Ethan Shport on Nov 29 5 min read

20 must-have apps for those who are new to the Mac OS X

Buying a Mac device is like getting a ticket to a never-ending wonderland of truly remarkable software. Besides the free apps that Apple gives to every Mac user, both the Mac App Store and the Appswell Store, along with independent developers, provide tools that create an easier and a little more exciting Mac user experience. Nevertheless, we don’t want you to struggle finding the best apps all over the place, so we’ve collected them for you. Our must-have list for new Mac owners includes apps that will help you become more productive, remember your passwords, organize your to-do lists and notes, protect your computer from viruses, and many more. Bring it on!


Google Chrome

Google Chrome is arguably the best browser available for desktop platforms at the moment. Great speed, combined with minimalist design and instant search capabilities, makes it a rock-solid competitor. You can find our in-depth analysis of Chrome here. We beg a pardon, Safari.


Telegram is a light, simple, and free messaging app with a focus on speed and security. What’s really awesome is that all your messages seamlessly sync across any number of your phones, tablets, or computers. Apart from messages, you can send photos, videos, and files of any type, as well as create groups or channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences.


Essentially, Slack is the office messaging app that brings all communication to a single place. It’s designed for those who struggles to have less emails and fewer meetings but get more stuff done. Thanks to its powerful search engine, Slack easily transforms into a huge archive of files, docs, and knowledge. Completely transparent. Easily shareable.


Skype is for doing things together, whenever you’re apart. Skype’s text, voice, and video communication functionality makes it easier to interact with people who matter to you, wherever they are. The best thing about it, hats off, is that Skype-to-Skype calls are always free, whether you’re calling home or looking for free international calls. And, yeah, new emojis are dope!



Itsycal adds a function that has been elsewhere but not on the Mac since day one. It’s the bare essence of what a simple calendar app should be like. Itsycal is an excellent, handy, and uncluttered calendar for your Mac’s menu bar. It’s lightweight. It’s free. It simply works and perfectly does what needs to be done.

Bartender 2

We all love Mac OS X for its elegance and simplicity of design. Bartender 2, a tiny smart utility, is aimed to take that simplicity even further by allowing you to unclutter the menu bar (all those little icons in the top-right corner of your screen). With Bartender 2 you are free to move most of your system or personal items to a single place.


F.lux is a tiny utility that harmonizes the color of your display with the outside light. If you focus on a bright computer screen late at night, blue light from your screen can wrestle with melatonin levels in your brain and make it hard for you to fall asleep. F.lux helps fix that problem.


Always a front-runner, this one prevents your computer from going into sleep mode by starting the screensaver or performing the auto-dim function. It’s ideal for reading books or long documents. Basically, for any other activity in which you don’t touch the keyboard or mouse for quite a period of time. Cheers!


Alfred 2

Think of Alfred as Spotlight on cocaine. Yup. It’s an application launcher, but actually it can do a lot more than just that. Look. With Alfred, you can make calculations in a blink, execute Web searches, and find word definitions really fast, among the bunch of other functions. Try it and see for yourself.


Evernote is the godfather of note-taking apps, and for good reason in fact. It’s simple, organized in a highly intuitive way, and syncs with just about any web service that you can think of. Because it’s one of the most recognizable apps in the world, it has a great amount of browser extensions and add-ons.


Wunderlist is still a fascinating tool for Mac OS X, even without the premium feature set. This great app helps create to-do lists, which come with customized due dates, reminders, and everything else that you need to stay on schedule. Wunderlist also syncs your content across devices and is able to save web pages and other content for later viewing.


Tomighty is a desktop timer, which is specifically designed for the Pomodoro Technique. The Pomodoro Technique® is a very simple and effective time management technique, which helps you focus on tasks requiring long periods of concentration. Do more, manage the distractions, create a better work/life balance!



Meet one of the most famous music streaming services worldwide and feel the power of 30 million songs. Spotify client for Mac gives you access to the entire Spotify catalog much like its mobile alter ego. It lets you search for and listen to nearly any track, artist, or album for free (but with commercials).


Tweetbot is an award-winning and very popular Twitter client for the Mac. Tweetbot fits perfectly in the Mac OS X ecosystem with its beautiful interface, animations, support for Retina Displays, and Notification Center. It also has powerful mute filters, multiple column views, and much more.


Overall, VLC media player is better than Quicktime in nearly every aspect that matters, especially when it comes to speed and file viewing capability. It also offers fast video conversion, wide subtitle support, and a pack of video filters that let you de-lace, crop, and customize playback. The intuitive interface is like a cherry on top, either.


Pocket is an app that lets you… right, “pocket” articles, videos, and webpages for later viewing. It essentially gathers all content in a very simple, distraction-free interface that’s also accessible offline. Pocket is perfect for saving interesting articles that you might want to enjoy later at home on the big screen.



Dashlane is a modern and constantly evolving password manager with extra space for your various IDs, credit cards, and other payment methods, receipts, and notes. It includes an auto-fill feature for online forms, to which you can add multiple addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information that you're tired of typing again and again.

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira Free Antivirus for Mac packs award-winning malware detection into a smart application that almost never needs your attention. Just install it and continue enjoying your Mac. Avira protects Macs by using traditional signature-based malware scanning combined with behavioral monitoring that looks for telltale signs of malicious files.

Google Drive

Google Drive gives you quick access to all your files and folders, providing you with a dedicated folder where you can store about 15 GB of content for free. But what’s really interesting is that you can work with your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations offline when you can’t access the internet. Cool, right?


Lockdown is a Mac security application built from the popular iAlertU. You can customize its detection features by activating your computer's motion-sensors, keyboard-sensors and more to ensure that not even the slightest tap goes unnoticed. Once your alarm has been set off, your computer will sound a loud alarm and prevent the system from being muted or put to sleep. In addition, Lockdown will take a snapshot of the thief using your computer's built in iSight.

Sorry for the long post, folks! We hope that you’ll find our guide entertaining and useful. Feel free to share your thoughts with us and maybe we’re gonna make another one for you. Peace!