10 Free Must-have Apps on Your Mac

Friends have are new to the Mac would often ask for recommendation of  Mac apps. I’ve been using the Mac for over 10 years. These are my essential apps will make your everyday use on the Mac, easier and better.

I assume most users already have the popular free apps like Google Drive, Chrome or Spotify, therefore I try to list apps by lesser-known companies. Most of these apps are totally free but a few apps are freemium.

1. Caffeine

Keeps your Mac awake and prevents your display from sleeping. It’s simple and no bloat. For those seeking more powerful options, Amphetamine is your answer.

Caffeine is available at lightheadsw.com for free.

2. App Cleaner

Gets rid of leftover files when you uninstall an app. When you delete an app by dragging it to the trash, there could be files remaining in your user Library that stores your preferences. App Cleaner gets rid of it.

App Cleaner is available at freemacsoft.net for free.

3. Unarchiver

Unarchiver is hands down the best extraction utility app on the Mac. It covers 99.9% of the formats out there.

Unarchiver is available on the Mac App Store for free.

4. Skitch

Skitch, instantly clarifies your message by annotating on your screenshot. The idiom, “A picture is worth a thousand words”, is so true. Annotations on a screenshot can avoid misunderstanding of instructions.

Sadly, Skitch is no longer in active development for other platforms except for the Mac. Personally, I haven’t seen any updates for the Mac version for the longest time.

The good news is, Nimbus, my favourite screenshot extension for Chrome, recently launched a Mac app. It is equally amazing and it seems to be a great alternative for Skitch.

Skitch is available on the Mac App Store or direct from Evernote for free.

5. Trello

Previously, Paws for Trello, now official Trello, is an excellent todo list app. It sets the order for my chaotic job. It is a great option for project collaboration. It is free and is available on all major OS and devices. Nuff said.

Trello is available on the Mac App Store for free.

6. Clippy

Clippy is a clipboard manager seats on your menu bar for easy copy and pasting. It is a fork from ClipMenu.

It also has a snippet function where you can easily paste text you use frequently. Love the ability to import and export your snippets.

Looking forward to the day where it can integrate with iCloud for clipboard and snippet synching.

Clippy is available on Github for free.


IINA is my current favourite media player on your Mac. It can handle all types of video codecs and formats. It also has a cool function that you can stream an online video directly into the app. Yes, I know VLC can do that too but IINA takes it to the next level. And it has all the touches that makes it a modern and updated video player.

IINA is available on Github for free.

8. ChargeBerry

Battery life is essential to your MacBook and you want to preserve it for as long as possible. ChargeBerry helps you maintain a healthy battery. It seats quietly on your menubar and sends notifications to charge or discharge your battery. ChargeBerry also offers detailed information about your battery cycles, usage history and etc.

ChargeBerry is available on the Mac App Store for free.

9. Atom

Sometimes we just need a text editor for a editing text without all the formatting. Atom is built as a text editor for programming in mind. It is a free and easily extensible with its huge library of packages. It supports Markdown editing right out of the box. Atom is a text editing app that is suitable for everyday use.

Atom is available at atom.io for free.

10. Polarr Photo Editor Lite

Comprehensive photo editing tool on your Mac. For the Photos app users, Polarr is also available as a photo extension. You can edit your photos right inside the app. Enjoy using it on the Mac? You’ll be happy to know Polarr is also available on mobile and as a browser extension.

Polarr is available on the Mac App Store for free.

Special Mention


I’ve been using BetterTouchTool since it first launched. This app puts your trackpad on steroids.

You can add custom gestures and map it to shortcuts within apps. My favourite gesture is the three-finger swipe up/down to switch tabs within Safari/Chrome/Firefox.

Since 2016, it has switched to a paid application . I gladly bought it because I feel handicapped without this app.

Better Touch Tool is available on its website. Download for a free trial. Pay your own fair price to own the app.

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