Top apps for OS X
Mac apps are a great way to get more from your Yosemite toting Macbook Air or Mac Mini. The Mac App Store is filled with Mac games and handy apps, both free and paid, that can transform the way you use and enjoy your machine.
Maybe you've just splashed some cash on Apple's beautiful 12-inch Macbook or the Force Touch trackpad packing MacBook Pro, both of these are great machines - but apps make them better. Just like apps really took the iPhone to the next level, they've done the same on the Mac.
Check out these apps to give your machine a new lease of life. From useful diaries to to bargain Photoshop competitors, we’ve got your every need covered.
- Read more: best iPhone apps
1. VOX Player
There's something which we'd guess most Mac users agree on - iTunes is nowhere near as good as it should be. It's cluttered, slow, full of useless features and a pain to use. Vox is the complete opposite. Unlike iTunes, this beautiful app is clean, simple and it just works as it should. It's what iTunes should be. Another plus it has over Apple's competition is a much wider support for high-res music codecs, like FLAC, ALAC and High-res Audio, so your tunes will sound far better. There's an equally stylish iPhone companion app and Vox offer up a cloud service for storing all your music - making it available across devices.
Free | Download VOX Player
If, like ours, your Mac desktop very quickly becomes a mess of files and notes, Unclutter could well become your favourite download. It's accessed by a quick swipe from the status bar, revealing a notepad, a store of your recently used files and a collection of your clipboard history. It can plug into Dropbox for syncing stuff together - a handy addition, but it works best as a handy companion for keeping your thoughts together.
£3.99 | Download Unclutter
3. Fantastical 2
Fantastical 2 doesn't completely change everything we loved about the original calendar app, but it makes enough changes and introduces a Yosemite inspired UI overhaul to make it a worthwhile upgrade. There's now iCloud reminder support, a handy widget that'll sit in your notification panel and multiple themes. It'll also work in tandem with the iPad and iPhone versions, using Yosemite's Continuity feature so you can pick up on your phone where you left off.
£3.99 | Download Fantastical 2
Super sleek and thoroughly fully featured, Wunderlist is a great way to organise your life and have everything synced between all your devices. You can build your to-do lists in multiple sections, setting specific dates for when everything needs to be completed. The app has been completely rebuilt for Yosemite, with a new Notification Centre widget and support for Handoff - start a list on your iPhone or iPad rocking iOS 8 and you can continue at exactly the same spot on your Mac. While the app and majority of functionality is free, you can sign up to yearly membership which gets you more features, like improved sharing options.
Perfect if you’re always having countless items delivered, Parcel keeps a tracks of when they’ll be arriving without you having to log into different courier websites. Just pop in your tracking details and it’ll do the rest. A nice Yosemite update has included an Extension that sits in the Notification Centre, giving you a quick glance at what’s arriving in the post today.
Once just for smartphones, Shazam’s fantastic song recognition service is now available for you to download on your Mac, and it’s well worth it. Unlike on mobile versions, where you have to manually go into the app, the desktop version is always listening, alerting you to whenever a song is playing.
7. Pixelmator 3.0 FX
This alternative to Photoshop may not be quite as feature rich as the photo manipulation king, yet with a much lower price tag and a broad range of useful options, it’s a great app for a Mac. With support for layers, colour adjustments, re-touching, a multitude of effects and custom shapes, along with selection tools and paintbrushes it definitely doesn’t fall overly short of Adobe’s behemoth. The interface is great; stylish and simple while iCloud syncing means you can keep working across multiple machines.
Pixelmator has just upgraded to the latest version, and it’s the best one yet. You can now quickly colour layer styles, add lovely looking gradients and shape images with the fantastic liquefy tool. There’s a new image editing engine, and Pixelmator 3 FX takes full advantage of OSX Mavericks.
Price: £22.99 | Download Pixelmator 3.0 FX
8. Logic Pro X
While most of the apps on this list are from smaller companies, Logic Pro X is a supremely powerful piece of software from Apple themselves. This, the latest version of the music production suite, comes packing a new and improved design, 64-bit architecture, drum production and loads of effects. Basically, this thing is jammed full of stuff.
Price: £149.99 | Download Logic Pro X
Unibox tries to do email a bit different, putting everything into a much more chat like view and ditching the traditional interface. Emails are organised by person, conversations are threaded and everything opens in one single window, so you’re not searching for that missing pane. It’s compatible with a whole load of email services, including iCloud, GMail, Outlook, Hotmail, along with Yahoo and other Exchange services.
Price: £14.99 | Download Unibox
10. Delicious Library
Keep track of all your hundreds and hundreds (and hundred) of books, DVDs and CDs with this really useful, yet simple to figure out app. You can store upwards of 10,000 items, complete with artwork and info, though thanks to barcode scanning software, all you have to do is hold your item up to a webcam.
Price: £18.99 | Download Delicious Library
Think of Alfred as Spotlight for Mac, but souped up on steroids. With the tap of a designated hot-key, Alfred appears and allows you to search for anything - local files, Wikipedia entries, Google, contacts and more. That’s not all though, you can create your own workflows so with a simple key press you could open Safari and iTunes. Serious productivity, plus it’s free.
Price: Free (Extra features can be added for £15) | Download
12. Day One
The idea of writing a daily diary may seem a bit…well childish, yet Day One brings the diary into the 21st century with a great user experience and simple, yet powerful features. Aside from writing down all your inner most thoughts, you can use pictures to make things a bit more visual, add reminders and utilise tags so everything is easy to find. All your musings can be password protected too, so no need to worry about prying eyes reading about your long lost love.
Price: $9.99 | Download
There’s so many well written articles on the internet (not just on T3.com) yet there’s just not enough time to read them all. Pocket allows you to save these interesting reads and have them ready and waiting for when you have a spare moment. This app houses all your stories, complete with pictures and links in a clean and white space, so it’s easy on the old eyes. There’s even a little extension for browsers for quick page saving.
Price: Free | Download
Ulysses goes a step or two further than the plethora of minimal Markdown editors on the Mac. A fast, slick word processor at heart, it features a clean interface that extends to show a hierarchical folder system which is useful for organising longer projects. Deadline hunters will appreciate Ulysses' visual word counter and statistics tracking tools, while its numerous themes and Dark Mode keep text looking sharp. Once you're done, documents can be exported as plain text, HTML, ePub, PDF or RTF for sharing or publishing to other platforms.
Price: £34.99 | Download
15. Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac
If you're looking to run Windows software on your Mac without resorting to Boot Camp, Parallels Desktop 11 for Mac is one of two apps you should consider (the other being VMware Fusion 8). Parallels' latest offering is easy to get to grips with thanks to its step-by-step setup guide, which lets you install a range of operating systems - from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux or Chrome OS in just a few clicks. All you need is an installation CD (or USB stick) and license key if you're installing Microsoft's OS. Parallels 11 introduces new Mac-friendly features such as Quick Look support, and if you're on Windows 10, you can even have Cortana running in the background while you're using your regular OS X desktop. (And yes: it supports OS X 10.11 El Capitan.)