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The 20 Best Mac Apps to Make Everyday Life Easier

The 20 Best Mac Apps to Make Everyday Life Easier. Although MacOS is known for its out-of-the-box reliability and ease of use, several of the preinstalled programs fall short of our expectations. Apple is notorious for not listening to its customers, refusing to introduce simple improvements that would make the platform even more user-friendly. We’ve compiled a list of the finest third-party macOS software to enhance and improve your Mac experience.

Some are for specific uses, while others fill in holes in MacOS. Many of these applications aren’t free, but many of them have free trials you may try before deciding whether or not to buy. It’s also typical for them to sync with iPhone companion apps. Try some of the items on the list below. These MacOS apps might might make things easier for you.

Check out our other recommendations as well, such as the Best MacBooks, Best iPads, Best iPhones, and How to Back Up Your iPhone.

We added Evernote, Microsoft 365, and Tweetbot, and we changed the pricing on other apps, including ApolloOne, Shift, and Magnet, in March 2022. We also replaced the Samsung T7 external solid-state drive with a less expensive non-touch variant and added information about Amazon AWS S3 and Backblaze B2.

20 Best Mac Apps

Improved User Experience

($3) BetterSnapTool

Yes, you can use Split Display on MacOS to view two applications side by side, but it’s not as simple as it is on Windows, where you can simply drag a window to a corner and it will snap into place. If you don’t want to constantly resize window borders, this software is well worth the $3. Magnet ($8) is another nice alternative, however BetterSnapTool ($8) is a better deal now that it’s been upped from $3.

Amphetamine (Free)

If you’ve ever had to constantly wriggling your finger on the trackpad to keep the screen from falling to sleep during a movie or YouTube video (or perhaps during a particularly long download), you’ll enjoy an app that allows you to keep the screen on for specific tasks. External screens are also supported. Sure, you can continually changing the screensaver and hard disk shutdown settings in your system choices, but it can rapidly become tedious.

($10) Tweetbot

Finding the tweets you want in Twitter’s swarm stream of consciousness can feel like digging for a handful of needles in a huge, multinational haystack. Tweetbot’s sidebar makes it easier to manage your Twitter account by providing one-click access to your timelines, bookmarked searches, and direct messages. You can also utilize a set of filters to exclude tweets that you don’t want to view, such as spoilers, sponsored tweets, and phrases, persons, and hashtags that you create.

Theodore (Free)

The default search function on MacOS is adequate, but it might be better. Alfred is a powerful alternative that helps you build custom shortcuts to programs and file folders, activate system commands by typing, construct automated custom workflows that start with a button press or a typed phrase, and much more. It’s free, but you can upgrade to Powerpack for additional features like contacts and app integrations. A single user license costs 29 British pounds (about $38), while a lifetime of free Alfred upgrades costs 49 pounds (approximately $64).

AdGuard ($30 annually)

The standalone MacOS program from AdGuard allows you choose and customize a wide range of filters to block social media extensions, pop-up advertising, URL redirects, and more. It works on your browser as well as any other apps you have installed. There’s a free two-week trial, but after that, you’ll have to pay for a license to use it. You can use the service on three devices at once for $2.49 per month.

To Improve Your Writing Experience

OpenOffice (Free)

Tired of paying for Microsoft Office, underwhelmed by Apple’s default office suite, and unable or unable to convert to Google’s G Suite for everything? Download LibreOffice, a full-featured office suite that contains standard tools including a word processor and spreadsheet editor. It works with all of the standard Microsoft file formats, including legacy formats like.doc. It’s free to use, even for commercial purposes, because it’s open source. Donate a few dollars to charity if you enjoy it and use it frequently.

Microsoft 365 (annual fee of $84)

OK, I know I just gave you a great free alternative to Microsoft Office, but there are two features in Microsoft 365 that make paying $7 a month for it worthwhile if you utilize them. First, Word’s built-in Editor tool, which checks for grammatical errors and suggests corrections, is just as valuable and simple to use as Grammarly. Second, Microsoft secretly launched free in-app speech transcription in Word, which is as accurate as any pricey stand-alone voice transcription software I’ve tried.

Ulysses ($50 annually)

For larger tales, I like Ulysses’ simple text and clear interface, but it’s also great for short stories, novels, poetry, and scripts. It removes all superfluous icons, buttons, and settings, allowing you to concentrate on your task. Before paying the subscription charge, you can enjoy a free trial. (Instead of the annual payment plan, you can pay $6 each month.) If you pay for the MacOS version, the iOS app is included.

2nd Highland (Free)

Highland is a simple text editor created mostly for screenplays and stage plays, but it also includes templates for novel writing. It also has a new gender analysis tool that breaks down how many lines your characters speak by gender. The base version (which watermarks PDFs with the corporate logo) is free, but a $50 one-time payment unlocks upgrades and other functionality, as well as the removal of the obtrusive watermark.

Day One ($35 annually)

Journaling is a relaxing experience, but if you’re like me and your handwriting looks like an SOS message carved into a rock, you probably avoid it. Day One is a fantastic digital journaling app that allows you to add images, preserve voice recordings, and export your logs in a variety of formats, including PDFs. Your diary entries are encrypted from beginning to end, backed up automatically, and protected with a passcode or biometrics. There is a free version, but it is extremely limited, therefore paying $35 per year for the complete suite of features is preferable. A free seven-day trial is offered.

($10) Dark Noise

Working in a noisy—or dead-quiet—environment can be quite distracting. Dark Noise’s 50 built-in sounds can be custom-mixed to create the perfect aural illusions, whether “perfect” to you means showers falling on a tent or a box fan thrumming away on a ledge. Even if you’re not being attacked by music, a smooth layer of background noise might help you concentrate.

To Improve Your Viewing Experience

($12 per year) ApolloOne

Step up to ApolloOne if you require a heavy-duty image viewer that enables you modify and examine metadata, batch-process RAW picture catalogs, and set up automated processes to sort and classify photos for you. This is a program for serious photographers, or at the very least for those who take a lot of photos and want to organize them. The 14-day free trial has some restrictions, but it’s a decent method to evaluate if you’ll want to spend $12 for the Standard Edition or $20 for the Pro Edition. (If you don’t mind the obnoxious pop-up reminders to subscribe, you can utilize the free trial beyond 14 days.) XnView MP is another option (free).

($4) Xee3

This tool is a lightweight image viewer that lacks the functionality and clutter of more complicated apps, but it’s easier to use if you don’t require them. Xee3 is similar to MacOS’ default viewer in terms of appearance, but it allows you to navigate between folders of images and move photographs more simply. It’s yours for life for $4. In a positive sense, it reminds me of Windows Photo Viewer.

Media Player VLC (Free)

This is a wonderful video player that has been continuously supported since 2001. It supports a wide number of file formats and codecs, as well as converting between them, and it offers a variety of audio and video compression algorithms for shrinking huge files into smaller ones. It’s a no-brainer if you download a lot of videos. It’s also an open source tool, so if you use it frequently, consider donating a few dollars to the inventor.

Scratch (Free)

Skitch, from the makers of Evernote, outperforms MacOS’ built-in Screenshot tool. You can edit and annotate a screenshot of a program window, a piece of the screen, or the entire screen with arrows, shapes, textual callouts, and more. You can also pixelate (make parts of an image fuzzy) to hide critical information or call attention to it.

To Improve Organization

($42) Hazel

Cleaning up folders is a chore, and organizing all of your files into their proper locations never ends because you have to do it over and over as you use your computer. This is where Hazel enters the picture. You tell it which directories to watch—say, your Downloads folder—and it’ll move files to new destination folders and organize them by name, date, kind, source site, and more. Files that are newly created or downloaded are automatically relocated. It’s a one-time investment.

Shift (Free)

You can integrate all of your email, workflow, and social media accounts into Shift instead of having to sign in to each one separately. That means you’ll only have one app window active for all of your work. Gmail, Slack, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Spotify, Google Docs, and more (plus Chrome extensions!) are all available to connect. For $100 each year, the Advanced tier unlocks everything you’ll need. First, try the simplest (and free) tier.

($5 per year) deliveries

You’re inundated with shipments. Keeping track of everything is a headache, and it’s frightening to know that if you miss an email or a delivery date changes, a package thief on your porch could steal your belongings. This program provides a simple, color-coded space (purple for FedEx, brown for UPS, etc.) for you to keep track of delivery statuses and due dates for all of your packages, as well as the ability to input tracking information via Amazon links. The annual fee is $5, or 99 cents per month.

Evernote (Free)

Evernote is the program for you if you need more from your note-taking tool than basic checklists and wish you could scrawl in your own handwriting, upload photos, and scan documents.

You must pay $8 per month for the Personal tier or $10 per month for the Professional tier to sync across more than two devices, have access offline, and upload more than 60 megabytes per month.

Paprika Recipe Manager  ($30)

Paprika will automatically format recipe web pages into a unified look if you save them. You may use the app’s interactive features to check off items as you cook and scale up or down the components needed for different serving sizes.

There is an iOS and Android app, but they must be purchased separately for $5 each. It’s also available for $30 on Windows, allowing you to sync recipes between platforms.

Other Useful Resources

You should improve your security in addition to adding functionality. It has nothing to do with Macs and everything to do with how people use computers and mobile devices in general. I strongly advise investing for a virtual private network to protect yourself from data snoopers and identity thieves (VPN).
Also, that same password you use for all of your several website accounts? Intruders can easily figure it out. Download a password manager to create complicated, safe, and one-of-a-kind passwords for each website (and remember them all for you).
For redundancy, you should back up your files on physical hard drives and in a secure cloud service like Amazon AWS or BackBlaze on a regular basis. It’s been said that data that doesn’t exist in three places isn’t actually data at all. Three copies are a must, and five isn’t excessive. It’s too late once you lose non-backed-up data, and those images of your best pals and you on spring vacation are forever lost.
You may use an app to automate your cloud backups. MSP 360, which is still known informally as CloudBerry, is my preferred solution. It’s completely free to use and can upload to Amazon AWS S3 or Backblaze B2. Unless you have a lot of large files, like films or raw-format photos, you’ll probably just have to spend a dollar or two each month for either.
Finally, don’t forget about the music. Check out my list of the top music streaming apps to listen to while you work or play on your Mac.

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