Best Mac Apps For MacBook Pro M3 (2024)

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links that I get a kickback from.

Here is a list of the best Mac apps for your new M3 MacBook Pro device to install this year:

Best Mac utilities

Setapp – 240+ Mac apps in one subscription

Keyboardcleanertool – temporarily disable your keyboard to clean it

MonitorControl – control external monitor brightness with your MacBook’s keyboard

iStat Menus – see disk, CPU, GPU, memory and network usage in menu bar (alternative – Stats)

Mission Control Plus – close app windows from within mission control

Yoink​ – drag-and-drop utility (alternative – Dropzone)

Rectangle – for snapping windows to the edges of the screen

Swish – add app window management gestures to the Magic Trackpad

Mosaic – snap windows with pre-defined layouts

Bartender – hide menu bar icons

OneSwitch – adds quick toggles for frequent MacOS settings to your menu bar

MiddleClick – adds the middle click gesture (tap with three fingers) to your trackpad

Linear Mouse – utility for setting up an external mouse with your MacBook

Amethyst – tiling window manager (alternative – Yabai)

Menu Bar Dock  access your recent apps from the menu bar

Tinker Tool – tweak a bunch of MacOS settings that aren’t easily accessible

Latest – checks if all your apps are up to date and lets you update them

Better Display – scales external monitor resolution to make it HiDpi

AltTab – replaces Command-Tab menu on Mac with one similar to Windows Alt-Tab

Al Dente – helps increase MacBook battery longevity (alternative – BatFi)

ScreenBrush – paint on your screen while doing presentations

Homebrew – package manager (basically an installer that lets you install more Mac apps through the terminal)

Background Music – control volume per application

Contexts – replaces Command-Tab app switcher

TextPal – emoji picker

Puse Paste – will always paste text as plain text (without formatting)

Chai – prevent your Mac from going to sleep

KeyClu – shows all available keyboard shortcuts for a specific Mac app

Hand Mirror – see what you look like from the menu bar before hopping on a Zoom call

App Cleaner – helps clean junk files that are left behind when uninstalling Mac apps

Handbrake – optimize video files to save size

Karabiner-Elements – remap your keyboard keys

Cooldown – quickly turn on low power mode from your MacBook Pro menu bar

Velja – open URLs in different browsers from the menu bar

Command X – adds Command-X keyboard shortcut to MacOS

Exporter – export Apple Notes in markdown format

Reminders menubar – manage reminders from the menu bar

Espanso – text expander

Clop – optimize images or videos as you copy them

MuteKey – globally mute your microphone

Keka – archiver utility

GrandPerspecive – visualize disk usage

KeyCastr – show keystrokes in screen recordings

CleanMyMac X – for cleaning out Mac

Best Mac apps for productivity

Parallels – run Windows on Mac

Screen Studio – for professional-looking screen recordings

Paletro – adds a command palette (search bar) for all functions within a specific Mac app

Numi – a calculator that uses natural language

Notion – for notetaking

Alfred – replaces spotlight search with a better search bar (alternative – Raycast)

Maccy – clipboard manager (alternative – Paste)

Tyke – adds a small notepad scratch paper to your menu bar

Arc – modern browser (Chromium based)

Orion – browser that is built like Safari but supports Chrome extensions

Obsidian – for taking notes in Markdown

SelfControl – block access to websites for up to 24 hours

OBS – for screen recordings and streaming

VScode – code editor

Audacity – free audio editing and recording software

LookAway – blurs screen every 20 minutes to help with eye strain

2do – to-do app

CotEditor – better textEdit

Toggl – time tracker

Grammarly – for automatically correcting grammar mistakes

Best Mac apps for privacy and security

AdGuard For Safari – blocks ads on Safari

1Password – password manager

ProtonVPN – virtual private network to stay safe online (has a free version with 3 locations – US, Netherlands and Japan)

NextDNS – protects you from all kinds of security threats, blocks trackers on websites and in apps and can provide a safe and supervised Internet for your kids

Best Mac apps for photo and video editing

CleanShot X – for screen recordings

Shottr – for screenshots

Adobe Premiere Pro – for video editing (alternative – DaVinci Resolve)

Pika – color picker

Luminar – photo editing software with AI

Adobe Creative Cloud – access to Adobe software like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Premiere Pro

GIMP – free Adobe Photoshop alternative

KRITA – for digital painting

Best Mac apps for entertainment

MediaMate – shows what’s now playing in the Notch as well as replaces volume and brightness controls with the ones similar on the iPhone

VLC – media player (alternative – IINA)

Downie – for downloading videos from basically any website

Unsplash Wallpapers – free stock photo wallpapers

Crossover – run Windows and Linux on Mac (good for gaming)

Sleeve 2 – see what’s now playing on your Mac desktop (alternative – MusicBar)

Gifski – convert videos to gifs

Discord – chat with friends

Steam – play games

Spotify – listen to music

Mousecape – for changing the Mac mouse cursor

I hope that this list of the best Mac apps for MacBook Pro M3, or really any other device with MacOS was useful.

Also, here’s how to install Mac apps from a third party:

How to install Mac apps not from the App Store (third-party)

I’ll show you an example of downloading and installing an app from GitHub since that’s where I got the most confused in the past when trying to do it.

I’ll use the app MiddleClick as an example.

1. First, click on releases at the right side of the page. This is where the latest releases of the app are:

How to install Mac app from GitHub

2. Scroll down and look for a .dmg or a .zip file and click on it to download. You’ll find this file in your default download location on your Mac.

This is the installer that we’ll use to install the app.

3. Extract the .zip file by double-clicking on it. It should create a folder or the app itself in the location where you double clicked on the .zip file.

4. Find the app and drag it to your Applications folder.

If you don’t know where the Applications folder is, click on Finder in your Dock, then at the top of your screen (in the menu bar) click “Go” and select “Applications”. This is where you’ll want to drag the new file.

Once that’s done, it’s installed!

Once you’re done you can eject the installer from your desktop and delete the .zip file that you downloaded.

Also, if you get the message that “The app can’t be opened because it’s from an unidentified developer” you can hold Control on your keyboard, right-click on the app’s icon inside of the Applications folder and while still holding Control click open. It will now give you the option to open that app.

How to open app from unidentified developer on Mac

Thanks for reading 👋!

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