There’s no denying that Macs are excellent computers. As great as their hardware is, you’ll have to get the right software if you want to make the most of it. To unlock the full potential of your Mac, you’ll need the best Mac apps for 2021.
Given the sheer size of the Mac App Store, it can be hard to know where to start. Finding the best in this sea of options can be challenging, so here’s a list to get you started. These are the 30 best Mac apps in 2021.
If you use your Mac for work, you could benefit from some apps that keep you on track. Since 2021 will continue the remote work trend, these platforms may be especially relevant right now:
To-do lists are crucial for productivity, and Todoist is the best to-do list app there is. Its user-friendly interface enables you to create and organize tasks for the day, complete with notifications. You can also set recurring reminders for things like weekly assignments or bills.
Todoist works with tools like Gmail, Google Calendar and Slack so you can keep everything organized. The base version of the app is free, but you can also upgrade it for $35.99 a year. This premium version comes with features like data backups and automatic reminders.
2. App Cleaner & Uninstaller
Macs are powerful computers, which means they can hold a lot of data. When it comes time to clean up your computer’s storage, though, you may have trouble figuring out where to start. Use Apple Cleaner & Uninstaller to help you easily decide what items to get rid of, freeing up tons of space.
If you ever have trouble managing your time, Alfred may be right for you. Alfred is primarily an application launcher, but it comes with plenty of features to help you save time. Most notably, it lets you create custom shortcuts and automate tasks you often do.
With Alfred Remote, you can even control all of these functions from your iPhone. You can get a free version of the app, but there are two paid tiers as well for roughly $38 and $64. The more expensive of the two comes with free lifetime upgrades.
Noodlesoft’s Hazel is an automatic organizing tool to help you keep your files in order. You can control how Hazel organizes items on a granular level, giving you countless options for sorting everything. Once you set up your preferences, Hazel will enact them automatically, even sorting new downloads according to your system.
Hazel can also handle your trash, deleting files as your trash folder grows too big. The latest version of the app, Hazel 4, is available for a flat fee of $32. If you want more than one copy, though, you can get a license for up to five people for $49.
Whether it’s on your Safari or Chrome browser or you download the app right to your Mac, Grammarly is one of the best proofreading apps out there. It will catch each and every error and make suggestions on how to improve your writing. You can get Grammarly for free or upgrade to Premium for $11.66 per month.
Learning and mastering keyboard shortcuts can help you save a lot of time. What’s even better is creating your own shortcuts, which is what Dropzone is all about. On top of that, Dropzone lets you file documents, copy items, shorten URLs and upload files just by dragging and dropping them.
With Dropzone, you can upload to Google Drive, Amazon S3, YouTube and more without opening their apps. You can get Dropzone for free, but there’s also a premium version available for $1.99 a month.
When it comes to taking notes digitally, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more with Evernote on your Mac. This platform lets you highlight, underline, organize notes in bullet points, type, handwrite and so much more. Rearrange your notes when you’re done for ideal organization.
If you need to do a lot of multitasking, Magnet is the option for you. This app lets you organize separate windows into different configurations with the press of a button. Windows will snap into place immediately, eliminating the time it would take to drag them to the correct size.
You can resize windows so they take up a half, third or quarter of your screen. Between these options, you can create near-countless combinations and orientations. Magnet costs just $2.99 and comes with free updates.
9. PDF Expert
When you work with a PDF, it may become frustrating that you can’t edit it. However, PDF Expert covers that need in a breeze. Annotate, highlight, edit, underline and share right from this app. Plus, with Apple’s Handoff feature, you can continue your work on another Apple device.
10. Google Drive
Though widely available on the internet, Google Drive has a Mac app that you can download. This app will be invaluable when you don’t have internet access but want to continue working. The browser version of Google Drive would disconnect you, but the app keeps going! You’ll get 15 GB of free storage with your download.
Macs are famous for their remarkable security, but you can never be too careful. Given how prevalent cybercrime is today, you should take every precaution to keep your files and information safe. With that in mind, here are the best Mac apps for security in 2021:
Password management is one of the leading cybersecurity concerns, with many people reusing passwords for multiple accounts. Password managers like 1Password can help you avoid that habit. 1Password keeps all of your passwords in one secure database so you don’t have to remember them all.
On top of remembering passwords, this app can store credit card info and offers secure document storage. 1Password costs $2.99 a month for an individual plan and $4.99 for a family one. There are also options for teams and businesses, costing $3.99 and $7.99 a month, respectively.
12. Little Snitch
Many apps and programs send and receive data across the internet, even when you’re not using them. With Little Snitch, you can see all these background processes. Seeing these may make you want to edit your app permissions, which you can also do through Little Snitch.
You can set Little Snitch to alert you of these connections or check on them all later. You can also use the app to look at data about network usage and server locations. There are four different levels of Little Snitch licenses, costing between $45 and $299.
Public Wi-Fi is available everywhere today, but it’s not always secure. You can use these networks safely with a VPN, and ExpressVPN is one of your best options. ExpressVPN hides your IP address and encrypts your data, so you stay private from anyone else on the network.
With one ExpressVPN subscription, you can use the app across all of your devices. Some VPNs have speed limits, but not ExpressVPN. At roughly $100 a year, it’s not the cheapest VPN out there, but its features make it worth it.
14. Sophos Home
Macs have built-in antivirus measures, but you can strengthen those with third-party services. One of the best Mac apps for that is Sophos Home, which offers more than just antivirus features. Sophos Home also includes parental controls and protection from known dangerous sites.
If you buy the premium version for $45 a year, you’ll also get features like ransomware prevention. Sophos Home Premium will also block applications and websites from using your webcam or microphone without your permission. If you go with the free version, you’ll still get plenty of useful security features.
15. Carbon Copy Cloner
Even with excellent security, you should have tools for a worst-case scenario. An essential part of that is having backups of critical files, and Carbon Copy Cloner can help you there. Carbon Copy Cloner backs up whatever data you want to your chosen storage solution often as you desire.
With this app, you can even create a backup of your startup disk. That way, you can still boot up your Mac in the event of a critical failure. Carbon Copy Cloner costs $39.99 and comes with a 30-day free trial.
Not all apps have to serve a serious purpose. Macs are great machines to use for having fun, too, so here are the best entertainment Mac apps of 2021:
Apple Music may be the go-to music app for Mac users, but Spotify is a worthy competitor. Apart from its vast library of songs and podcasts, Spotify comes with plenty of social features. You can see what friends are listening to, listen to others’ playlists and more.
Spotify also uses machine learning to suggest custom playlists and recommendations for you. If you pay the $9.99 a month for Spotify Premium, you’ll also get ad-free playback and the option to listen offline. It’s not hard to see why this app continues to be one of the most popular music streaming services year after year.
17. Tweak Photos
Looking for new and creative ways to edit photos right from your Mac? Look no further than the Tweak Photos app. This platform gives you all the filters, frames, color controls, aesthetics and editing tips and tricks you need to create the most unique photos imaginable.
If you have many out-of-town friends, you probably use video chatting services a lot. With REKK, you can record those virtual hangouts to share with other friends or watch later when you’re feeling sentimental. The app even features a voice recognition service that can transcribe your conversations.
REKK works with just about any video chatting platform you can think of, from Skype to FaceTime to Zoom. The app costs $35 a year to use, but if you video chat often, that’s not a bad deal.
If you’re an avid Twitter user, you might find TweetDeck handy. TweetDeck gives you a broader, more comprehensive view of your Twitter feed than the standard site. You can organize your feed into several different columns, helping you find relevant content faster.
TweetDeck is especially helpful if you rely on Twitter for a business or hobby. You can track trends and interactions much better with this app than the regular Twitter interface. Like Twitter itself, TweetDeck is entirely free, too.
There may be times when you want to play on your Xbox, but someone else is using the TV. If you have OneCast, you can stream your Xbox gameplay to your Mac, so you don’t need the TV. As long as your Mac and Xbox are on the same network, you can use your Mac as the display for your games.
OneCast supports 1080p video with little to no lag. The app also supports multiple profiles, so you can use several Xbox Live accounts or consoles with it. You can get OneCast for a one-time payment of $20.
21. VLC Media Player
If you watch a lot of videos on your Mac, you’ll want VLC Media Player, a staple of video playback services. VLC has been around for a while but continues to be one of the best video players available thanks to its open-source platform. It can play just about any file type imaginable and comes with plenty of playback editing options.
VLC has an uncomplicated, easy-to-use interface so you can start immediately. Most importantly, you get all of these features for free.
Some apps don’t fit well into other categories but deserve mention. Here are five more of the best Mac apps you can get in 2021:
You can get just about anything online today, but keeping track of all your packages can be tedious. That’s where Deliveries comes in. This app brings all of your orders into a single, easy-to-understand interface.
Deliveries will notify you about any updates in your orders and syncs across your Mac and iPhone. It also works with more than two dozen shipping services, from Amazon to UPS to DHL. For just $4.99, Deliveries is quite the deal.
If you often use your AirPods with your Mac, AirBuddy is a necessity. AirBuddy lets you use your AirPods with your Mac the same way they work with your iPhone. You’ll see an iOS-style dialogue box when you open your AirPods case near your Mac, enabling you to connect them with one click.
AirBuddy also gives you a widget showing the battery life of your AirPods. This widget includes how much time you have left before your AirPods run out of juice. You can grab AirBuddy for just $5.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen an article, wanted to read it later but never gave it another glance. It’s time to download Pocket — the Mac app where you can save all the articles and posts you want right in one place. Then, you can share them all with your friends after reading.
Catching up on all the latest news can take a while, but NetNewsWire shortens that process. This app gives you a single feed for all the articles from your favorite websites that you haven’t read. You can switch between different websites or look at all of your unread posts, so you don’t have to visit all these sites individually.
Most social media sites have algorithms that can get in the way of you seeing recent or unread articles. NetNewsWire gives you control again, ensuring you can see what you want to. Best of all, the app is free.
There are almost too many messaging services out there to count. If you have trouble keeping track of them all, Franz can help. Franz consolidates your messages from wherever you get them, from Facebook Messenger to WhatsApp to Discord.
You can even add multiple accounts from the same service on Franz. The app also lets you organize services into different categories so you can control which notifications you get during a specific time. You can download Franz for free, making it even more attractive.
Do you have a lot of apps on your computer? Do you tend to use them all simultaneously? It’s time to get Bartender, the app that consolidates all your apps into a menubar for greater organization. The clean interface lets you customize the menu and search for specific platforms instantly. You can get it today for $9.99.
28. CARROT Weather
A simple check of the weather can now be more engaging than ever. The CARROT Weather app brings you stunning aesthetics and accurate readings. Its standout feature, though, is the comical messages it provides with each forecast. Start the day with a good laugh and prepare for the weather outside. You can get it today for $14.99
29. The Unarchiver
Your Mac comes with a built-in extracting feature, but The Unarchiver is far more versatile. The Unarchiver can extract archived file types like zip, RAR and even some EXE files. You can even extract a file with this app straight from Finder without opening it first.
If your filenames aren’t in the Latin alphabet, that’s no problem. The Unarchiver can read various foreign alphabets and characters. On top of being fast and reliable, The Unarchiver is also free.
For any video game lovers or anyone who just wants to find some new forms of entertainment, Steam is your best bet. This platform consolidates video games of all kinds, from all consoles, into one accessible place. Simply search, purchase and download your games to your library. Then, play online with your friends whenever you’d like.
Best Mac Apps 2021
These are just 30 of the best Mac apps you can find in 2021. With these platforms, you can use your Mac to its fullest ability, getting more than your money’s worth. No matter what your budget is or what you use your Mac for, there’s an app or two out there that can make things easier. To optimize your Mac even more, check out our guide to dark mode on MacOS.
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