects
    • Ability to insert images as new layers
    • Ability to save your layers in their proprietary format (PXD).

    What gives? How was this missed? This list should include Pixlr, thats all there is too it!

    https://pixlr.com/editor/

  2. Andy
    September 29, 2016 at 5:13 am

    WHew! What a list...but it's a good one.

    Well done.

    • Tim Brookes
      October 3, 2016 at 1:09 am

      Yeah we're a bit spoiled for choice really ;)

  3. Shoki
    September 29, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Quiver: The Programmer's Notebook
    By HappenApps, Inc.

    Quiver is a notebook built for programmers. It lets you easily mix text, code, Markdown and LaTeX within one note, edit code with an awesome code editor, live preview Markdown and LaTeX, and find any note instantly via the full-text search.

  4. Ahmed Raza Ansari
    December 28, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for this article.

  5. AmiN Darbandi
    August 8, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Video >> VLC is the best!
    download online video from Youtube etc >>Grappler
    security >> Lantern
    Image edit>> Seashore and image editor ( if you don't wanna use Photoshop for little things)
    RSS reader>> newsflow

  6. Anonymous
    May 22, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Flexiglass! It makes such a joy to use OS-X. An amazing tool to work with windows in mac!

  7. Matt
    April 28, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Loved VLC for the longest time. Great as a player, but not so good for video management. You can create playlists, but to access them, you have to do a file open. Then it often doesn't play the playlist in order. Have yet to find anything that handles playlists well.

  8. Anonymous
    April 24, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Coda 2 - Web development

  9. Hannah
    April 13, 2015 at 7:31 am

    Great picks! I love CleanMyMac (http://macpaw.com/cleanmymac) and Arthur Preference Pane Utility (http://wixelhq.com/labs/arthur) . Two apps that help increase machine performance in some way.

  10. film_boy
    April 7, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Definitely, my Mac app favourites are Beamer and WALTR.

    I use beamer to airplay my AVI and MKV to my AppleTV.
    And I use WALTR to put avi, mkv, flacs and ringtones to my iPhone. (since I don't like iTunes, it's so much better to manage the media with waltr)

  11. Joseph Guthrie
    March 25, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    And now that I have an iMac (late 2010 model, custom spec), I can try my hand at a bunch of these apps, particularly the photo/graphics ones. Excellent work! Thanks for putting this together.

  12. Niv
    March 15, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    HOTSPOT SHIELD IS SPYWARE

    Unsure if you're still having the issue but I thought I'd let you know what I've done.

    I was searching for a good VPN and found hotspot shield and, as we now know, it's garbage since they collect info and sell it to their ad company. So here's what you can do.

    Click Finder hold the Option key and click Go (in the top taskbar) then Library (library only shows if you hold option).
    Go to the "Preferences" folder
    You should see "com.anchorfree.Hotspot_Shield.plist" or something to that effect. Drag that to the trash (it may prompt you for an administrator password.
    Log out of your user account and log back in.

    That should take care of the ads. But, for good measure, lets make sure everything's gone.

    Click the Apple in the top left and go to System Preferences.
    Click Users & Groups
    On the right you should see a small square picture and then "Login Items"
    Click HotSpot Shield and click the "-" button in the bottom left.

    Next (and this one gets pretty intense, so stick with me here)
    Click Finder and go to the "Go" drop-down menu again
    Click "Go to folder" and input this without quotes "/Library/Application Support"
    Delete the "HotSpot Shield" folder
    Go to the "Go to Folder" again and input this "/Library/LaunchDaemons" and delete "com.anchorfree..."
    Reboot

  13. Duncan
    March 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Anybody wanting to build a nice looking website without the HTML/CSS fuss should look at Sparkle.

    http://sparkle.cx

  14. Anonymous
    February 20, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Beamer is awesome

  15. iMikeZero
    January 15, 2015 at 12:40 am

    OneNote is infinitely better than Evernote.

    CleanMyMac 2 is the way to go to clean up your Mac.

    • Moira Yao
      February 3, 2015 at 3:44 am

      DesktopAd is a good way to monetize your Mac OS X apps. Please leave your Email at the bottom of the page, we will inform you ASAP.

  16. L A Cutter
    January 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Very helpful Thanks.

  17. NM
    January 9, 2015 at 6:14 am

    aText:
    a $5 alternative to the $35 TextExpander

    LastPass:
    a free alternative to the $50 1Password

  18. jeab
    December 25, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    After Apple destroyed Pages I switched to Nisus Writer Pro and have not looked back.

  19. Ozy.M
    December 19, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    You should include below apps

    - Beautiful Backup
    I use to prepare single bakcup folder for all my photos. Best and easiest that I could find.

    - Boxcryptor
    Encrypting my private files to store on cloud servers. I dont trust companies even they say they are secure.

    • Moira Yao
      February 3, 2015 at 3:44 am

      DesktopAd is a good way to monetize your Mac OS X apps. Please leave your Email at the bottom of the page, we will inform you ASAP.

  20. t
    December 16, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Nice list... here are some of my essentials...

    Carbon Copy Cloner
    Onyx - Disk Cleaner
    DaisyDisk - Large File Size Finder (~$10)
    Duplicate Detective
    NetSpot - WiFi signal strength finder
    Blender - animation video
    Indigo - Images
    Scribus - Desktop Publishing
    Zotero - Publications Manager
    Join.Me - Web Meetings
    FreeConferenceCall.com - Free Conference Calls
    FileZila - FTP
    Avast - Anti-Virus
    DropBox
    BootChamp - Much Easier than Boot Camp

    And I'll just "second" the following already mentioned...
    AppCleaner
    CCleaner
    GIMP
    Inkscape
    TextWrangler
    HandBrake
    VLC
    Audacity

    HTH,
    Paras.

  21. Bakari Chavanu
    December 9, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Keyboard Maestro for automation
    BetterTouchTool for automation
    Pages iWork
    Paprika Recipe manager
    Screen Flow
    MarsEdit for blogging
    CleanMyMac 2

  22. Jean
    December 2, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Big miss is SuperDuper for daily backups ! Has been working flawlessly for years with outstanding customer support in case of a rare and small glitch. Price is right.

  23. Brian Tkatch
    December 1, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Nice list. Bookmarked.

    Little Snitch is not free.

    • Tim Brookes
      December 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks Brian, we've updated the price for Little Snitch now.

  24. Anonymous
    December 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    You should include Ms OneNote which is a perfect and free service.

  25. Cameron Reilly
    December 1, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Hazel is one of the first apps I install on any Mac. It's an absolute must.

  26. Chad
    December 1, 2014 at 4:00 am

    You can find all of these apps, and many more at MacUpdate.com, including other similar apps listed for each app.

  27. George
    November 30, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    LibreOffice for free Word & the rest, Thunderbird for email and NetNewsWire for RSS

  28. Jon
    November 30, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Nice List.
    I live and breathe Evernote for everything I can't remember. And Spotify keeps me sane when working stupid hours all day.

    One app I would recommend in the "Video" section would be DreamSync. It's for video creators that shoot audio and video separately. (dreamsyncapp.com)
    Only standalone app out there that does this, and saves a TON of time when putting nice testimonial videos together.

    Overall, great list!

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