Mac newbie or Mac fan boy, everyone likes free Mac software. Assume for moment you have a brand new, squeaky clean, shiny Mac.
It’s loaded with the latest OS X, maybe even iWork to help combat Microsoft Office fever (an affliction that will go away over time). What else does your new Mac need? Oh, and you’re on a budget after buying that Mac, and a new iPhone, and a new iPad. Free is the only way to go.
The Top 9 Free Mac Apps
One more thing. You’re so starved for extra cash that you can’t even afford an internet connection and you have to head to Starbucks or McDonald’s or the nearest Apple Store just to download these great apps.
These 9 apps are good for Mac newbie or Mac fan boy.
All are free, easily downloaded, regularly updated, easy to set up and use and will give hours, days, weeks, months, and years of service and not ask you for much more than beer money (hey, it never hurts to ask) but keep working even if you’re a teetotaler.
#9 – Firefox: Mozilla’s great open source browser has to be on the list because, 1) it’s free, 2) it has all those wonderful and free add ons, and 3) the logo is just so cool. Sure, you have Safari, but Firefox is good, faster these days, and, did I mention all those add ons?
#8 – Adium: Nearly everyone has instant messaging and they’re free. But only one Mac app does everything. Adium. It does AIM, Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Facebook, iChat, ICQ, Novell Groupwise, and a few others that were just thought of last week.
#7 – Handbrake: Whether you’re new to Mac from the Windows world, or a long time Mac user, we all have one thing in common. We love to rip DVDs. For Mac users the free choice is Handbrake. It’s the Meryl Streep of Mac apps. Not the prettiest face on the red carpet, but a star nonetheless.
#6 – OpenOffice: If you bought iWork you don’t really, really need Microsoft Office. What if iWork just isn’t powerful or compatible enough? OpenOffice runs on Mac or PC or Linux, provides better compatibility, more features, more menu selections, and more complexity so Office users will feel at home.
#5 – Quicksilver: I have to assume that some new Mac users from Windows have experience at hacking their PCs, customizing everything, and at least trying to be a power user. So, I’m paying homage to power users everywhere with a nod and wink to Quicksilver, the little Mac app to satisfy the tinkerer’s urge in you. It’s a unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. If you’re not sure what that means, don’t worry. It’s price right, but the other eight on my list are easier to use.
#4 – CyberDuck: If you know how to spell FTP and need to do FTP but have no money for FTP then CyberDuck is the way for Mac users. It does FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3 and moves files from your Mac to wherever. Why, oh why, doesn’t CyberDuck have dual window panes?
#3 – Buddi: The only real problem with spending all your money on a new Mac, a new iPhone, and a new iPad, is that there may not be much money left to manage. If you still have money after all those purchases, but not enough to afford a Mac money management app, Buddi is your friend. Buddi works on Macs, Windows, and a bunch of Linux flavors. It’s easy to use, cross platform and priced like you found it under a cabbage leaf. Free.
#2 – NetNewsWire: RSS gives me the chills because it is so cool.
One application can auto download the latest web pages, news, events, whatever from dozens or hundreds of web sites. That gives you access to more news, views, and all the flavor the internet can give and the app that gives it to you is free.
Why don’t more Mac users use NetNewsWire? Why doesn’t Glenn Beck make sense after all those years on TV? It’s just an unexplained mystery. What’s not a mystery is that NNW is the best Mac RSS reader. Period. Don’t argue with me. It’s not good for my complexion.
#1 – CarbonCopyCloner: You knew this would happen, right? I saved the best, most valuable, most clearly useful Mac app for last. Or, first.
If you’re stranded on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific and your internet connection allows for only a single download, this would be it. CarbonCopyCloner. CCC will clone your Mac’s hard disk drive to an external drive giving you a fully bootable back up of your Mac’s files. Fast. Easy. Free. It even has a scheduler and a cool logo.
What did I miss? Share with me in the Comments section. For example, TextWrangler is a good free text editor. GIMP does graphics for free. Mozy does online backups for free (or, not, if you have money). Google Earth would be great to tell you which deserted island you’re on and what the view is from outer space.
Got a favorite not on my list? Let’s hear about it.