One thing that makes the Mac experience so great is the assortment of apps right at your fingertips. There's something for everyone to enjoy, from programs designed for digital art and media to organization and quality of life. This includes professionals, businesses, amateurs, and casual hobbyists alike.
This is one of the benefits of being on as popular and versatile a platform as Mac since it's full of great options. From full cross-compatible software to unique Mac-calibrated apps, the sky’s the limit.
For the Casual Digital Artist
Some of the best MacBook apps are actually geared towards the hobbyist artist. Macs have long become associated with the creative space and graphic design. You don't have to be a pro to take advantage of these apps.
Anyone looking to work on their skills to dabble with art can find a great MacBook app. Below is a quick list for you to explore.
- •Affinity Designer
- •Tayasui Sketches
This article will go into more depth with each one.
Image credit: iPhoneCake.com
Are you looking for a Mac-friendly alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Affinity designer is actually marketed for commercial and casual digital artists. It's especially popular for messing around with and designing logos.
You'll find that there's a solid group who often go with this one. The reason is Affinity Designer is compatible with almost all common file types. These include Adobe Photoshop among other compatible Adobe programs.
This makes it easy to work and collaborate cross-platform with minimal worries. Where this app shines though is with scalable vector graphics. It is one of the best apps available.
Image credit: PCMacStore
Those looking to upgrade their digital sketches can try Tayasui Sketches. It's 100% free with optional in-app purchases. The way it works is like a digital sketchbook and pencil or brush case.
It gives you a digital canvas with a wide array of brushes, pencils, and drawing tools you'd use in real life. You'll have full reign over brush styles, thickness, opacities, and even texture.
This lets you mimic the look of oil or acrylic on canvas, for example. The app also gives you a rich array of colors to play with, and a host of other options. It isn't Photoshop, but for those looking to take their drawing abilities to the next level, it still packs a huge punch.
Image credit: InsMac.org
CorelDRAW is perfect for those who love to create digital art. It's an entire graphics suite with its famous vector graphics editors. The app comes loaded with features that make digital art creation a breeze.
Where it shines most is in 2D image editing such as posters. You can also use it for logo creation, and it's cross-platform compatible. You can think of it as a simplified, but still mighty, Photoshop.
Many users even use it for content creation and publishing. It's great for making graphic art, or professional-looking layouts for brochures and websites. Unlike others in this section, this app is open for hobbyists but still powerful enough for the pro.
Image credit: TechBlogCorner
This is one that always gets overlooked but deserves consideration as the best app for novices. One major reason why it's good and few consider it, is that it comes with your MacBook. Some have referred to it as "Paint" for Mac, but it's so much more.
Preview is your built-in go-to, and it does more than preview files. It lets you read, create, edit, and encrypt PDFs and images. Preview also has a large range of readable file types and is very compatible.
Importing and exporting images and files is super easy. You'll also find its image editing and correction tools much more versatile than Windows Paint. Whether you're new to digital art or trying to hone your skills, Preview is a great free place to start.
For the Seasoned Artist and Content Creator
Many previous apps are great for beginners with easy learning curves, and some can bridge the pro gap. The apps in this section are for the seasoned artist, looking to level up and even go professional. They include:
- •CleanShot X
- •Adobe Photoshop
Here's a quick breakdown of each app.
Image credit: Mac Update
ApolloOne is every photographer's friend. On the surface, it's an image viewer and manager, but under the hood, it does so much more. It helps you classify and sort all your RAW images to keep things smooth and tidy.
Speed is what this app does best. From smart memory card imports to rating and deleting low-quality images in a flash, it's a powerful time-saving tool. It also lets you manage all the metadata associated with your image files with ease.
ApolloOne gets used by digital media artists of all types, including professionals. It's pitched with the pros in mind, but even seasoned enthusiasts can put it to good use.
Image credit: FossMint
CleanShot X is a pretty great tool for recording your screen to share with the world. It lets you capture what's happening on your screen with ease and in high quality. Many use it for personal screenshots or videos, but it has professional applications.
These include creating step-by-step video tutorials for your business or friends. If you're a content creator, you can make guides on YouTube and social media. You can edit the footage and choose exactly what part of your screen to record at what time.
CleanShot X is a recording tool that anyone can use, but its applications in the pro sphere can be massive. With content creation and streaming so popular these days, this is an app worth looking into.
Image credit: iMore
Nothing beats the classic. It's been around since 1987 for a reason, and it's only gotten better. There's no doubt that Photoshop is the go-to for pros out there.
It's one of the best apps for both Mac and other operating systems. While it can have a learning curve, it's versatile and efficient. It's powerful and is the preferred app of digital artists worldwide.
There are several good alternatives to it. Surpassing it will be quite the feat. Photoshop comes with a free trial but you'll have to shell out if you want its full suite. For those looking to go all in, it's worth looking into.
Organization and Productivity Apps
Even more apps worth looking into are those that help with organization and productivity. These range from helping clean and speed up your Mac to making you more efficient. A small sample size of what's available includes the following apps:
Image credit: Lifehacker Australia
You should never keep the same password for too long, but it can be tedious to change it. How often you should renew a password is also not always clear. As the name suggests, this app helps you keep track of everything related to your passwords.
There's nothing more frustrating than trying to log in to an account and being unsure what the password is. Clicking the "remember password" button is usually also a security risk. Some of us resort to keeping all our passwords written down in a book, or in a text document somewhere.
With 1Password, everything you need will be in one secure place. No more worrying, frustration, or second-guessing. It even helps you increase security by suggesting passwords and giving you tools to track access across devices and settings.
Image credit: MacUpdate.com
Alfred is the workhorse of productivity apps. It's best for those who are tech-savvy and looking to maximize their time. What Alfred does super well is get rid of repetitive tasks.
It does this by learning about how you use your Mac so it can save you time. Based on your search and activity history, and how you tend to use your Mac, Alfred will make suggestions. These can appear like suggested auto-completed searches on Google but for your files and apps.
You'll never have to type the same thing again. "P" for Photoshop or "1" for 1Password will be good enough for Alfred to suggest those apps. This cuts down on the time you waste looking for specific files or folders.
With Alfred, you can search efficiently and find what you're looking for in seconds. It has an assortment of other useful features. These include:
- •system commands
- •usage stats
The hotkeys and snippets are particularly useful. They let you bring up the files you use recently or most with the click of a button or mouse. You can save links or images as "snippets," to which you can assign keys or keywords.
These will all stay saved ready at a moment's notice for you in a database. Alfred is also fully customizable. This means it helps as much, or as little, as you need it to.
It's free in its base form, but you can always choose to pay and upgrade it.
Image credit: iPhone Hacks
Going wireless for your peripherals and accessories is one of the most liberating things you can do. Having no more wires tying you down is the only way to live. However, trying to keep up with which gadgets need charging isn't that easy.
There will always be times when we forget to plug in our earbuds or phones. How many times have you grabbed your AirPods Pro case to take them out, only to find out they're low on battery? The more wireless peripherals and tools we have, the harder it will be to keep track of them.
With AirBuddy, this won't be much of a problem anymore. It's one of the best Macbook apps that's sure to keep you notified. What's even better is it's customizable - you can configure every alert you get.
For starters, it monitors charging status. It also notifies you when the battery of a device drops to a certain level so you can plan ahead. As a side note, what it's meant for is making pairing your wireless peripherals super easy.
The crazy useful battery monitoring and alerts are an amazing bonus.
Image credit: Macworld.co.uk
Mac gained its reputation for being both threat and virus impenetrable. Despite this, dedicated cybercriminals still find a way. Often, such breaches happen when you download infected files or malware.
CleanMyMac X can help prevent these types of files from lingering on your Mac. It works in two main ways. The first is it helps you scan and get rid of unwanted files.
Some of these are simple duplicates that slow your MacBook down. Others might have become corrupted or damaged, serving as a gap for cybercriminals to exploit. The other thing CleanMyMac X does is undertake active security scans.
It is, after all, an anti-malware on top of being a file cleaner and optimizer. While Macs might be less susceptible to cyber attacks, they still happen.
Image credit: Macworld.co.uk
This office suite will always have you covered and has become a favorite for a reason. It's efficient and simple. That's why it's a staple loved by millions.
It doesn't matter if you're a long-time Mac user or one that's recently converted. It's almost impossible to try leaving this suite behind. Many other apps have tried to outdo it and failed to reach those same heights.
Patrons always find themselves preferring it time and again. The great thing is that Microsoft 365 is actually compatible with Mac. There's little reason not to use it besides the hefty price tag.
It's no secret that part of Microsoft 365's appeal is how often it comes pre-installed on Windows devices. Mac users will have to pay out of pocket for the same privilege, but many would argue it's still worth it. One reason for this is how extensive and useful the suite's programs are.
They include Office, PowerPoint, Excel, and a host of other apps that get used almost every day. Microsoft Office 365 is also the go-to for most office workers and students.
Improved User Experience
The user experience is often overlooked but makes a big difference. No matter how great the Mac is as an OS, people still find ways to tweak things. Some of the apps in this section are all about aesthetic preference.
Others offer significant improvements to your quality of life. The examples this section will include are:
- •Unsplash Wallpapers
- •Vinegar for Safari
There are a thousand more apps that also adjust the MacBook user experience more to your liking. It's worth exploring on your own to see what you and the community need. For now, these will be great starting points.
Image credit: MacUpdate.com
Macs are as flexible as you make them. While minimalists prefer theirs to look plain and sleek, others choose to be more spontaneous. Either way, with Unsplash wallpapers, you'll find what you're looking for.
They have a whole catalog of wallpapers to choose from. Find one that'll match your style and aesthetic. You can even go as far as matching the wallpaper to your theme and Mac and earbuds cases.
With Unsplash, get high-resolution wallpapers for free. You can also change things up any time you want. There's a lot to choose from, so you're not stuck with the same old boring wallpaper either.
The database is always updated, so the stylistic decision is always yours to make.
Vinegar for Safari
Image credit: Top Tech News
With Vinegar, you can work around YouTube and other videos on websites. Vinegar uses a minimal HTML video tag and removes ads in your videos. The best part is you can keep things playing in the background without needing to check on them or pay for Premium.
You can also do picture-in-picture mode for YouTube videos. You can even get rid of user tracking.
For the price and how amazing it is, it's worth every penny.
Image Credit: Trend Micro
For those who love to shop online, Deliveries is the app for you. This is a great app to consider if you're a small business keeping track of transactions and packages. It helps you stay organized and updated while keeping unwanted incidents at bay.
No one likes losing their packages or missing out on their deliveries. It's a major hassle for anyone, more so if you're waiting on something important. With Deliveries, unexpected issues like these won't happen.
It helps you color-code and organize your incoming parcels. It also works with major courier services like Amazon, FedEx, and UPS.
It can also be super annoying navigating to a courier's site. On top of that, you have to input tracking numbers every time. Deliveries cut all of that out by having a centralized, quick, and efficient way to keep track.
With the rise of porch pirates, it's also never a bad idea to have that extra peace of mind that Deliveries gives.
Image credit: InsMac.org
Sometimes, you need to do more than protect your Mac from the outside with a proper case. You need to also take the battles within by preventing spam ads from getting to you. This is what AdGuard is all about, and it is one of the most popular Mac apps for a reason.
Trying to browse in peace is almost impossible without protection from AdGuard. There are more than enough countless pushy websites looking to annoy you. All of these sites are trying to market stuff to you and mine your information to sell.
More often than not, you end up having more pop-ups than you can handle. It can get so bad that you can't even browse because of all the pop-ups and ads you're bombarded with. These not only slow your Mac, but they also ruin your concentration and user experience.
Certain ads can also be dangerous, with the potential for malware or phishing attacks at hand. Getting rid of all these and the risks associated with them is what makes AdGuard one of the best apps for MacBook. Those on Windows have long been using Adblockers to save them from a similar headache.
There's no reason why Mac users can't take advantage of a similar app. In this respect, AdGuard stands out ahead of the pack for MacBooks.
Finding the Best Apps for Your MacBook
When there are this many options, finding the best apps for a MacBook can be quite challenging. From apps that help improve the user experience, all the way to organization, security, and digital art, there's plenty. What most of these apps have in common is convenience, power, and versatility - all emblematic of the Mac.