macOS: the essential applications on a new MacBook

macOS: the essential applications on a new MacBook

Have you just received a brand new MacBook and are wondering what software to install on this computer? Here are our must-have app recommendations.

Source: Frandroid

Buying a new PC is always a good opportunity to think about which applications and tools to install. Whether you’re switching from Windows to macOS for the first time or buying a new Mac or MacBook, we have a few gems to recommend.

Obviously, we could fall into the trap of easy recommendation, that of the applications you already know: Slack, Spotify, Discord and others. No, here, it is a question of recommending you small applications which quickly proved to be essential for our use on Mac. We won’t shy away from recommending Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome either. No more than one of the Apple applications already preinstalled on your Mac that we invite you to try before considering the possible uninstallation.

Bartender 4 to manage the menu bar

If you bought a new Mac, chances are it has a screen with a webcam notch. Bartender makes it easier to manage the menu bar located at the top of the screen.

Bartender 4 MacOS
Bartender makes it easy to organize the menu bar // Source: Bartender

In particular, you will allow all applications wishing to place an icon in the bar at the top right of the OS to end up in the Bartender menu. By default, because of the notch, the space left for applications is very limited. The application has the advantage of allowing a nice level of customization.

The application is free for 4 weeks, then asks for a license of 19.44 euros. A fairly common economic model on macOS which makes it possible to remunerate the developers of the application. Note that a free alternative exists: Dozer.

Download Bartender 4

Magnet: get the best function of Windows

Windows objectively and unanimously offers a superior feature to macOS: Snap Assist. It allows you to easily manage and rearrange your windows on the screen. The best-known example is the ability to make an app take over the right or left half of the screen simply by dragging it to a ledge.

Magnet mac app
Source: Magnet

Magnet is known to Mac users for adding this valuable feature to macOS. Better, it even replicates Windows keyboard shortcuts. Thus, a stroke of Control+Option+Left (or right) arrow immediately pastes a window on the left. Control+Option+Up Arrow takes it to full screen.

An essential billed 7.99 euros on the Mac App Store. A free alternative exists: Rectangle.

Download Magnet from the Mac App Store

IINA: VLC, but better

IINA is like VLC, but better suited to macOS. This video player handles all formats with a beautiful interface and top performance.

IINA media player macOS
Source: IINA

The application is open and free. What more can be said ?

Download IINA

Browserosaurus: save time with our browsers

If you have several browsers installed on your machine or a few native applications for web services, Browserosaurus will save you valuable time. This program intervenes when you click on a link sent, for example, in a messaging software like Discord. It will then suggest you with which browser or application you want to open the link.

Browserosaurus macOS
Choose which browser to open the link with in one click // Source: Browserosaurus

This is especially handy if the browser you use for your work is different from your personal browser. A great way to keep work and staff separate.

Browserosaurus is a free and open source application.

Download Browserausorus

Dropover: drag and drop 2.0

Drag and drop of files on macOS is really very convenient to use. It allows dragging and dropping any type of files from one application to another very easily. On a MacBook with the simple touchpad, however, it is sometimes frustrating to walk long distances on the screen while keeping your finger firmly pressed on the trackpad.

macOS Dropover app
Source: Dropover

Dropover allows you to create a small virtual space where you can store your files while on the move. It’s like a small virtual shelf on which you quickly put a few files. You just have to open the new application and recover all the files from the small Dropover space to make it disappear. Advanced users will be able to go further with the application by automatically transferring files to your clouds prefer. You can also ask Dropover to monitor a folder to automatically create a shelf when a file is added (useful for the screenshots folder).

Dropover offers a free trial on the Mac App Store for 14 days. The full version costs 3.99 euros.

Download Dropover from the Mac App Store

Cooldown: gain autonomy in one click

Since macOS Monterey, Apple’s operating system incorporates a power saving mode similar to that of iOS and rather powerful. It allows you to skyrocket the autonomy of your MacBook in exchange for a little performance. Problem, its activation is hidden in the confines of the Battery menu of macOS. Not very practical to activate it or not at will.

Cooldown menu bar
Source: Cooldown

This is where Cooldown comes in. This small application comes to house a new icon in your menu bar to activate energy saving in one click. Switching back to performance mode is just as easy. To get this right on your Mac, the app cleverly uses Apple’s shortcuts created with the Shortcuts app.

The application is free, but the developer offers to pay it on its site.

Download Cooldown

The Unarchiver: for all compressed files

Windows has 7-zip, macOS has The Unarchiver. A simple and free application to extract any compressed archive format.

The Unarchiver Mac App Grande
Source: The Unarchiver

What more can we say except that the application is available on the Mac App Store.

Download The Unarchiver from the Mac App Store

MonitorControl: adjust the brightness of external displays

The macOS control center allows in one click to change the brightness of the screen. It’s very practical and you quickly get used to it. Unfortunately, the system does not handle all external displays the same way by default. This is where MonitorControl comes in.

MonitorControl Mac App
Source: MonitorControl

This completely free application allows you to change the brightness or volume of an external display from macOS or the shortcut keys of the MacBook keyboard.

Monitor Control

CopyClip: a history for the clipboard

The default clipboard management on macOS is not the most optimal. Fortunately, there are a few utilities to improve this basic function. If you multiply the copy-paste during the day, do not hesitate to test them.

CopyClip Mac app
Source: CopyClip

For example, we offer CopyClip which adds a clipboard history accessible directly from the menu bar. It has the advantage of being free. Other applications are also very popular in the field like Maccy. It is also a function integrated into more complete software like Raycast.

Download CopyClip

ImageOptim: lighten the images you share

ImageOptim says it all in its name. This program allows in a single drag and drop to optimize several image files quickly.

ImageOptim macOS app
Source: Image Optim

Free and open-sourceit uses several very optimized small programs to reduce the size of your JPG or PNG files before possible sharing on the web.

Download ImageOptim

Karabiner-Elements: improve Apple’s keyboard for free

Apple obliges, the AZERTY keyboard of Macs is different from that of keyboards under Windows. Apple’s keyboard highlights keys that are harder to reach by default with a Windows keyboard like “@” or accented capitals. Conversely, some special characters become more complicated to type on Mac like French quotes and square brackets.

Karabiner-Elements is a popular application that allows you to configure new shortcuts for the Mac keyboard, and thus facilitate certain actions. It is also possible to import shortcuts created by other users with just a few clicks. We offer you our own set:

Here are some examples of easier-to-access characters:

  • Command + <: "
  • Command+Option+>:”
  • Command+(: [
  • Command + ) : ]
  • Command +! :\

Note that the shortcuts we offer do not replace any pre-existing ones. These are therefore new possibilities, without losing anything of the Mac keyboard. The application is open and free.

Download Karabiner-Elements

Sublime Text: the simple and complete text editor

Among the myriad of text editors for macOS, Sublime Text is both one of the simplest and one of the most complete. Compatible with any type of format, and in particular most of the formats used in programming, Sublime Text offers some essential functions. For example autocompletion to reuse the name of a variable and good syntax highlighting.

Sublime Text screen capture mac
Source: Sublime Text

Sublime Text is available and usable for free, but the developer requires the purchase of a license for extended use.

Download SublimeText

CleanMyMac: deep clean your Mac

When you uninstall an app on macOS, it might leave a few files here or there behind. All of this can pile up and clutter up your storage space. Whether it’s to clean these files or determine what can slow down the performance of your machine, CleanMyMac offers to thoroughly clean all the problems of your Mac.

Clean My Mac app
Source: Clean My Mac

The software interface is very simple to use and focuses on data cleaning, protection and performance. This is full-featured software at a premium price. The lifetime license is sold for 89.95 euros for a Mac with no update guarantee. A subscription to keep a license up to date is offered at 79.95 euros per year for a Mac.

A trial version is available on the Mac App Store. We do not prefer to offer alternatives to this software. Most of the applications claiming to clean your Mac available on the Internet may contain malware or be too heavy-handed to clean up and prove to be dangerous.

Download Clean My Mac from the Mac App Store

And the others

That wraps up our list of must-have apps for a new Mac. We’ve focused on custom-built apps for macOS, but there’s obviously some great cross-platform software out there. Let’s quickly mention Affinity Photos for image editing, Bitwarden for password management, Notion for organizing your work, Microsoft To Do or OneNote for note taking or task management.

You can share your recommendations in the comments. What are the tools you couldn’t live without? Which apps do you download first with a new machine?


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