Best apps for a new Mac laptop or desktop in 2020

Did Santa leave a new MacBook Air M1 under the tree last night? MacOS Big Sur comes with many great apps, but there is a whole world of third party apps that make the Mac even better.


Setapp is one of the easiest ways to find many amazing apps to try out without having to buy a bunch of different apps. Think of it as a Netflix subscription for apps. Some of my favorites are CleanMyMacX, Wi-Fi Explorer, CleanShot X, Mockuuups Studio and iFlicks. All apps included in Setapp are full versions and receive software updates as their direct payment counterpart.

1 password

I’ve been a Mac user since 2004, but the application I remember using the longest is 1Password. I’ve been using it since version 2 and it’s something I never intend to uninstall. 1Password stores all my passwords, social security information, secure notes and I even use it to generate two-factor authentication codes. I am currently enrolled in the family plan, so my wife and I can share passwords for joint accounts in a shared safe.


If you want a simplified solution to help maintain your new Mac, check out Sensei. It helps you free up storage, uninstall applications and monitor your computer’s overall health. If you only have 256 GB of storage, you’ll appreciate the ability to delete unnecessary language files to make more space for photos and videos.


If you purchased a Mac and plan to increase your writing production in 2021, check Ulysses. It offers a focused writing experience combined with integrated document management, fast synchronization and flexible export options. It also syncs with iOS versions. If you want a simpler option to write only at Markdown, check Byword for Mac.

Day one

If journaling is on your 2021 goal list, the first day needs to reside in your macOS dock. It is the best tool for journaling on the Appel platform with integrated synchronization from Mac to iPhone / iPad. The first day makes it easy to document the funny things your kids say, big school projects or the best cup of coffee you had on a trip abroad.


If I had to summarize Alfred in one sentence, it would be that he is the highlight of macOS on steroids. In my daily work, I spend a lot of time using other people’s computers and, whenever I click on CMD + Espaço, I am immediately reminded of how much I started to trust Alfred. Alfred is a free app, but I highly recommend buying the Powerpack if you think you like it. A lifetime license costs about $ 45 (£ 35), and a single version license costs about $ 25 (£ 19).


NetNewsWire has gone through many owners in its history, but is back in the hands of Brent Simmons, and is seeing rapid development on macOS and iOS thanks to a team of open source supporters. If you want to speed up reading news in 2021, switching from social media to news consumption to RSS will put you back in control of what you read. Reeder is also another great RSS reader for Mac.

Best apps for a new Mac: a better email app

The macOS email app leaves a lot to be desired in terms of features, but there are some great alternatives for the Mac. Spike is a colloquial-style email app that lets you use email as a chat app , while adding notes and tasks to your inbox. Another modern option includes Spark, and one of its main features is to create, discuss and share an email with your team before it is sent. Both applications offer support for postponement and scheduled sending, unlike Apple’s email application.

Best apps for a new Mac: a new calendar app

If you need more of your calendar than Apple offers, there are a number of great options for the Mac. Check out Fantastical if you want to combine reminders / tasks and calendars in one application. I have been using it for many years and happily paid for the subscription. One of my favorite features is the weather forecast included every day. If Fantastical doesn’t work for your budget, check BusyCal

Best apps for a new Mac: task management

The integrated Reminders app does a great job of keeping lists simple, but it’s not designed for managing more complex projects or tasks. Fortunately, there are a number of excellent task management apps for Mac that sync with their mobile versions. Some of the most popular are Todoist, Things, GoodTasks and OmniFocus. I’ve used them all in the past and they’re all great additions to your Mac.

Backing up your Mac

Backing up your new Mac is essential and there are two ways I recommend it. The first is a local backup using a Time Machine drive. Time Machine is integrated with the Mac, so as soon as you connect an external drive, it will offer to start a backup. Time Machine is the fastest way to restore your data to a new Mac in the future.

I also recommend signing up for Backblaze to complete your backup strategy. Backblaze is a cloud-based backup tool that ensures that you always have a copy of your data, even in the event of theft, flood or fire. As good as Time Machine is for backups, it usually means that your backup is in the same location as your computer. When using Backblaze as well, you will always ensure that you have an external backup.

Mac Accessories

If you want to equip your new Mac with some accessories, here are a few that I recommend:

Discover the best apps for a new Mac

The new Apple MacBook Air M1 is the best computer I have ever used. The long battery life means that I charge my laptop at night like I do on the iPhone. I love never hearing a fan. Regardless of whether you own a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, by downloading some of the best third-party applications, you can power up everything you can do on your new Mac. What applications have I missed? What’s on your list of best apps for a new Mac? Leave me a comment below.

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