Did you hop aboard the Apple silicon hype train with a new MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Studio? Whether you just got a new desktop or laptop Mac or are just looking for something new to try on your existing hardware, many apps are out there to discover. But there are 10 apps that will always stand the test of time and are necessities on any Mac, no matter who you are.
Dropbox is a cloud storage service that lets you easily backup vital documents, files, photos, videos, and other things, making it one of the essential must-have Mac apps. While your stuff is stored in Dropbox, you can access it across any other device, as long as you're logged in to the same account. Any changes to your files get saved automatically, though you can also check older versions on the web interface if needed. Everything you upload to Dropbox is encrypted, and there are also collaborative features that make it easy to share files with others. One thing I love about Dropbox is how it integrates with pretty much any other app I need, so my stuff is accessible from anywhere and in anything.
A free account gives you 2GB for free (and the chance to get more space with referrals), but they have plans that start at around $11.99 for 2TB.
Online backup for all of your files, with integrations in almost every app.
I'm on Twitter pretty much all day, every day. My app of choice is Tweetbot from Tapbots. I use Tweetbot over every other Twitter app because I love the interface, as it's easy to use and provides plenty of powerful features. You can quickly search for topics that interest you, filter and mute hashtags and people that are annoying you temporarily (or permanently, it's up to you), create lists, and there is support for a multi-column view. I've been using Tweetbot on my iOS and Mac devices for years — there's no other app that I would rather use. Plus, you don't see promoted ad tweets or other annoying features, like Spaces. It's one of my absolute must-have Mac apps.
Tweetbot has plenty of powerful features that make it the best Twitter app on Mac.
While I use Safari as my default browser on my Mac, it's always good to have an alternative, especially since some things don't always work correctly in Safari. For my alternative, I use Microsft Edge. It syncs with your Google account, has numerous plugins and extensions to enhance the browser experience, and works better with certain Google apps than Safari. And yes, it's much better than Google Chrome.
Edge is a great alternative browser that syncs with your Google account and has a ton of plugins and extensions.
I have a lot going on daily, so my schedule gets hectic at times. That's why I need a calendar, and I continue to use Fantastical on my Mac. Fantastical has a beautiful interface that is easy to use, and you have several different views on how to look at your calendar. It integrates with your iCloud, Google, Exchange, or local calendar, so any changes are saved and synced automatically. The agenda list view is a great way to see what's coming up in your schedule, and it's easy to create events with the natural language input support. Fantastical also integrates with Reminders, so your calendar and tasks are in one place. While it has transitioned to a subscription model, it is free to download and try out, and as one of our must-have Mac apps, there's no reason not to give it a go.
Fantastical provides a beautiful interface for your schedule, and natural language input makes it easy to schedule events and reminders.
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself online is to have secure passwords. For this, you're going to want a good password manager which can track your passwords and other sensitive data while also helping you generate randomized passwords to use. With 1Password, you can create different vaults for personal and work accounts (or whatever else you need), sync your data across multiple devices (it's available on everything), and even store things like bank info, credit card numbers, and other things that need extra security. 1Password encrypts everything so that it's safe, and you can't even get in without a master password. I've been using 1Password for years, and it's one app that I cannot live without. If you need a great password manager, 1Password is a must-have Mac app.
Generate safe and secure randomized passwords, track all of your passwords and other sensitive data, and sync everything on all of your devices.
Need to do a bit of hard drive cleanup? DaisyDisk is another must-have Mac app. This app lets you quickly see what is cluttering up your hard drive, thanks to bright and colorful blocks, so you can see what's taking up the most space. You can delete stuff directly from DaisyDisk to free up space, and it's all done in an intuitive interface that's a joy to use. Decluttering has never been prettier.
DaisyDisk lets you easily visualize what's on your hard drive, and you can delete useless files directly through DaisyDisk's intuitive drag-and-drop interface.
Once you start installing many apps, you may find your Menubar cluttered with a bunch of icons. Bartender is an app that helps you tidy up that Menubar by tucking away unwanted icons into a kind of sub-Menubar. With Bartender, you can choose to rearrange your icons into an order that makes more sense to you, as well as choosing what is shown in the main Menubar and what to hide in a secondary Menubar. Or, you can hide some items entirely because they're unnecessary — it's up to you. This is a must-have Mac app that would be one of the first things I put on a brand new Mac. It's also great for new MacBooks because you can regain a lot of menubar space on that smaller screen.
Tidy up your Menubar by rearranging and hiding app Menubar icons as you see fit.
The Spotlight Search in macOS is alright, but you can do much more with Alfred. Alfred is essentially Spotlight on steroids. You can do your basic search functionality, but you can also create workflows to make your life easier, access your clipboard history at any time, view contact info, have app integrations, text expansion, search the web, and more. You can download and use most of the basic features for free, so there's no reason why you would miss out on this must-have Mac app.
Boost your productivity like never before with Alfred and its many magical wonders with the keyboard.
Whether you're an amateur or professional, you may have to do some photo editing at some point. Pixelmator Pro is one of our favorite apps to get the job done. It's a powerful photo editor that will have all of the tools you need, but it's intuitive and easy to use, unlike Photoshop, which some may find intimidating. With Pixelmator Pro, you have many professional and non-destructive editing tools, allowing you to bring the best out of your photographs. And the image editing is enhanced by Pixelmator's machine learning, so you get the absolute best-looking photos quickly. Plus, the price is reasonable and affordable, especially compared to the competition.
Pixelmator Pro brings professional-grade tools in a simple and easy-to-use interface for everyone.
If you're looking for a professional text, code, and markup editor, you should download BBEdit. It's often used by web application developers, writers, and software developers who need powerful tools for editing, searching, and manipulating text, code, and HTML/XML markup. Some features of BBEdit include grep pattern matching, search and replace across multiple files, project definition tools, function navigation and syntax coloring for a wide variety of source code languages, code folding, and more.
Unsure if BBEdit is what you're looking for? The app has a 30-day trial for you to put the app through its paces, and then you can decide whether or not to purchase the full package, which has even more advanced features. But you can continue to use the free version of BBEdit too.
BBEdit is one of the best go-to apps for text, code, and markup editing.
So much to see
There are lots of terrific apps available for macOS. Use the 10 apps above as your starting point and find your new favorites today!
Updated April 2022 These are still our top app recommendations for Mac owners.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
Get the best of iMore in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to iMore. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.