Recently, I had to move to a new Mac.
My old one was near end-of-life. It was over 5 years old.
That’s pretty old in computer years.
(Apple doesn’t even support it for OS upgrades any more.)
Here are the 19 apps I installed to get my new Mac ready to get work done.
Starting From Scratch
In the past, I have transferred applications, settings, and data directly from my old computer.
However, that can mean bringing over old apps, data, and bad settings to your new system.
So, I decided to start fresh.
I installed applications from scratch and then simply moved my document files over.
Much of this was sped up by the Mac App Store and the fact that I could simply reinstall many apps directly from there. (By the way, the new iMac doesn’t even have a CD/DVD drive.)
A couple clicks and the majority of my apps were installing via Apple’s App Store.
There were a few legacies app that I had install prior to the App Store, so I had to find those license keys.
This whole process took me much less than an afternoon.
A few hours later, my Mac was ready to get work done.
19 Mac Apps for Productivity
If you’ve never used a Mac as your main computer, you probably won’t appreciate all the software that comes as part of the OS. You can get a lot done, right out of the box.
However, I knew which power apps I would need in order to get the most out of my new system. (And make it feel like home again…)
Here are the 19 Mac Apps That I Installed:
- Things – Things by Cultured Code is my Todo App of choice. Seconds after installing, all my todos flowed in from the cloud sync. Get Things for Mac via the App Store.
- Cobook – Cobook is a free app at that takes your address book to the next level. It pulls information from your contacts’ social networks such as avatars, websites, etc. It is not a standalone app, but rather uses the Mac contacts database, so all my contacts stay in sync across all my devices via iCloud. Get Cobook via the App Store.
- Fantastical – Fantastical in my calendar app of choice. It makes adding things to your calendar effortless. You can type in conversational phrases and it will translate. For example, “Doctor’s appointment on October 6 at 3PM at Primary Medical.” Get Fantastical via the App Store.
- Alfred – Alfred is my launcher app. With a quick keystroke or two, I can launch any app on my Mac. I never use the app tray or go clicking for an app. You can get Alfred for free here.
- Sparrow – Sparrow is still my mail app of choice on the Mac. Some are concerned are about future support because Google acquired Sparrow last year. However, until something better arrives, Sparrow is still the best minimalist mail App. Get Sparrow via the App Store.
- Evernote – Evernote is the one-stop place to store your clippings and notes. A basic account is free, and you can upgrade to premium for more features. Check out Evernote via their website.
- iA Writer – iA Writer is my text document editor of choice. I use it for simple writing and document creation. It is a minimalist app that lets you concentrate on your writing instead of bloated features. iA writer supports markdown text, and as well, syncs via iCloud to my iPhone/iPad. iA Writer via the App Store.
- Scrivener – Scrivener is where I write my books. It it is a full featured writing app that can take your book from concept to complete exported ebook files. I barely scratch the surface of its power. However, the best parts are the way it handles chapters and how you can easily re-order sections of your manuscript. Scrivener via the App Store.
- Keynote – I don’t like to use slides for presentations, but when I do, I use Keynote. It is still head-and-shoulders above PowerPoint. Keynote via the App Store.
- Microsoft Office – Installing MS Office is a necessary evil. (But, for how much longer?) I use it less and less, but there are times I need to edit documents. This app took me the longest to install and required transferring the install files from my old system.
- Day One – Day One is the best journal app, hands down. It syncs across my devices, as well. If you keep a journal, get Day One via the App Store.
Utilities and Miscellaneous Apps:
- Skitch – Skitch is a great screen capture tool. It even serves as my quick image editor for sizing/formatting. Skitch was acquired by Evernote last year, and I learned the hard way that the new version removed much of its usefulness. Thankfully, they still allow downloading of Skitch 1.0 from their website. (Which I recommend over version 2.0) Get Skitch.
- ImageOptim – ImageOptim is a great little image compression app. I use it to make image files smaller prior to using on my website. Get ImageOptim here.
- Art Text 2 – Art Text 2 is a great little app in a pinch. You can make simple work art, banners, and buttons. Very useful for bloggers and even for presentations. Get Art Text 2 via the App Store.
- Pixelmator – Pixelmator is where I turn for my image creation/editing needs. I don’t do a lot of heavy lifting in this area, but when I need to make a graphic, Pixelmator has my back. Get Pixelmator via the App Store.
- Spotify – I haven’t even bothered moving my iTunes library over to my new Mac. And I probably won’t. (Apple, are you listening?) Spotify’s subscription library is my favorite place to listen to music. Get Spotify.
- Skype – Skype is my default video client because so many people use it for video calls. However, many simple features like screen-sharing and multiple chat are now in the premium version. (Microsoft, are you listening?)
- Dropbox – Dropbox rules the cloud storage niche. I use Dropbox for the majority of my file sharing needs. You can easily have shared areas with different colleagues for separate projects. Get Dropbox here.
Up and Productive
Whew… that was about it.
Setting up my new Mac took a lot less time than I expected.
Between the App Store and the cloud, most of my apps, accounts, and data were instantly available.
My new iMac is ready to be productive. And hopefully, I won’t have to do this again for another 5 years.
What would you install on your new computer to get it ready to be productive?
**Update: Read Part II of this Series: “9 More Apps to Make Your Mac Productive.”**