My Mac Apps 2024

An update as it’s been a few years since I compiled a list and, once again, a friend is making the PC to Mac switch and I was collating a list of what I use (and why) anyway so thought I’d share it here too (cos I’m nice like that!).

I’ve taken my last post and updated it as some of the apps I used to use may be useful for others. Personally I’ve moved away from many 3rd party apps and services with the Apple offerings not good enough for me to use daily (plus my own circumstances have changed).

Productivity

  • Spark – email client I use across Mac and iPhone. Handles multiple accounts, and the Snooze feature is a lifesaver (and lets me go as far ahead as I want, other apps seem to limit this to a few months or so!)
  • Google Drive – FREE – much as I love the Apple versions I find the familiarity (aka ‘feels a bit like MS Office’) of the Google apps covers everything I need for simple documents and spreadsheets
  • TodoistFREE/Paid Premium – took me a long time to settle on a To Do list app and whilst Todoist still lacks a couple of features, it’s nicely designed, works on multiple platforms and, importantly, it works for me. Switched to Apple’s own Reminders app, instant sync, multiple lists and does everything I need it too (and it’s free).
  • EvernoteFREE/Paid Premium – It took me a while to really get into using Evernote but it’s now become a key part of how I work/live. I use it to store all sorts of things, a backup to my ailing memory. Switched to Apple’s own Notes app which I largely use for storage of useful information and occasionally sharing those with friends and family.
  • SimplenoteFREE – simple text/note app, syncs with iOS app. Feels ‘lighter’ than Evernote so I use it for transistory information, useful during meetings or on calls. Anything that I need to keep is tidied up and moved to Evernote. As above, Notes fills this gap (but I still have Simplenote for easily getting chunks of text from my work PC (via Simplenote web to the app on my MacBook/iPhone)
  • Fantastical£15 – I’d be lost without my calendar, but iCal is less than great, this makes using the calendar quick and easy, syncs with my Google Calendar (and the 9 other Google calendars I’m subscribed too), and my work Exchange server. I use the iOS app too. Switched to Apple’s own Calendar app, which has everything and is super easy to share with my wife (and vice versa).
  • NEW – Tot – £20 (on iPhone or Watch, free on Mac) a wonderful utility for temporary text capture/edit. “Tot is an elegant, simple way to collect & edit text across your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. It’s your tiny text companion!”

Utilities

  • 1Password£40 – Works on multiple browsers and on my phone, saves me remembering multiple passwords and will generate ‘better’ passwords for me too. Life saver! Switched to Apple’s own Password Manager – here’s a handy Shortcut to take you straight to it – and I’m hoping it’ll become a standalone app one day.
  • Moom£10 – gives me window positioning and sizing, customisable and fast.
  • BetterTouchTool – FREE – I love the touchpad, multi-touch gestures are changing how I work, this add-on lets you take that to the next level, still figuring it all out!
  • Bartender – £10 – file under, why didn’t Apple fix this? Removes a LOT of visual clutter (it’s the small bar on the top-right of my screenshot above).
  • Caffeine – FREE – one click to stop your Mac going to sleep until you say so, handy for viewing movies etc.
  • Keka – FREE – file archiver (ZIP/UNZIP) deals with most archive file formats, nice and simple.
  • Witch – £14 – window switching made easy, a must have if you are moving from Windows.
  • VLC – FREE – video player, supports a multitude of formats.
  • SkitchFREE – fantastic app for screenshots and image tweaking. Part of the Evernote set of apps. Built in Apple functionality is enough for me.
  • uTorrentFREE – for downloading torrents. Duh. What’s a torrent? LOL
  • AppCleaner – FREE – for when I want to remove some of these apps, it’ll find all the related files and get rid of them too.
  • Hazel – $29 – a simple way to keep your Mac tidied. Watches folders then runs rules, very powerful and very useful.
  • Flycut – FREE – Clipboard manager, nice little popdown menu of the last [x] copied items.
  • Contexts – For those who also use Windows, this provides a smarter CMD+Tab app switcher, which includes sub windows too. So, if I have 3 draft emails, I can bring either one to the front.
  • Timeout – FREE – a simple enough idea, an app that helps you take a break more often so you don’t end up staring at the screen for hours. Very customisable too.

Worky

  • Pixelmator – £23 – A bit like Photoshop because sometimes you need a little more power than the standard editor gives you. Not yet tried the iPad version as I don’t do that much graphic editing.
  • FileZilla – FREE – FTP client. I don’t have need for anything fancy, I’ve used FileZilla for years and it does everything I need.
  • TextWrangler – FREE – powerful text editor. Mostly used for checking code snippets.

Cloud services apps

  • BackBlaze£4 per month – I recently switched away from Crashplan which would drag my internet connection to a halt. BackBlaze seems simpler but provides the same service. Cloud based backup. I use Time Machine on a separate drive as all of my important stuff is backed up on iCloud
  • DropboxFREE/Tiered – quite simply I don’t know where I’d be without this service. Hosted files, apps on all my devices. Drop something in a folder and it’s synced everywhere. Replaced by iCloud
  • SpotifyFREE/Paid Premium – because sometimes listening to random playlists created by someone else is all you wanna do! I now pay for Apple Music, largely because of how it hooks into the rest of the Apple ecosphere (we have a family Spotify sub though so I still have access to it)
  • Pocket – FREE – I moved from Instapaper to Pocket largely because, at the time, Pocket seemed to be further ahead and have more integrations to other apps I used. These days it seems Instapaper and Pocket are separated mainly by marketing/buzz.

Lifey

  • Day One – £8 – Journal app, only downside is no web app, syncs with iCloud and/or Dropbox.
  • ByWord – £8 – my writing app of choice these days. I compose blog posts and other random writings in it. Syncs to Dropbox, and the accompanying iOS apps are great.
  • CalibreFREE – eBook management, for my Kindle, it’s a bit clunky and not the prettiest but does exactly what it says on the tin. I now just use my Kindle app on my phone, not fired up my Kindle hardware for years.
  • TweetDeck – FREE – Because Twitter. App is dead and Twitter is dead (to me).

And there you have it.

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