I use Macs since 2008, starting with MacBook White and ending with iMac Retina 5K. Since then, I have tested a lot of apps. Later, in May 2016, I founded comp-blog.com and started to write (not only) app reviews. But are you interested in what apps I use on my Mac? All my apps are hand-picked, like apps for my iPad, so I have made a great workflow. Even my countdown widget on Mac is synced with countdown widget on iPad via iCloud. So I decide to write about my app workflow. If you are finding right apps for your Mac, it may help you in deciding. Some apps are only available on the Mac App Store and some only at developers website. If app is available on both services, I have used developer’s website, because some apps on the Mac App Store are outdated and developers are only updating version on their websites, but some apps are only updated on the Mac App Store and version on developer’s website is outdated. And don’t forget that some features like Handoff and Family Sharing require the Mac App Store. So buy carefully. Here are 6 categories of software:
- Files & Clouds
- Social & Communication
- Photo & Video
So let’s start:
Files & Clouds:
I use Dropbox as my exclusive cloud storage. It’s multiplatform cloud supported by many mobile applications on my iPad. I don’t like iCloud Drive from Apple, it’s one big mess with strange behavior of apps’ dedicated folders – I see other apps’ folders on iPad, other apps’ folders on web icloud.com and other apps’ folders on Mac. Dropbox is much better, with better synchronisation. It creates dedicated Dropbox folder on your Mac and by drag-and-drop I copy files to that folder and it synchronizes changes on Dropbox server and then I have up-to-date version of my files on all devices. Dropbox is not only place where I backup my files. I have few external HDDs and NAS. Dropbox works with many 3rd party apps, so if I’m out of home and I upload something on Dropbox, it makes backup copy on my Internet-connected NAS. Also, it works with i-FlashDrive (external USB disk designed for iOS devices) so I can create another backup when I’m out with my iPad. Dropbox offers extra paid optional storage, but, for individuals, only one option – 1 TB. There is not way to choose for example 100 GB. If you are a free user, you can increase your capacity for free by reffering friends. Both friends and you will get some extra space for free.
You can download Dropbox on developer’s website.
I had once low-end WD My Cloud NAS. I was finding solution for syncing my files between Mac, NAS and iPad, so I had to purchase new NAS with support for installing custom apps (and other options like RAID). I have chosen Resilio Sync (formerly BitSync) and it works great. I know, iPad app is poor, but works 100% correctly. I have some folders on my Mac which are synchronised with my NAS and iPad. Resilio Sync for Mac runs in background using daemon, so you don’t need to open app for syncing. It uses peer-to-peer system, so synchronisation is very fast and no datas are sent via Internet.
You can download Resilio Sync on developer’s website.
iMazing 2 is my Mac manager for iPad. Sending files to iPad via iTunes is pain and very, very useless, so I use iMazing 2. But it’s not only about transfering files, you can extract your Camera Roll, Music etc. and even backup your device. iMazing 2 is must-have for iOS users and developers provide version for macOS and Windows. Updates are really fast with adding every new versions of iOS (even betas) and all iPhones, iPads and iPods touch.
You can download iMazing 2 on developer’s website.
Wunderlist is perfect to-do manager and useful for both individuals and teams. You can manage your tasks & sub-tasks, assign tasks to chosen user(s), create folders, events support chat, which is essential for teams. Even free version is useful, if 5 MB limit for files is enough. App itself is very beautiful with simple, but still robust design. We use Wunderlist in our comp-blog.com team, so I know what I’m talking about 🙂
You can download Wunderlist on the Mac App Store:
Word. Excel. PowerPoint. OneNote. MS Office is essential for me, so I purchased Office 365 Personal. OneDrive storage is useless for me, because I use Dropbox, so I would be glad for cheaper version of Office 365 Personal, because I’m wasting money for service I don’t need. I don’t only use MS Office on Mac, I got it for my iPad and Android smartphone too and thanks to subscription, I can install MS Office on my all devices without violating any law. Mostly I use OneNote. I was user of Apple’s Notes and in earlier Evernote, but OneNote is much better. Current MS Office for Mac and iOS devices is very good software, I’m very satisfied. Good job, Microsoft.
MS Office is available on Microsoft’s official website. Price varies by chosen service or edition.
Ulysses is distraction-free text editor for macOS and iOS. I use it for writing texts for our comp-blog.com. Ulysses supports Handoff, so I can start writing on iPad and when I come home, then with one click continue on Mac and vice versa. Your text library can be automatically saved to iCloud (as library on iCloud) or Dropbox (as plain text). Ulysses supports folders and smart folders, markdown, night mode, statistics, goals, attachements etc. Texts can be exported to many formats like plain text or PDF.
You can download Ulysses on the Mac App Store:
If you need to work with PDF files and Acrobat Reader from Adobe is expensive for you, one of the best solutions is PDF Expert for Mac. You can read and annotate your PDF files. Things like updating logo, signature or CV is a matter of a few seconds or minutes. It’s really fast. You can remove some pages from PDF documents, highlight your texts to study, make marks, add web links to text, merge documents to one, change properties like author and even protect your PDF files by password. Great software with great functions. App for iOS is available too.
You can download PDF Expert on the Mac App Store:
As for Handoff service, PDF Expert uses its own Readdle Transfer, which is better that Apple’s Handoff, so no Mac App Store required. Readdle said it will upgrade regularly both versions, but I still recommend Mac App Store version because of Family Sharing.
Coda 2 is the best code editor to create webpages. It’s not WYSIWYG editor, so you have to learn HTML/CSC/PHP etc. by yourself. Many great options, syntax highlighting for many languages, validator, tabs, text finding/replacing, Panic sync and regular updates make Coda 2 one of the best software you can get for your Mac. Extensions are supported too. It has its counterpart for iOS, but I’m not using it, I use Textastic. Coda for macOS and iOS does not support Handoff.
You can download Coda 2 on developer’s website.
Transmit is very nice FTP client. It’s not only beautiful, it’s very fast and reliable too. Transmit can connect to FTP, FTP with implicit SSL, FTP with TLS/SSL, SFTP, WebDAV, WebDAV HTTPS and S3. This app is from developers of Coda 2 and version for iOS is available too.
You can download Transmit on the Mac App Store:
Social & Communication:
I was tired of default Mac e-mail client. I like products from Readdle team, so I have checked their free Spark e-mail client. And it is great! Interesting is ability to snooze e-mail, useful quick replies or ability to cancel sending/deleting e-mail – if you accidentally send or delete e-mail, you have few secs to click on “Undo”. Settings can be synced via iCloud between Spark for macOS and Spark for iOS. Unfortunatelly, Handoff is not supported. Better signature management, option to logging, swipe actions (great with Magic Mouse), Smart Inboxes and Quick Replies make this client really awesome. And it’s free for both macOS and iOS.
You can download Spark on the Mac App Store:
I have iMac, iPad and Android smartphone. With mysms, I can connect these devices together. You will need to be on same wi-fi network or using cellular data. After installing mysms on all your devices, you can, for example, receive SMS from Android smartphone on your Mac and reply on Mac without need of unlocking your Android smartphone. SMS can be backed-up to Dropbox. Notifications are supported too, so if you forgot to deactivate silent mode on your smartphone, your Mac or iOS device will alert you. You can use those alert for both SMS and calls and it works on both macOS and iOS. Message and call history is synced, so you can manage your workflow seamlessly.
You can download mysms on the Mac App Store:
Tweetbot for Twitter:
Tweetbot is great Twitter client for your Mac. Interesting is sync via iCloud, so if you read few tweets on your Mac and then you have to go, you can continue reading tweets on your iPhone at the place you left on Mac. Tweetbot supports multiple accounts and columns with chosen sources, like PM or Mentions. These columns can be detached from main Tweetbot’s application windows. Notifications work too – for Direct Messages, Retweets, Likes, Follows or (I do not recommend) all tweets. Activity Monitor is useful for reviewing your Twitter activity.
You can download Tweetbot for Twitter on the Mac App Store:
FreeChat For Facebook Messenger:
Facebook Messenger for Mac. Nothing more. If you don’t like to run chat on web browser, get this free app. It looks very similar to Messenger for iPad. This app is built-in into macOS’s default Notification Center, so you won’t miss any message. If you don’t want to show new messages notifications or to stop logging in Notification Center (for example if you are receiving many messages), just turn it off in macOS Sierra Settings under “Notifications” pannel.
You can download FreeChat For Facebook Messenger on the Mac App Store:
Photo & Video:
Aurora HDR 2017:
Aurora HDR 2017 is professional HDR software developed by Macphun for photographers. Working with Tones, Colors, Structure, HDR Denoise, Image Radiance, Polarizing Filter, Details, Glow, Tone Curve, HSL, Color Toning and Vignette was never been so funny and professional at the same time. If you are photographer, give a try to this software, Macphun offers free version to test if this app is right for you. Optionally, you can purchase Creative Suite (including Tonality, Noiseless, Intensify, Fx Photo Studio, Snapheal and Focus) from Macphun and many other options are open.
You can download Aurora HDR 2017 on developer’s website.
Final Cut Pro X:
Many people are saying that iMovie is enough for home users and only pros should buy this expensive video app. But that’s not true. Many trivial options are not available in iMovie, so I was forced to get something more robust to fit my needs. Final Cut Pro is professional video editing software from Apple. It’s optimized for Macs and work is done very fast. If you are missing some features from iMovie and you want to try Final Cut Pro, because it is from Apple and you prefer native Apple’s solutions, Apple offers free trial version, which can be downloaded HERE.
You can download Final Cut Pro X on the Mac App Store:
MacX Video Converter Pro:
Are you finding great video converter? Give a try to MacX Video Converter Pro. Settings for output file are really wide and still friendly for low-experienced users. Many profiles are available, like the best output for iPad, Android Mobile, Microsoft devices etc. or optimalisation for some Internet video services like YouTube or Facebook. Interesting is option to download videos from many services like YouTube. Just paste link and MacX Video Converter Pro will analyze it and you can download desired format and resolution. If you only want to download videos and you are not interested in video converting, download free app from MacX HERE.
You can download MacX Video Converter Pro on developer’s website.
Movist is perfect app for playing videos and movies on Mac. Customizable subtitles, playlist and robust design with all features you may need are here, like in VLC Player. I have switched to Movist from VLC Player because of design and better support for Apple technologies. Movist is not developed very fast, but since I purchased it, I got updates for all new OS X/macOS systems, so don’t worry about compatibility.
You can download Movist on the Mac App Store:
I work a lot with metadata. Did you know that photo taken by your smartphone can contain sensitive data like date + time of taken photo and even GPS location? Some social networks delete these metadata while you are uploading your photo. If you want to protect your privacy or make your picture without any metadata or to add copyright to your photo, Metadata Editor by Vladimir Angilopov is great app. It does not support batch processing, but for my needs is this app enough and it works everytime. As for me, I use this app mostly for our comp-blog.com server, when I, for example, want to remove or edit metadatas in my screenshots.
You can download Metadata Editor on the Mac App Store:
If you are finding the best calculator for Mac, here is PCalc. It’s a great choice for scientists, engineers, students, programmers or for common use. It’s highly customizable, it includes RPN mode, constants, support for binary/hexadecimal/octal calculations, trigonometrics calculations, complex numbers support and rich settings. Converting between units is here too (hundreds of options), including currencies. You can have up to 8 lines on PCalc’s calculator display, multiple undos/redos and engineering/scientific notation. Interesting is support for Apple’s features. PCalc has it’s iOS counterpart and it can be synced with it’s macOS counterpart via iCloud, so you don’t have to play with many options on both platforms. Functions, Conversions and Constants, including your own custom units, can be exported. Interesting is support for Notification Center widget and Handoff compatibility, so you can start calculating on your iPad and after coming home, you can continue on your Mac, including history of calculations. PCalc is regularly updated. This is ultimate calculator for your Mac (and iOS devices too).
You can download PCalc on the Mac App Store:
Looking for weather was never so funny as with Forecast Bar. Watch current conditions or forecast for next 24 hours or even more days ahead. App provides all weather data you may need, like temperature, “feels like” temperature, relative humidity, dew point, cloud conditions, UV factor, visibility, high and lowest temperatures in your home or any supported location, wind speed, pressure, sunrise/sunset, Moon phase etc. It supports widget in your Control Center and icon in menubar with current temperature. As for notifications, you can set time for day summary and alerts like coming storm. This app has it’s iOS counterpart with iCloud sync, so your settings and list of locations are always up-to-date on both Mac and your iOS device.
You can download Forecast Bar on the Mac App Store:
MacID is app, which allows you to use Touch ID on your iPhone/iPad to unlock your Mac. It needs to be installed on both devices and on the same wi-fi network and it also needs Bluetooth. Automatic lock of your Mac while you are too away with your iPhone/iPad or automatic wake when you are near is included too – it’s based on dBm unit, it can be configured to set up to fit your needs and network parameters. Its iOS counterpart can also show notifications on your iOS device when your Mac requests unlock requests, elevated privilege requests and auto-lock notifications. Just one issue – iOS version needs to be running in multitasking, but this is not a bug, it’s due to Apple’s restrictions for apps published to Apple’s App Store.
You can download MacID on developer’s website.
Operating systems create invisible files in your folders, like “.DS\_Store”, “.\_files”, “.\_AppleDouble” “.Trashes” and many more on macOS and “Thumbs.ini” on Windows. All these files’ names start with “.”, so they are usually invisible. How to get rid of of these invisible files? Solution is called BlueHarvest. You can delete all of these “junk” files with few clicks and it supports background cleaning, including Dropbox folder, so your chosen folders are kept without macOS’s metadata.
You can download BlueHarvest 6 on developer’s website.
The Archive Browser:
This is simple app for opening many types of archives, like RAR and ZIP or split archives, and to browse it without needing to unpack whole archive, but without support to create archives. It’s just viewer. I personally really rare create archives, and if I need to do it, I’m satisfied with Apple’s built-in solution. I switched to The Archive Browser from Entropy, because Entropy seems to be abandoned with the last update in 13th December 2013.
You can download The Archive Browser on developer’s website.
Paranoia or security? Little Snitch 3 is the ultimate tool for monitoring your network activity. Every connection has to be manually confirmed. You can give or remove access for any apps and services you want to, including “allow once” and “allow always”. This can be used as great protection against keyloggers and other malware and spyware. Little Snitch 3 is often abused by software pirates, because it can stop pirated software to “call home” – a security feature when app on your computer can send data to developer to check if your copy of downloaded app is genuine. All rules can be viewed directly in the Little Snitch 3, protected by your system password. If you are worring about your privacy and security, Little Snitch 3 is great solution.
You can download Little Snitch 3 on developer’s website.
This app is from creators of Little Snitch 3. It monitors your webcamera and microphone and alerts you when webcamera or microphone are active. It works with external hardware, it even alerts me when I connect my iPad to my Mac. History of alerts are stored at macOS’s Notification Center (if you decided so) and in easily accesible log file. It has menubar icon, where you can check all connected devices and their status – active or inactive.
You can download Micro Snitch on developer’s website.
iNet Network Scanner:
Simple, but powerful app to monitor your LAN. You can scan your LAN and see all deviced connected to your network. Datas like IP address, MAC address, open ports and services, vendor names and devices’ names are present. Results can be exported as CSV or PDF. Ethernet, wi-fi, Thunderbolt and Bluetooth PAN are supported.
You can download iNet Network Scanner on the Mac App Store:
This is the best VPN app I have found. It needs ExpressVPN subscription. VPN is service, which can encode your Internet connection. It’s not only protection against hackers, but your ISP can’t monitor your Internet activity and you can get out of government censorship or access, for example, “Czech only” websites from Slovakia (and many more countries) using server in Czech republic. In some countries, like China and UAE, are VNP services illegal.
You can download ExpressVPN on developer’s website.
Copied is a clipboard manager. It helps you watch your clipboard history, so you will no longer experience accidentally deleted clipboard content. It has iOS counterpart with ability to sync your clipboard between your devices via iCloud. iOS version must run in iOS’s multitasking to get instant updates due to iOS limitations. Or you can just open it for while and it will be synchronised with your Mac from iCloud, so you don’t have to keep it running permanent in iOS multitasking to get new clips.
You can download Copied on the Mac App Store:
Calendarique is a simple calendar widget for macOS’s Notification Center. It was updated for macOS’s Sierra look’n’feel and it looks really good. It works with your Mac calendars (tested on iCloud and Facebook events, Google services and MS Exchange should work too, as their support is built-in on macOS)
You can download Calendarique on the Mac App Store:
Missing features from Windows are here! Live previews and windows snapping, if you missed them, are finally on Mac. Appearance of window previews are customizable with 3 themes and resizeable in HyperDock’s settings to fill your needs. Also, you can set distance from dock for window previews and numbers of previews per row.
You can download HyperDock on developer’s website.
I won’t write a lot about this. I have Magic Mouse 2 and right click on this mouse requires to lift your finder from left button of mouse. Annoying. This was the only reason I got BetterTouchTool. But if you play with it, you can get big amount of features, gestures and tunings, including window snapping found in MS Windows. Amazing piece of software. It works with trackpad too. But one feature is broken – I can set that it will warn me if battery level in wireless mouse/keyboard/trackap is low, but it just does not work. It always shows 0% of battery.
You can download BetterTouchTool on developer’s website:.
Highly customizable blocker. It’s based on fast native Content Blocking API. It’s supported by users and nothing like “acceptable ads” in AdBlock is allowed. 1Blocker has many rules with your own blacklist or whitelist and you can fully customize your blocking experience. This blocker has its iOS counterpart with iCloud sync, so all your settings are synced between Apple’s computers and iOS devices. Safari extension is available too.
You can download 1Blocker on the Mac App Store:
No ad blocker is 100% perfect, so I have added another one. It’s not as customizable as 1Blocker, but it does its job good and it’s synchronised by iCloud like 1Blocker, so your setting and profiles are always available on your Macs and iOS devices.
You can download Roadblock on the Mac App Store:
This is my workflow of must-have apps for my iMac for year 2016. I hope I helped you choosing the best software for your Mac. See ya in year!