New to Mac OS X? Here are 30 of the best apps available | via Digital Trends

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There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with OS X in Apple’s App Store – not to mention the thousands more that are scattered across the Web. In this list, we’ve compiled some of the best Mac apps available. Since there are so many apps, we pared it down to only include programs that are most likely to be useful to the average Mac user, whether you’re looking to quickly access an abundance of RSS feeds or automatically upload your photos to the cloud.

Related: Protect your Mac for free with these five anti-virus apps

Interface

Alfred 2 (Free)

Alfred 2 App

Think of Alfred as Spotlight on crystal meth. It’s an application launcher, but it can do a lot more than just that. With Alfred, you can quickly perform calculations, execute Web searches, and quickly find word definitions, among many other functions.

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Alfred

Bartender 2 ($15)

Bartender 2 Mac App

Bartender 2 is an app made for when you’re utilizing too many apps. It’s a subtle tool that’s specifically designed with organization in mind, and as such, it lets you better organize various aspects of your interface. With Bartender 2, you choose which apps appear in the menu bar and rearrange their position to your liking. You can also search for specific items, or move them into the optional Bartender Bar if you’re in dire need of more space.

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Surtees Studios

Caffeine (Free)

Caffeine Mac App

Always a favorite, this one keeps your computer from going into sleep mode, starting the screensaver, or performing the auto-dim function. It’s ideal for reading long documents, or any other activity in which you don’t touch the keyboard or mouse for extended periods of time. Just give it a click.

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iTunes

Dropzone ($5)

Dropzone 3 App Thumb

Once installed, Dropzone 3 truly feels like an integral part of Mac OS X. The bare-bones application functions as a shortcut tool, meaning you can use it to quickly copy and move files, launch applications, and share content through popular services such as Facebook and Flickr. You can also upload files via FTP and Amazon S3, or shorten URLs using the newly-added Goo.gl shortener. It’s all housed within a tiny icon that sits in the menu bar.

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iTunes

f.lux (Free)

Flux App Thumb

F.lux is a tiny little utility that makes the color of your display adapt to more accurately mimic outside light. If you stare at a bright computer screen late into the evening, all that blue light from your screen can screw with the melatonin levels in your brain and can make it hard to fall asleep. Flux helps fix that problem.

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f.lux

Google Chrome (Free)

Google Chrome Mac App

Safari will never boast the kind of intuitive integration afforded by Google’s browser. It’s arguably the fastest browser available for desktop platforms, one that also features the ability to automatically sync all your information — bookmarks, open tabs, recent searches, etc. — across multiple computers and mobile devices. That, combined with its robust customization and instant search capabilities, make it worthwhile.

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Google

Magnet ($2)

Magnet App Thumb

It’s not always easy to view multiple windows side by side, at least, not without Magnet. The app is made for the multitasker inside all of us, and thus presents a quick way to drag and arrange on your desktop. With Magnet, you can drag and snap windows to the edges and corners of your screen, which will then lock into place. It’s a terrific tool, complete with predefined keyboard shortcuts, if you want copy content from one app to another.

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iTunes

Unclutter ($6)

Unclutter Mac App

Unclutter is a basic piece of software that suits its name. The app is accessible with a quick swipe from the top of your screen, and, better yet, functions as a convenient place for storing quick notes, recent files, and clipboard information. Recent updates also allow for a light or dark theme, and include an option for dragging cards on top of other desktop windows. Files and notes even automatically sync across your devices via Dropbox, a suitable addition that adds to the app’s appeal.

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iTunes

Productivity

Evernote (Free)

Evernote Mac App

Evernote is the undisputed king of note taking apps, and for good reason. It’s simple, organized in a highly intuitive way, and syncs with just about any Web service you can imagine. Since it’s one of the most popular apps in existence, there’s a veritable boatload of browser extensions and add-ons available for it as well.

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iTunes

Day One 2 Journal ($30)

Day One 2 Journal Mac App

Journals are an age-old tradition — just ask Benjamin Franklin. That said, the aptly-titled Day One 2 Journal serves a digital companion for those looking to capture life’s little moments. Aside from text, the app also incorporates photos, reminders, and tags, the latter of which helps tremendously with organization. The best part? Password protection keeps potential, prying eyes at bay.

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iTunes

Fantastical 2 ($50)

Fantastical 2 Mac App

Fantastical 2 is the only calendar app you’ll ever need, so long as you’re willing to shell out a cool $50 for it. The steep price grants you access to a powerful set of tools, however, as well as a full-screen calendar window that’s as beautiful as it is practical. The true hallmark of Fantastical 2 is in the way you create reminders; just type in that you have “Dinner with Alexa on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.” and watch the app schedule it with a reminder.

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iTunes

Pixelmator ($30)

Pixelmator App Thumb

Mac users have an incredibly vast selection of excellent photo editing programs, but even against thousands of competitors, Pixelmator stands out as one of the best. It’s got a massive list of powerful features, and is probably the fastest program of its type that we’ve ever used.

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iTunes

Pocket (Free)

Pocket Mack App

As the name might imply, Pocket is a tool that lets you “pocket” articles, videos, and webpages for later viewing. It essentially consolidates all the content in a simple, easy-to-use interface that’s also accessible offline. The app is perfect for sharing your favorite stuff among friends or for stowing interesting articles you might encounter on your evening commute — which you can then pull up on the big screen with their accompanying text, pictures, and links when you get home.

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iTunes

PDF Expert ($20)

PDF Expert Mac App

Having to work with PDF files is a fact of life, and PDF Expert makes that fact a little easier. Not only does the minimalist desktop software allow you to fill out forms and merge PDFs, but it also grants you a host of tools for editing, annotating, and signing files on the fly. Moreover, it’s compatible with Apple’s Continuity and Handoff features, so you can swap devices while in the middle of a document without fear of losing your work.

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iTunes

Reeder 3 ($10)

Reeder 3 Mac App

Google Reader may be dead and gone, but a proper RSS reader is still a must. Thankfully, Reeder 3 is one of the best around. The desktop application sports a gorgeous finish designed to perfectly compliment the flat look of Mac OS X El Capitan, along with shared extensions, a private browsing mode, and support for most RSS services (Feedly, Feedbin, Fever, etc.). Themes, gesture controls, and a host of customization also come standard.

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iTunes

Text Wrangler (Free)

TextWrangler App Thumb

With so many free text editors out there for Mac users, you have absolutely no reason to pay for Microsoft Word. Some lean toward minimalism and strip away advanced features, but Text Wrangler isn’t one of those. This program is the Cadillac of free text editors. It has every bell, whistle, and advanced formatting option you’ll ever need.

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Bare Bones

Wunderlist (Free)

Wunderlist Mac App

Don’t let Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Wunderlist fool you — it’s still a phenomenal tool for Mac OS X, even without the premium feature set. The sleek application helps with creating to-do lists, each of which comes complete with customized due dates, reminders, and everything else you need to stay on schedule. The software also allows for collaborative lists, syncs your content across devices, and features the ability to save webpages and other content for later viewing (a la Pocket).

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iTunes

Entertainment & Social

Spotify (Free)

Spotify Mac App

Apple Music isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, Spotify’s official desktop app represents the perfect alternative for those looking to branch outside the Apple ecosystem. The Mac app gives you access to the entire Spotify catalog much like its mobile counterpart, letting you search and listen to nearly any track, artist, or album free of charge. You can also use it to build custom playlists, or capitalize on personal recommendations that span jazz, hip-hop, rock, and everything in between.

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Spotify

HandBrake (Free)

Handbrake App Thumb

Yes, DVD ripping is still a thing in the age of digital distribution. That said, HandBrake shines when it comes to converting media files and encoding videos, especially when you factor in how quick and effortless the open-source software makes the process. The software also comes with a plethora of video-editing tools designed for splicing, adjusting framerate, and adding subtitles among a laundry list of other useful actions that come second to its optimization presets.

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HandBrake

Parcel (Free)

Parcel App Thumb

Honestly, who still shops in brick-and-mortar stores anymore? Parcel is aimed at the online shopping aficionado, rendering it ideal for anyone who’s constantly expecting a package at their doorstep. The tracking app works with more than 250 services — including mainstays such as UPS, USPS, FedEx — allowing you to see where your packages are at a glance with little more than a tracking number. Push notifications and Spotlight integration is just a bonus.

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iTunes

uTorrent (Free)

uTorrent App Thumb

Solid BitTorrent clients are few and far between, but uTorrent ranks among the best. The lightweight app excels when it comes to download speed and features, the latter of which includes a wealth of controls that allow you to adjust bandwidth and uploads speeds on a whim. You can also use it to download items in sequential order, resume stopped downloads, and easily access official BitTorrent Bundles lined with a host of movies, music, and other freely-licensed content. It’s even developed by BitTorrent, Inc., which makes it as close to official as it gets.

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BitTorrent, Inc.

VLC (Free)

VLC Media Player Thumb App

VLC media player is better than Quicktime in nearly every facet that matters, most notably speed and file compatibility. The open-source software also supports nearly every media file you can muster, from AAC to Theora, while offering speedy video conversion, extensive subtitle support, and a host of video filters that let crop, de-lace, and general customize playback. The intuitive interface isn’t half bad, either.

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VideoLAN

Adium (Free)

Adium App Thumb

Adium is a multi-protocol instant messaging client that can bundle all of your accounts into one simple application. Just tell it which services you use — AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Facebook, etc. — and it’ll pull all of your contacts and organize them into a unified space with a clean UI.

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Adium

Slack (Free)

Slack Mac App

Google Hangouts is second to Slack, a messaging client that’s recently taken office productivity and discussion to new levels. The service’s attractive desktop app pairs features all the tools available in the browser-based version of Slack — i.e. private channels, Giphy integration, themes  — along with better control over notifications and increased support for multiple teams.

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iTunes

Tweetbot (Free)

Tweetbot Mac App

Tweetbot 2 is for the power user who’d rather skip the outdated, official Twitter app for Mac in favor of something more capable. Like the last-gen version of the software, the newest iteration presents you with multiple columns and windows, along with tools to mute users, hashtags, and specific keywords. It supports third-party apps such as bitly and Paper, and showcases a streamlined interface that pair perfectly with the redesigned look of El Capitan.

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iTunes

Security & Storage

1Password ($50)

1Password Mac App

Hate trying to remember every single password for every account you have? 1Password is a fantastic password manager that secures them in a fully-encrypted vault, which you then access by using your master password.

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iTunes

Little Snitch 3 ($35)

Little Snitch 3 Mac App

Little Snitch 3 is a permissions blocker that lets you control all of your incoming and outgoing connections. If you’ve got a program that you don’t want connecting to the Internet, the software can block it for you. You can set it to block things just once, until you quit, or forever. It’s really nice for control freaks like us who prefer to know everything our Mac is doing.

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Objective Development

Google Drive (Free)

Google Drive App Thumb

Chances are that you know the merits of Google Drive, however, you might not be aware that you can work on your documents, spreadsheets, and presentations offline when you can’t access the Internet. The desktop app gives you quick access to all your files and folders much like the software’s mobile counterpart, providing you with a dedicated folder where you can sync up 15GB worth of content — assuming you haven’t paid for extra storage.

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Google

Dropbox (Free)

Dropbox App Thumb 5

Dropbox makes syncing files across all your devices quick and painless. The desktop app works much like the software’s Web and mobile counterparts, giving you access to your files and folders while offering you the ability to upload photos, videos, and various documents directly from you desktop. You’ll receive 2GB of free storage just for signing up, too, and can earn more if you invite your friends or connect to Dropbox through the usual social media channels.

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Dropbox

The Unarchiver (Free)

The Unarchiver App Thumb

The native apps in Mac OS X can’t do it all, especially when it comes to compressed or archived files. Thankfully, the Unarchiver can handle nearly any format you can throw at it, whether you’re working with RAR files or older formats such as StuffIt, ARC, or Tar. The software also doesn’t require you to open a separate application, so you can access your files with a simple click in Finder.

Download now from:

iTunes

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