What's on Peter's Mac dock right now!

What's on Peter's Mac dock?

The most frequently accessed apps on my Mac, and why they're there as of February, 2014

Rene's recent What's on Rene's iPad right now! post inspired me to do my own, and as the resident Mac guy, I'm spinning mine in a slightly different direction — here's what's on my Mac dock instead.

The left side of my dock is pretty much bone-stock, but it's not because of neglect - I actually use those apps quite frequently. Launchpad is a great way to locate applications I've installed on my hard drive quickly and easily; I regularly access the Mac App Store to find great new apps and games to download; Mail is my go-to e-mail app, and Mission Control is quite handy to quickly switch between active apps and desktops. And as you can see, I stick with the Mavericks default wallpaper, partly because I take screenshots for various coverage in iMore and I want it to look as familiar as possible. From there:

  • Echofon: My favorite Twitter client for OS X and iOS. I like it because it syncs unread tweets and messages between clients, so I never have to slog through a bunch of message I've already seen when I hit the road.

  • Safari: We can argue the merits of different web browsers until we're blue in the face, but Safari is still my go-to browser. However...

  • Firefox: I keep Firefox around because some web sites still aren't well-behaved with Safari, and it's good to have alternatives.

  • Flint: Campfire is our go-to office communication tool at iMore, and Flint is a much better alternative than using Campfire through a web interface.

  • Messages: Apple's messaging app is a supremely useful tool to stay in touch with my many friends, family members, colleagues and associates.

  • BBEdit: One of the first apps I install on any new Mac is BBEdit, Bare Bones Software's popular text-editing app. I don't use even 1/100th of what this app can do, but it is by far my favorite way to write words on my Mac. (If the $50 price tag puts you off, give Bare Bones' free TextWrangler a try.

  • Contacts: Only one click away from getting any contact info I need. One of my most frequently-used apps.

  • NetNewsWire: I want to stay on top of what's happening in the Apple universe, and one of the best way to do that is to check RSS newsfeeds of the popular sites I follow. Black Pixel's NetNewsWire is my favorite app to do just that. Right now they're publicly beta testing NetNewsWire 4, which is a worthy successor to this great product.

  • Fantastical: Flexibits' calendaring app blows away Apple's own Calendar app for its ease of use, better natural language recognition and improved interface.

  • Napkin: One of our jobs here at iMore is to make stuff easy to understand for you, so we regularly produce How Tos. Napkin is one of the tools we use to do it; it's an image annotation tool that makes it easy to produce high-impact graphics quickly. If you've been wondering how we do those callouts and arrows showing you where to click and what to press in our How To graphics, wonder no more.

  • Adobe Photoshop CC: The granddaddy of image editing tools for the Mac is still my go-to for everything from screenshots to product images and more; I also use it for post-processing of family photos and other images I snap. I moved to Creative Cloud about a year ago and don't regret it a bit - Adobe is continuously improving Creative Cloud apps. If you're a content creator with a need for professional tools, it's still the gold standard.

  • iPhoto: Although I also really enjoy Apple's Aperture software, iPhoto remains my default photo cataloging tool. Force of habit, I guess.

  • System Preferences: Because I regularly have to tweak settings.

  • Steam: Valve's game downloading and matching service is a great way to find games for your Mac. There are frequently sales and there's also a huge community of users looking for challenges, so there's always someone to play with (or against).

  • Microsoft Word: While I do the vast majority of my text creation in BBEdit, the need occasionally arises to open, edit or save Word documents, so I keep it in my dock when I need it.

  • Skype: I've got a love-hate relationship with Skype. Well, more of a hate-hate relationship, really. But it's a necessary evil: it's as close as I have to a universal chat tool for my many friends and colleagues who aren't plugged into the Apple Messages ecosystem.

There you go! There are certainly lots of other apps I use on my Mac, but my Dock represents the stuff I go to most frequently. I hope this gives you some idea of cool apps to use, and a little peek behind the curtain at how we get things done at iMore.

Have any questions? What are your favorite apps? Sound off in the comments, let me know.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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Reader comments

What's on Peter's Mac dock right now!


I like these types of articles, so kudos to the iMore team for writing them and keep them coming.

For my dock, I have some of the stock apps (Safari, Calendar, Contacts, iBooks) and a couple of 3rd party apps - OmniFocus, BBEdit (complete overkill for anything I need of course), Evernote, and Lightroom. OmniFocus is just a tremendous project/task manager for the single user and I use it despite not being able to use it on my work (Windows) machine. Using Lightroom for photo management (I really don't do any editing). iPhoto was a complete dog on my oldish MBP and Aperture started acting up last year (projects would disappear and reappear randomly). LR seems stable although I miss the Photostream integration of Aperture/iPhoto. (If I ever get around to upgrading the RAM in my MBP, I might give iPhoto/Aperture another try, after completely resetting everything and starting from scratch.) Safari is my goto browser (seems to have the least number of issues for what I use it for).

I use the regular Mail app, which manages seven different accounts, including iCloud, several Gmail accounts, and others.

I used to have a ton of accounts. I've let many die now. My personal Gmail goes to iCloud, and my work Gmail sits beside it.

Don't want that many doors to my house any more!

Great read, Peter.
It means a great deal to me to know what iMore uses as well as the why and how because it helps me visualize how some of this software functions in a more professional capacity. It also helps me consider the versatility of software that I use.
Thank you for the share.

Sent from the iMore App

Any people do iPhone screen shot features of various notables in the community. I love those, but what a great idea to feature the Mac dock. Let's see even more of this as an occasional feature.

Sent from the iMore App

I simply dragged the app icon into the Dock. It's still in my menu bar, but I reflexively go to the Dock to open my calendar - years of using the Calendar app that Apple provides. So I made it easy on myself by substituting the Fantastical icon for the Calendar icon. All selecting the app does is cause the menu to pop open, but it's one less thing I have to retrain myself on.

It is a little bit tricksy but if you open Launch Pad you can drag it into your dock from Launch Pad. It sometimes takes a couple of tries and I find it helps to pause your drag motion a bit while over the dock to position it.

Great write up, Peter. I love seeing these types of articles. A lot of the times it gives me ideas for tools/software that may be useful in my workflow as well. I use Fantastical on my iPhone but haven't purchased the desktop app yet. May give it a shot.

On a side note. Another thing I'd like to see y'all do is a "tour" of your offices. I like to see what hardware people use and how they have things set up. Similarly it can give me ideas on how to improve my own set up.

This is a great post; I'd love to see more like this. Looking into what's on people's Mac docks, or what their desk setups are like. It would be really interesting to see what everyone's workspace looks like. I'm always looking for ways to improve mine, and those "tours" are awesome for that.

I have Chrome installed on my Mac too, and continue to use Google apps and services beside. I just don't want to clutter my dock with too much stuff. I can use Launchpad or even Spotlight to pull up other apps I use periodically.

I agree with the commenters that enjoy these articles. I enjoy knowing how others set up their systems (if only to better justify my choices to the OCD portion of my brain). I'm curious if you've ever considered reader contributed content. I'd be interested in hearing what other readers / listeners (whatever you call them in a mixed-media news site) do in this regard as well.

Thanks Peter.

Glad to see Chrome is not there ;)

FWIW, once we disable Ads, Safari will behave much better :D

Once I started using Alfred, I ended up removing ALL applications from my dock. Now, when I look at a dock loaded with icons for applications not in use, it just freaks me out.

My dock isn't nearly as cramped: System Prefs, App Store, Chrome, OminiFocus, Airmail, TweetDeck, iTunes, Spotify, PS CC, Premier CC, and word.

Out of curiosity for everyone else out there, where do you prefer to have your dock located? I move mine around. My current fav is on the left.

Peter and Rene, I echo the sentiments of my fellow iMore readers in thanking you for this series. With the changes to Calendar in Mac OSX Mavericks, i.e. driving directions, do all the newer features in Calendar work in Fantasical Flexbits? Being in outside sales, I'm particularly interested in the driving directions and ability to send to iPhone/iPad feature that has been added to the native Calendar. What have you found, please? Thank you.

Nice post Peter!
One question: Is there a way to try Napkin? It's a 36 euro app. I think it's to expensive for just trying once or two.

How do you get Fantastical on the dock? Mine runs in my menu bar. And even if I could put it on the dock, it doesn't open a full screen calendar, just a mini calendar and a event list, correct?
Am I a missing a feature of Fantastical?

Nope. I explain it elsewhere in the comments, but just to recap, I keep Fantastical in the Dock in the same location as the Calendar app used to be, because I reflexively click there to open my calendar by force of habit. That's the only reason. I forget that it's in the menu too.

Great Post Peter!!
My Dock has the standard apps plus Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, Webcam Settings, Tweetbot, Pro Tools 11 & 10, Logic X, Ableton, Maschine, Reason, Audio Hijack Pro, Snapper, FCPX, Motion,Compressor DaVinci, X2Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom and Screenflow. Mavericks Wallpaper. I am interested in Napkin.

Only one quibble. I also have Firefox as a backup browser BUT I haven’t launched it in months because Safari seems to do the job quite nicely. I haven’t encountered any problems with Safari in terms of compatibility for any of my financial websites (bank, credit cards, Amazon, PayPal, etc.) To each his own, your mileage may vary, but Safari is all the browser I need.

Hey Peter and Rene:

I would love for you guys to do something on Safari, how yours is setup up, what extensions you use and your favorite tips and tricks etc. Some info on the Develop tab as well.

Thanks for the insight Peter. Nice to see other people's tools and get an idea of their workflow.

More and more I am depending on Alfred for file and app opening. It is just too simple to Alt-Space, then type a couple of letters to bring up an app or file or do simple math. I forgot about it for the first year I had it....old habit of looking for icons....but now it is instinct and leaves my dock much less cluttered.

For screenshot editing I use SnagIt. It really is well suited for such and much faster than PS, which I only use for detailed photo editing. I use SnagIt at work constantly for UI design change mock ups. I can grab some screenshots of various UI elements and paste them in and start changing size/text and create something for the client that is damn close to the end result. The Mac version used to suck out loud, but the last update made it more on par with the Windows version.

I really love Messages on Mac. I just wish it would allow me to communicate with non-Apple accounts....life would then be perfect.

My job uses MS Lync. I despise the UI and having more MS bloatware on my system. Fortunately Adium works as a substitute. It's UI is lean, clean and rather stealthy once customized.