These are the Best apps for Apple Silicon Macs: Alfred, Magnet, Reeder, and more!
More than half of Apple’s Mac lineup is now powered by the company’s own silicon, and the remaining devices will also jump on the bandwagon sooner or later. This shift has meant that the app developers have had to quickly rewrite their apps to run natively on Apple’s M1 chip. Fortunately, in a short period of time, hundreds of apps have been updated to take full advantage of Apple’s latest technologies. Here, we’ve compiled the best apps that can run natively on Apple Silicon Macs, including the 24-inch iMac.
Navigate this guide:
- Best Productivity Apps
- Best Browser Apps
- Best Social Apps
- Best Audio/ Video Apps
- Best Photo Apps
- Best Utility Apps
Best Productivity Apps
In this category, we’re listing some of the best apps for the Apple Silicon Macs that can enhance your productivity. There are a lot of apps here. While not every app will be useful for everyone, there are quite a few that every Mac user should install. The productivity apps range from a writing app to a third-party calendar to a password manager.
Ulysses is arguably one of the best writing apps for Mac. It features an extensive feature-set, ranging from a full suite of organization tools to multiple export options, including a Markdown file. Moreover, Ulysses sports a clean and distraction-free interface for effective writing. It also has apps for iPad and iPhone, making it even better for someone who lives in the Apple ecosystem.
Looking for a way to effectively keep track of things to do? You can’t go wrong with Todoist. This popular service not only packs basic task management features but also supports lots of app integrations, allowing you to do a multitude of things with your tasks, using other services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Slack and Alexa.
Window management can be a mess on Mac. That’s where Magnet comes in. It helps you keep your workspace organized. With Magnet, you can organize windows by dragging them, using keyboard shortcuts, or via the menu bar. It declutters your desktop space by snapping windows into organized tiles. You can have apps snapped into a variety of ways as per your preference.
If you work with PDFs quite a bit, then an app like PDF Expert is a must-have for you. With it, you can view, edit, merge and even convert PDFs. The app also allows you to annotate, sign and fill out PDFs. Pretty much everything you can think of doing with PDFs can be done with PDF Expert.
If you want something more powerful than Apple’s built-in calendar on Mac, Fantastical can help. It can turn normal sentences into clearly formatted appointment entries using natural language processing. You can also connect all your calendars and keep your events and tasks synced in one place. Additionally, Fantastical offers widgets so that you can keep an eye on your upcoming appointments. There are a lot of other features in this great app as well.
The coronavirus pandemic has made Zoom a must-have app for a lot of people. Whether you’re working from home or connecting with your friends and family, Zoom is an easy-to-use video conferencing app. Apart from video calls, you can also use Zoom to chat with your connections and share stuff. Moreover, Zoom’s built-in search makes it easier to find contacts, messages, and files.
If you’re looking for a no-frills note-taking app, Simplenote is for you. It offers basic note-taking and syncing support. Additionally, there are collaboration features onboard, so you can share notes and lists for others to view or edit. Simplenote is also available across all major platforms.
With so many passwords to keep track of, having a password management app is a no-brainer and 1Password is one of the best password managers around. It not only allows you to save unlimited passwords and items, but there’s also 1GB storage for storing important documents. 1Password will also notify you about compromised websites and vulnerable passwords so you can take action and remain safe.
Microsoft was one of the first developers to update its apps for M1 support. So your Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote apps can smoothly run and utilize the full power of Apple Silicon. If you’re not a fan of Apple’s Pages and Numbers apps or you already use Microsoft’s 365 apps on other platforms, exploring their Mac versions makes total sense.
Alfred is often referred to as a supercharged Spotlight. But that doesn’t even begin to cover the extent of its capabilities. Sure, you can use it to launch apps, search for stuff, and calculate things, but it also lets you use keywords to trigger system commands. And if you purchase the app’s Powerpack, its feature-set increases extensively.
For example, the Powerpack allows you to customize keyboard shortcuts to apps and files, create automated custom workflows, and more. In addition, the app includes your clipboard history, so you can quickly locate text, images, or files you copied earlier.
While 1Password is an excellent password manager, you need a paid subscription to use it, which can be a downer for many people. Fortunately, you don’t need to compromise your online security because of money; Bitwarden is a fantastic password manager that comes with a free plan.
Even in this free plan, you get everything from the ability to save unlimited passwords, access on unlimited devices, secure storage for IDs, credit cards, and notes, password generator, and more. In addition, Bitwarden is open-source and comes with apps for all major platforms and browsers.
Social media may have become the preferred way of getting news for many people, but there are still a lot of people who like RSS readers to follow their favorite website. If you’re one of these people, Reeder is an excellent app for Mac. It combines the features of an RSS feed reader and a read-it-later service into one. The app carries a clean and easy-to-navigate interface and supports syncing feeds and articles with iCloud.
If you’re a part of the Apple ecosystem, you’ll be happy to know Reeder has apps for both Mac and iPhone.
This category is pretty self-explanatory. We all need a good web browser and while Apple bundles its own Safari with macOS, not everyone likes to use it.
Chrome/ Edge/ Firefox
Google, Microsoft, and Mozilla were quick to update their browsers to support Apple Silicon. So if you are looking beyond Safari, there are plenty of options. In terms of features, Chrome and Firefox have an advantage over Edge as its Chromium-based version is still relatively newer. Choose your pick!
Best Social Apps
Many of the popular social apps reside on our phones and even though the M1 Macs now support iOS apps, you won’t find the likes of TikTok and Instagram here as they’ve opted out from officially being available on the Mac. So it’s slim pickings in this category of the best apps for the Apple Silicon Macs.
Apollo for Reddit
With the inclusion of the ARM-based M1 chip, Apple has started supporting iOS apps on select Macs. While many of the iOS apps don’t offer a great experience on laptops and desktops, Apollo for Reddit is an outlier. It looks and works quite nicely on the Mac. With Apollo, you get features like a Jump bar to hop between subreddits, a tabbed interface for easy navigating, and full inline Imgur uploading. There’ lots of other stuff as well.
If you haven’t been a fan of Twitter’s official Mac app, it is time to give it another try. The app has become a lot better in recent years and is now more responsive and full-featured. The app’s design is also pleasing to look at, and you can easily switch between accounts.
Best Audio/ Video Apps
Same as social apps, pretty much all streaming services have opted out of officially being available on the M1 Macs. Fortunately, the iOS app support on the M1 Macs is not a complete failure as the Overcast app for iOS makes an appearance in this category.
Like Apollo for Reddit, Overcast is another iOS app that works great on the Mac. If you want a good podcast player, look no further. It sports a simple and intuitive interface, and there are tons of useful features like Voice Boost, Smart Speed, Smart Playlists and Sleep timer. You can also download podcasts, search for new podcasts and even get personalized recommendations. Furthermore, the app has powerful playback customization options.
VLC needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular cross-platform multimedia players out there. If you want a solid video player, this is it. It can play a lot of file formats and supports a wide variety of codecs.
Handbrake is an excellent video converter for Mac. You can convert pretty much everything, from a DVD or Blu-ray source to most common video files, to MP4, MKV, or WebM formats. The app comes with several device-specific presets and universal profiles to make it easier to get exactly what you need. You can also add subtitles, add chapter markers, queue encodes with Handbrake. There are lots of features and the app is open-source.
Best Photo Apps
Photographs are a big part of our lives and thanks to smartphones, humans are taking more photos than ever. So whether you’re a professional photographer or not, the chances are you’ll want a photo editing app to take your photos to the next level.
Pixelmator Pro is one of the best image editing software available for Mac. What sets it apart from other photo editors are the built-in automatic retouching tools that are powered by a machine learning algorithm. You also get advanced photo manipulation capabilities, including the usual RAW editing options, presets, filters, and layer editing. Additionally, Pixelmator Pro packs a full set of vector tools for creating designs and lots of other features for creative professionals.
Darkroom is another powerful photo editing app that you should explore. While it is a relatively new entrant in the Mac space, it has become a very popular photo app on iPhone and iPad. Darkroom not only packs powerful management and editing workflows, it also features a deep iCloud Photo Library integration. The app is a dream to look at and has pretty much everything you would need to enhance your photos, including RAW editing.
Best Utility Apps
Lastly, we have the best utility apps for Apple Silicon Mac users. If you want your Mac to keep providing excellent performance in the long run, these apps can help.
MacCleaner Pro is an effective junk file cleaner and speed optimizer for the Mac. With the app, you can clean up RAM, disable startup programs, clear caches, remove installation files and delete unneeded localization files. MacCleaner Pro can also help you identify apps or files hogging disk space. Additionally, the app comes with tools to find duplicate files and completely remove programs.
While it’s super easy to uninstall a program on the Mac, the uninstallation process leaves behind a lot of temporary and junk files. AppCleaner helps you clean this junk so you don’t have unnecessary stuff clogging your Mac. It’s pretty straightforward and very easy to use.
If you don’t like a cluttered menu bar, Bartender is the app to get. It helps you take control of your Mac’s menu bar, allowing you to hide everything behind one icon. The app also lets you set up triggers to show select menu bar items only when you need them.
Although macOS comes with a built-in Archive Utility, it’s relatively barebones. So if you deal with archives a lot, you need a robust app like The Unarchiver to extract pretty much any compressed file you get. It supports a lot of archive formats, including the most popular ones, like Zip, RAR, 7z, Tar, and Gzip.
Amphetamine is a great app if you want to prevent your Mac from going to sleep, showing a screensaver, or dimming the screen. This is very useful when you want to leave a task running and don’t want the Mac to go to sleep automatically. You can use the app to keep the system awake indefinitely, until a specified time, while a particular app is running, or until a file is downloading. You can also create Triggers to keep the Mac awake. There’s plenty to play around with.
Onyx is an excellent option if you need something to keep your Apple Silicon Mac in tiptop shape. The app has been around since 2003 and is beloved among macOS techies. It can perform system maintenance and cleaning tasks, remove problematic folders, rebuild databases, and more. In addition, Onyx can verify the structure of the file system at the startup and repair any disk permissions.
There are our top picks for the best apps for the Apple Silicon Macs. Given that many of the good Mac apps are still waiting to be updated for the M1 chip, this list is only going to grow longer in the coming months. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even use Windows apps on Apple Silicon Macs with Windows 10, although we wouldn’t recommend that route for the average user.
Which apps are you planning to install on your M1 Mac? Do you think we missed an app? Let us know in the comments section!