The 7 Best Mac Productivity Apps of 2019

The best applications for getting more work done in less time

Someone working on a MacBook Pro

Chesnot/Getty Images

The right productivity apps can streamline your work day and help you get more done in less time. When searching for productivity, you want to find apps that have just enough bells and whistles without overwhelming you with options. Here are some of the top picks for the best Mac productivity apps.

01
of 07

Best for Text Shortcuts: TextExpander

What We Like

  • Works on a variety of devices.

  • Provides a free demo.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires a monthly subscription.

If you need to type out similar messages or turns of phrase on a regular basis (or you find yourself using complicated, hard-to-spell jargon) then a text expander can save a lot of time. Even if you struggle to spell a few specific words, you can use TextExpander to implement a keyboard shortcut. TextExpander allows users to create custom shortcuts that expand into full phrases or sentences.

For example, if you need to type the word "silhouette" a lot but struggle to spell it, you can create the shortcut "sl." Once you type those two letters and press tab, the word fills in behind them. Once you get the hang of your shortcuts, you can save yourself a tremendous amount of time.

02
of 07

Best for Password Management: 1Password

What We Like

  • More secure than using the same password on multiple accounts.

  • One-click access to different accounts.

What We Don't Like

  • Requires a monthly subscription.

Rather than struggle to remember dozens of individual passwords, make use of a password manager like 1Password. It gives you a single login for all accounts, but provides strong, secure passwords on a remote server, meaning your credentials are virtually impenetrable.

You won't have to struggle to remember specific passwords, and a password manager brings an extra level of security to your accounts. 1Password offers a personal plan for $2.99 per month.

03
of 07

Best for To-do Lists: Todoist

What We Like

  • Powerful functionality even at the free tier.

  • Worthwhile benefits for those that purchase the premium version.

What We Don't Like

  • Collaborative functionality could use more work.

Todoist is one of the foremost task management apps available today and allows users to enter upcoming tasks and set reminders for daily, recurring tasks. It works across all iOS platforms, and the automatic cloud syncing makes it easy to enter a task from your laptop and cross it off from your phone once you complete it.

Todoist offers a free tier with most of its powerful features, including a browser extension and reminders. For a fee of $29 per year, users gain access to automatic reminders, backups, and more.

04
of 07

Best for Eliminating Distractions: Focus

What We Like

  • Works at the OS level so users can't easily disable it.

  • Allows custom time limits and website restrictions.

What We Don't Like

  • The one-time fee is high.

The Internet is a wonderful place to explore and learn, but there are just as many distractions. When you're trying to meet a tight deadline, it can be hard to stay focused when social media or Reddit beckons. Focus is the solution to that problem, enabling users to block certain websites for a specified amount of time. It rests in your menu bar at the top of your screen, so a single click is all you need to activate it.

Focus works even if you switch to Incognito mode or another browser, so there are no ways around its functionality except to restart your computer. Since that goes beyond the effort most people want to put in for distractions, it's easy to stay focused. Focus comes with a free trial, but a single license is $19.99. 

05
of 07

Best for Keeping Your Screen Active: Amphetamine

What We Like

  • A wide range of features provides a deep level of control.

  • Great replacement for the no-longer-supported Caffeine.

What We Don't Like

  • The app causes the battery to drain faster than normal.

Amphetamine is one of the best options for keeping the screen on while you handle other tasks. The app is free and provides a wide range of functionality, including specific triggers you can set to keep the screen on. For example, if you're uploading a video to Youtube, you can tell Amphetamine to run until the upload is complete so you don't risk interrupting the process.

06
of 07

Best for Cleaning Your Mac: CleanMyMac

What We Like

  • The app cleans Mac drives in a way few other applications do.

  • Provides transparency on what will be deleted and what won't.

What We Don't Like

  • The cost can be prohibitive.

CleanMyMac is a powerful tool that scans your Mac's drives and identifies files you no longer need and gives you the ability to delete them without harming your system. The tool is a great way to speed up your computer so all of your applications run just a little bit faster.

Before you run it, CleanMyMac tells you how many files its found and how much space will be cleared out, providing you with the chance to backtrack if you feel something is off about the number. You can also clean out only certain partitions if you want to leave other parts of your drive untouched. A single license of CleanMyMac is a one-time fee of $39.95.

07
of 07

Best for Managing Menu Bar: Bartender 3

What We Like

  • Lets you customize the menu bar.

  • Great level of control over your display.

  • Low cost.

What We Don't Like

  • Bartender injects code into existing apps, which can create security flaws.

The menu bar at the top-left of any Mac computer is one of the most useful features for quickly activating specific apps, but it can get overwhelmed with options as time goes on. There are a lot of icons you want to keep access to, but don't necessarily want on the main part of the menu. That's where Bartender comes in. Bartender allows you to rearrange menu bar icons and hide those you don't use very often. 

If you only use four or five icons on a regular basis, keep those within easy reach. Any other icons are miscellaneous and can be relegated to the extra menu pane Bartender adds. Bartender is available for a one-time fee of $15.