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13 MacOS apps I love and use

28 June, 2020 - 5 min read

The following apps are the ones I use / used and prefer to use. This is a very subjective topic and I really know that there are a lot more great apps out there that do a great job. These are my favorites:

Editors

VS Code

Free version: yes
Price: free

I use Visual Studio Code for the last year and I'm really happy with it. It has a lot of cool built in features such as a terminal and an easy Git integration. Plus there a a whole lot of extensions for new features like Docker support, support for a lot of languages etc. And for everyone who loves the One Dark Pro theme from Atom editor (like me) it is also available in VS Code.

Visual Studio Code

Sublime Text

Free version: evaluation is free
Price: $80

This is by far the fastest code editor I used so far. Sublime Text is a native MacOS app which explains why it is so fast - no Chrome wrapper like Atom or VS Code. I use it mostly for writing markdown files since it's that fast and really light on my laptop battery.

Sublime Text

Bear

Free version: yes
Price: Bear Pro $14,99 / year

Bear is one of the most beautifully designed apps I've ever seen on Mac. I wrote pretty much every summary in my apprenticeship and now in university with Bear and I love it. Topics can be categorized with # which makes it way more clearly arranged. The price of 14,99€ for a year is worth the features. I use Bear on my Macs and my phone and the sync via iCloud servers work really great.

Bear

Productivity

Alfred

Free version: yes
Price: £25.00

Alfred is the replacement of Apple's Spotlight search. It has the same features as Spotlight search plus a whole lot more. Alfred can help to find things way quicker. I can not tell you how good the Alfred Powerpack is which allows you to use custom workflows to automate or control more things on your Mac.

Default shortcut to open is ALT + CMD but I use it as a replacement for MacOS's Spotlight Search. So I have my shortcut on CMD + Space.

To turn off Spotlight Search open your Settings → Keyboard → Shortcuts → Spotlight → Show Spotlight-search.

Alfred - Productivity App for macOS

Things 3

Free version: no
Price: $49,99 on MacOS, $9,99 on iOS

Things is a task management app which is simple to use and just beautiful to look at. To dos can be managed in projects and deadlines can be assigned. I use Things for pretty much every topic. university, code, ideas or personal topics for example to don't forget to meditate. I know that the price can be a little bit overwhelming but in my opinion this is money well spent. Before using Things I used tools like Wunderlist or Todoist but they did not work for me. Things was the first task management app that worked fine for me.

Things

Window Management

Since MacOS does not have its own window management here are three tools to do that.

Magnet

Free version: no
Price: 2,99€

Magnet has a couple of cool window management options and I really like how the default shortcuts are set.

Magnet

Spectacle

Free version: yes

Open source tool written in Objective-C. It's not maintained anymore but still fully functional. The new fork follows below.

Spectacle

Reactangle

Free version: yes

The new fork written in Swift is Reactangle. It is also free and provides even more window options than Magnet.

Rectangle

Other

F.lux

Free version: yes

When it's getting late F.lux will help your eyes. This app will filter the blue lights so the display will be a little bit more orange. I have it running non stop and set it to my location so it will dim the light and change the colors when it's getting dark outside.

f.lux

Vanilla

Free version: yes
Price: $4,99

Every Mac user will come to a point when the Mac menu bar is overloaded with a lot of different apps. Vanilla by Matthew Palmer is a really great tool to get a cleaner bar.

Vanilla

Horo Timer

Free version: yes
Price: 7,99€

"The best free time app for Mac" is what it's website says and I can really say that this is not wrong. I use Horo when studying for exams. I use 25 minute intervals with 5 minute breaks (Pomorodo method). Horo will tell me when it's time for a break. The Pro version allows to have statistics about your time periods and also the ability to filter for projects.

Horo

Homebrew

Free version: yes

If you don't have Homebrew installed yet you should change this. Everyone who used a modern Linux system know package manager like apt. Homebrew is a package manager for MacOS which installs all the missing programs that you are used to. Just simply type brew install <PACKAGENAME> and Homebrew will install it if it's available in its formulae.

Homebrew

iTerm2

Free version: yes

iTerm2 is a great terminal replacement for MacOS. The ability to have tabs in one window or split panes is really handy when you live in terminal sessions. I use it pretty much everyday since I learnt how to use the command line.

iTerm2 - macOS Terminal Replacement

Thank your for reading,
Niklas

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