Install These Apps On Your New Mac

Install These Apps On Your New Mac

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 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 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.

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