7 must-have apps you need on your Mac

I've spent 10 years testing apps to find which are the best

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I remember when I bought my first Macbook Pro. I walked out of that sterile, sleek white store with a brand new laptop and a world of possibilities. Up until that point, I had been a Windows fanboy, but I was ready to convert and forge a brave new path for myself. I booted up my new laptop, heard that glorious startup sound, and was at a loss. I had no idea where to begin; everything looked so strange and different than what I knew.

That was almost 10 years ago. I've come a long way since then and now consider myself a bit of a pro when it comes to using an Apple computer. The secret to my success? My apps. For years I found and tested every new app I heard might be worthwhile or useful, looking for the best.

So, if you're like me from 10 years ago, eager-eyed and fresh-faced with a new Macbook, you might want a little help finding the best apps. Lucky for you, I've decided to do that very thing. Below, I've compiled a list below of my must-have apps for a new Apple computer.

Mac App Store
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
The Mac App Store can be a bit overwhelming if you don't know what you're looking for.

1. Evernote

I can't tell you how many times I've deleted and subsequently came back to Evernote. On the surface, it's a fairly simple, yet robust, notetaking app that can sync between your phone and computer. In reality, it's a "do everything" app that has become one of my most invaluable resources.

With various notebooks to handle all of my personal projects and work-related notes and a detailed tagging system to keep everything straight, I shudder thinking about the disorganized mess my life used to be. Heck, I even use it to record audio during interviews, which I save to a note that I fill with anecdotes or time stamps to help my writing.

The latest design for Evernote is simple and easy enough to use for beginners and anyone who just wants to jot down idle thoughts. But, there's also enough features and customization that anyone who wants to go a bit overboard has all the resources they need to have Evernote be the only word processor they use.

Evernote at the Mac App Store - FREE

2. Spotify

I don't know if I'd get through a day without Spotify. It has everything I've ever searched for and helped me discover brand new songs or artists that I've never heard of but absolutely love. Now, I have enough playlists to cover every mood—including but not limited to: "writing time," "just gotta dance," and "throwback to high school hits."

By far my favorite feature has to be "Discover Weekly," though. Each Monday, the Spotify algorithms take a look at your most played songs and serve up a custom playlist of brand new songs that it thinks you might enjoy. I've come to find so many new artists that never would have crossed my desk before this awesome new feature.

P.S. Do the right thing and just pony up for Spotify Premium. Getting rid of those ads is worth $9.99 a month.

Spotify for Mac OS X - FREE

3. Pocket

When I'm not reading my Kindle on my commute into work, I'm usually browsing the web and twitter looking to get caught up on the day. Problem is, I run into a ton of articles and videos that I don't really have the time to read right then and there. Enter Pocket.

I run into a ton of articles that I don't have time to read right then and there. Enter Pocket. Tweet It

Pocket saves all of those articles and videos into a minimalist database. From there, I can read the articles right in the app whenever I actually have time. It's simple, easy to use, and has helped me really appreciate the countless articles I don't get to right away. I can't recommend it enough.

Pocket at the Mac App Store - FREE

4. Slack

What started as a mandatory work-related app has evolved into the number one way I keep in touch with my best friends from grad school and other groups of friends. At its surface, Slack reminds me of the old instant messaging apps from the early 2000's. But it's so much more than that.

Slack consists of multiple channels that have set themes or categories. For instance, in my grad school friend slack, we have an entire thread dedicated to just talking about new movies we've seen or want to see. Not only is it great for coordinating between my coworkers in my official office slack, it's also helped me stay in touch with, and casually chat with, lifelong friends that I don't get to see in person anymore. Not to mention nothing quite beats the satisfaction of filling an entire channel with random gifs.

Slack at the Mac App Store - FREE

5. TweetDeck

Plenty of my friends swear by the default Twitter app, but it doesn't really suit my needs all that well. For me, the endless torrent of tweets is too much to follow. I like things a little neater. A little more organized. That's why I lean heavily on lists and grouping the people I follow into categories of like-minded content. That way, if I only want to browse and hear about the latest news and trends in video games, I have a place just for that.

Tweetdeck
Credit: Reviewed.com / Nick Schmiedicker
Tweetdeck's level of customization makes it my go-to desktop app for Twitter.

Outside of the customizable view, TweetDeck lets me schedule tweets for the future, easily find a specific account I'm looking for, and manage multiple accounts without a ton of hassle. It isn't too fancy, but I don't really need anything crazy for Twitter.

TweetDeck at the Mac App Store - FREE

6. Wunderlist

Wunderlist is the simplest app I use that's only for managing my to-do list. Nothing more, nothing less. It syncs with my phone so I always have my list with me. It's an unobtrusive digital solution to a problem that was once plagued with sticky notes and messy handwriting. I have mine setup to handle things on a daily basis, which I fill out the night before and then add to as the day progresses. Plus, you can even share lists with your friends and coworkers and assign tasks out. That way, you know exactly who to blame when someone doesn't pack the toilet paper for a camping trip.

Wunderlist at the Mac App Store - FREE

7. Adobe Creative Cloud

When it comes to my creative side, I'm not sure if I'd get by without my basic subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Between Photoshop and Illustrator alone I've been able to tackle any kind of photo editing or oddball design job creeps into my life from time to time. Mind you, these are programs that used to cost almost as much as my rent, now available for as low as $9.99 a month. That's as much as a premium subscription to Spotify!

With pricing tiers for photographers, a single app, or every Adobe product, there should be an option here for everyone. And while a subscription to Adobe might not be for everyone, it's certainly a must-have for anyone that works in a creative field.

Adobe Creative Cloud - $9.99/mo - $79.98/mo

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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