The best apps to unlock the full potential of your new Mac
If you got a new Mac for Christmas, you’re probably wondering what essential apps you can grab to take your macOS experience to the next level. Although Apple includes some great apps built into macOS, several third-party options are worth checking out.
Clean Shot X
If you regularly take screenshots to send over UI fixes, troubleshooting explanations, etc. – you need to download CleanShot X. It’s hands down the best screenshot tool on the Mac. It’s so simple, yet so powerful. It can record video, create GIFs, add annotations, erase sensitive material and much more. I can’t think of a single thing about the app that I would change. I use it several times every day and it is 100% worth every penny.
1Password is an app I don’t want to be without. I’ve personally used it since some of the earliest OS X versions. Beyond just password management, there are many features that 1Password supports that make it something worth paying for (versus Safari’s free features). They include support for secure notes with attachments, personal information such as social security numbers, app license information, credit card information, passport information, and more. I also use it for all my two factor authentication code storage as well.
Without a doubt, the app I use the most on my Mac is Alfred. There is a macOS launcher that I recommend you check out. My most used feature is the clipboard history (it even works with photos). I love to quickly change what’s on the keyboard without copying anything manually. It also includes keyboard bits (a basic version of what TextExpander does), converts text to different cases, launches apps, quickly looks up contacts, and more. It’s a free download, but if you end up enjoying it, you’ll want to check out the optional Powerpack.
AirBuddy was developed by 9to5MacGui Rambo and I have been using the original version since it was released in 2019. One of the advantages of Apple’s W1/H1 chips is how easy it is to connect AirPods and Powerbeats Pro to your iOS device. However, AirBuddy makes it even easier on Mac. So if you often connect your AirPods to your Mac for Zoom calls, listen to Apple Music, etc., AirBuddy will become one of your favorite apps.
Unsplash has one of the largest collections of free images to use, so the Unsplash Mac app is a great addition to your menu bar. It lets you quickly find high-quality wallpapers and set your Mac to rotate on a schedule of your choosing.
Pixelmator Pro is the perfect image editor if you want to avoid the subscription costs of Adobe Creative Cloud. Pixelmator Pro includes advanced image editing features such as layers, brushes, effects, filters and more. You can use various selection tools to precisely fine-tune specific image areas or use content-aware fill to automatically remove elements from a scene. Pixelmator Pro is frequently updated to support the latest Apple technologies and platform features, and uses iCloud to sync and collaborate on projects across iOS and macOS apps.
If you come from the Windows world with the ability to pin windows to certain parts of the screen, you should check out Magnet. It supports snapping apps to full screen, halves, quarters and thirds. Plus, if you connect multiple displays to your Mac, it works with up to six external displays.
For macOS maintenance, I highly recommend you look at CleanMyMacX. The app helps you reclaim hard drive space from unnecessary caches and other system junk, uninstall apps, check for malware, and run optimization tools.
Vinegar for Safari
A new Safari extension called “Vinegar” should be installed on all your devices. It’s a Safari extension for iPhone, iPad and Mac back in November that aims to replace the YouTube player with a minimal HTML player. I’ve been using it for the past few weeks and I can’t imagine going back to the default YouTube experience.
These apps are just a few of my favorite macOS apps. If you have a new iPhone or iPad, be sure to check out our list of apps you can install. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!
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