Install These Apps On Your New Mac

Photo: Prographer

I got a new Mac at work last week. Here’s everything I immediately installed.

In the springtime of my youth, I reveled in the setup of a fresh computer, installing programs into the bare OS like I was laying out the shining city of Brasilia. Now I am deep in my years, my back aches from sitting, and setting up a new computer is a slog.

I can do without some apps for weeks or months, but I rely on a remarkable number just to function normally. Or to put it more optimistically, these apps make me way more productive. Maybe they’ll help you too.

  • Chrome: I only use Safari to test things. Firefox is looking more attractive again, but I rely on a lot of Chrome extensions, especially Workona. Thankfully Chrome automatically syncs all my extensions, so that’s one thing I don’t have to redo.

  • Dropbox: I can’t imagine trusting a computer to hold the only copy of my files. I use selective sync to grab my Lifehacker folder and a couple other useful folders, like the one with my reaction GIFs. (Giphy is normie trash.) Plus I can work from home or even check a file from my phone if I have to.

  • 1Password: I hate logging into everything on a new computer, especially with two-factor. 1Password makes it tolerable.

  • Slack: This is what Lifehacker uses instead of email. There are downsides to a perpetual work chatroom, but it’s still so much better than long email threads. And since almost all my emails are external communication, I don’t have to mentally switch back and forth as often between talking to readers and sources, and talking to my colleagues.

  • Spotify: I subscribe to Apple Music and Spotify, which is stupid but has its uses. Spotify is social, but Apple Music integrates better with the music I actually own.

  • Simplify: Tells last.fm what music I’m listening to on Spotify and iTunes. I have an unhealthy interest in meticulously tracking my listening habits, so I hate to let a listen go uncounted. I have twice promised myself I’d delete my last.fm account and break free. I have twice failed myself.

  • Private Internet Access VPN, Malwarebytes anti-malware, and Sophos Home anti-virus: Honestly I could skip them, but eventually I’d regret it. I’ve learned to floss and I’ve learned to install my security apps right away.

  • Photoshop: To add a column logo to a post image, or to “enlarge” an image by filling out the sides with content-aware fill, or to cover my calendar with the expanding brain meme.

  • Fantastical: Great for subscribing to lots of calendars. Fantastical doesn’t have its own syncing feature, so I have to subscribe it to my Google/Facebook/etc calendars every time I install it on a new device. It’s worth it for the flexible display features, notifications, and superior plain-language event adding.

  • VLC: Quicktime sucks. VLC handles more file formats and playlist options.

  • Yoink: Lets me drag and drop files into a temporary holding spot, instead of moving them to the desktop and back. Finder ought to come with this feature.

  • Bartender: Mac OS lets me hide menu bar items, but it’s a pain to bring them back. Bartender just hides them behind one click. That’s where I stick Airplay, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, and other items that I only occasionally need to see.

  • Freedom: To block Twitter, Facebook, etc. when I need to work.

  • Wunderlist: I have a stupid habit of using several to-do apps at once. But this is not that habit. Wunderlist is where I put random thoughts and ideas and quotes, because it’s more convenient than keeping text files.

  • Todoist: Here’s where I put actual to-dos, but eventually abandon them and use the Reminders app instead. But occasionally, I have a project that actually requires multi-level lists and team sharing, and I manage it on Todoist.

I eventually download more favourites: the Soulver calculator, Piezo for recording snippets of audio off other apps, Highland 2 for writing, Smallpdf for fiddly PDF tasks, Disk Map for visualising my hard drive space. And eventually I have to grab Office and Skype, though I wouldn’t call them favourites. But I need the apps above right away, or my computer still feels like someone else’s home. And as I am old and easily confused, I’m trying to avoid that feeling.


This story has been updated since its original publication.


Comments

    Wunderlist is end of life FYI, you should switch to Microsoft To-Do now (and they have an auto import)

    I don’t know about Chrome, it was nearly as hard to remove from the system as McAfee can be and even a year later (like this article) I seems to still find remnants of it in the system.

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