Apple provides Mac users with almost everything we need to use a Mac– Safari and Mail, Contacts and Calendar, Notes and Reminders, Garageband and iTunes, Photos and FaceTime, plus the trio of Office-like apps, Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. What else is free?
Early Friday Freebie
For many years the Mac360 staff did a standard Friday Freebie list of Mac apps without a price tag. Sadly, many of those once proud and free and useful Mac applications have taken a fork in the road. Some are no more, others have a price tag.
Here are a few of my favorites for 2018.
Pocket – This free standalone app works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and it’s an excellent way to track what you read elsewhere online and make it available on every device. Unless you’re an expert on RSS and News Explorer, Pocket is highly recommended and priced right.
Dropbox – Apple should have bought Dropbox. Cloud sync and service may not be much of a business and more of a service, but Dropbox works better than iCloud. I do not use Dropbox to store photos, media, or documents, but it is so much better at synchronizing files and data from apps than iCloud.
Firefox & Opera – OK, Safari is the Mac’s browser and it’s worthy, but there are times when Safari does not have an add-on that Firefox does, plus the latest Firefox is screaming fast so it’s a good alternative. Also an alternative beyond Chrome– which is now a slow, bloated, resource hog browser– is Opera. Why? Built-in VPN. Of course, it’s owned by a company in China…
Onyx – There is no easier, better, faster way to get your Mac geek on than Onyx. It’s an app with a package of tools to clean caches, repair this or that, run maintenance scripts, and make you feel like you’re helping your Mac stay healthy.
BBEdit – OK, BBEdit is the premier Mac text editor and it’s not free, but if you’re a casual user of text editors and don’t use them enough to remember all they can do, BBEdit remains the best choice because even the free version is better than most.
Itsycal – It amazes me that Apple ignores the Mac’s Menubar so much. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, nobody uses it anymore– it’s too crowded with utilities, and if you use Calendar you should use Itsycal. Click and you get a dropdown calendar. That is incredibly useful because you get Calendar from within any Mac app.
Spark – I don’t know why this email app is free, but Spark— Mac, iPhone, iPad and Watch– is free and works great. The only thing it misses is a spam filter, but this is how email should be.
Tomahawk – Yes, iTunes is free and, yes, iTunes plays music, but if you don’t want to go to the media mall just to listen to some tracks, Tomahawk does the deed for free. Plus, it runs like freakin’ everywhere, from Windows to Linux to Android. Much love.
iBooks Author – Normally, on a free app list, I would not mention Apple’s own applications, including Garageband (an excellent digital audio recorder) or iMovie (seriously easy video editing) but I will mention iBooks Author because I know many Mac users who write for a living and many more who want to write for a living, as in, publish the next great American novel, and iBooks Author is where to start. It’s free. There is nothing to not like.
Honorable Mention – This list could go on for days, and it would contain the likes of Alfred, Amphetamene, the complicated HandBrake, and maybe even uTorrent, Chrome, and others, and some of them are best of class but Chrome is a power hungry resource hog and a disguised stalking platform, and the others are left for the geekier of Mac users.
Got a Mac freebie app you love? Share the love.