Whether you're among the chosen to get a new computer for the holidays or are burdened with the responsibility of playing family tech support, we've got you covered with an essential pack of Mac apps, utilities, tools, and time-wasters. Grab another moose-shaped mug of eggnog and start downloading.
This year we've picked out some of the very best apps, games, books, and downloads for your new devices. Dig into our top selections for Android apps, Android games, iPhone apps, iPad apps, iOS games, Windows Phone apps, Kindle books, Mac and PC.
Cutting, copying, and pasting are the basic actions without which few computer interactions would work. Flycut is the perfect tool to help you organize and sort through all the snippets, links, and blurbs you've collected. No more disasters born of losing one piece of text by copying another — Flycut remembers all and makes it easily accessible with quick keyboard shortcuts.
Mark of the Ninja
A true classic of intelligent and atmospheric game design, Mark of the Ninja is one of those rare games that plays just as well on Mac as on the PC. Dive into its shadowy 2D realm and try to survive without being blown away by the wall-mounted turrets or heavily armored guards.
Instead of constantly heading to the mouse to keep your windows organized, try a window-management tool like Divvy. It lets you set up simple key commands to instantly resize windows from the left half of your screen to full size and back again. Save your mousing for more important things.
Many have tried to knock Dropbox off its perch as the best cloud storage provider, but the app endures as one of the best the Mac has to offer. It keeps files synced up in the background without disturbing the user and gives quick access to shareable links for the last few items you've uploaded to it. The best part: the Dropbox mobile apps are just as quick and efficient.
Fantastical is the best calendar app for Mac. It lives in your menu bar and effortlessly turns your sentences into events. Open Fantastical, type "Dinner with David at Bon Chon at 8PM," press Enter, and you’re done.
It's no secret that 3D gaming on the Mac is stuck in a time warp somewhere back in the 1990s, however Steam is still well worth installing. Valve's game distribution platform spans the full gamut of gaming, so plenty of fun can still be had on the Mac. Even if you only use Steam to manage your PC games and make sure you're aware of the latest sales and discounts, this dour gray app remains the desktop gamer's best friend.
GIF Brewery, a regularly updated $5.00 app, brings clean, fast, and effective GIF-making to everyone not just pros with Photoshop. Just import your video clip, trim to the ideal loop, crop for size, and achieve Tumblr fame.
Setting up a password manager can be a little tedious, but once you're done, there's no going back. 1Password makes it crazy easy to have strong and unique passwords on every account you ever open, and it'll sync those passwords to pretty much any device you want to use. Using 1Password is literally as easy as remembering one password — just make it a good one.
Calling Alfred a "launcher" isn’t giving this little app enough credit. Alfred replaces Spotlight search on your Mac, but it lets you launch apps, control Spotify, search Google Images, open sites with 1Password, check your clipboard history, and more. Since Alfred is so customizable, its capabilities are really only limited by your imagination.
Mailbox is one of the fastest, simplest, and smartest email clients you can use on the iPhone, and the same is true on the Mac. Snoozing emails for later quickly gets addictive, and Mailbox's minimalist theme looks right at home on Yosemite. Just be warned: it is still in beta, so you might bump into a small bug now and then.
iTunes may come preinstalled on your Mac, but let's be real: the modern music library is Spotify. Download it, plug in your headphones, and start streaming whatever you'd like. Just don't look for any Taylor Swift.
Sometimes the simplest tools are the most addictive. Caffeine lives in your menubar and, with a single click, prevents your screen from dimming and your Mac from running falling asleep. Then with another click, it's off again. Test it out the next time you're staring down a blank text document trying to begin an essay.
Dropbox is the obvious answer when you want to store files online, but when you need to share something quickly, Cloud is the way to go. Just drag a file over the Cloud icon in your menubar, and poof. The file is uploaded and a shareable link has been copied to your clipboard. It really couldn't be easier. It's ideal for sharing screenshots and text snippets.
Instacast for Mac offers a focused, lightweight interface and experience for just one thing: podcasts. You get full control over searching, subscribing, downloading, and organizing all your podcasts, and for users of the iOS, you can seamlessly sync your subscriptions. It's one less reason to ever open iTunes.