The best Mac apps that I cannot live without (OS + tweaks)

I will be the first to admit that "list posts" are not my favorite. However, I do enjoy exploring different apps to improve productivity. I have spent hundreds of hours researching betas and trials. I will happily use an app that saves me money or makes it 20 clicks per day. It's also fun to try new software and see how they approach a problem. This post was also created because visitors, family, and friends often ask me what apps I use to accomplish specific tasks. I have compiled a list of the top Mac apps I like to avoid repeating myself. Some of the settings and tweaks I use when I get a new Mac or reinstall macOS have been included.

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The best Mac apps that will make your life easier

After using computers exclusively for more than 20 years, I switched to Macs in 2018. In 2013, I was awarded the Microsoft MVP Award for Windows Expert-IT Pro. 

Below are Mac apps (listed alphabetically) that include premium and free apps directly from the developer and apps from Mac App Store.

1Password (premium, M1 optimized)

I love 1Password and have been using it for many years. It is beautiful and has a dark mode. You can also use it as a Google Authenticator replacement.

1Password Review 2022, Source: Youtube, All Things Secured 

It supports one-time passwords. This is very important because it allows me to spend less time reaching for my phone.

Affinity Designer (premium and M1 optimized)

Serif developed Affinity Designer, a vector graphics program for macOS. There is also a Windows version. Affinity Designer has been my favorite tool for creating all the images on this blog and other websites.

A few Affinity designer tutorials are also in my work. One of my recent tutorials was on making a shape from another easily.

Alfred (free and premium, M1 optimized).

The Alfred Mac App is all for productivity! TextExpander is a powerful tool that you may have heard of. It can speed up any task you perform on your Mac.

Snippets can be used for many things, such as commonly used phrases in emails or insert symbols. When I write a tutorial or instruct someone on how to navigate down a menu, I use the - HTML symbol.

How to boost your efficiency with Alfred on the Mac, Source: Youtube, Paul Minors

Mac OS has keyboard shortcuts for text. These shortcuts don't work for every app. However, I have found that snippets from the Alfred app work.

You can choose between a premium or free version. You will have the most power with the premium version. You can even integrate 1Password. You can purchase the premium version for as low as PS25.00 or get the lifetime version for only PS45.00. If it is something that I value, I prefer lifetime purchases. It's so easy to forget about it.

Amphetamine (free, M1 optimized)

Amphetamine can keep your Mac awake. It works even with Macbooks and will keep them awake even when the lid is closed.

This is why you would want to do it. Here are some examples of how I have used the app.

You might be taking a break from work to exercise or grab a bite to eat. But you don't want Slack going inactive. This is sneaky. It's okay to use your phone for a little bit. Remote work is all about mobility. 

Plex is my media server. Plex is great for streaming cached content after my Mac goes to sleep. My Mac must be awake to allow me to grab new content. During weekend binges, my Mac is kept awake by amphetamine.

This app's developer is one of the most active in the App Store! He is constantly adding new features and fixing bugs.

Backblaze (premium, M1 optimized)

Because I love the Apple ecosystem and live there, I use iCloud syncing across my devices. Backups and syncing are two different things. iCloud is great, and I have only had one problem ( iCloud syncing when traveling).

Because I work on many content-related projects, I am always paranoid about what might happen if everything goes.

Backblaze is the solution. Backblaze can be used to automatically backup your Mac or computer. It's easy to set it up and forget it in just a few minutes.

Backblaze Is A SCAM (Why To Avoid + Alternative Backup Solution), Source: Youtube, Call Out Videos

Backblaze stores deleted files and old file versions for 30 days. Backblaze costs $6 per month, but you can save money if you purchase a two-year or yearly plan. A two-year project will save you $34.00. You don't have to worry about the history being too short for 30 days. For an additional $2/month, you can extend it to unlimited versions. My Mac Mini runs Backblaze. The changes that are made to my MacBook Pro automatically sync with iCloud. They also get copied to my Mac mini, so you don't need to back up either. It makes it easier to sleep at night knowing that I have an offsite copy of everything.

Hazel (premium, M1 optimized)

Hazel for Mac is a lightweight, small organization app. Temporary files are always saved to my desktop. It's not a bad habit that I have, but it is something I have developed. Hazel allows me to clean my Mac's desktop automatically on a scheduled basis.

A single license costs $32.00. This license lets you use Hazel on two computers. This means that you can use the same productivity hack on both a MacBook Pro and Mac mini as I have. Plex Media Server (free, Rosetta 2)#

PlexMedia Server is the best app for managing your home entertainment system. Plex has been my favorite app for more than eight years. It just keeps getting better. Plex is completely free and allows you to stream content directly from your Mac to your TV or another device such as Apple TV.

Bartender (premium, optimized for M1)

This is what my menu bar would look like without Bartender. It's distracting, as you can see from all the icons.

This is how my menu bar looks when Bartender has been installed. It is much cleaner. It's also easier to arrange the icons the way I like. Two other features that I like are quick reveal and item spacing.

Dato, a little Mac app that allows you to have a better clock in your menu bar than the one included with macOS, is a unique little Mac App. When I first got my Mac, this was something that annoyed me. Why the default clock didn't show the time, day, month, and date was a mystery. This is possible with Dato in just seconds.

What's new in Bartender 4 for macOS (The Changelog), Source: Youtube, A Better Computer

It costs only $2.99 to download the app. The developer is active and constantly adding minor features and integrations. You can, for example, open calendar events directly from Google Calendar. You can also use Zoom to host meetings. This must-have Mac app is

You should also check out Bartender if you enjoy tweaking your menu bars.

Snagit (premium, M1 optimized)

I consider taking screenshots almost an everyday part of my job. No matter what content I produce, I take screenshots. Over the years, I have tried over 30+ different screenshot programs - far more than I am proud to admit.

It is essential to choose the right color for my screenshots. The best screenshot tools I have used in the past do not convert images to the sRGB profile. This causes dull colors. Snagit automatically does this! No matter what monitor you use, your screenshots will look the same no case what OS or computer.


This is it for now. We hope you found something that will help improve your workflow. Please bookmark this page as I will continue to add new Mac apps as they become available.

I'd love to hear from your guys! Are there any other great apps I have missed? Please leave them in the comments. I promise that I will enjoy reading them.

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Hope this article is helpful to you, thanks for reading.