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12 apps every Mac user should download

Mac users can take their productivity to the next level with these helpful apps.

Macs are potent computers enabling collaboration, creativity, and productivity. Download these apps to make you and your Mac even more productive and efficient.

App Uninstaller


App Uninstaller

Image: Pocket Bits

If you're like most Mac users, you routinely download and install a variety of applications seeking helpful new tools and time-saving solutions. Whether trying new business, graphics, productivity, photo, or utility software, Macs typically accumulate unnecessary programs that didn't work out the way you hoped. Unfortunately, just deleting these programs' icons doesn't properly uninstall the software, as various caches, log files, settings and other remnants remain behind cluttering the computer.

That's where Pocket Bits' App Uninstaller comes in. The popular utility is priced less than $10 and is often available for just $5.99. Proving problem-solving programs need not be bloated or complex, App Uninstaller presents a simple interface enabling users to scan their Mac's hard disk, properly identify installed applications and thoroughly remove unwanted programs and those programs' various unwanted related components.

Try the App Uninstaller at the Pocket Bits website.




Image: Byword

If you regularly produce content and need to assure the copy you produce is free of formatting and stylistic information that can introduce conflicts and errors in other applications, Byword's Markdown text-compatibility can help.

When using Word and even Pages to draft text, the word processor associates a variety of text, font, and formatting information with the copy, as does a variety of other software programs. Subsequently cutting-and-pasting that information into other applications and cloud programs can introduce formatting issues and other problems.

Byword is a popular tool many programmers, authors and others depend upon when needing to produce clean text uncorrupted by formatting and stylistic components. The $10.99 program uses Markdown's text-formatting syntax to provide compatible text for web sites, cloud applications, programming code, and many other applications, while also providing the ability to convert text to PDF and provide HTML and rich text support.

Try Byword 2 at its website.




Image: Gemini

Use any Mac for even a few months and the hard disk will likely collect duplicate files. The redundancies consume disk space, which can quickly become a problem, especially in these days of smaller but faster SSDs. MacPaw's Gemini 2 is a quick app with a small footprint that digs deep, locating duplicate files.

But locating duplicate files, or closely identical files, is only half the battle. Knowing how to differentiate between identical or near-matched duplicates and eliminate the redundant files you don't need is another challenge altogether. Thankfully Gemini collects and displays detailed views of files and labels them as exact duplicates or similar files, thereby helping you make smarter decisions as to which files can be deleted.

A permanent license runs $44.95, while one-year subscriptions for the Editors' Choice app cost $19.95. A free trial is available.

Try Gemini 2 at its website.




Image: Apple

Producing compelling, attention-arresting presentations is a challenge, but thankfully Keynote provides an approachable application that's more intuitive than the competing popular behemoth: PowerPoint. Apple's alternative deck drafting app positions commonly used features front and center, while including attractive templates, smooth transitions, and appropriate animations.

With iCloud-powered collaboration, Keynote permits working with other team members to create, edit, and share presentations in progress and completed works. Because Keynote also works with iPhones and iPads, you're not even restricted to working only on a Mac. Audiences will appreciate the flexibility and fresh appeal of the resulting work.

Try Keynote on the App Store.




Image: Apple

Have you ever had multiple windows open in which you're trying to read or copy data from one program into another? Or have you had to juggle open windows to enable seeing the portion of each program you need at any given time? The answer's likely yes, as window clutter is an almost universal problem. That's why dual- and triple-monitor setups have become so prominent. But what do you do when you only have a single display or you're still encountering trouble with multiple displays? Magnet may be the answer.

The app assists using the mouse to automatically resize active application windows into specific-sized windows in specific locations on the screen. By superimposing a shadow window when applications are grabbed by the title bar and moved to preselected locations, Magnet can quickly resize the active window. It's one of those features that really need to be experienced to be appreciated, but for just $2.99, you'll be hard pressed finding a more useful application for less money.

Try Magnet at the App Store.




Image: Apple

This one's a no brainer. Even if you use Microsoft 365 and have Microsoft Excel, Apple's free Numbers spreadsheet program is easy to learn and easy to use. When it comes to keeping and maintaining simple budgets, lists, numeric reports and similar spreadsheet information, I still default to using Numbers.

In addition to placing all commonly used features at your fingertips, Apple's developers have worked hard to eliminate clutter and deliver a simple, straightforward interface. Plus, Numbers files take up little space and consistently open faster for me, versus comparable Excel spreadsheets.

Try Numbers at the App Store.




Image: Apple

Microsoft Word is the world's default word processing program. But that doesn't mean you can't use Pages instead. I'm regularly surprised just how quickly Pages opens documents and permits performing common tasks, such as formatting styles, bullets, page layouts, and common tables. And you can export Pages documents as Word files for Windows colleagues.

Pages, unlike Word, is free, as are Pages' iPhone and iPad counterparts. Plus Pages, like other iWorks products, integrates with iCloud for file storage and team collaboration.

Try Pages at




Image: Dmitry Obukhov

Paste is a clipboard manager that permits recording a Mac's cut-and-paste history. I've used the app to capture commonly used and shared URLs and group them into categories by topic (such as HR, Insurance, Tax, Finance, etc.). By enabling the recording and organization of URLs, the program permits creating a collection of shortcuts you no longer need to go hunting for. Just browse Paste, which consumes minimal resources even when run at startup, and all those links can be found with just a couple clicks.

Early adopters were able to purchase Paste outright. New users, however, can try Paste free with a fully functional trial. Subscriptions for $0.99 per month or $9.99 per year are required and charged through the Apple App Store but provide clipboard synchronization features across all devices (Macs, iPhones, and iPads).

Try Paste at the App Store.




Image: TLA System Ltd.

PCalc is money well spent. If you regularly work with numbers and calculations, PCalc's $9.99 app is a smart addition to any Mac. Whether you're balancing budgets, determining interest, forecasting profit and loss, or performing other calculations, PCalc's capabilities exceed that of the Mac's integrated alternative.

With support for Reverse Polish Notation (RPN), the ability to copy and paste totals from the calculator into other programs, a paper tape feature, customizable button layouts, smart searching of functions and constants and Dark Mode support, if you're like me you'll find yourself wondering how you worked without it. I use the program almost every day and find it's among the very first apps I download and install whenever setting up a new Mac.

Try PCalc at its website.

Pixelmator Pro


Pixelmator Pro

Image: Erik Eckel

Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed champion of image editing software, but not everyone has the necessary budget, skills or inclination. Pixelmator Pro is an easy-to-use program that, at just $39.99 for a one-time purchase, simplifies cropping, editing, applying filters, adding text and even working with RAW images.

This app makes quick work of converting files, adding and manipulating image layers, cloning, removing imperfections, and more. You can trust this Editors' Choice app to deliver capable editing solutions within minimal fuss because it's well supported and continually updated. When performing numerous common tasks, this is one app many Mac users will find stands up well to Adobe's heavy-hitting alternative.

Try Pixelmator Pro at the App Store.




Pound for pound, PopClip is likely the single best app I've ever bought. For less than $10 ($9.99), the PilotMoon utility serves as the Swiss Army Knife macOS lacks.

Here's how it works: You download and install the app, which I recommend setting to start at login. Subsequently, whenever you highlight text, a PopClip-powered pop-up menu appears offering a host of customizable options, as shown above. Selections I frequently use are cut, copy, paste, Google, and Dictionary.

The application's real power, however, comes from the utility's more than 100 free extensions. With the respective extension installed, you can highlight text and then, with a single click, copy the selection to format highlighting, place quotation marks, enclose the selection within brackets, capitalize the text using typical conventions, create new Notes, Stickies, or even OneNote entries, create new tasks including within OmniFocus, Things 3 or ToDo, track packages, create calendar entries, search the selection within Wikipedia or Goodreads, compose a Tweet, or perform numeric calculations.

Try PopClip at its website.

WinZip Mac 8 Pro



Image: Erik Eckel

Mac users frequently collect multitudes of documents, images, videos, and the like within a single file. WinZip, of course, is among the best known developers of file compression software. Even though Macs can natively open and create compressed files, WinZip Mac 8 Pro is a smart addition to any Apple computer.

The app is a download all Macs should have not just for its file compression zipping and unzipping capabilities. The program can also encrypt files collected into a single package. Because the app also integrates with iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive, among others, WinZip simplifies securely sharing files via common cloud apps, while presenting additional features you may not have realized you need. The ability to create backups, better share large files, set expiration dates, preview zip file contents, and work with a wide variety of compression technologies makes adding the $49.95 program a smart choice for busy professionals commonly performing such tasks.

Try WinZip at its website.