Over the weekend I helped a buddy pick out a brand new Apple MacBook Pro laptop and realized that I’ve slowly but surely become an Apple Evangelist. To help my buddy and other new Apple users make the most of their new Macs here’s 45 free applications for Mac OS X.
- Check off
- The Unarchiver
- Aquamacs Emacs
- Tiny Alarm
A video converter to make your videos suitable for viewing on an iPod/iPhone.
- Flip4Mac WMV
- Flickr Uploadr
- Disk Inventory X
- iStat Pro
Very simple to-do checklist that sits in your menu bar.
In addition to telling everyone about the awesomeness of Apple computers and the Mac OS X Leopard operating system I also evangelize the heck out of OpenOffice.org. In my eight years of using OpenOffice.org on Windows, Ubuntu, and Mac OS X I’ve found it to be super stable and packed with nearly all the functionality of the much more expensive (e.g. not free) Microsoft Office. So far I’ve had no need to use MS Office as OpenOffice.org provides enough applications to get the job done.
When I got my Macbook Pro three years ago I installed and used Aquamacs Emacs but after installing a fresh Leopard system I took another look at my applications and fell in love with TextWrangler. I especially love that it integrates with my SFTP browser, CyberDuck, for easy editing right on my server.
The new spotlight in Leopard is awesome but still lacks the extensive features of Quicksilver. Launching a terminal window with my first command line already inputted in just two or three key taps is a beautiful thing. You can also control iTunes directly from Quicksilver and a whole host of other sweet commands.
For the few compressed file formats Leopard doesn’t recognize out of the box, The Unarchiver will uncompress them and even has options to automatically delete the zipped file after its opened up.
Sync your facebook events with iCal.
Another to do check list application. Anxiety is more versatile than Check-Off but for me Check-Off does the job fine but if you need something more robust check out Anxiety.
I used Aquamacs Emacs for the longest time when I first got my Mac but am now loving TextWrangler. Both are solid text editing programs with their own pros and cons.
I prefer using my iPhone as my alarm, but for those who are inclined to use their laptop, Tiny Alarm is a great little app that sites in your menu bar.
A great personal finance manager. A while back I picked up Cha-Ching via a Macheist giveaway, but if I didn’t I’d be using Cashbox. Both are great personal finance applications, one is free the other isn’t but both should treat you right.
iChat is cool but Adium is much, much better. This open source application allows to connect to nearly every messaging system on the planet. The list includes AIM, MSN, Google Talk, ICQ, Facebook Chat, Myspace IM, Bonjour, LiveJournal Chat, Gadu Gadu and more!
The best way to interact with Twitter. Runs off Adobe Air and is fast and easy to use. I didn’t really get Twitter until I downloaded and installed TweetDeck and now I’m tweeting all the time!
Great for making cheap international calls. I also use Skype to set up a business line so my cell phone doesn’t get jammed with calls. You can also instant message, call and video chat with others over the internet for free.
Unobtrusive application/system notification. A great way to explain Growl is to provide an example. It integrates with Adium and will show a small temporary popup window whenever a contact signs on/off or sends you a message.
Allows you to move music off your iPod without dealing with iTunes. In other words, it turns your iPod into a regular disk drive.
Great alternative to Garageband for recording audio.
GimmeSomeTune is an iTunes extension that adds a lot of functionality to iTunes, but chief among them is the ability to import missing artwork and fetch song lyrics. It also integrates with Last.fm thus allowing you to have one less application running on your Mac.
Expands on Mac OS X’s built in disc recording and adds a ton more file formats and options while still keeping the interface simple and speedy.
This open-source, multi-threaded video converter accepts DVD, DVD-esque (images and some .VOB files), and multimedia files and converts them to MP4, MKV, AVI or OGM / MPEG-4, H.264, or Theora formats quickly and easily.
The best media player on the planet. VLC will play nearly every video and audio format out there.
Another media player but it’s hook is that Miro allows you to setup RSS feeds for torrents and other media files for automated downloading of videos. The list of legally free videos out there is extensive and will keep you entertained for a long, long time.
Caffeine is a light weight application that sits in your menu bar. A simple click turns off the screen saver or delays it for a set amount of time. A great time saver for when you want to watch a video without getting interrupted by your screen saver. I reviewed Caffeine at Only The Internet’s Best Reviews in September ’08 and it still remains one of the highest rated items on OTIBR (scored it a 38/42).
Plugin for Quicktime letting you play Windows Media Video files on your Mac. The best of both worlds!
Not as good as Adobe Photoshop CS4 but it’s free (while Photoshop is $600). The GIMP should be just good enough for the majority of users out there and will at least tide you over until you save up for a copy of Photoshop.
A photo browser for facebook. Quick and very easy to use, PhotoBook will display all your friend’s facebook photos in a convenient album format for quick browsing.
A sweet vector graphics application.
Drag and drop interface for quickly and easily uploading your pics to Flickr.
DeskLickr will go out to Flickr and import photos and automatically change your desktop background every so often. Nice for those of us who get bored of our backgrounds quite easily.
A graphical outline of your hard drive showing what’s using up space and how much of it. Handy for when you’re running low and need to find files to delete.
Sure the new Leopard operating system comes with Time Machine, but Super Duper is great for making bootable clones of your drive. It’s super handy for when you need to bring your Mac in for repairs as it lets you keep working with your files and setup. I’ve used Super Duper extensively over the past two weeks while bringing my Macbook Pro in for repairs and had almost no loss in productivity thanks to Super Duper and a generous friend who loaned me his brand new Macbook!
Control your Mac’s fans from a simple graphical interface. Very handy for diagnosing if your Mac’s fans are busted, as one of mine recently was. Also useful for cranking up the RPMs when you think your Mac is getting a tad too hot for comfort.
A Command Line Interface for OS X/Terminal! Clix stores literally hundreds and hundreds of commands, allowing you to click through and run them through Terminal. It’s handy even for command line experts who can’t remember all the commands or syntax.
Perhaps the most useful Dashboard widget out there. iStat Pro will display your CPU temperatures, hard drive space, network stats, fan speed, running processes (and how much CPU power they take up). All in real time from the convenience of your dashboard.
Mac OS X’s built in Software Update is great but only works for Mac OS X and other Apple applications. AppFresh will notify you when all your other applications have updates available by periodically checking osx.iusethis.com.
A Graphical User Interface for all your Mac’s maintenance needs. You can perform most of these processes from the command line, but if you just got a Mac you’re probably terrified of Terminal right now.
Dragging your applications to the trash can is a very simple way to delete old or unwanted applications but usually leaves files scattered about your hard drive. Using AppCleaner will ensure all those pesky files are gone, freeing up hard drive space and lowering the chance for any conflicts.
The best FTP/SFTP/Amazon S3 browser/uploader/downloader on the planet. Drag n drop interface that is integrated with your Mac’s keychain for a no hassle upload/download experience.
Easy to setup and use local server for developing and testing your web-sites before they go live. Needless to say this gets a lot of use on my Macbook Pro.
The best RSS reader on the planet. With a free account at NewsGator.com you can sync your feeds between different locations. I love this app as it allows me to read my feeds on my iPhone knowing that whatever I read or clip (bookmark) will sync back to my Macbook Pro at home.
I love the speedy Safari, and in fact spend most of my day within its friendly confines, but Firefox has an immense library of extensions and plugins that Safari has yet to match. Besides, it’s free, what’ve you got to lose? Besides a little bit of hard drive space of course.
DeepVacuum is a graphical interface for the unix command wget, which allows you to download entire web-sites. Useful for developers who want to take a peak at a site’s code or people who wish to browse a site offline.
Simple but powerful bittorrent client.
A great way to store files in a cloud for easy access from any internet connection.
A graphical interface for TOR, the safest and easiest way to browse the web anonymously. Very useful for users who live in a country with a strict firewall or for accessing sites you don’t want associated with you. Though, I must state that if a government agency wants to find you they will, so don’t go doing something stupid or dangerous just because you’re behind a TOR connection.
There you have it, 45 free applications I recommend every new Mac user try it. Did I miss a great application? Let me know in the comments below!
30 responses to “45 Free Applications for Your New Mac”
Great list of apps. I’m checking out Textwrangler as well as cashbox.
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iSquint is dead, unfortunately.
From your url: “VisualHub, AudialHub, and iSquint have been discontinued and are no longer for sale.”
Cashbbox works fine Justin. If I didn’t already have Cha-Ching, which is better but not free, I’d be using Cashbox. Also TextWrangler is awesome. I love the compare folders feature, which I used the other day to figure out what I edited in The 42nd Estate’s theme to break our tag categories!
Thanks for the heads up David. I was actually able to find the last version of iSquint they put out on MacUpdate.com and have updated the link. I tested the download link and the app and it works great. Sorry about that!
Adobe AIR one of the applications that cross operating system..
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Very true Adobe, but this list wasn’t intended to show applications that are exclusive to the Mac, but rather a handy resource for new Macheads while also providing us wily veterans with a few new apps to try out.
For what it’s worth I think AIR rocks!
Thanks for the Video application information. It was very helpful for me.
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True, Adobe AIR rocks, it just a little more publicity so that developers get inspired to use it more.
Very true. I didn’t get the fuss about AIR but then once I interacted with it via TweetDeck immediately understood the hype.
I have been using DesktopBudget.com to manage my personal finances for a few months now. Its the easiest to use free, offline personal finance manager I have seen so far.
I highly highly recommend iStat Pro. When I’ve had to bring my Macs into the Genius Bar, they actually look for iStat Pro. Every one of the geniuses I’ve talked to says they use it themselves.
Not sure I’d recommend Cyberduck. It seems like a great program at first, but I’ve noticed that if using it for a long period of time without closing it out, it starts to slow down the computer. I ended up breaking down and buying an inexpensive FTP program to replace it.
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Yup, iStat Pro is a great way to quickly check out what’s going on with inside your computer. It’s also helped me realize how much more efficient Firefox 3 is, as the old Firefox would often hang and take up more than 100% of my cpu processing power!
I try to restart my laptop every few days and make a habit of not leaving applications open all day but I do leave Cyberduck up for hours on end sometimes (for instance while downloading/uploading/backing up sites/servers [sometimes 10-15 sites at once] the lazy way rather than via the command line) and haven’t had any issues with it. I wonder if your slowdown was due to downloading a ton of data. I’ll try to really stress it out later today and see what happens but so far Cyberduck has been excellent for me. Out of curiosity, what program did you end up getting?
I’m glad I didn’t use Firefox before FF3, then, because I’m having soooo many problems with it!
I don’t remember if I was using Cyberduck on my MBP, but I did use it when I had my other MacBook. I ended up buying Fetch ( http://fetchsoftworks.com/ )
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Really FF3 is really smooth for me…are you using Leopard? Somehow Leopard is faster than Tiger (which doesn’t quite make sense).
Yup, I’ve heard of Fetch before. I just bookmarked though so if I do start having issues with Cyberduck I know where to turn!
How to open media file (mp3/wav/etc…) by hitting space ?
I saw it in new version of Mac OSX, but my version is still 10.4 and I found this function very handy
thanks for tips
@Peter, yup the full version is not free but honestly all I need/use it for is creating bootable clones of my hard drive every so often. It’s useful if you think your hard drive is on the fritz or you need to send it to Apple for repairs.
@Stefanie That’s odd. You should try clearing the cache, then deleting the Firefox preference files (.plist – this will delete your settings so make a backup first) and finally try to un-install and re-install Firefox 3. To be honest I spend 90% of my browsing time within Safari and only use FF when I want to stumble something or use a FF plugin.
@Jonny, I’m scouring the web for a solution but it might be a Leopard only feature/app….I’ll shoot you an e-mail if I find anything.
Superduper is great, and I love it dearly. But it is not free. You can get a limited version for free, but the full version (with scheduling, smart update, etc) costs $27.95.
I’m on Tiger, 10.5.6. Yeah I have lots of issues with FF freezing up, lagging, crashing… it’s driving me bananas! I’ve been so tempted to switch back to Safari…
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i like also this collection here
enjoy it 😉
Nice collection Miro.
So I haven’t done what you suggested yet, Adam, because I’m lazy (hey, at least I admit it!) but I have noticed something. FF seems to only be freezing up since the latest update when my wifi connection disappears, which happens A LOT. I have to take my MBP to the genius bar again because it’s not my router and it’s not my internet (our other MacBook stays connected just fine). So I know it’s something to do with Airport on my MBP itself… but yeah, that seems to be the only times FF is having problems now. Once I disconnect and reconnect Airport, FF unfreezes.
So yay! One problem seems to be resolved… although that does leave me with the Airport problem! It never ends!
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I’m strictly a PC person myself, but have worked with Apple/Mac machines.
A graphic artist friend swears by Mac, and every time my PC locks up he laughs about it!
Oh well, maybe a Mac is in my future…
Have you tried Ubuntu? If I wasn’t on a Mac I’d be on Ubuntu. It’s easy enough to use that my mom has no issues with it and powerful enough for me to get anything done on it. It’s also a great OS for older computers since it runs more efficiently than Windows. Plus it’s free!
I use and adore OpenOffice and Skype (my favorite instant messenger, and I use it to call friends in Russia!) I haven’t tried most of the rest on the list, but I definately will. Thanks for the 411.
Very nice and useful collection. Thanks from Romania 🙂
Nice collection 🙂 Good Job!
greetings from Poland from Polish MacUser 🙂
Awesome list. I'm using TextWranger, but also Smultron (a free alternative), both are great. Adium is also impressive.
When it comes to RSS readers, I'm using NewsFire (free and perfect). Freemind is awesome when it comes to mind-mapping / taking notes.
NewsFire looks intriguing and the price is right. I'm not too big on the mind mapping software but am downloading and installing Freemind right now, there's a few upcoming projects where it might come in very handy for pre-mockup type planning.
Let me know how Freemind works out for you. I'm using it for the novel I'm writing.
speed Simple but powerful bittorrent client.
Filmare nunta – Great list of apps. thx 🙂