Picked up a new Mac lately? You might be wondering: what apps should I download on my MacBook? (Or any other model!) There are thousands of options, so it can be hard to decide.
Whatever you're looking for, there's a Mac app for that. Your available choices may seem overwhelming at first. But fortunately, this means that you can find a Mac app to do almost anything. Here, we’ve compiled a list of 35 of the very best apps in MacBook user's docks.
Our Top Apps for Mac 2022 List
It’s a good idea to start by considering your needs. Browsing Mac apps without a clear purpose makes it tough to find those that will be most useful to you. But with a goal in mind, you can search for apps that meet your specific needs.
It also helps to understand the landscape of Mac versions. You may be working on Apple’s desktop computers. These include the iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini.
Or, you may have a laptop computer. In 2022, these are the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models.
By understanding what type of Mac you’re using, you’re able to find apps that run well and make you more productive. The best Mac Software (2022) options are optimized for Apple's newest models that include a new generation of processors called Apple Silicon.
Each app featured below works well on any and all these Mac models. No matter which one you’re using, you’ll benefit from the best Mac programs (2022.) Some even help you work seamlessly between multiple Macs! Explore all 35 and choose those that meet your needs.
The odds are the app you'll use more than any other on your Mac is the web browser. That means you want to make sure you've got a good one.
Your Mac comes pre-installed with Safari, but it might not be the best choice. Google Chrome is the most popular web browser in the world and for good reason: it’s fast, supports the latest web technologies, and has a huge extension library. It's also free. If Safari isn’t your jam, Google Chrome should be your next choice.
Today, it can be hard to go online without tracking by ads and unwanted content. Brave is a Mac app that’s ready to help. It’s a privacy-focused web browser you can install on all your Macs.
It blocks ads by default, and you can choose what's let through. Metrics help you track how it works. Brave uses the Chromium engine, so it will look familiar if you also use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
First and foremost, your Mac is a tool. This means you need to use it right to be productive. There’s no point trying to remove a screw with a hammer. All the Mac apps in this section make you more productive.
3. Day One
Journaling is a great way to collect your thoughts and keep track of life’s ups and downs. I find it to be really helpful for stress relief, too. Day One is a top journaling app for your Mac. You can write daily posts and fill them with all kinds of content.
With Day One, you can add photos to your journal. Or, you can even make drawings, add audio, and more. Sort entries and find them later with the built-in tagging and favorite features. It’s a slick, modern app to log life events.
Notes are a key part of staying focused and organized. Bear is a set of note-taking apps in MacBook. The built-in features help you quickly jot down your thoughts and keep them together. You can link related notes together to form cohesive ideas.
If you’re worried about privacy, the premium version lets you encrypt notes. The layout is stylish and easy to navigate as you work.
What apps should I download on my MacBook? We’ve all wondered, and there’s no one answer. But you should definitely choose a time manager. These help with work-life balance, and Fantastical is a top choice. It lets you keep files organized and your calendar on track.
You can quickly view different time spans to explore your tasks. Widgets and custom features help you decide how to manage tasks. You can even see the weather and plan your day around it! It’s a good option to map out your life - all in one place!
We’ve all been there. After putting in hard work on a file, it gets lost or deleted. There’s no worse feeling than having to start over. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix. That’s thanks to Carbon Copy Cloner, a MacBook backup app.
You can choose files to back up. Then, you’re able to copy them to an external drive, or even another Mac! It works fast, and saves you precious time by avoiding the crushing feeling of losing files. It helps you recover lost, deleted, or damaged files in a flash.
Since pretty much everyone already has a Google account, GoogleDrive is an easy default file syncing app, but I personally prefer Dropbox. The collaboration, sharing, and Smart Sync features make it my top choice. Get started with it for free.
Text expansion can save you a lot of time if you regularly have to type the same thing over and over. The basic idea is that you type out an “abbreviation” for the phrase you want to type.
For example, the abbreviation “.eml” would then expand into your full email address. If you spend a lot of time typing, check it out.
While TextExpander is undoubtedly the biggest name in text expansion, there are other great apps out there. Personally, we love aText. You lose some pro features, but for the most part, it’s the same app for a fraction of the cost.
Alfred started as an app launcher and search tool, but it’s since grown a lot more powerful. With Alfred you can basically find apps and files, search the web, control your Mac, view your clipboard history, and much more.
There's a great saying that "anything worth doing twice is worth automating." Alfred gives you the freedom to do that so that you can remove repetitive tasks.
Over time, it’s easy to accumulate a vast store of files on your Mac. Odds are, you don’t need all of them. Freeing up space on your hard drive helps you have space for new files. Plus, it helps your Mac run better. DaisyDisk is a simple app that analyzes disk space on your Mac.
By scanning a disk, you’ll see a preview of every file on it. With a few clicks, you can analyze files and remove those that you don’t need. It’s far faster than scrolling through lists of files. The smart features help rank files by size, type, and more.
Computers are the greatest communication tool that’s ever been created. Let’s look at some of the best Mac apps that make it easy to communicate with other people using your Mac.
While FaceTime is incredibly popular with Mac and iOS users, it’s not much use if you want to call someone on a Windows PC—plus, there’s a reason we use “Skype” as a verb, absolutely everyone has it. All this is more than enough for Skype to make our must-have list of the best Mac software. And there's a free version of this Mac app.
Although Twitter re-launched their official macOS app, it's always been a second class experience. We’re big fans of Tweetbot for its easiness to use and perfect balance between offering the Twitter experience, but still doing it in a Mac way.
Slack is more beloved than ever as a collaborative app. It's hard to describe until the first time you use it, but think of it is a hybrid team chat, email, and document sharing platform. Whichever way you look at it, there’s a good chance you’re going to need the Slack app on your Mac. And there's a free version available.
Ask yourself: “what apps should I download on my MacBook?” A great starting point is an email client that helps you manage the flood of messages in your inbox.
Mimestream is a favorite, all thanks to its remarkable speed and efficiency. It’s Gmail-exclusive, and lets you take control over your email. Easily classify and sort emails. Then, work through them with the lightning-fast, powerful interface. It integrates with your Gmail features to help you message in style and efficiently.
Let’s face it. Most of us are awash in emails. The prospect of cleaning our inboxes is a daunting one. That’s what Spark is designed to help with. Spark is a set of smart email apps for MacBook Air and other models. It automatically sorts emails by order of importance.
This helps you prioritize tasks and react quickly to the most urgent requests. You can also manage notifications, so you aren’t flooded with alerts every time you get a new message.
17. Hand Mirror
In 2022, many of us find ourselves on video calls. But it can be awkward at first. You don’t know how you (and your background) look, until you appear in front of others! Wouldn’t it be great to get a quick preview that only you can see?
That’s what Hand Mirror, a handy Mac app, does. It sits on the menu bar on your Mac. Click it, and your webcam will activate. There’s no audience, except you. Use Hand Mirror to make sure you look your best before joining your team on a call.
Meeter is a leading app to organize your meetings and calls. Working on any Mac, you can automate your workflow by linking to your existing calendar.
Calls set up in different apps all appear in one place. This saves you from jumping from app to app to see your full schedule. And once the data is imported, you can join any meeting from right inside Meeter. It’s a powerful app to help you join calls efficiently.
The Mac is very much a professional platform. There are millions of people who rely on Mac apps every day to do their work—I’m one of them! Let’s look at some of the best Mac apps for work that you might want to use.
19. Microsoft Office
Big businesses run on Microsoft Office. While Google Docs is a decent alternative for students and the like, if you’re doing anything with large companies you’ll almost certainly need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You'll have to pay for this productivity suite, though.
Ulysses is the best writing app on the Mac (and iOS), bar none. It’s the app I’m writing this article in. It’s great for longform writing, but also works for notes, blog posts, articles, or whatever. As long as you don’t have someone forcing you to use another app, it’s the one we recommend without hesitation.
Photos comes already installed on your Mac, but there’s a good chance you aren’t using the free Mac app to its full effect. As well as being a decent app for sorting and keeping track of all your photos, it’s also a surprisingly good image editor.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is the gold standard when it comes to keeping your photos organized and simple image edits. If you've got to do any work that involves a large number of images, or even just take a lot of photos, this Mac software is an absolute must-have.
PixelMator Pro is an image editor for Mac with a focus on brushes and customization. It works with any photo and allows you to retouch and add your own design effects. Unique features like Magic Background Eraser help you totally transform images in seconds.
This one is great for artistic edits to make colors appear vibrant. Edits are non-destructive, which means that you won't be altering your original image. That way, you can try out different effects without fear of ruining the photo.
24. Affinity Photo
If you need to edit photos, Affinity Photo is a top choice for apps in MacBook. It’s designed with an intuitive interface that you can use at any skill level. This one lets you add effects, make corrections, layer designs, and more.
The powerful feature set helps you make any image look its best. It supports files that you’ve worked with in Adobe Photoshop, so you can use existing projects.
Some of the best software for a Mac is entertainment software. If you work and play on your Mac, here are some great entertainment options.
VLC is a free video player than can play, well, any video. Unlike QuickTime, which only supports a limited number of file types, VLC will take pretty much anything you can throw at it.
I listen to hundreds of hours of music every year using Spotify. It’s the absolute best way to have some background noise while I write. The premium plan is awesome, but the free plan still works great. It’s the best way to listen to music on a Mac.
While there are some games in the Mac App Store, the main for both AAA and indie games is the Steam Store. You need the free Steam app to manage your purchases, so if you’ve any interest in playing games on your Mac, it’s a must.
Not every Mac app needs to be as feature-filled as Photoshop. Some of the best Mac apps are just simple utilities that do one thing well in the background. Others let you create rules and triggers for automating your Mac. In this section, we’ll look at this kind of utility apps.
A good offsite backup is vital. TimeMachine is great, but if your house burns down your Mac and backup drive are probably going with it. By regularly backing your Mac up over the internet, you can restore any files you accidentally delete. You can even restore your whole Mac if something happens to it.
Amphetamine is a free app with a simple idea. When you need your Mac to stay on, you click its menu bar icon. That way your Mac won’t go to sleep in the middle of important downloads.
If you use a lot of apps, your Mac’s menu bar is probably pretty crowded. Bartender sorts that out. You can choose to have apps display in the menu bar, in a special Bartender menu bar, or to be totally hidden. It’s the only thing that keeps my desktop looking clean!
Hazel is an awesome Mac automation app. You create rules and it performs actions on your files. You can also use it to delete old files, sort things into folders by date, and much much more. If you do a lot of work with files, it’s a must.
32. Keyboard Maestro
The app I’ve written about more than any other at Tuts+, Keyboard Maestro is the best Mac automation app available. There’s almost nothing you can’t do with it.
To give you some examples, I’ve used it to create custom keyboard shortcuts, track how I spend my time on my computer, publicly shame myself, and much more. While it’s probably overkill for a lot of users, if you want to get the most out of your Mac you need to check it out.
The trackpad is one of the best things about MacBooks. It’s so smooth and easy to use. It’s just a shame that macOS’s built-in gestures are so limited. With BetterTouchTool, though, you can create your own.
I use custom swipe gestures to do things like open and close tabs, select my favorite tools in Photoshop, and lots more. This is another must have for power users.
Macs are powerful, and they enable multitasking across many apps. But try as you might, it’s often easy to get your screen over-cluttered. Apps may be open atop other apps, hidden from view. What apps can you download on a MacBook Air? There are designs for nearly anything.
Magnet helps these apps fit on-screen. It’s a window manager designed to fuel multitasking. It arranges windows in a tiled fashion. They sit neatly side-by-side. Magnet maximizes available screen space and keeps all your content in view.
If you lead a busy life, task management is essential. It helps cut stress and elevate your work output. Things is a Mac app to help you excel at tasks in 2022. The minimalistic layout is results-driven.
You won’t be distracted by flashy features that only waste time. In fact, the app was recently reimagined with a new layout and features. Easily rank tasks by importance, due date, category, and more. Plus, you can track progress and reward yourself when you wrap up tasks.
Download The Best Mac Software 2022 Now
You've seen all the best OSX apps (2022) to download in this article. All of them are designed to help you work more efficiently so that you save time and do more of what you love.
What apps can you download on a MacBook Air? You've seen all our favorite choices for this model and more. Try them out and power up your productivity now.
Editorial Note: This post was originally published in March of 2018. It's been comprehensively updated by Andrew Childress to make it current and up to date. Andrew is a freelance instructor for Envato Tuts+.