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The New-To-Mac App Handbook

by Jake MacLaren

Whether you’ve just bought a mac and are an Apple newbie, or are looking for a few more apps to make your life easier, you’ve come to right post. The apps below are all free and are either hyperlinked to the app store or the respective webpage of the app developer to download.

  1. F.lux

Probably the app on this list that’s the most simple, but one you’ll be surprised you ever lived without. All computer screens give off a blue glow that can be hard on your eyes during the night and have even been linked to difficulty sleeping. F.lux gives you option to adjust the screen glow to an adjustable yellowish tinge that slowly changes over the course of the day to make it easier on your eyes. It’s based on the sunset of your location so that even if you’re travelling you can be sure your eyes won’t suffer. It’s a great first addition to any new mac.

2. Google Chrome, Firefox, and Opera

While Safari is a great browser (and for some that’s all they’ll need) it’s never a bad idea to have one to two more browsers in the event a webpage is better viewed on either. Let’s go over each:

Google Chrome still stands today as one of the most heavily downloaded, secure, and fastest browsers. However, it also takes uses a lot of your computer’s processing power to keep your webpages open (laptop users watch your battery). You can also import your bookmarks from other browsers and sync your Google account for a smoother experience. Just keep in mind Chrome doesn’t support java web applications anymore so you will need to change browsers in the event you use webpages that make heavy use of those. Chrome also offers a wide array of free and paid extensions. Just keep in mind the more extensions you have the more your browser and computer will slow down.

Firefox is an excellent choice as well. Unlike Chrome it still supports Java and for many is still the go-to browser since its inception. It also offers a wide array of extensions available althoughit’s not quite as expansive as Google’s library. There has been some concern of the amount of data Chrome collects from it’s users, but with Firefox you can use a feature called Tracking Protection which will reduce tracking abilities of websites following you around the internet. I’ve noticed Firefox can be somewhat battery intensive on laptops so if you have multiple things on the go, maybe try to limit them to improve battery life.

Opera is a browser that many likely haven’t even heard of, however it shouldn’t be discounted for what it can do for you. This one is a particularly good choice for laptop users as I’ve found that it uses the least battery life out of all the web browsers. Plus it has battery saver option to reduce battery life even less. Another nice feature it has is a free VPN service that gives you anonymity and security while browsing. However, this does mean your browsing might take slightly longer to load (since it has to encrypt your data).

3. Cheat Sheet

This is another simple app that especially makes the transition easier for PC users (but also helps new users to Mac as well). Cheat Sheet gives you a list of all the available keyboard shortcuts within the current app. All you have to do is hold the command key (the one marked with ⌘) for three seconds to activate your “cheats.”

4. Alfred

A handy search tool that’s more customizable than the default search bar, Alfred lets you customize how to search for anything on your computer. It’s a one-trick-pony, but it does it well, and a staple if you want to find anything quickly on your new computer.

5. The Unarchiver

Since WinRar isn’t a supported program on Mac, you’ll need a substitute if you want to open RAR files or any other archive formats. That’s where The Unarchiver comes in. More of a passive app, but no less essential, The Unarchiver is a great key choice to add in to the mix.

6. VLC Media Player

For PC users this is likely old news, but VLC Media player is great for playing any type of media. This is an especially great download if you have some family films you want to look at, but the format isn’t supported by default on Mac. But this app isn’t just for video, you can play music and look at photos as well making it an excellent addition to your app library.

7. Onyx

While the common understanding is that “Macs don’t get viruses,” this is no time to get cocky. While virus protection and firewalls on mac computers are debatably better than those of a PC, there is always the risk you could unintentionally get a virus. When that happen Onyx is a great choice to disinfect your computer. Even if virus protection isn’t something you’re interested in on your mac, Onyx does much more than that as it can help clear up junk files on your computer and let you know when you need to do a disk repair. Bear in mind that this is not a supported program by Apple though, so back up your files before performing any cleaning, and make sure to download the relevant version for your operating system.

What are your favourite apps you use on your mac? Did you find my list helpful? Let me know in the comments down below. Want more tech news and help in your life? Follow us on Facebook to get more great content.

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