A giant list of Mac apps

I recently upgraded to a MacBook Pro with Retina display. It’s the first time I’ve had a fresh Mac OS X install for a while, so I carefully considered which apps to install. This list is essentially what I ended up installing, each app fully deserving a spot on my HD. There are a couple of web apps that I thought were worth mentioning too.


  • Boom. I use Boom as system-wide equaliser. A little EQ and a slight boost of the volume and it brings a good pair of headphones to life.
  • Smart Converter Pro 2. Handy for converting movie files (avi, mkv, etc.) for the Apple TV or iOS.
  • Spotify. I switch between Spotify and Rdio periodically. Spotify just edges it as it seems to have a better selection of music. Regardless, pretty much the only way I listen to music these days is via streaming services.
  • VLC. Plays every kind of video file.

Design/Graphic Editing

  • Aperture. Purchased Aperture recently after a toss up between it and Lightroom. It’s a nice way to edit photographs but I’m not 100% satisfied.
  • Icon Slate. The best way I’ve found to export (retina) icons in different formats and sizes. ImageOptim Compresses PNG, JPEG and GIF files. Takes seconds and can hugely improve the load time of a website.
  • Pixel Grinder. The best batch image processor I’ve come across. Add 100s of images, configure some processing actions (resize, crop, watermark, grayscale, etc.) and hit start. A massive time saver.
  • Paparazzi. A small utility that takes screenshots of webpages.
  • Pixelmator. The reason I haven’t installed Photoshop. I use it mostly for cropping and resizing images but it has a really nice interface and plenty of photo editing potential.
  • Sip. A colour picker that can be called via a keyboard shortcut. Outputs the colour in your desired format.
  • Sketch 3. My design app of choice. Although slightly buggy, the clean and simple interface coupled with some really nice features make Sketch a winner.


  • Beanstalk. Makes Git deployment easy.
  • BrowserStack. Web-based browser testing. Includes an impressive selection of browsers and operating systems (even mobile devices).
  • CodeKit 2. I use CodeKit primarily as a live reload tool (across multiple devices) and a SASS compiler. It does a lot more than that though.
  • CodeRunner. A handy tool for testing snippets of code or experimenting. Compiles PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Shell Scripts, etc.
  • Dash. Provides instant search to any programming language documentation. Handy for looking up that function you can’t remember how to use.
  • Integrity. Crawls a site and returns server responses, great for catching broken links. Part of my website pre-launch process.
  • iTerm2. My terminal app of choice. Still using the drop-down visor view and it’s great.
  • Patterns. A handy tool for writing regular expressions; especially useful if you’re not that familiar with regex.
  • Sequel Pro. A fast and easy-to-use interface for working with MySQL databases.
  • Sublime Text 3. My code editor of choice. I wrote about my Sublime Text setup.
  • Text Wranger. I use Text Wrangler for handling large text files (I’m talking about 5mb+ database dumps or log files). Find and replace operations that can take minutes in Sublime Text take seconds in Text Wrangler.
  • Transmit. The best FTP client I’ve tried. Works great for FTP and SFTP and also useful for Amazon S3 if you use that for storage.
  • xScope. A group of tools ideal for measuring, aligning and inspecting on-screen graphics. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll want this app.


  • 1Password. One of my most used apps. Every password for every service I use is unique thanks to 1Password. I use Dropbox to sync between Macs and my iOS devices.
  • Airmail. The best email app I’ve tried since Sparrow.
  • Basecamp. My project management tool of choice. Every client facing project I work on goes in Basecamp.
  • Clarify. Makes creating how-to guides really quick and easy. I use it primarily for make CMS guides for clients.
  • Delineato Pro. A minimal mind mapping tool, great for getting ideas out quickly.
  • Due. If I need a reminder to return a call, send an email, or get some milk, it’s in Due.
  • Instapaper. I save articles into Instapaper and then consume them on my phone. When I’m stuck without an internet connection, I always have something to read.
  • Omnifocus 2. Powerful, flexible and easy to use: 3 words that usually don’t go together.
  • Passpack. I use Passpack to share passwords with my team.
  • Pinboard. Where I store all my bookmarks.
  • Soulver. More like a spreadsheet than a traditional calculator, Soulver is a great way to work with numbers. The iOS app is great too.
  • TextExpander. A real time saver. I use it for expanding everything from lorem ipsum snippets to email signatures.
  • Tweetbot. My Twitter client of choice.


  • Marked 2. A previewer for markdown files. I use it for proof reading anything I write in markdown and exporting to different file types. Also includes statistics such as word count, reading time, Fog Index and Flesch-Kincaid scores.
  • MultiMarkdown Composer. I use MultiMarkdown Composer for long form writing. The table of contents feature helps navigating longer documents and also makes it easy to rearrange sections.
  • nvALT. One of the most used apps on my Mac, nvALT stores all my notes in markdown. I don’t use pen and paper; literally everything goes in nvALT.
  • ReadKit. My RSS reader of choice.
  • Ulysses III. The vast majority of the writing that I do is in Ulysses. I really like the way documents are stored as stacks of sheets and of course it supports markdown.


  • Alfred. Alfred is always the first app I install. Mac OS X doesn’t feel complete until Alfred is installed.
  • Command-C. Lets you send stuff from your Mac to your iOS device and vice versa.
  • f.lux. If you’re regularly up working late, you’ll probably like f.lux. It adjusts the colour of your screen based on the time of day, making it easier on your eyes.
  • Moom. Allows you to easily move and zoom windows.