This is the list of Mac apps that Nathan and I recommend to new Mac users who may or may not have a specific purpose in mind for their journey from Microsoft Windows to Apple’s Mac. We avoided the standards from Apple, Adobe, and Microsoft, and tried to steer clear of third party apps which simply regurgitate what the Mac comes with anyway.
Easy. Fun. Secure.
With that basic criteria in mind, a generalized list of apps that are must-have apps means some of our favorites will not make the list. For example, we prefer Spark or Airmail as email, but Apple’s own Mail app is very good.
Enpass – Why not the Mac’s built-in Keychain? Cumbersome. Why not 1Password? Expensive. Enpass is easier to use, syncs passwords between Apple hardware, and it’s free on the Mac.
Magnet – macOS Whatever does not do a good job of managing app windows but Magnet does. Nothing rearranges app windows better and at 99-cents it’s a bargain.
Paste – macOS can copy or cut and paste, but only one item at a time, and it instantly forgets what you last copied when you cut something else. Paste remembers everything and keeps each item in sync with Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
SpamSieve – Email spam is a scourge and while the Mail app has a built-in Junk Mail filter, SpamSieve is better, and if you have email accounts on multiple devices it helps to clean those of spam, too. Nothing is better.
News Explorer – RSS newsreaders are a dime a dozen; or, it seems that way. News Explorer is the best of the bunch and comes with iPhone and iPad versions, as well as an Apple TV version.
BBEdit – No, it doesn’t suck. Or, is it, yes, it doesn’t suck. Either way, BBEdit is a good reason to buy a Mac because macOS does not come with a good point and click text editor (Pico doesn’t count).
SuperDuper! – Yes, macOS has Time Machine but what you really need are bootable clones that can be scheduled. That’s what SuperDuper! does. Carbon Copy Cloner is a close second place finisher but you pay more for more features you won’t use.
MacUpdater – This is new to our list and more for Mac users with plenty of non-Mac App Store apps. MacUpdater displays all your installed apps and checks daily for which apps need to be updated or upgraded.
Pixelmator – No, it’s not Photoshop Lite, but it could be. Pixelmator gives Mac users about all the image editing tools we could ask for at a price that remains shockingly low.
OnyX – If you need to get your Mac geek on but are stuck with a budget that doesn’t include money, nothing is better than OnyX. Free, packed with utility options, and a delight to use.
Yes, I could go on and on but we didn’t want apps that have a macOS counterpart, so no Firefox to replace Safari, no Signal to replace Messages, no Spark or Airmail to replace Mail– just Mac apps that every Mac user needs.