14 UNIQUE Mac Apps You Can’t Live Without

7 min read

Hey friends, Andrew here – hope you’re well.

Default Mac Apps like Apple Notes and Reminders are great, but installing new apps can supercharge new Macs or breathe fresh air into older Macs.

Let’s take a look at 14 incredible new Mac apps that will help save you time, become more productive, and secure your Mac.

These Mac Apps will turn your Mac into a focus machine, protect your Mac from overcharging, and even rename all your folders and documents for you. Best of all all the apps I’ll be sharing are completely free to use so I’m certain that you’ll install at least a few of these. Let’s jump right into the first app! 

1. Clyde

If you ever worry about your Mac being stolen, this first app is a MUST download.

It’s an app called Clyde and it just lives in my toolbar. 

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Once I toggle it on, it’ll lock my Mac and this is where it gets really useful: if someone tries to close my MacBook or take it away – it’ll sound an alarm on the Mac itself and notify my phone.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been in a cafe where I’ll be in the flow, working away but I need to go to the toilet but couldn’t ask someone to watch over my laptop so I ended up having to leave the cafe. 

Clyde gives me the peace of mind that I’ll be able to leave my Mac in a public space with an alarm on.

2. Portal 

Next up is Portal and it’s one of my favorite productivity booster apps.

It’s a really beautiful app that acts as a Mac Zen Mode when I need to do deep-focus work. 

So say I need to Focus, I’ll click on Focus, choose a backdrop, and set the surroundings. 

It’ll immediately turn on Spatial Audio-supported white sound, change your desktop background to a beautiful 8K cinematic backdrop and it can also be linked up to smart lights to change your physical surroundings. 

It’s such a simple, yet beautiful app to get me in the flow of challenging work, and best of all it’s completely free. 

3. Hazeover 

Another great productivity app I use is Hazeover

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This app helps you focus on one task at a time by highlighting the front window.

For example, if I have an existing window up and I decide to pull up another window, let’s just say a quick note in the corner of my screen, it pulls focus to the Notes app and fades out all background windows – perfect for monotasking! 

In the settings, there’s a satisfying twist-turn knob for adjusting the dimming levels and you can even adjust the background color but not sure why you’d pick anything but a black background.

But yeah, I’m someone who has all sorts of apps and tabs up at the same time so it’s a cluster mess to navigate and we all know heavy multi-tasking kills productivity so Hazeover is a really simple app that helps turn distractions down and focus on my one current task. 

4. Al Dente 

Al Dente is a great free app that helps my Mac’s long-term battery life.

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It’s able to restrict battery charging up to a certain percentage to avoid overcharging and this is perfect if you often have your MacBook docked like me.

There are also more advanced features in the pro version like heat protection, battery calibration, and automatic discharging if you’re serious about keeping an eye on your Mac’s battery. 

But I’m currently just using the free version to limit battery charging when my MacBook is in clamshell mode. 

It’s a great set-and-forget type of app that will hopefully allow you to use your precious Mac that much longer. 

5. Itsycal 

The next Mac App I love is called Itsycal, it’s a great calendar app to makes use of the Menu Bar space.

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Once installed, I can see the date of the month rather than checking my phone, googling, or bringing up the Apple Calendar. 

Plus, when I click into a fully functional calendar pops up with all my events at a glance – it’s a convenient and fast way to access my calendar.

Double-clicking also gives you the ability to schedule events so it’s fully functional and I use it to be able to quickly glance at the date or view and create calendar events no matter which app or window I have up. 

6. Monitor Control 

If you use an external monitor with your Mac, the Monitor Control app is a great app to have and I used it all the time with my LG Ultrawide display. 

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It’s able to control non-Apple external monitor’s brightness, contrast, and volume as if it’s a native monitor.

Plus it’s able to sync up brightness from your MacBook to the external monitor and dim to full black. 

It’s a really useful app if I’m working late at night and need the brightness to be bumped up quickly for example. 

7. PDFGear 

Next up is an app to replace the very underwhelming default Preview app when managing PDF documents on a Mac. 

PDFGear is a free PDF Editor for Macs, it allows me to sign PDFs, edit text, compress PDFs, merge, and all that good stuff.

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It has almost all the tools you’d get from Adobe’s Acrobat Reader, but instead, it’s completely free. 

PDFGear – it’s an app that I get first for my new Macs since we all deal with PDF documents. 

8. Transnomino 

The next app – it’s not so pretty and fun, but it’s really useful and will save you a load of time. 

It’s called Transnomino and it’s able to rename a bunch of files all at once. 

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The best use case for this app is not just renaming files but adding naming conventions to files and folders, which is a total game changer if you deal with lots of files. 

For example, if you have a specific naming sequence like I name my folders starting with 001 so it appears on top, I can save that as a recipe and then apply it to all folders or files. 

Basically, this saves me a ridiculous amount of time potentially renaming 100 files in a folder myself.

9. Photomater 

Now, one of the better photo editing apps is Photomater, it’s a great alternative if you don’t want to use Lightroom or if you want a more affordable alternative. 

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Any photos that appear in Apple’s default Photos app or even in iCloud albums will appear in Photomater, so this makes it easy to access and edit personal photos. 

The main reason I use Photomater next to Lightroom is that Photomater has a great Auto Enhance function that uses Machine Learning to get the photo right by using the ML button.  

Overall, it sort of reminds me of the Apple Aperture app back in the early 2010s if anyone remembers that.

It’s not a completely free app, but there’s a free trial and a once-off lifetime fee of I think it is $150, which is great if you’re not a fan of Adobe’s ongoing subscription fee. 

10. Recut

The next app I love is Recut

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This app isn’t completely free, there’s a free trial but it’s a must-have for video editors and content creators. 

It’s a simple app where you drag and drop your talking head video clip in and it’ll automatically remove all the silence and stutters right away. 

This app easily saves me 10 to 20 minutes manually cutting the video files myself since I started using the app years ago. 

11. HEIC Converter

The next one is super simple but handy, HEIC Converter

If you have an iPhone, chances are your photos taken are saved in HEIC format unless you’ve manually changed them in settings.

It’s a great file format for saving storage space but not great when it comes to using photos because it’s just not as compatible as good old JPEGs.

This app is a must if you ever need to quickly convert HEIC photos to JPEGs – just drag and drop the iPhone snapped photo, set the quality, and boom that’s it. 

I use this converter quite often when sharing content and pulling in casual photos for the blog. 

12. XNIP

The next app is an app I’ve mentioned before and still love, XNIP

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In my opinion, it’s the best free screenshot app and it loads better than the default Cmd + Shift + 4 on Macs. 

13. Handbrake

Handbrake is a tool that is a must-have if you deal with any type of video format.

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It’s not very fancy and has a whacky unrelated app icon that I’ve never understood, but what it does is it’s able to batch-convert videos from practically any format to most supported codecs.

If I pull a video, I can change a tonne of variables like resolution to framerate and audio format.

This app saved my ass when my camera recorded all my footage in a broken format thanks to a Sony firmware update, but I was able to convert all 100 video files back to H264 compression in one go. 

So it’s a great app to have downloaded and stored ready to use. 

14. Hand Mirror

Finally, we have Hand MIRROR.

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This is an app that lives on your menu bar and works like a “mirror” to check your webcam and framing before your call. If you’re on MacOS Sonoma, you can test the new effects too. 

This is an infinitely easier way to check everything looks good and is in the frame before I jump on a Zoom call or a Google Meet rather than having to fiddle around with the Zoom settings to check or jump into Mac’s photo booth. 

Hand Mirror is a quick and easy check – a great one if you take a lot of video calls! 

Conclusion

So which of the 14 Mac apps did you end up downloading?

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If there are any apps you feel should be on this list, please feel free to share them with me – I love trying new apps. 

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