My Essential Apple Mac Apps

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Three years ago, I switched from Windows to Mac, after a short learning curve and some configuration I think I have my favourite setup for both my iMac and MacBook Pro.

Here are my favourite MacOS programs, these are programs that I cannot do without or have found very useful, programs I would advise everyone get.

For everyday use

  1. Microsoft Office 365 (Paid, subscription)
    You may ask why am Microsoft Office 365 Home and not the Apple standard office suite, in my case it had to do with the learning curve of using a new office suite.
    Microsoft office 365 Home includes the following: Microsoft Word, Microsoft  Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft OneDrive, 1 TB of space on OneDrive and finally 60 minutes a month of landline calls on Skype for up to 6 family members on up to 5 devices including tablets and smartphones.
    It is a yearly subscription but well worth it. Apple only gives you 5 GB of cloud space and no international calls.
  2. WhatsApp (Free)
    If you’re not using WhatsApp yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Now available on most platforms including computers and Mac, there is no reason not to use it.
  3. Reeder (Paid)
    Reeder 3 is probably the best RSS reader on the Mac, period.
  4. Parallels Desktop (Paid, subscription or once-off)
    If you are coming from a Windows platform and you have a Windows license, Parallels Desktop will allow you to run Windows applications as if there were native to Mac.
    Bonus, it comes with Parallels Toolbox Subscription, which is a suite of tools that help you in everyday circumstances, from shutting down your screen to recording your screen and much more.
    Parallel Toolbox is also available separately on both Mac and Windows.

Utilities

  1. Bartender (Paid)
    Bartender allows you to unclutter your toolbar, I find that on the Mac this is required. Bartender is an essential tool for any Mac owner.
  2. Fantastical (Paid)
    Fantastical is an Apple platform calendar that works as well on Mac than on iOS. Fantastical will replace your calendar on your entire Apple platform, no matter which service you use. I recommend this tool as a must on any Apple product, Fantastical make calendering easy.
  3. Magnet (Paid)
    Do you want to snap your windows on the Mac like on Windows? The Magnet app is the tool!
  4. Living Earth (Paid)
    Living Earth is probably the single most beautiful weather application on the Mac platform.
  5. Dr. Cleaner (Free and Paid)
    Dr. Cleaner does a very decent job of maintaining your Mac drive clean, your memory optimised and even has a few more tricks up its sleeves.
  6. Battery Monitor (Free)
    Battery Monitor is only useful on MacBooks; it tells you a lot of information on your battery, the most useful one being what is draining it.

For specialized use

Project Managers

  1. OmniPlan (Paid)
    OmniPlan must be the best project management tool I know on MacOS, it blows all other software I know out of the water.

For software and solutions architects

  1. Pencil (Free)
    Pencil allows you to create software or website prototypes for documents in a flash; they look good too!
    Pencil is available for MacOS and Windows
  2. Xmind (Free and paid)
    Xmind is a mind mapping tool and where I start most of my projects no matter how small or large.
    It is easy to use during meetings and is available for Mac and Windows.
  3. Atom or Visual studio code (Free)
    Visual Studio code is based on Atom and the reason they are both here.
    If you want autocomplete in a flexible text-based code editor, either of these will do.
    These support most common programming languages such as PHP, C#, Bash, SQL and much more.
  4. Tyme (Paid, Subscription)
    Tyme is a cross-platform time tracking tool that can be used in both MacOS and iOS with synchronisation between the two.
    Very useful when you are billing clients by the hour.

For bloggers and writers

  1. MarsEdit (Paid, Trial)
    MarsEdit is a blog editor, I only use it when I am offline, but it makes my life easy.
  2. Grammarly (Subscription)
    If you are writing anything in English, documents, blogs, facebook comments, Grammarly is a must.
    It has better integration into Windows than MacOS and can be frustrating on the Mac at times, for example, the Safari plugin appears unsupported for the latest version of MacOS (Mojave), and it does not integrate with either Word or Pages on the Mac as it does on Windows.
    It has a MacOS App and integration into Firefox and Chrome, all of which work well.
    However, it will avoid embarrassments and checks for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

For photographers

  1. Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Paid subscription)
    The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan contains Adobe Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC, enough for any photographer to edit their photos at will.
    Photoshop is also very useful for editing images for your website, which I use regularly.
  2. Skylum Luminar (Paid, Trial)
    Skylum Luminar may sound odd given that I have Adobe Creative Cloud Photography in this list.
    It is far more flexible and versatile in terms of editing then Lightroom which I only use for asset management and minor touchup, it also as a plugin that works from Lightroom.
    Luminar is coming with asset management in December 2018 we will have to see how good it is at that time.
    Luminar works on Mac and Windows
  3. Skylum Aurora (Paid, Trial)
    If you do any tone mapping or HDR this is one of the two possibilities the other is Photomatix Pro, I find I use both for tone mapping, but I must admit that Aurora‘s interface is more accessible and polished.
    Both are available for Mac and Windows.
  4. iMovie (Free with your Mac)
    If you want to do some quick video editing, iMovie is surprisingly powerful. I recommend you look at it, besides it is free and on your Mac.

For people with hand disabilities

  1. Nuance Dragon Professional Individual (Paid)
    Nuance Dragon Professional Individual is probably one of my most used program on my Mac, I use it for everything from compiling an email to this blog post.
    It may take a little time to get used to it and isn’t very friendly to open office environments but it’s recognition, after training, is excellent.
    The only problem is that people think you’re crazy speaking to nothing when in fact you are dictating to your computer.
    As with Grammarly,  there are some plug-in issues in particular with Safari on MacOS Mojave, I hope that it gets sorted soon.
  2. MacOS Accessibility Tools (Free with your Mac)
    MacOS  Is very friendly towards disabled people, features such as sticky-keys has become the most useful for me.
    On Windows, I find that these facilities are often lost when rebooted or updated, this does not happen on MacOS.

Honourable mentions

  1. iTunes (Free with your Mac)
    Once the most hatred music player in the industry, iTunes has come a long way. With the introduction of Apple Music and stability improvements, iTunes has become very useful to play music and movies.
    If you haven’t tried it recently, give it is a serious look.
  2. VLC (Free)
    VLC  has always had a special place in my heart, it plays and components nearly any formats of video and audio files.
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