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The Ten Best Applications for the Apple MacIntosh

Updated on December 17, 2009

*Update* (12/22)

Here are the latest votes left by commentators (thanks to all contributers):

  • QuickSilver (Application Launcher) - 1 vote
  • Niceplayer (media player) - 1 vote
  • VLC (media player) - 1 vote
  • Adium - 1 vote
  • Bonecho (new version of Firefox) - 1 vote
  • HoudahSpot (Search application) - 1 vote
  • Silverfast (scanner ap) - 1 vote
  • GraphicConverter - 1 vote
  • SnapProz - 1 vote
  • Dragthing - 1 vote
  • Firefox web browser - 1 vote
  • Golive we HD - 1 vote
  • Starry Night (Pro) - 1 vote

Everybody has some preferred software, and I am not different. I use these programs over and over again, so I decided to make a quick list of the top ten best, most useful programs for the Mac OS. I believe that many of these programs can be on your own list of top ten anyway, but maybe there some that you don't know very well and would be glad to hear about.

So, here is my list of ten best programs, which I will comment on in the rest of this article.

  1. iTunes - the best music organizer

  2. Garage Band - the best entry-level music creator
  3. Aperture - the best photo processing application

  4. Ecto - the best simple blogging application
  5. iPhoto - the best personal photo organizer

  6. Keynote - the best presentation software ever

  7. OmniWeb - the best configurable web browser
  8. TextMate - the best text editor for Mac

  9. QuickTime - the best video player

  10. Safari - the best native web browser.


I start my list with iTunes, because this is a software that I think is good at all levels. iTunes is the software that provides the computer interface for the iPod. It is, however, great software on its own right, due to its quality and simplicity. Among the strong features of iTunes, I would list

  • User interface: using iTunes is very intuitive. It has taken the user interface to a next level, where you can find music, list your albums, rip music tracks, and much more, without having ever to refer to the help file.
  • Integration with the OS: iTunes is really integrated with the Mac and other applications running on the Mac OS. Every time you need to play music files it is there to help in classifying your music. It shows up automatically whenever a new music device is attached. It makes a good job in integrating the feature of the OS into the music experience.

Garage Band

Few other companies would be so nice as to provide a free software package to create music. Apple has given every mac user a powerful tool not only to enjoy music, but also to make our own art.

Although not everyone is talented enough to make good music, without question must people would like to play with making music. This is similar to paint software: very few people can create art, but everyone can create their own paintings.

Garage Band provides a lot of useful tools for music fans, such as recording MIDI and real instruments, sound mixing, and equalization. Finally, if you are into podcasting, Garageband is the ideal tool to give freedom to your ideas.


Aperture is the Apple software for image treatment. It is not free, but it is the best you can find to work on all your photos.

With aperture, you have access to a large assortment of effect and filters that can be applied to photos. It is a professional tool that can be used to retouch, fix, focus, and change small features in your pictures.

I really enjoy the speed and power of Aperture. It also follows the right standards of application interface set by Apple.


Ecto is the first application in this list that is not done by Apple. In fact, ecto is quite the opposite of the big-software-house application: it is done by just one guy.

I really enjoy Ecto, because it fills the need of bloggers in an intuitive way. It uses the facilities of the Mac OS, which makes the program look very professional.

Ecto is still a young application, and there are some bugs that must be removed, but that doesn't mean it is not good enough. In fact, this is one of the programs that I use more frequently in the Mac.


iPhoto has none of the sophistication of Aperture, but it is also great. It is a simple application that helps organizing your photos. So, in a sense, iPhoto is similar to iTunes in that it simplifies my life.

Programs such as iPhoto really need to be part of the operating system. Nobody these days cares about how to organize text files, data base files, and all this stuff. But everyone needs tools to organize pictures, music, and videos. That is why Apple decided to make these application an integral part of the Mac OS.


My life as a presenter has two phases: before and after Keynote. Keynote has many features that sets it completly apart from the competition (that is, PowerPoint).

Keynote has helped in making some of the slickiest presentation on earth. It uses the powerful graphical tools in the Mac OS to provide transitions and other visual effects that leave your audience stunned.

Keynote is always getting better, with new effects, tools, and innovative features. I really can't wait until version 4 is released to see what surprises we will have.


There are several web browsers available for the Mac OS, but I doubt any other is so configurable and integrated to the system as OmniWeb is. Although it is not free, I think OnmiWeb is really worth the price.

With OmniWeb one can get a lot of features that are not present in freely availabe browsers such as Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, or even (argh) Internet Explorer.

Features such as powerful handling of bookmarks make life much easier. It is also faster to visit web pages with some of the helping features provided by OmniWeb. It is an outstanding product.


I use text editors very frequently, for programming, writing, and even to make lists and other smaller tasks. To do all this I use TextMate, which is one of the most flexible text editors on earth.

TextMate is still an young application, but it is getting better everyday. It has nice features such as text folding, word completion, and powerful macros. It has functions to simplify writing HTML, Java, Perl, and almost other language you can think of.

Quick Time

QuickTime is still the king of video formats. With the new video sites we can spend hours on the web looking at videos, therefore it is very important to have software to reproduce video with quality.

Quick Time fills the bill, because it has the best reproduction quality and is easy to use. Moreover, QuickTime is available not only for Mac, so you can share your movies with your friends that are still locked on the Microsoft platform.

Through the years, QuickTime has got better and better. It provides quality that is difficult to beat by other players. In this category it is clearly a winner.


Although Safari has not all the features from other browsers, such as OmniWeb or even Firefox, I consider Safari to be excellent exactly because of its simplicity. I really like to use Firefox daily to access web sites in a way that is fast and efficient.

There are times when I need to use Firefox for example, but this is getter rarer, and I hope that in the future I will be able to use it for everything. But Safari work in 99% of the websites, and does the job very quickly and effectively.

I really like the Safari's look and feel, which is very well integrated into Mac OS. Its speed is also unmatched when opening pages, especially when compared to Firefox or Mozilla.


So, this is my quick list of great Mac OS software. It certainly is not optimal, and many other software deserves the same attention. But these are the ones that I personally like most.

You certainly have a different idea about what is the best software for Mac. If you have, leave a comment explaining what application you think should be in the top ten list! I promisse I will add a new entry for the one that receives more votes.

Leave your comments here!

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    • karelia profile image

      karelia 8 years ago from California

      Very nice write-ups on some very useful apps. Nice hub.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 10 years ago from The Netherlands

      OmniOutliner is one of my favorites. It is a amazingly flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information.

    • Leslie Poston profile image

      Leslie Poston 10 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Adium, Firefox, Grab, Thunderbird, iTunes... the list is long!

    • profile image

      Eric Flescher 10 years ago

      Here are great aps that I use all the time.

      Silverfast (scanner ap - one of the slickest pieces of software you will ever see)



      Dragthing (multifaceted , updated all the time)


      Firefox web browser

      Golive we HD

      Starry Night (Pro)

    • profile image

      Eric Flescher 10 years ago

      Here are great aps that I use all the time.

      Silverfast (scanner ap - one of the slickest pieces of software you will ever see)



      Dragthing (multifaceted , updated all the time)


      Firefox web browser

      Golive we HD

      Starry Night (Pro)

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks so much for the speedy reply. I'm off to Costco for my purchase! BTW, I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your hubs. You really do a great job. Thanks and Happy Holidays! ;)

    • coliveira profile image

      coliveira 11 years ago from Virginia

      Hi Robin,

      The iTunes experience on the PC is not very different from the what you get on a Mac. The software "just works". Of course, it is even better when you have a Mac, but it is still a great way to show your dad how nice the Mac software is.

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

      Great list, thanks!  Quick question:  Do you know how iTunes works with a PC?  I'm thinking of getting my dad an iPod for xmas but he doesn't have a mac.  I have a mac and love the way iTunes and my iPod sync, but if it's going to be a really different experience for him I might consider another gift.  Only six more days...I'd better get to it. ;) 

    • profile image

      gloubibou 11 years ago

      HoudahSpot <a href=""></a>

    • profile image

      brady 11 years ago


      niceplayer or vlc > quicktime


      bonecho > safari

    • profile image

      Nick 11 years ago

      It's QuickTIME not QuickPLAYER.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 11 years ago from San Francisco

      A solid list with great explanations and pics.