Essential Mac Apps 2016

Published February 20, 2016

Recently, a lot of my friends have been asking me what Mac apps I use to do certain tasks, such as web design and development, image editing and much more. So below is a list of my favorite Mac apps that I use very frequently, on a day–to–day bases. Most of them are free, but some apps are pretty premium when it comes to their features, so they do cost more, but if they’re in my list, believe me, they’re worth it!

Documents & File Management Apps

Alfred – Free

Alfred is a great productivity app for the Mac. It’s Spotlight search on steroids. Not only does it search your Mac, but the web as well. And above all, you can customize the heck out of it.

Alfred App Preferences for Mac OS X

NameChanger – Free

This is a must–have app for anyone. It’s a simple batch–file renamer. So if you have a folder with 100+ photos that you want to rename, just drag them to NameChanger and edit them all at once, hassle–free.

NameChanger App Preferences for Mac OS X

DropBox – Free

Whatever cloud storage service you prefer, you have to download it’s Mac app to automatically backup files you want access to. My preferred cloud storage App is DropBox, but you can checkout this comparison between the different cloud storage services out there. DropBox for Mac is pretty simple and easy–to–use, and I highly recommend it.

Pages, Numbers and Keynote – $19.99 Each

Most people prefer the Microsoft Office as their document editors, however Apple’s Pages, Number and Keynote Apps are much more efficient. There are two major features why I prefer these apps over MS Office. The first feature is perfect Arabic support; although MS Office for Mac tried to support Arabic, it’s very buggy and sometimes doesn’t even work properly. The second feature is the ability to export as MS Word, MS Excel and MS Powerpoint, which is very convenient for work.

Web Development Apps

Coda – $99

Coda is so much more than a code editor, it’s also an FTP client and a publishing app. It is super clean, fast and has built–in previewing for your webpages. The reason I prefer it to other editors like SublimeText, is the ability of adding sites and connecting their local directories with their live ones, and then queuing changes for publishing.

Coda App Sites for Mac OS X Coda App Publishing for Mac OS X

MAMP – Free

For web developers, MAMP is an essential app to have for Apache, PHP and MySQL. It installs a local server environment on your computer. It’s super fast and easy–to–use.

MAMP App for Mac OS X

CodeKit – $32

CodeKit is a great tool that optimizes your web development process. It automates tasks that are usually repetitive in web development; such as concatenating and minifying files. Alternatively, I also use GruntJS for my automation, but it’s a command–line tool and some people are not comfortable using Terminal.

CodeKit App Preferences for Mac OS X

Terminal – Free (Built–In)

If you use Sass, GruntJS or Jekyll you need to use a command–line tool. And when it comes to the Mac, the best tool out there is and will always be the Terminal.

Terminal App for Mac OS X

Google Chrome – Free

Web developers need a web browser that has developer tools and the ability to debug and edit their code on the fly. Google Chrome is one of the best browsers out there. I also feel compelled to mention Mozilla Firefox, because it’s at the top of that short–list as well. However, I prefer Chrome because most of the services are Google services, and it’s much easier for syncing everything everywhere.

Google Chrome App Developer Tools for Mac OS X

Safari – Free (Built–In)

Safari is not a bad web browser, but I only use for specific features. The Reader Mode feature in particular is perfect when I want to print long research articles without their website design and ads. I also like to take website screenshots using the Safari App, because it looks a little cleaner than Google Chrome.

Safari App Reader Mode for Mac OS X

Image and Video Apps

Sip – Free

Sip is a very simple, very efficient color picker. It allows me to pick a color whenever I need to and saves it to my clipboard. By default, it can save up to 5 colors at a time, but you can change that number to your liking! You can also change the way the color is formatted; RGB, RGBA, HSL, HSLA, HEX and much more!

Sip App Color Picker for Mac OS X Sip App Color Format for Mac OS X

Sketch – $99

Sketch is a great design app made exclusively for the Mac. It’s user interface is very natural for Mac users, and it has the best features for designing apps, websites, and more. One of the best features is that it shows you the distance between one object and another.

— PS: The icons.sketch file is created by Bohemian Coding.

Sketch App for Mac OS X

Preview – Free (Built–In)

I use Mac’s Preview app for quickly resizing and rotating images, but mostly for converting images to .PDFs. I also use it to cut a large .PDF file into a smaller ones. Overall, it’s a pretty useful app.

ImageOptim – Free

ImageOptim is the absolute best image optimizer for Mac. It’s extremely light–weight and easy–to–use app. You just drag images, or even folders, to the app and it will optimize them, and tell you how much space was saved.

ImageOptim App for Mac OS X


SVGs are essential in web design today, but even though they are pretty small in size, you can still optimize them better. SVGO is a great is a great Node–based SVG optimizing tool, but it’s command—line, SVGO GUI uses the same tool but adds a very simple user interface where you can just drag SVGs and watch them get optimized.

SVGO GUI App for Mac OS X

IconSlate – $4.99

IconSlate is a simple and efficient icon editor and exporter. I mostly use it to create favicons and app icons.

QuickTime – Free (Built–In)

Even though QuickTime Player is a video player, I mostly use it for it’s amazing built–in screen recording feature.

VLC – Free

VLC is the absolute best video player for both Mac and Windows. I’ve always used it, and I think I always will. The best thing about is the fact that it plays so many different video file formats.

VideoMonkey – Free

VideoMonkey is my go–to video converter, it’s considerably light–weight and easy–to–use. Just drag your video file, choose your settings and press play.

Video Monkey App for Mac OS X

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