Mac Apps I Can’t Live Without

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I use many of the apps that comes with OS X, such as Calendar (I have it hooked into a Google Calendar I share with my wife), Reminders, Messages, and Notes. Although other apps may be more full-featured, they’re not integrated with Siri and not as simple to use. I find it best, generally speaking, to live in the ecosystem as intended by Apple. It’s great to be able to tell my phone, “Remind me tomorrow at 10 to send an invoice to John Doe.” It’s great to be able to text and message (they’re different) from Messages now.  My favorite tech reviewer David Pogue is so right: it’s best to buy into a tech ecosystem nowadays, whether Windows or Mac. Few people can yet live well in Android—but that time is coming. (A major exception to the general rule of using Apple apps is Gmail: I’ve been using it for too long; I can’t switch to Mail.)

But among the apps that don’t come with OS X, I’ve listed below the ones I use most often right now. I try not to multiply “time-saving” apps; I discovered years ago that the search for them took too much time. I try to let a genuine need arise and then go in search of a way to meet it.

  • Alfred: awesome application launcher and extensible workflow manager. Create bitly links and tinyPNGs, generate lorem ipsum text, and paste my e-mail address with a keyboard shortcut.
  • QuickCal: Very quickly add calendar events and reminder items to specific reminder lists, all from the keyboard.
  • Dropbox: the most rock-solid, feature-rich (but not complicated) cloud storage service I’ve tried. OneDrive is nice with its Office integration, but it’s Mac client leaves out some key features I rely on (same with Box). Google Drive is nice, too (and I have a $2/mo. subscription with them), but Dropbox has never failed me. After many years of using it for free, I finally took the plunge and got on their $99/yr., 1 TB plan. I keep all my major files in Dropbox, except my Music, which I sync for free with Google Play.
  • Droplr: The very best way to share files. I absolutely adore this app.
  • 1Password: I tried and even paid for several other major password-keeping solutions, but 1Password is clearly in a league above them. If you absolutely require online access to your passwords, LastPass is a respectable second place finisher.
  • Evernote Chrome Web Clipper: The very best way to save and organize articles on the web. I wish OneNote had a web clipper this nice.
  • Readability: A quick keyboard shortcut saves an article for later reading on my iPad or iPhone.
  • aText: “New Testament,” “international,” “ἀγάπη” and many other words I type frequently now have shortcuts for use with aText.
  • Blipshot: Just found this. I’ve been needing it for years. It’s probably more of a web developer thing, but if you ever need to send an image of an entire webpage to someone, this is your tool.
  • AppCleaner: great for uninstalling apps that failed to prove themselves useful. =)

And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Logos, BibleWorks, Accordance, Keynote, Google Play Music, OneNote, Evernote, Photoshop, Illustrator, TextWrangler, Espresso, CyberDuck, Word, and the other apps I rely on regularly for writing, web-design, etc.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

2 thoughts on “Mac Apps I Can’t Live Without”

  1. I have a lot of similar ones, but here are the ones I use that you didn’t mention:

    SimpleNote—Mac and iOS. I mainly just use the apps themselves, but I sometimes will pull out an app (Metanote, I think), that allows me to sync it with Dropbox.

    Pages/Keynote/Numbers—Mac and iOS. My life has been so much more happy without Microsoft’s ancient Office Suite.

    Mailbox—Mac and iOS. The apps sync with each other via Dropbox, as this is a Dropbox app, so no additional settings required. Simple and fast.

    WordService. Allows me to capitalize, lower-caseize, and all sorts of other word ways. Uses the keyboard shortcuts in Mac’s System Preferences.

    Radiant. Plays Google Music files, as I likewise sync my music with it.

    PasteBox. In case I accidentally copy and paste over something.

    Photos Duplicate Cleaner. No one company has really impressed me with their cloud syncing abilities, so I have them shuffled between services right now. But just in case I have this.

    PhotoStream2Folder. This automatically grabs my iCloud photos and uploads them in a folder structure I prefer to Dropbox.

    Caffeine. Keeps my computer awake during times where I want it awake.

    Copy. Cloud services that comes with 15 free gigs.

  2. Good. I actually like Word, and I have to use it for work. But it’s true that it’s desperately in need of an update—coming in 2015, they say.

    Mailbox is great.

    WordService is, too.

    I’ll give Radiant a shot.

    Alfred has a feature that does what PasteBox does.

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