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The best apps for your new Mac

The best apps for your new Mac

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macbook pro 2016

So you got a new Mac, huh? Lucky! I've been using a Mac as my primary computer on and off for about 20 years. I have a PC for games, but nothing beats a Mac yet for the modern media professional. Here are a few apps I use to get the job done.

We've rounded up our favorite and most-used apps and utilities for the technology we use every day. Check out our other picks for iPhones, Android phones, PCs, and Macs. We've also listed our favorite games for iOS and Android from this year.


This is the most straightforward way to make GIFs from video clips or whatever is happening on your screen. For more advanced GIF creation I use GIFBrewery, but for quick-and-dirty stuff GIPHY CAPTURE is a real treasure.

4K Video Downloader

Maybe this is a niche thing, I'm not sure, but I frequently find myself wanting to download a YouTube video, and 4K Video Downloader makes it really easy. The app publisher also makes a tool called 4K Stogram for downloading photos from Instagram, and 4K YouTube to MP3 that does what it says on the tin.


I use Google Inbox instead of vanilla Gmail. There are a lot of mail clients and browser shells to turn Gmail into a desktop app, but I've never found a good desktop client for Inbox until WMail.

Notational Velocity

I'm a writer, and Notational Velocity makes it really easy to create, find, and sync my notes. Unlike a lot of apps, Notational Velocity has an option to both sync with Simplenote, and store notes as plain text files. I keep my notes folder in iCloud Drive (Dropbox or Google Drive work just as well) so they're accessible from anywhere and from any app. Sadly, Notational Velocity is basically abandonware — it's open source, but not actively maintained — and I fear the day when it will stop working. I'll keep using it until it does.


One reason I like to keep my notes as plain text files is so I can edit them in my text editor of choice. When I'm doing longer-form writing and I want a pretty, distraction-free editor, I open up Byword. I've also used Byword's Markdown preview to print invoices when I was a freelancer, because I'll do just about anything to avoid traditional word processors like Pages and Word.

Visual Studio Code

And yet another text editor! Visual Studio Code is slick and extensible. I still do a lot of coding in Vim, but when I want to be lazy and have a nice point-and-click project view, Visual Studio Code's Vim mode is totally acceptable.


Guess what? A text editor. But this one is really special. I wish there were 100 more apps like Calca. It really makes my computer feel like a computer, you know? Basically, it lets you do math with text instead of a calculator. There's a small learning curve, but it's great when you have a math heavy project and you're tired of summing everything up every time a variable changes.


I really like how you can snap windows to different edges of the screen in Windows, and BetterSnapTool replicates that functionality perfectly. There are a bunch of great window managers available for Mac, so pick which one works best for you. I like this one.


I'm still not sure about this whole "emoji" thing the kids are talking about, but the best possible way to add emojis to any message is the Slack way, where you just type a colon and start typing name of the emoji and it autocompletes. Rocket makes it so you can type emoji like that anywhere on your Mac.