Top 10 Mac Applications That Should Be On Windows

Top 10 Mac Applications That Should Be On Windows

We love what Microsoft’s done with Windows 7, but when we boot into Windows after spending a good amount of time on a Mac, here are 10 applications we sorely miss.

Note: In almost all of these cases, we’re not saying that “This exact application should be ported to Windows”. What we are suggesting is that there’s a need for a particular kind of application, and that this application, on OS X, fills exactly that need. For a counterpoint, check out these 10 Windows apps that should be on Macs.

10. NetNewsWire

Most Lifehacker readers prefer to read their RSS feeds using Google Reader, and Reader is a great webapp, but if you’d prefer an offline-friendly, desktop alternative, we’d rather have something like NetNewsWire than any other desktop newsreader we’ve used on Windows.

9. GarageBand

Windows has no great, free audio recording and editing application that can hold a candle to GarageBand. Sure, there’s Audacity, the open-source audio editing app we know and love, but it’s not the friendliest of applications, and it certainly doesn’t have the range of GarageBand. While GarageBand technically isn’t free, since you do have to pay for updates to iLife, GarageBand ships for free on new Macs by default.

8. Skitch

We take more far more screenshots around Lifehacker HQ than most people, and while you’ll find no shortage of Windows screenshot-taking applications, we’ve yet to find anything as simple, effective, and attractive as Skitch. Where most screenshot applications have extremely ugly call-outs, Skitch pays close attention to the way screenshot annotations look, so you’re actually proud to share the attractive screenshot you just snagged. Oh, and as icing on the cake, Skitch supports one-click screenshot sharing online.

7. Fluid

Fluid is a site-specific browser (SSB) that creates a standalone desktop application from any web site—effectively turning your favourite webapps into desktop applications. That may not sound all that impressive, especially since Windows users have the Mozilla-built Prism, but Fluid’s robust support for user scripts and ability to hook into system notification tools like Growl put it a head and shoulders above Prism in our experience.

6. Growl

It’s not exactly fair to put Growl into this category, particularly because at least two projects (Growl for Windows and Snarl have tried really hard to gain traction on Windows systems, but unfortunately neither seem to have caught on in a really significant way. This likely has something to do with the fact that Windows has its own (weak) notification system built in out of the box, while OS X does not. As a result, users and developers interested in a nice, unified notification system have incentive to use Growl. Still, we’d kill for a Growl on Windows that works as well and enjoys the near universal adoption Growl for Mac does.

5. Adium

<a href=””>Adium is an open source, multi-protocol chat application that’s actually based on Pidgin, a chat app for Windows and Linux. The difference: Adium is about a thousand times more attractive, configurable, and fun to use.

4. Cyberduck

oWhen you go looking for a solid free FTP client for Windows, you generally end up using FileZilla. And while FileZilla is certainly functional, it doesn’t have close to the impressively broad range of functionality and user-friendly good looks of Cyberduck.

3. Preview

OS X’s default image viewer, Preview, is lightning fast, opens nearly any image file you throw at it—from PDF to JPG to TIFF and well beyond (see the full list of supported file types here)—and on top of it all, provides a relatively impressive advanced feature set. And while there are plenty of solid PDF tools for Windows, we’d kill for something as simple and lightweight as Preview, built into Windows 7, that also supported, say, quickly viewing a folder’s worth of images.

2. Any Sort Of Mac-On-Windows Virtualisation

It’s not Microsoft’s fault that there’s no good way to run OS X or OS X applications seamlessly on your PC in the same way Mac users can run Windows operating systems and applications within OS X, but that doesn’t change the fact that if you could do so, it could nearly render this entire conversation moot.

1. Quicksilver

Steve Jobs can crow all he wants about how great OS X and Apple’s hardware are, but Quicksilver is the Mac application that got me to buy my first Mac. Sure, Windows has plenty of application launchers, but this deceptively powerful application for keyboard shortcut lovers puts almost any action you’d want to quickly perform on your Mac at your fingertips, and we’d kill to see a solid, stable and functional alternative for Windows.

We’ve heard rumours that the strengths and weaknesses of Windows and Mac software is a hotly contested thing. This is just our own list, drawn from editors’ experiences on Windows and Mac machines. What’s the killer Mac app or feature we’re missing, that desperately needs developed for Windows? Share your suggestions in the comments.


  • The reason there is in fact no Mac-On-Windows Virtualisation is because it is against the MAC OS X Eula not because it can’t or hasn’t been done.

  • I always install “Just looking” it’s a MUCH better image viewer on the mac that lets you browse through your entire folder with ease (unlike preview) mind you I still think it’s hard to beat the default picture viewer in Windows, it’s simple and just works. Regarding PDF’s I don’t really mind having to have a separate program like foxit for them (and preview on the mac).

  • This is pathetic!

    Every single application on this list has a better windows version, or multiple versions!

    All these apps are a dumbed-down, picture friendly version for toddlers on the Mac
    Next make a article about “top 100 apps u wish where on the Mac” and u would have to expand it to 150 because there is just that many!
    Win 7 in fantastic

  • I dont want to jump up and down and scream fanboy, but whats actually wrong with filezille? As an honest question, what features do you find lacking? I use it everyday at work, and it is yet to let me down.

  • I prefer windows picture and fax viewer to preview. I work with macs, but use a PC at home, and on countless occasions I have been so frustrated by Previews inability to scroll through pictures. So sick of opening them up one by one.
    (ignoring preview’s PDF viewing, which I reckon is superior to adobe reader)

    I just wish Windows picture and fax viewer could still handle gifs… No idea why they removed that 🙁 some attempt to reignite IEs popularity?

    Got a bone to pick the adium’s inclusion in that list too, there’s a plethora of similar apps on windows.

    Also – no idea why you’re saying OSX is hard to get running in VMware…
    1:put in the disk/mount the ISO,
    2.install the OS.
    never had any issues what so ever.

  • The only thing on this list that I would agree with is Preview, which is absolutely brilliant. The rest are just stupid toys for which there are probably hundreds of alternatives available on Windows. e.g. GarageBand is a toy and there are far too many Windows alternatives under $50 to even list. A quick search at turned up 178. EnergyXT or Reaper would be the most popular, with applications like Fruityloops offering a lot more in a package that can expand as your interest/skills grow. GarageBand is more like the free Magix Music Maker Jam I got from the Windows Store for Win8.

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