When you think of apps, you usually think of a smartphone, or tablet, or a similar handheld device.
But apps come in all shapes and sizes and formats, and that means even your good old Mac is now optimized for a host of sexy new applications. To get the most out of your new Apple computer, you need to customize it with the most essential apps.
This means going beyond the top picks on the App Store. It means diving deep into the murky world of the internet and looking for mysterious new apps that just might change your world.
Or you could just read this list we’ve put together of the best apps you need to install on your new Mac computer.
Okay, so we all hate having to think up new passwords for every new app or website we use or visit. How many numbers or unique characters do we have to use? Capitalize or don’t capitalize?
It’s exhausting, and we usually end up forgetting the password anyway. But 1Password takes care of all of that. Just download the app, create a single master password in order to use it, and the app does all the work of crafting and storing strong passwords for you.
1Password costs $3.99 per month, but the app’s value easily justifies its price.
Mac screens tend to get a little messy. Windows and opened apps are all over the place, with no sense of order or decorum.
Magnet takes care of all of that. For just $2, this app allows you to organize your Mac workspace by clicking and dragging windows into prearranged spaces and snapping them right in.
It’s just a little something to keep everything in its place…which Mac users can definitely appreciate.
It’s the app with a peculiar name, but a whole lot of uses. Alfred is really a productivity engine, designed to speed the ease of work with custom keywords and shortcuts.
The app comes with attractive themes to choose from, or even the ability to craft your own, and it allows you to organize various files and apps right from your keyboard. And it’s “Clipboard History” feature stores a record of just about everything you’ve ever cut or copied.
Honestly, we’re wondering what Alfred doesn’t do.
This is one of the must-have Mac apps. It’s a subscription service, with a fee of $9.99/month, but that gives you access to a whole universe of Mac apps that allow you to do just about everything.
And we mean everything.
Looking to access other computers from your Mac? Just use Jump Desktop. Want to control your Mac with your iPhone or iPad? Use Remote Mouse. Want to download Netflix on Mac? Plenty of apps on SetApp to help with that.
When it comes to essential Mac apps, SetApp is right there at the top.
5. Google Drive
Google Drive is one of the best apps for Mac since it allows you to have access to files and programs that aren’t available on Apple devices. And let’s face it: must of us aren’t so committed to the Apple ecosystem that we don’t use any other devices or programs.
Google Drive has you covered with a cloud storage system that provides 15 GB of storage space. It also comes with great web apps, like Google Docs and Sheets, that work across both your Apple and non-Apple devices.
This free app does just about what its name says.
Sometimes, your Mac can become a graveyard full of the corpses of half-deleted apps. Sure, you dragged the app’s icon over to the Trash—but sometimes there’s something left over, and this could take up valuable space on your computer.
AppCleaner helps you get rid of these apps in their entirety, and free up your hard drive for more important software and files.
Like endless pictures of your kids. Or dogs. Or kids and dogs.
Okay, so this app really doesn’t need much of an introduction. But you might not know that it’s a great addition to your compliment of essential Mac apps.
Here’s the real kicker. On your Mac, Shazam is continuously listening to the music in your vicinity, whether it’s coming from your computer or from elsewhere in the room. And once it hears a song, the Shazam app will identify it and show you where you can purchase it.
Not too shabby.
8. Weather Dock
Sometimes looking out the window isn’t good enough. That’s where Weather Dock comes in.
Putting this app in your dock gives you access to a little more weather information than Mac’s primitive weather notices in the Notification Center. Current conditions are easily displayed, and clicking on the icon pulls up a detailed three-day forecast.
9. VLC Media Player
One of the major reasons to have a Mac, especially one with a high-def Retina display, is to play movies and other videos. But it’s one of those unpleasant facts of life that video formats change as swiftly as a passing cloud, and that means your Mac’s cluttered with unplayable files.
This is where VLC can change your life. QuickTime might not be able to open some of these older files, but the open-source VLC app can convert and play most video formats.
Best of all, it comes with a sleek and simple interface, and the app is free. Hands down, this is one of the essential apps for your Mac.
This is a nifty little app that brings task-tracking to a new level. Organizing your life, your work, and your computer workspace is important, and the Todoist app makes that as easy as it should be.
Basically, the app features an intuitive interface that lets you quickly add tasks to a menu, and further organize with priorities, subtasks, notifications, and reminders. And a nice bonus is that you can link Todoist with other apps, such as Dropbox, Slack, and Amazon Alexa.
Todoist comes with an iOS companion app, too, and it has a free version that should have you covered for most individual needs. You can also upgrade to premium and business versions for a monthly subscription.
Obviously, the need for this app depends on your vocation. Some jobs will require it, otherwise, it just won’t be an important addition to your complement of Mac apps.
But as the premier business collaboration app, Slack is unquestionably best in class, and its Mac version is streamlined for ease of use. The desktop app lets you easily upload and download files, keep tabs on the different groups you’re subscribed to, and communicate with your team members.
There comes a time in the life of any computer when the absolute worst happens.
We’re talking about a crash. Your computer takes a dump. It goes kaput. All is lost.
That’s where a useful little app like BackBlaze comes in handy. It’s a simple and affordable method of backing up all your Mac’s data to a cloud server so that all your files remain safe in the event of an unforeseen disaster.
Best of all, BackBlaze simply runs quietly in the background, automatically backing up your files and uploading them to the off-site cloud server. It costs $5/month for each computer, which ain’t all that bad for the peace of mind that it provides.
That’s right. There’s a Kindle app for your Mac.
And it’s pretty good, too. As you’d expect, you can access all of your Kindle purchases right from your desktop. But you can also customize and tweak your reading experience by adjusting the font, page widths, light and dark themes, and other features.
Looking up unfamiliar words and annotating your reading material is a cinch, and of course, you can resume reading right where you left off on any of your other devices. And we’ve also heard that the Kindle for Mac app throws in a few bonus free books…
Obviously, all Macs come with the Apple Music app. Which is good, but it’s mostly for listening to music you’ve already purchased.
But Spotify has a sweet little app for Mac computers that lets you listen to just about all the music you want—free of charge if you want to, or with a premium membership.
15. Apple Office Suite
Apple’s productivity software—Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—have been around for a while. At one time, you had to buy them separately, but now Apple’s made them free of charge—and these are probably some of the most essential Mac apps.
All of these apps are powerful and come chock full of features you’d expect from their costlier and more famous Microsoft Office counterparts. Whether you’re looking to compose written material, tally expenses on spreadsheets, or put together presentations, these programs have got you covered.
They’re also fully integrated with companion iPhone and iPad apps, so you can work interchangeably between all of your devices.
Use This List of Essential Apps to Get the Most Out of Your Mac
The above list is really just a taste of the best apps you can get for your new computer. Some are for the serious user; others are just for fun.
Take a look at them for yourself, and then do some exploring on your own. That’s really the best part: finding what else is out there and discovering the most essential apps for your needs.
Meanwhile, you can geek out some more right here on Geek Extreme, with plenty of no-BS reviews and analyses of everything that geeks everywhere hold dear.