If you've heard the phrase, "Once you've gone to a Mac, you never come back," you know this is true. Macs offer amazing features, apps, and top-notch desktop programs from Apple. However, there are many other third-party apps that can change the way you use your Mac every day.
Whether you've just bought your first Mac or are a dedicated Apple customer, here are the best Mac apps for 2020 you just can't live without.
Think of Alfred as a spotlight with a dash of Siri. It is an application launcher, but it can do much more than that. With Alfred, among other things, you can quickly perform calculations, perform web searches, and find word definitions.
It fills the gap between Siri and your Spotlight search by automating tasks and performing advanced features that Siri should frankly do without speaking. Version 4 improves the workflow creator, introduces rich text snippets and much more.
Amphetamine is always a favorite and prevents your computer from going into sleep mode, starting the screen saver or performing the auto-dim function. It is ideal for watching streams, videos, or other activities where you don't touch the keyboard or mouse for a long time.
Note that pre-Yosemite amphetamine no longer works with older versions of MacOS.
Bartender 3 is an app designed in case you use too many apps. Simply put, you can choose which apps appear in the menu bar and change their position to your liking. It is a subtle tool designed specifically for organization that helps you better systematize various aspects of your user interface.
You can also search for specific items or move them to the optional bartender bar if you need more storage space urgently. The latest version includes support for MacOS Catalina, a user interface that uses the new operating system, and the ability to navigate using your keyboard. You can choose a 4-week free trial before purchasing.
Drop zone 3
After installation, Dropzone 3 feels like an integral part of MacOS. This bare bones app acts as a linking tool that lets you quickly copy and move files, launch apps, and share content through popular services like Facebook and Flickr.
You can also upload files via FTP and Amazon S3, or shorten URLs with the newly added Goo.gl shortener. It's all in a tiny icon in the menu bar.
Chrome's rich features, ecosystem, and speed make it a great browser for your Mac. Chrome is one of the fastest browsers available for Mac, and it also has the ability to automatically sync all of your information – bookmarks, open tabs, recent searches, etc. – across multiple computers and mobile devices. In combination with the robust customization and instant search functions, this is worth it.
As popular as Chrome is, it is one of the weakest for protecting user privacy. Take this into account before installing.
Displaying multiple windows side by side is not always easy, but Magnet offers you countless options. The app was developed for the multitasker in all of us and thus offers a quick way to arrange your desktop. Magnet allows you to drag and drop windows to the edges and corners of your screen, which then snap into place. It's a great tool with predefined keyboard shortcuts if you want to copy content from one app to another.
Unclutter is basic software that fits its name. The app is accessible with a quick swipe from the top of the screen and serves even better as a practical place for storing short notes, current files and information on the clipboard.
Latest updates also allow for a light or dark theme (although MacOS Catalina now has a native dark mode) and include an option to drag maps across other desktop windows. Files and notes are even automatically synchronized via Dropbox on your devices. This is a suitable addition that contributes to the permanent attractiveness of the app.
Tired of spending money on Adobe Photoshop every month, but want an app that is just as good? Serif's Affinity Photo could be just what you need. It is a photo editing app that has won numerous awards from Apple (including the App of the Year). So you know it's special.
Unlike Photoshop, you only pay a one-time fee of $ 50. However, this isn't cheap, limping software – it's a comprehensive, full-featured app that can keep up with the Adobe imaging giant from head to toe. There are also sister apps for graphic design and desktop publishing, both of which are excellent alternatives to Adobe's goods.
Magazines are an ancient tradition – just ask Benjamin Franklin. However, the aptly titled first day serves as a digital companion for those who want to capture the little moments in life. In addition to text, the app also contains photos, reminders and tags, the latter of which help enormously to stay organized. The best part? Password protection keeps potential prying eyes away.
The first day is free, but for unlimited magazines and photos – not to mention any future updates – you should consider the premium subscription ($ 35 a year).
Evernote is the undisputed king of note taking apps for a reason. It is simple, intuitively organized and can be synchronized with almost every imaginable web-based service. And since it is one of the most popular apps, there are also a whole range of browser extensions and add-ons.
Evernote offers a free version with a number of basic functions, up to 60 MB uploads per month and synchronization for two computers. However, if you are a strong user, you should opt for the premium version ($ 7.99 per month)).
Fantastical 2 is the only calendar app you will ever need as long as you are ready to work for it. However, the price gives you access to a number of powerful tools, as well as a full-screen calendar window that is as beautiful as it is practical.
The real hallmark of Fantastical 2 is the way you create memories. Just enter that you have "Dinner with Alexa on Thursday at 7:30 p.m." and watch the app schedule them with a reminder.
Here's another photo editor, but it's free. It has everything you need to replace Adobe's monthly Photoshop subscription: layer controls, shadow effects, vector-based paths, filters, exposure, and more. It even offers similar automatic functions to improve colors, balance and correct the white balance during operation. It's just one of the best Photoshop alternatives out there.
GIMP is an open source project that was originally developed by two Berkeley students and first went public in 1996. It works with other open source Adobe alternatives to create an open source suite: Scribus (InDesign) and Inkscape (Illustrator).
Apple redesigned its Reminders app in MacOS Catalina. We tried it, and although it is a significant improvement over its lackluster predecessor, it still feels only halfway there. Instead, Apple should take some pointers from GoodTask – it's the best reminder app apart from none.
If you just need to create entries quickly, GoodTask will stand in your way and allow you to do so. But it comes alive when you start using its features. You can create smart lists based on defined criteria, add new reminders using text snippets that GoodTask intuitively understands, and everything from calendar view to almost every function can be customized to your liking.
Hazel is an organizational app with a big twist: you create your own rules for how the app recognizes, sorts and moves all your files or downloads. This enables incredibly flexible file management, whether you want to sort a particular file type, apply names and tags automatically, or apply other strict rulesets to every file, folder, and download on your computer.
It is an excellent work app that is great for home finance and can generally be used in all sorts of scenarios. However, it may take some time before all of the desired file management rules are in place. Therefore, Hazel is friendlier to practical organizers. It costs $ 32, though you can get a family five-pack for $ 49.
Working with PDF files is a fact, and PDF Expert makes this task a little easier. With the minimalist software, you can not only fill out forms and merge PDFs, but also get a variety of tools for quickly editing, commenting and signing files. In addition, it is compatible with Apple's continuity and handoff features, so you can swap devices in the middle of a document without fear of losing your job.
Mac users have access to a wide range of great photo editing apps, but even against its many competitors, Pixelmator is one of the best. It has an extensive list of powerful features and is currently one of the fastest apps in the entire photo editing area.
As the name suggests, Pocket is a tool that you can use to "plug in" articles, videos and websites for later viewing. Essentially, all content is summarized in a simple, user-friendly interface that can also be accessed offline.
The app is perfect for sharing your favorite things with friends or for stowing interesting items that you might find on your evening commute. You can then call them up on the big screen with the associated texts, pictures and links when you come home. Pocket is free to use. However, if you want more advanced search features and an ad-free experience, consider using the premium subscription ($ 5 a month or $ 45 a year).
Google Reader is dead and gone, but a real RSS reader is still a must. Fortunately, Shipowner 3 is one of the best ever. The desktop application has a beautiful finish that fits perfectly with the semi-transparent windows of MacOS, along with shared extensions, a private browser mode and the support of most RSS services (Feedly, Feedbin, Fever, etc.). Themes, gesture controls and a variety of customization options are also standard.
Apple's mail app is fine, but we wouldn't go much beyond that. However, Spark is great and shows what can be done in an email app. The stated goal is to give you control over your inbox, and this is accomplished in several clever and thoughtful ways.
Important emails from people you know are automatically pushed up to ensure they don't get stuck in a sea of newsletters and spam. You will only be notified by email from your contacts to avoid distractions. The excellent collaboration tools are great for teamwork. The best thing is that it's free.
Things 3 is a brilliant MacOS app for task lists and task management. Thanks to a complete redesign, Things is more useful than ever and connects to your tasks and your calendar with a seamless interface. You can add descriptions, checklists, upcoming tasks, evening tasks only, automatic reminders, and many other unique task functions. If you want to invest in a high-end task management app for Mac, Things is worth the price. However, a free trial is available if you don't want to pay immediately.
Don't be fooled by Microsoft's recent takeover of Wunderlist – it's still a phenomenal tool for MacOS, even without the premium features. The sleek app helps you create to-do lists, each with custom due dates, reminders, and everything else you need to keep to the schedule.
The software also enables collaborative lists, synchronizes your content across devices and offers the option of saving websites and other content for later viewing (similar to Pocket).
Entertainment and social
Yes, ripping DVDs is still a thing in the age of digital distribution. Still, HandBrake shines when converting media files and encoding videos, especially when you consider how quickly and effortlessly the open source software performs the process.
The well-known app also has a variety of video editing tools for splicing, adjusting the frame rate and adding subtitles, as well as a list of other useful actions that come second after the optimization presets.
Honestly, who's still shopping in brick-and-mortar stores? The package is aimed at online shopping enthusiasts and is therefore ideal for everyone who is constantly expecting a package on their doorstep.
The tracking app works with more than 250 services – including mainstays like UPS, USPS and FedEx – and allows you to see at a glance where your packages are with just one tracking number. Push notifications and Spotlight integration are just an added plus.
Slack is a general-purpose messaging client that has recently taken office productivity and discussion to a whole new level.
The service's attractive desktop app offers all the tools available in the browser-based version of Slack – i.e. H. Private channels, Giphy integration and themes – as well as better control over notifications and improved support for multiple teams.
Apple Music is not for everyone. Fortunately, Spotify's official desktop app is the perfect alternative for those who want to branch out beyond the Apple ecosystem. You have access to the entire Spotify catalog, similar to its mobile counterpart, so you can search and listen to almost any song, artist or album for free.
You can also use it to create custom playlists or use personal recommendations that include jazz, hip hop, rock, and everything in between.
There are few solid BitTorrent clients, but transmission is one of the best. The lightweight app is characterized by excellent download speed and fits seamlessly into MacOS. It's not the most robust client, but it's the best choice for MacOS due to its reliability and factual approach to torrent downloads.
It's quick, easy, and makes life a little bit easier simply by avoiding it. The transmission had a security breach in 2016. Therefore, make sure that you only download the latest version (2.94 or higher) directly from the transfer project.
Tweetbot 3 is intended for power users who prefer to skip the official Twitter app for Mac to get something more powerful.
As with the latest version of the software, the latest iteration provides multiple columns and windows, as well as tools to mute users, hashtags, and certain keywords. It also supports third-party apps such as Bitly and Paper and offers an optimized user interface that fits perfectly with the latest MacOS look.
VLC media player
The VLC media player is better than Quicktime in almost all important aspects, especially in terms of speed and file compatibility.
The open source software supports almost any media file you can create from AAC to Theora. It offers fast video conversion, full subtitle support, and a variety of video filters that you can use to crop, remove, and adjust playback. The intuitive user interface isn't bad either.
Security and storage
Do you hate to remember every single password for every account you have? 1Password is a fantastic password manager that protects you in a fully encrypted vault that you can then access with a master password. For teams, 1Password charges $ 3 a month for annual billing, while the 1Password family plan bills five people for $ 5 a month for annual billing. There is also a team plan that costs $ 4 a month per user.
Carbon copy cloner
Carbon Copy Cloner is a backup app that is very easy to use. We hope you never have to use this type of app, but if a disaster strikes, you'll be happy to have it.
One of the best features is the ability to make bootable backups of your startup disk. That said, if your main drive fails and you can't turn on your Mac, you can boot from your backup and continue working. It is a real lifesaver.
You can also back up your files and data to an external hard drive or other Mac and then restore everything with just a few clicks. After your first large backup, only updated files are backed up, saving you space.
There are several fantastic cloud storage solutions out there, and Dropbox is one that makes it quick and easy to sync files. The desktop app works similarly to the software's web and mobile counterparts. It provides access to your files and folders and gives you the ability to upload photos, videos and various documents directly from your desktop.
You get 2 GB of free storage space just for signing up. However, you can earn more by inviting friends or connecting to Dropbox through the usual social media channels.
You may know the benefits of Google Drive. However, you may not be aware that you can edit your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations offline if you cannot access the Internet.
Google’s desktop app gives you quick access to all of your files and folders, much like the software’s mobile counterpart. You'll get a dedicated folder where you can sync content up to 15 GB – provided you haven't paid for additional storage. Google Drive can back up your entire drive if necessary.
Little Snitch 4
Little Snitch 4 is an authorization blocker with which you can control all incoming and outgoing connections. If you have an app that you don't want to connect to the internet with, the software can block it on your behalf. You can choose to block a single instance until you end a specific app or forever. It's great for control geeks like us who prefer to know everything our Mac does.
More Mac security apps can be found here.
If you consistently switch between MacOS and Windows, moving files between them can be problematic. This is where OneDrive comes in because the service is integrated into Windows and the standard cloud service for the platform. With OneDrive installed on your Mac, you can easily sync files between the two, so you can open pictures, documents, and more on both devices without any additional effort.
If you've already subscribed to Microsoft 365, you'll get up to 6 TB of OneDrive storage (or 1 TB per user). That means you don't have to pay for Apple's iCloud if you need more than the free 5 GB.
The native apps in MacOS cannot do everything, especially if you work with compressed or archived files. Fortunately, the Unarchiver can process almost any format you can use, regardless of whether you are working with RAR files or older formats such as StuffIt, ARC or Tar.
You don't need to open a separate app for the software, so you can access your files with a simple click in the Finder.