Home Essential Mac applications I install on new machines

Essential Mac applications I install on new machines

From time to time people ask me what applications I use on my mac, or what applications I put my my freshly installed computers. So I decided to write up a page about it. My needs are probably different from yours so not all of my apps will be what you are looking for, but hopefully you’ll get some ideas for apps.

Name: 1Password
URL: https://agilebits.com/onepassword
Description: The best password safe you will find. It uses dropbox to sync between your computers/iphone/ipad. I can’t live without it now. It can also autofill new account details based on profiles.

Name: Alfred App 2
URL: http://www.alfredapp.com/
Description: This is a quick launcher, that is very feature rich. It allows you to launch applications very quickly using keyboard commands. It also allows for quick calculations, and google searches. I find I use it about 10-15 times a day.

Name: Adium
URL: http://www.adium.im
Description: The best instant message client you will ever find. It’s UI is clean and it supports nearly every possible IM network you can think of, including IRC. It combines them all into single contact list/message window so you don’t have hundreds of windows for each different network.

Name: Apache Directory Studio
URL: http://directory.apache.org/studio/
Description: ADS is an LDAP GUI. It allows you to connect to an LDAP server and perform queries/modifications using a graphical interface. It also lets you do neat things like copy an entry tree, and paste it into another server. It allows for quick an easy editing of DN records without having to generate ldif files.

Name: AppViz
URL: http://www.ideaswarm.com/AppViz2.html
Description: If you write iPhone app, this downloads your sales data and presents it in a nice easy format. It graphs various numbers and shows you a geographical layout of where people are buying your apps. Very handy.
Note: App was replaced by itunes connect functionality

Name: AppZapper
URL: http://appzapper.com/
Description: Handy little app for deleting applications. It also picks up any helper files and preferences that the application had. Makes the best sound effect when deleting apps

Name: Australian Weather
URL: http://www.shiftyjelly.com/mac/australianweather
Description: Australian Weather is a handy app to keep an eye on outside temperature and to see what the week ahead is going to be like.
Note: The app was discontinued when the company was sold off

Name: Carbon Copy Cloner
URL: http://www.bombich.com/
Description: CCC is great if you need to duplicate a hard drive, or if you just want to keep certain file systems in sync. You can have it create a clone of your boot drive if you are planning on doing upgrades and want a backup.

Name: Cloud App
URL: http://getcloudapp.com/
Description: Cloud app is an application that allows you to rapidly share things on the internet. Using hot keys, or by dragging files to the menu bar, cloud app uploads them to a server and puts the short url into your paste buffer ready for you to send it to people.
Note: I was mostly using Cloud App for uploading skitch screen shots. I don’t use skitch anymore so I ditched this one too.

Name: Daisy Disk
URL: http://daisydiskapp.com/
Description: Displays your disk usage in a graphical way so you can drill down to see what is using all of your disk space. Allows for quick detection and cleanup of unwanted data when you’re getting low on space.

Name: Dropbox
URL: http://db.tt/AURaGJ1
Description: One of my most used apps. Dropbox syncs a directory between all of your computers. Drop a file in on one computer and it’s available on all of them. It also does version control, so if you mess up a document you can recover from a previous version. You can also have shared folders with friends, to share documents.

Name: Echofon
URL: http://www.echofon.com/
Description: This is a twitter client, there are many twitter clients and people have different expectations. But the reason I like echofon is it syncs between all of my devices (multiple imacs,iphone,ipad). So if I stop reading on one and continue on another it knows where I was up to.
Note: Echofon announced the end of it’s mac app. So I moved to tweetbot

Name: Evernote
URL: http://evernote.com/
Description: Think of it as a personal document archive that lives in the cloud. Anything you store in it, is searchable and accessible on any device. It even does OCR on photos so if you take photos of whiteboards, you can search the contents.
Note: Moved away from evernote to built in Notes / Good Notes

Name: Glui
URL: http://glui.me
Description: Glui is a skitch replacement that is simple and does what you want. It allows arrows and other modifications before uploading to your dropbox and copying the url to your clipboard.
Note: Moved to using internal snapshotting, Preview and saving to cloud storage

Name: Google Chrome
URL: https://www.google.com/chrome/
Description: Safari is my default browser now, and firefox is my backup. I still keep Chrome around for when I need a 3rd browser (chrome uses to much memory/CPU

Name: Handbrake
URL: http://handbrake.fr/
Description: The only video conversion program you’ll need on a mac. It can convert pretty much anything to iphone/ipad/apple tv format (or other formats). So you can convert your DVDs to take with you on the road.

Name: HTTPClient
URL: http://ditchnet.org/httpclient/
Description: This is a great client for debugging web issues. It allows you to do HTTP requests and see the headers/results. Can also be used to inject headers so you can test different things.

Name: iStat Menus
URL: http://bjango.com/mac/istatmenus/
Description: Life saver when your machine begins to grind to a halt. You can see if it’s CPU/Memory/Disk related. It also allows you to easily see the life on your battery and other handy stats. This is one of the first things I install on my new computer.

Name: OmniGraffle (Pro)
URL: http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omnigraffle/
Description: Think of MS Visio but without the bloat, and with an interface that is actually usable. While it is rather expensive, it’s nothing compared to the pain you will feel if you try to use visio. I have the Pro version because I do diagrams for work and I need to export them to Visio XML so others can view/edit them.

Name: Perian
URL: http://perian.org/
Description: This is the best little tool you can install on your mac. It will add a bunch of non standard codecs to quicktime so you can play pretty much any file out there. Because they are added to quicktime it means any of the apps that also use the quicktime player will also gain support for them.
Note: Perian announced it is no longer being updated and suffered from software rot.

Name: Pixelmator
URL: http://www.pixelmator.com/
Description: This is a handy image editor, it’s not photoshop, but it’s the closest thing you can get or the money. It does layers and has a few tools. If you have photoshop, keep it. But if you don’t have the $$ for photoshop, this will do most of what you want (unless you’re a designer then you will find issues 🙂)

Name: Reeder
URL: http://reederapp.com/
Description: Reeder is a GUI front end for google reader. It works on ipad/Mac and syncs to google reader. It gives a nice interface for reading your feeds, but also lets you go to google and keep reading if you are out without your ipad.
Note: Google Reader is dead, and so is RSS pretty much..

Name: Remote Desktop Client
URL: https://apps.apple.com/au/app/microsoft-remote-desktop/id1295203466
Description: Allows you to RDP into windows computers, very handy if you need to do any windows administration/support. It’s the official microsoft client so it’s fully supported.

Name: Skala Preview
URL: http://bjango.com/mac/skalapreview/
Description: Skala preview is a handy app to allow you to preview in real time graphics on your devices as you create/modify in photoshop or other graphics apps.

Name: Skitch
URL: http://skitch.com/
Description: This is the best screen capture program you can get. It allows you to take screenshots, annotate them, and them upload them to a server to share them quickly. It’s one of those apps you just start using and wonder how you lived without.
Note: Evernote bought skitch, and skitch sucks now. It’s a shame.

Name: SourceTree
URL: http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/
Description: SourceTree is a free source control GUI for GIT/SVN/Mercurial it is packe with features and is now a free download thanks to those wonderful Atlassian people who bought the company that made it 🙂

Name: Transmission
URL: http://www.transmissionbt.com/
Description: If you are in search of a bit torrent client to download those linux distributions as quick as you can, then I normally use transmission. It’s got a nice easy interface.

Name: Transmit
URL: http://panic.com/transmit/
Description: The best FTP/SFTP client I’ve found on mac. It can act as a normal FTP/SFTP client, or it can mount remote systems as disks. So you can edit files in your favorite editors like they are locally attached.

Name: Tweetbot
URL: http://tapbots.com/software/tweetbot/mac/
Description: My new replacement twitter client, I now use it on my macs and my iOS devices, it syncs like echofon did and has all the features I want.

Name: VLC
URL: http://www.videolan.org/
Description: I normally keep it around for those obscure formats that perian won’t play (there are some) or if I need to watch a multicast stream. It’s a great little program and very handy to keep around.

Name: VMware Fusion
URL: http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/overview.html
Description: If you ever need to run up a windows OS, or sone linux vms. VMware fusion is the go. On mac there is a debate with VMWare vs Parallels. VMWare has the history in virtualisation for me so they win easily.
Note: I use virtualbox now for when I need a virtual machine, or docker. I don't really use vmware fusion at all anymore

Name: Xcode
URL: https://developer.apple.com/technologies/tools/
Description: If you want to compile anything on your mac, then you want to install xcode. There is a command line package now you can install if you don’t want all the guff of the GUI, but it’s always handy to have it just in case you want to write some code!

As I remember more apps, or find new ones, I’ll continue to update this list.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.