One of the best parts about owning an Apple computer is the massive ecosystem of superb Mac apps it gives you access to. There are apps available to Mac users no matter what you are looking for, whether that’s productivity, photo and video editors, security suites, and more. You can get them from Apple’s own App Store or from third-party developer websites, and many of the best Mac apps are even free.
Whether you just bought your first Mac or you’re a longtime Apple customer, here’s a look at some of the best Mac Apps for 2021.
The best Mac apps at a glance Interface Productivity Photo and video editing Entertainment and social Security and storage Interface Alfred
Think of Alfred as Spotlight with a dash of Siri. It’s an application launcher, but it can do a lot more than just that. With Alfred, you can quickly perform calculations, execute web searches, and find word definitions, among many other functions.
It’s a Mac app that fills the gap between Siri and your Spotlight search by allowing you to automate tasks and perform advanced functions that, frankly, Siri should be able to handle on its own. Version 4 improves the workflow creator, introduces rich text snippets, and more.
Always a favorite, Amphetamine keeps your computer from going into sleep mode, starting the screensaver, or performing the auto-dim function. It’s ideal for Mac users who want to watch streams, videos, or any other activity in which they don’t touch the keyboard or mouse for an extended period.
Note that Amphetamine no longer works with versions of MacOS before Yosemite.
Bartender 4 is an app made for when you’re utilizing too many apps. Put simply, it lets you choose which apps appear in the menu bar and rearrange their position to your liking. It’s a subtle tool that’s specifically designed with organization in mind, and as such, it lets you better systematize various aspects of your interface.
You can also search for specific items or move them into the optional Bartender Bar if you’re in dire need of additional space. The latest version added support for MacOS Monterey and M1 devices, a quick reveal to show/hide apps, and the ability to adjust the icon sizes. You can choose a four-week free trial before purchasing.
It’s not always easy to view multiple windows side by side, but Magnet gives you tons of options. The app is made for the multitasking Mac user inside all of us and presents a quick way to arrange your desktop.
With Magnet, you can drag and snap windows to the edges and corners of your screen, which will then lock into place. It’s a terrific tool, complete with predefined keyboard shortcuts if you want to copy content from one app to another.
Ever switch on Dark Mode to browse your Mac late at night, only to get your eyes blasted by a bright white website that doesn’t have its own dark version? We’ve all been there, but there’s no need to suffer bleeding retinas in silence. Instead, get Noir.
This clever little app forces websites to use a dark color scheme if you have Dark Mode enabled. If they don’t have one of their own, Noir reskins the website with a darkened, tasteful new look that fits in perfectly with each site’s own style. It’s customizable, too, and you can choose which theme Noir uses from a range of options — or create your own. You can even set site-specific rules.
If you use Safari, Noir is the perfect companion for late-night browsing (or if you just love using Dark Mode during the day). At $2.99, it’s an absolute steal.
Unclutter is a basic piece of software that suits its name. This Mac app is accessible with a quick swipe from the top of your screen and, better yet, functions as a convenient place for storing quick notes, recent files, and clipboard information.
Recent updates also allow for a light or dark theme and include an option for dragging cards on top of other desktop windows. Files and notes even automatically sync across your devices via Dropbox, a suitable addition that adds to the app’s lasting appeal.
Keyboard shortcuts are great, but so many different apps use so many different shortcuts that trying to remember them all can be an exercise in frustration. Well, no longer, as there’s a brilliant little app that can fix the problem.
The appropriately named CheatSheet is simple. Just press its hotkey, and up pops a window listing all the active shortcuts in your app of choice. It’s smart and only shows the shortcuts for the app you’re currently using, so there’s no need to specify the app you need help with. Release the hotkey, and the pop-up window disappears. It’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t.
Fantastical is the only calendar app you’ll ever need, so long as you’re willing to pay for it. A subscription grants you access to a powerful set of tools as well as a full-screen calendar window that’s as beautiful as it is practical. The app’s true hallmark, however, is in the way you create reminders; just type in that you have “Dinner with Alexa on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.” and watch the app schedule it with a reminder.
The free edition is minimal at best with the ability to add and delete events, get the three-day forecast, and a few other features. For a premium experience, Flexibits provides subscriptions for both individuals and families starting at $3.33 per month (when billed annually). Premium features include the 10-day weather forecast, priority email support, and much more.
You might start off intending to keep all your Mac’s folders neat and organized, but over time, things can go awry — confusing folder names, loose files, things stored in the wrong places, etc. When you’re desperately searching for that all-important file, the confusion can be concerning.
Folder Tidy puts an end to all that in the simplest way imaginable. Just one click, and it sorts your files into orderly subfolders using its own ruleset. If you want more control, you can add custom rules to sort things how you like. You can ignore specific files, folders, anything with a tag, and much more, and you can also send things back the way they were with the undo button. Instead of spending ages manually sifting through your files, just get Folder Tidy to do the hard work for you.
Apple redesigned its Reminders app in MacOS Catalina. We gave it a try, and while it’s a definite improvement over its lackluster predecessor, it still feels only halfway there. Instead, Apple should take some pointers from GoodTask — it’s the best reminders app out there, bar none.
If you just need to quickly create entries, GoodTask gets out of your way and lets you do that. But it comes alive when you start to use its power features. You can make smart lists based on specified criteria, add new reminders using text snippets that GoodTask intuitively understands, and everything from the calendar view to almost every function can be tweaked to your liking.
Chrome’s rich feature set, extensive ecosystem and blazing speed make it a great browser for your Mac. Chrome is one of the fastest browsers available for Mac, one that also features the ability to automatically sync all your information — bookmarks, open tabs, recent searches, etc. — across multiple computers and mobile devices. That, combined with its robust customization and instant search capabilities, makes it worthwhile.
As popular as Chrome is, however, it’s one of the weakest for user privacy protections, so consider that before installing.
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