5 Free Well Designed & Useful Mac Store Apps [OSX]

Bakari Chavanu 31-07-2012

mac store appEvery so often, I open the Mac App Store in my Dock to see which new free apps I can try, and I’m rarely disappointed. Since you can’t download trial versions of apps in the Store, developers often provide free versions of their apps alongside the Pro versions that offer a few more enhanced features.


The apps I selected for this article have only thing in common – their style and design. Each app has a different practical use – from a simple notes tool to a slick visual desktop weather app. But they each complement the fun stylish features typical of Apple-related programs. Since they are all free, give them a try and tell us what you think. The developers always welcome your feedback.


There are plenty of note apps in the Mac App Store, and I’ve tried more than a few, but most of them just didn’t feel right or made the process of adding notes a little too complicated. So now I’m trying a new one called NotesTab, which is getting awesome reviews in the Store, by the way.

mac store app

With this free version of NotesTab, you can simply use a keyboard shortcut to activate it from your menu bar to add a new note. All the notes get time-stamped, and you get Preferences options for keeping the app’s window visible in the background and above other apps.

mac store apps free


If you want to quickly email a note there’s no need to copy and paste. Just hit the Share button and your current note gets copied to a new email.

mac store apps free

The Pro version of NotesTab ($2.99) has several other features, including adding images, Dropbox syncing, stylizing text, and multiple skin themes.

Templates For iBooks Author Free

You may or may not have heard much about Apple’s iBook Author How To Write Your First Book In iBooks Author Apple recently introduced iBooks Author in a live presentation at the Guggenheim in New York. The software is aimed at textbook writers and publishers, but it can just as well be used for producing cookbooks,... Read More since it was released last January, but it’s still alive and well. iBooks Author is a multi-genre eBook authoring tool that works pretty much like Apple’s Pages.


mac store apps free

iBooks Author comes with a great set of template eBooks to get you started, but the designers at Graphic Node have created 10 more themes, Templates for iBook, that provide you with some personal ideas for creating iBooks.

mac store app download

You don’t have to use iBooks Author to actually post a book in the Apple iBooks Store. You can use it to create personal iBooks for your iPad, or as a gift to other iPad users. For instance, you might create a First Year iBook using the “Starting Family” template. Or you might do a  travel photography iBook using the “Classical Photography” theme.


When you double-click on a theme, it opens directly into iBooks Author. And of course Graphic Node provides an internal app link to 100 more templates that you can purchase for $16.99.


When I first came across Dunno, I couldn’t quite grasp what it does. The name doesn’t help, and it’s categorized under Lifestyle, so I didn’t know what to make of it until I downloaded it.

mac store app download

Well basically you could say that Dunno is just a slick well designed web browser, but it’s more than that. Dunno allows you to type and search a keyword(s), and in turn it delivers categories of results including webpages, blogs, Wikipedia, images, news, videos, songs, tweets, and more. All your search queries get listed chronologically, and you can go through and mark results which get added to a separate “Dunno” page for that particular query.


mac store app download

The developers say Dunno is a work in progress, and while there are features you will probably want to see added to it, it is nevertheless fast, clean, and a useful way to track search queries.

Collagelt Free

For you photographers out there, CollageIt Free is one of many image design tools in the Mac App Store that makes collage creation a lot easier and affordable than using programs like Photoshop.

Collageit 1

With CollageIt, you simply drag and drop photos in one of 30 selected collage themes. While CollageIt doesn’t have built-in integration with iPhoto or Aperture, you can drag photos directly from those applications.

Collageit 2

The CollageIt editor allows you to change the number of rows and columns of a theme, the spacing and margins, as well as the shadow blur, angle, and offset. When you’re done, you can either export for printing or share on Facebook.


It’s hard to imagine making a simple weather app aesthetically cool, but in the age of digital design, Swackett shows there’s no limit to creativity.

mac store app download

Swackett is a weather app for the Mac (as well as iOS versions) in 67 countries. It shows weather forecasts for throughout the day in a designated area. Instead of simple boring text reports, it communicates weather data using colorful columns and visuals. You can get the current weather conditions, along with the highs and lows for the day. Scroll down some more and you will get a 14-hour outlook and forecasts for the week.

mac store app

If you want to view the weather from a meteorologist point of view, it also includes technical radar and satellite views.

If you’re looking for more free Mac App Store apps, check out these articles:

Let us know what you think of the apps profiled in this post.  Have you found any good Mac App Store apps lately?

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  1. sonnylim
    September 16, 2012 at 2:08 am

    NotesTab works for me.

  2. LaDonna Garner
    September 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    The notepad app seems pretty useful. Off to test it out myself! Thx!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      September 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      You're welcome, LaDonna.

  3. sonnylim
    August 9, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    These are great picks. Will try them!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      August 11, 2012 at 1:41 am

      Sonnylim, glad you like. Thanks for your feedback.

  4. Les Siewert
    August 2, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks Bakari, every single one of these apps is new to me so I appreciate your effort.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      August 4, 2012 at 5:15 am

      Hey Les, appreciate the feedback. You're welcome.

  5. Rod Ball
    July 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks, probably wouldn't have found most of these on my own.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      You're welcome, Rod. I wouldn't have either unless I was doing this job. Thanks for checking out the article.

  6. Victor Cesto
    July 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Nice tips, thanks for sharing.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Cool, Victor, thanks for your feedback. Really appreciate it.

  7. Fabian_F_F
    July 31, 2012 at 7:59 am

    There is an "inbuilt" note app in Mountain Lion now.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 31, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Fabian, you know I thought about that when I wrote the article. But the one missing thing Apple failed to do with their OS X Notes app is not provide menu bar access. It's something about accessing apps from the menu bar that makes it easier for me. But thanks for your input.

  8. Gideon Pioneer
    July 31, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Ahh, I miss Mac's beautifully designed applications and icons so much ;) Wish Apple would allow to install OS X on PCs hassle-free!

    I wonder why Windows' programs are so generic looking in comparison, hmm.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      Gideon, that I can't answer. I've been Mac user for almost 20 years. Are thinking about switching back?

      • Gideon Pioneer
        July 31, 2012 at 7:23 pm

        I'd like to, but the price is just too high!

        • Bakari Chavanu
          July 31, 2012 at 11:14 pm

          Oh man, definitely agree with you on this point. I read that Apple profits like $400+ on each iPhone, and $470-$500 on each iPad and MBA! That's crazy. My 6 yro Mac Pro now won't even run Mountain Lion, which now I need to upgrade my Mac to keep up with the newest operating system. This I don't like about Apple. I'm going to hold off buying their products as much as I can. If I weren't writing about the hardware and software, I probably wouldn't upgrade.

        • Al Elizondo
          August 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm

          OK, so you can't use the very latest OS X, but, how many PCs do you think would still be running well after six years? We have a 10 year old 17" iMac G4 (and yes we have newer Macs as well) that looks and runs just like it did when new. No, we can't run the latest OS X either, BUT, I can still sell this machine if I wanted to. Try selling a used PC after one year and see what you can get for it.
          You will pay more up front for an Apple, but you're getting a superior product, and you can still sell it when you want later... Why? Because Macs are still desirable even when used.
          I've been offered as much as $1000.00 for my Mac Cube, however, it's not for sale. I think it's nostalgic, it works well, AND I just like it.
          The bottom what you like, and have no regrets.

  9. ferdinan Sitohang
    July 31, 2012 at 2:15 am

    thank you for sharing

  10. musicphann
    July 31, 2012 at 1:54 am

    Google Picasa has a great collage feature built into it. I also use it to manage all the photos on my computer.

    • Bakari Chavanu
      July 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm

      Thanks for letting us know this. I'll check it out.