So you have just got a shiny new Mac. Congrats, but now what? Powering on your computer for the first time is like opening the door to a whole new world of possibilities – especially if this is your first Mac experience. At first, you’re entertained by the included software with OS X El Capitan, but after a while you’ll be ready for more.
The question is – where do you start? Check out our list of the Best Macbook Apps – for new users, and experienced users alike!
[Price: $64.99 One-Time]
It seems like every other day, we’re hearing about major security breaches in multi-billion dollar companies. If it can happen to them, it can happen to you. If the prospect of internet thieves exploiting your information is concerning to you (which it should be), you’re going to want to protect your passwords on your Mac, and an excellent app for that is 1Password. The app has been around for a while now, and since its launch has introduced UI updates and new features.
At its core, 1Password makes it easy for you to generate strong passwords for all of your internet accounts, storing them in one location under the protection of a master password. The 1Password extension works with popular browsers to allow you to auto-populate password fields without having to memorize all of your unique passwords.
With the launch of the new MacBooks, 1Password has integrated TouchBar support to allow you to unlock the app with your fingerprint and add other useful actions. If you don’t already have a password manager, we highly suggest you check this one out.
MacBooks come pre-loaded with Apple’s Mail app, but for some users, that just doesn’t cut it. For whatever reason that may be, you might consider looking into something different, such as AirMail 3. This particular mail app made it on both our Best Mail Apps for iPhone/iPad, and Best Mail Apps for Mac list – and for good reason.
AirMail is incredibly intuitive and offers a very clean design for users. The app works well with all major email services and is a fantastic option for users across iPad, iPhone and Mac since it supports Apple’s Handoff feature. If you happen to own the latest MacBooks with TouchBar, you’ll be pleased to find support that in AirMail 3. You can customize the TouchBar interface in AirMail 3 to include shortcuts such as Move to Trash, Archive, Mark as Spam, Unsubscribe and more.
If you need a fresh take on email and a break from Apple’s Mail app, definitely give AirMail a go.
Just like everyone has become a photographer with increase in smartphone camera technology, everyone can now become a photo editor/graphic designer with less barriers to entry when it comes to great software. Whereas you used to have to buy expensive editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to retouch your photos, you now have access to more affordable, quality options.
Acorn 5 is one of the more well-regarded options for photo editing available in the App Store. For only $30, you have professional editing capabilities at your fingertips. Inside the app, you’ll find familiar structuring with layers, tools and effects. You can transform, rotate and move all of your layers and easily create your own image filters that can be saved for later use. If you’re feeling creative, you can also play with the vector shapes included with Acorn 5 to build your own scalable images.
One thing that you’ll find, especially if your friends and coworkers use Windows PCs, is that your Mac doesn’t always play well with certain video formats. Quicktime, the out-of-the-box video player for Mac, won’t open some common video codecs, including WMV (Windows’ standardized format) and AVI – a common format for many digital video cameras. VLC Media Player solves this issue for you. VLC supports all common formats of video that you will likely encounter in your time with your Mac. Additionally, VLC is capable of converting your video files into other formats. Your boss need that .MOV file converted to .WMV? No problem.
Even if you have the pleasure of owning the top-of-the-line 27” 5K iMac, there will come a time when you have more windows open than you can manage. Power users who are looking to maximize their screen real estate will be happy to know that Magnet can neatly organize selected windows into various positions on the screen. So, if you’re a social media manager, you can easily keep Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest in the four corners of your monitor. Magnet supports up to six different displays at once – organize your heart out!
[Price: Free / Paid upgrades for more features]
Sticking with the productivity theme, Evernote is a one-stop shop for note taking, list making, writing and sharing. It’s one of those apps that just seems to do it all, and once you get the hang of it, it’s hard to imagine your life without it. Evernote is packed full of tools and features to keep your work front and center and distraction-free, and to help you stay focused on the task at hand. Evernote can also be used as a collaborative tool with other users so you can share drafts back and forth and simultaneously edit documents. Upgrading to the premium version for $69.99/year unlocks a handful of useful features, including the ability to present your documents with one click, annotate PDFs and sync your data across unlimited devices.
This is one of those apps that literally anyone can use. If you’re a student, a freelancer, a professional or just a casual user, everyone can use a little help managing their time. The Focus – Productivity Time for Mac makes managing your time, and maximizing productivity sort of, well, fun. Your daily tasks are broken down into 25-minute intervals, followed by short breaks.
According to Focus’ developer, this method is similar to the Pomodoro Technique but allows for more flexibility. Segmenting your time into short bursts will supposedly increase your efficiency and leave you with more energy overall. The Focus app is incredibly simple and user friendly, and it now includes TouchBar support. With TouchBar, you can perform certain actions such as add or delete tasks, or extend your current Focus session.
If you need some time management help (like me,) take a look at Focus.
One app that might be for a more specialized set of users, but that I find myself using all the time, is Screenflow. Screenflow allows you to record the video and audio from your computer and then compile and edit clips into movies directly inside the app. This app is perfect if you are responsible for preparing trainings or how-to videos for customers or employees, or for reviewing online software and apps. If you have more than one monitor in your setup, Screenflow allows you to choose which monitor to record from, and you can crop your clips further in post-production to show a specific portion of the screen. Though this app is on the pricier side, if you’re using it for professional work, it is well worth having.
[Price: $18 for a single license / $25 for 5 licenses]
For most users, this is another of those apps that you won’t find the need for but if you’re a power user, iStats Menu is definitely a recommended install. The app adds a series of customisable monitors to your menu bar to give you an at-a-glance view of the various hardware resources in use, as well as the speeds of your internet connection, the status of your sensors and additional battery and time information. Imagine the standard menu bar options supercharged and you have a rough idea of exactly what iStats Menu can do in power-user hands.
Gifs have become a cultural phenomenon in recent years, and what’s the point of having a computer if you can’t contribute to that? Giphy Capture makes creating .gifs that you can share with your friends extremely easy. You simply drag the tool over the video you want to record, click to start and stop recording, trim and modify to your liking with the easy-to-use editor, and voila! From there you can share with your friends on social media and upload to Giphy.com to save forever. So much fun to be had.
If you’re an avid Twitter user who is trying to grow your channel and increase your social influence, TweetDeck is an absolute must-have. Instead of trying to keep up with the endless stream of tweets that come in through the standard Twitter client, TweetDeck gives you a customizable dashboard to manage one or more Twitter profiles. Inside the app, you are given the option to display various columns depending on what you need to see at that time. For instance, if you want to see your feeds from three different Twitter accounts, you can display them all as columns and simultaneously scroll through. You can also choose specific trending topics to display as a column so you can see the latest tweets as they come in. Being able to monitor Twitter on such a granular level makes it easier to find the right people to engage with at the right time.
Did we miss any of your must-have apps for Mac? If so, let us know what that app is, and why you can’t live without it!