The 21 Best Mac Apps of 2023

We tested dozens of apps to find these favorites

From collaborating with your team to tracking life's memorable moments, there's a macOS app for that. Here's what found to be best in any given category.

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Best for Weather With a Dose of Snark: CARROT Weather

Carrot Weather for macOS
What We Like
  • Weather courtesy of a programmable character.

  • Clues to hunt down over 60 secret locations.

  • Privacy-conscious app.

What We Don't Like
  • Switching to sources other than the default is only available with a Tier upgrade.

  • In-app purchases on top of a robust purchase price.

The CARROT Weather app is crazy-powerful and just plain crazy! What other weather app comes with characters, spoken dialogue, and hidden locations? CARROT Weather is the weather app for anyone who prefers their forecasts with a heavy dose of snark.

Privacy-conscious CARROT Weather is available for download at the Mac App Store for $14.99.

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Best for Visualizing Your Disk Space: DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk app for macOS
What We Like
  • Scans are quick.

  • Cool disk visualization tool.

  • Scans hidden APFS snapshots.

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't help with fragmentation.

  • Only does one thing.

  • Doesn't display last-used dates on files.

If you download lots of files but rarely delete any, DaisyDisk can help you get your Mac space back. Its interactive map shows you where your files and folders are.

With its fun and interesting user interface, locating and removing unnecessary files is a breeze.

DaisyDisk is available at the Mac App Store for $9.99.

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Best App for Keeping Up With Your RSS Feeds: Reeder 5

Reeder4 for macOS
What We Like
  • Get updates from all your RSS feeds in one app.

  • Integrate services such as Feedly simply.

What We Don't Like
  • Steep learning curve for those who are inexperienced in the RSS feed.

How do you stay up to date on your favorite news outlets and feeds? By using one simple app to house them all. Reeder 5 is the easy way to keep all your RSS feeds in one place, including Feedly, Feed Wrangler, NewsBlur, and more.

Reeder 4 has a learning curve for those who are inexperienced in RSS feeds. However, for those who use RSS feeds daily, Reeder 5 is simple to integrate. Reeder 5 includes multiple themes, including a dark mode for night reading and white for more contrast. You can also share your favorite stories through Reeder's integrations with Buffer, Pocket, Evernote, and more.

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Best Writing App for Mac for Distraction-Free Writing: Ulysses

Ulysses for macOS
What We Like
  • Distraction-free writing to get work done faster.

  • Create e-books, DOCX, PDFs, and HTML.

  • Publish to Medium and WordPress from the app.

What We Don't Like
  • Takes some practice to get just right.

With social media only a click away, a buzzing email, and a lengthy task list, it's easy to get distracted when trying to work. If you have a critical report due or want to focus on writing a blog post, try Ulysses for distraction-free writing.

Ulysses is an app that hides necessary toolbars and other distractions until you're ready for them. It's a window with a blinking cursor. Using Ulysses, you can create e-books, documents, PDFs, and more. Plus, you can publish to Medium and WordPress from the app.

Ulysses offers a 14-day trial for new users. After that, pay either $5.99 a month or $39.99 annually for continued use.

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Best Mac Calendar Substitute: Fantastical 3

Fantastical app for macOS
What We Like
  • Polished, attractive interface.

  • 3-day AccuWeather forecast.

  • Easy to create reminders from events.

  • Mini window for checking your schedule.

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey subscription for the Premium version.

Tired of the stock Mac Calendar? Anyone who wants a clean look for their detailed schedule will like Fantastical's sleek and organized interface. Famous for its natural voice input capabilities, this calendar and its mini window are powerful additions to the Mac desktop.

The Premium version of Fantastical is available for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch for a single subscription fee.

Fantastical is a free download at the Mac App Store. The free download includes a 14-day free trial for Fantastical Premium, which requires a monthly fee (starting at $6.99 for individuals and going up from there).

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Best for Minimalist Note-Taking: Bear

Bear app for macOS
What We Like
  • Clean, easy-to-use design.

  • Supports markdown, typography, and links.

  • Focus mode.

What We Don't Like
  • Available only for macOS and iOS devices.

  • Syncing between devices requires a paid plan.

Whether you use the Bear note-taking app for journaling, to-do lists, or flexible notes, this app delivers for Mac and iOS users. This beautifully designed note-taking app is perfect for quick notes, and its focus mode helps you concentrate. Users who want more needn't look elsewhere. Bear also offers advanced features, including markdown, themes, typography, and options for inserting images, hashtags, and links.

Basic Bear is free from the Mac App Store. Bear Pro is available for $1.49 per month or $14.99 per year.

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Best Recipe Manager: Paprika

Paprika app for macOS
What We Like
  • Formats recipes downloaded from other websites automatically.

  • Create smart grocery lists that sort by aisle.

  • Super-easy meal planning.

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive app.

  • Must buy a separate app for iOS devices.

Managing meals with the Paprika app is a fun activity that saves trips to the grocery and your hard-earned dollars. After you download recipes from your favorite websites or input your recipes, meal planning is a breeze. The app streamlines the process of meal planning, list-making, and grocery shopping.

The pantry feature keeps track of ingredients you have on hand and when they expire. The app can scale ingredients for smaller (or larger) quantities. Add your photos to recipes or download them from the internet.

Paprika is available for download at the Mac App Store for $29.99. The iOS companion app is $4.99.

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Best Free Image Editor: GIMP

GIMP for macOS
What We Like
  • Powerful tools for image editing.

  • Intuitive user interface.

  • Frequent upgrades and friendly user community.

  • It's free.

What We Don't Like
  • Sometimes slow to load.

  • No CMYK export option.

  • Limited 3D design options.

It's been around for years, but GIMP is still the best free full-featured image editor for the Mac. With frequent upgrades, this software continually improves its features and stays up to the Photoshop level of quality its users expect from it.

GIMP can be used to retouch photos, or as a simple paint program. It has a customizable interface and an extensive filter library. Most file formats, with the exception of CMYK, are supported.

GIMP is a free download from

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Best Collaboration App: Slack

Slack on Mac
What We Like
  • Easy collaboration between team members.

  • Search for past messages using the search bar.

  • Add GIFs, images, and emojis with simple shortcuts.

What We Don't Like
  • Each group you're in runs continuously, regardless of use.

Working in a team can sometimes be difficult, especially when everyone is in a different place. Collaboration and communication are crucial to getting work done, and Slack is the ultimate collaboration tool for teams of all shapes and sizes.

Slack resembles chatrooms of the past, with a sleek design that's easy to maneuver. You can send messages to channels you create, or send direct messages to individuals. You can add emojis and GIFs with easy shortcuts and integrations. You can also integrate tools such as Asana and Trello to your Slack channel for easy project management.

Slack allows multiple groups you're a member of to run in the background, but this can drain your laptop's battery if you're a member of several.

Slack is free to use for up to ten app integrations and with the ability to search 10,000 messages. For standard pricing, Slack charges $6.67 per active user per month. For Plus, Slack charges $12.50 per active user per month.

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Best Reading List App: Pocket

Pocket News Reader
What We Like
  • Deceptively simple to use.

  • Articles can be saved for offline reading.

What We Don't Like
  • Content is categorized only as articles, videos, and images.

  • No way to make folders.

With Pocket, you can save articles, videos, and other content for later reading on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone (and also Android devices). Your saved content goes to one place so that it can be accessed by any of your Apple devices at any time. Plus, you can download content for reading when you are offline.

The highlighting feature in Pocket lets you mark passages in an article of particular interest to you. These highlights appear in an easily accessible section.

Pocket is a free download at the Mac App Store, but charges up to $44.99 per year for more advanced features.

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Best To-Do List: Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To Do for macOS
What We Like
  • Shared to-do lists.

  • Daily checklist with reminders.

  • Color-coded lists.

  • Syncs across devices with other Microsoft apps to keep lists up to date.

What We Don't Like
  • May be too simple for some users.

  • Doesn't include Gantt chart capability.

Any Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) user will welcome the Microsoft To Do (formerly Wunderlist) app. This cross-platform to-do list app serves as a task manager, whether you are at home or on the go.

This app focuses on simplicity and serves as a daily planner that contains, in a simple to-do list format, the ability to sync with other Microsoft apps across different devices.

Microsoft To Do is a free download at the Apple Mac Store.

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Best Mac App for Multitasking: Magnet

Magnet organizing four windows on Mac
What We Like
  • Control the way your workspace looks by snapping windows.

What We Don't Like
  • Some apps, such as Spotify, can't be resized under a certain width.

If you use your Mac daily for work, you understand the importance of multi-tasking. For each task, you might need to open multiple windows. With the free app Magnet, you can create a workspace that works for you by arranging windows the way you want.

There are two ways to arrange windows using Magnet. You can click the Magnet icon in the toolbar and choose how the window should appear, or you can use the snapping effect by bringing the window to any of the four corners of your Mac. Instantly, the window is resized and moved accordingly.

You can break windows in halves and thirds and move windows to all four corners. You can also maximize and center at the touch of a button. However, some apps can't be resized to a certain degree, depending on the developer. Magnet is $7.99.

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Best for Managing Personal Finances: Debit & Credit

Debit & Credit app for macOS
What We Like
  • Companion iOS and Apple Watch app.

  • Easy to input transactions.

  • Your financial info is stored in your iCloud. None goes to developers.

What We Don't Like
  • A premium subscription is needed for all features.

Finding an app that is convenient and easy to use, while still offering the features you need isn't easy, but Debit & Credit fills the bill for its users. Keeping your financial records in this app simplifies managing your everyday finances.

Privacy is a priority. You don't make an account with the developer. Your information is stored in your iCloud.

The Debit & Credit app is available as a free download from the Mac App Store. A premium subscription of $19.99 is needed for access to all the features.

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Best Website and App Blocker: 1Focus

1Focus app for macOS
What We Like
  • Choose the sites or apps you want to block.

  • Block entire categories of sites.

  • Choose the time you want the block to start and end.

What We Don't Like
  • The Pro version is another subscription model.

You know you could get more done if you didn't check your favorite social websites constantly during the day. 1Focus helps you with that lack of self-restraint. Turn off individual websites and apps to suit your schedule. You can block individual sites and apps or entire categories. 1Focus creates a chunk of uninterrupted free time for focused work.

1Focus is a free download from the Mac App Store, with in-app purchases available of up to $9.99 per year.

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Best Productivity App for Mac: Evernote

Evernote app on Mac
What We Like
  • Store everything in one app.

  • Camera option for easy document sharing.

  • Passcode lock for privacy.

What We Don't Like
  • There's a limit to what you can do without Evernote Premium.

You should be able to store all of your important documents, notes, photos, and ideas in one place. Using Evernote on Mac, you can do just that. Use Evernote to keep important receipts and statements for tax purposes. Or, use Evernote to store ideas and collaborate with your teams. The options are endless when it comes to this app.

Evernote can be synced anywhere, meaning you can use any computer, phone, or tablet. Multiple participants can work inside Evernote at one time, making collaboration a breeze. You can create to-do lists, agendas, reminders, and more to keep you on task.

From business to education, Evernote has a use case in every industry. Although Evernote is free to download, there's a limit to what you can do without Evernote Premium, which costs $8.99 monthly or $79.99 annually. Evernote Premium gives you 10 GB of new uploads each month, an unlimited number of devices, and more.

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Best Music App for Mac: Spotify

Spotify app on Mac
What We Like
  • Create playlists and share with friends.

  • A virtually endless amount of music.

  • Download playlists for offline listening.

What We Don't Like
  • To skip songs and play the songs you want to hear, you need Spotify Premium.

Whether you're taking a road trip or studying, music in the background is a given. On your Mac, there's one music app that has it all: Spotify. From listening to your favorite band to creating playlists to share, it's an easy-to-use app for the music lover.

Spotify gives you the ability to find songs from a virtually endless library. You can search by artist, song, playlist, and more, or you can listen to the playlists Spotify creates for you based on your music taste. For free users, there are limited skips, and you can't select songs on your own.

Spotify offers a free 30-day trial of Spotify Premium, which includes a Hulu subscription for free. After that, expect to pay $9.99 per month for all Spotify has to offer and just $4.99 if you are a student.

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Best Time-Tracking App: Harvest

Harvest app on Mac
What We Like
  • Track time easily from your desktop screen.

  • Keep track of which projects you worked on and how much time you spent on each.

What We Don't Like
  • Reports are limited.

  • Pricey.

When you're working on multiple projects, tracking your time can help you stay productive. Instead of manually tracking your time, use an app to do it for you. Harvest is a time-tracking app that works from your desktop screen on a Mac or online.

Using Harvest, you can keep track of which projects you worked on and how much time you spent on each by creating your own projects. While limited, Harvest offers reports to show you where you spent most of your time and more.

Harvest offers a free version for one person and two projects. From there, it offers a solo plan for $12 a month for one person and unlimited projects. For teams, Harvest offers a team plan for $12 a person per month. If you have a large team, this app can get pricey.

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Best Journal App for Mac: Day One

Screenshot of Day One app on Mac
What We Like
  • Easily add reminders, photos, and more.

  • End to end encryption for strong security.

  • Sync across all devices.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires a yearly subscription to unlock all features.

Using a journaling app is a great way to take time for reflection, but it's also a great way to stay focused throughout the day. Instead of keeping your to-do list and journal in two separate places, combine them using Day One.

Day One allows you to keep a daily journal to secure your memories forever through photos, text entries, and more. Beyond that, Day One allows you to set reminders, view your calendar, store photos, record the weather, and more.

Day One is available for free with limited features. To unlock all features, including unlimited journals and photo storage, purchase the premium version for $34.99 a year.

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Best for Visual Brainstorming: MindNode

MindNode for macOS
What We Like
  • Intuitive, colorful interface.

  • Outline view feature.

  • Plus version supports images, links, themes, stickers, and tasks.

What We Don't Like
  • Another app that has switched to a subscription payment mode.

With MindNode, you can capture and organize your thoughts, plan adventures or your next novel, troubleshoot a problem, and style and share your thoughts with others. With the free version of MindNode, you can create mind maps, view them as outlines, and import or export documents. The Plus version includes tags, a focus mode, quick entry, iOS and Apple Watch support, themes, styling, and print options.

Although there is a free version of MindNode, most features require MindNode Plus, which costs $2.49 per month or $19.99 per year.

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Best for Arcade Racing: Asphalt 8

Asphalt 8 for macOS
What We Like
  • Beautiful graphics and user interface.

  • Includes a calendar with special events.

  • Aggressive soundtrack.

  • Lots of replay value.

What We Don't Like
  • Difficult to progress in the game.

  • New cars are expensive.

High-octane driving and impressive jumps make Asphalt 8 a not-to-be-missed arcade racer game with spectacular graphics and a soundtrack to match. It feels like an action movie and delivers spectacular aerial jumps.

Asphalt 8 is free to download, but you'll soon want to add one of the game packs that range from a Rookie Pack for $1.99 to the Pro pack at $19.99 and several levels in between.

When you finish Asphalt 8, you may want to check out Asphalt 9, also available at the Mac App Store.

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Best Summer-Themed Music Player: Poolside FM

Poolside FM app for macOS
What We Like
  • Best summer-curated player out there.

  • Designed to help listeners chill out.

  • Has a fun companion website.

What We Don't Like
  • It's possible someone might not like the throwback interface, but that's part of the app's charm.

Down in the dumps? You need Poolside FM.

Poolside FM is home to sun-drenched, upbeat music channels designed to lift your spirits and evoke the days of summer all year round. Be instantly transported to the ease of a poolside day with music vibes geared toward the '80s, electro, and disco tunes. The tiny interface is a shout-out to the early days of the Mac.

Poolside FM is a free download at the Mac App Store.

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