Two weeks ago when I jumped in with my article about Top 10 websites I couldn't live without I promised I'll be back with another similar article, but this time featuring OSX apps I use on daily basis and I couldn't imagine being without them. These greatly range with productivity tools, system replacement applications, webdesign related stuff or just spare time things. I won't be labeling this article a "TOP 10" or "TOP 20" whatever, I'll just list some apps in those different categories and we'll see where we'll end up.

Productivity

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

#1 Sunrise Calendar (https://calendar.sunrise.am)

Now in order to be really productive you need to know when to do what and you need to properly schedule things, as well as being able to access all this information at any time on any of your devices.

I discovered that Sunrise Calendar does that the best. It can integrate with Google's calendar service so you can easily import your existing data as well as easily sync it. There's a desktop app for OSX (screenshot) and mobile apps  for iOS and Android as far as I know, and I think you can also control it from your browser. And it works with apps like Facebook, Evernote, Wunderlist, Foursquare, TripIt, Todoist to ensure you'll be in full sync.

#2 DropBox (https://www.dropbox.com)

While google drive is great and everything, it doesn't really offer as much as Dropbox does. What I like about dropbox is that it actually gives you the option to download a client that syncs chosen files to the computer and you always have them physically present, you don't have to access the browser or rely on being online, your files will sync when you get online.

I love that you can just right click on a file and instantly get a share link for your colleagues or friends to see. And if you're worried about space you can always either pay $10/month for a 1TB or head to fiverr and get your self up to 22GB for just $5, I personally used this deal in past, it's legit and safe and I'm actually sitting at 22.9GB thanks to some miracle.

 

System Replacements

"The computer is a moron."

#1 uBar (http://brawersoftware.com/products/ubar)

When it comes to replacing stuff in OSX default visage or functionality users tend to be very strict, paranoid or just plain scared. I was very skeptical when I decided to give uBar a try, but it proved to be the perfect replacement for Dock. Not like there's anything greatly wrong with the dock in particular, but it can just be better.

uBar is highly customisable, it's taking something from both worlds (Win/Mac) and it's gonna save you a bunch of screen estate, since no matter how you scale your dock, you'll always end up with quite the chunk of screen being occupied with it. I actually discovered I don't need that many app shortcuts down there as well and we'll also get to how I open other apps in the next app in this category. I got used to uBar super quickly, I'm not saying you'll get used to as well, but I believe it's more than worth a try, since it really improves my OSX experience.

#2 Alfred (https://www.alfredapp.com)

While Spotlight got an overhaul in Yosemite, it's still quite not living to it's potential, it could do so much more! It could be a great productivity tool as well! But it's lacking a whole bunch and it's not gonna get any better, Apple actually closed off it's API in El Capitan and totally shut Spotlight off from external plugins. That's why I still use Alfred, first and foremost Alfred is themeable, secondly I can extend it (even though it's super smart on it's own) with workflows.

Alfred can open stuff, not only applications but also documents, pictures, files of any type (just start with "open", space and supply characters). It can count, search the web, provide you with dictionaries, clipboard management, iTunes control, system function control and more. Plus as I said, it's extendable with workflows! The posibilities are endless. (Workflow repository - http://www.packal.org/workflow-list) You can also download a Theme I made (screnshot) called Black Orchid!

#3 Commander One /Pro (http://mac.eltima.com/file-manager.html)

If you've ever used Windows some time ago you know there was (and still is!) this popular software called Total Commander. It's main premise was to offer a dual-pane view of your file system. Commander One builds on that and while it's not advertising as a Finder replacement, you can totally replace Finder with this. Again, it's taking some time to get used to, but in essence it's gonna make your file operations faster.

Not only it works with your very own file system, it has Dropbox integration (yay!) and FTP integrations, so you can also use it as a FTP client to manage your own website or the websites of your clients! The UI/UX might be quite scary at first and I have to agree it's not the best so far, it's still an early version and the developers seem to be planning more updates up ahead. It has a bunch of small cool features, that you can read up on the website, to make your life easier too.

 

Web Design / Coding

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#1 Atom (https://atom.io)

Most people around me are Sublime Text worshipers and I was too and it's not bad in any way! But I switched. I switched to Atom, it provides the same functionality, customisability, extendability and multi-platform-ity (what!?) while actually being free.

So yea, Atom is a really great code editor that is constantly being developed and made better. Consider trying it out if you haven't! Maybe you'll fall in love with it as well. Also.. if you're not confident in coding I recommend getting Brackets (http://brackets.io) which I recommended some year ago to fellow students who were learning to code and they greatly appreciated it's built in livepreview functions and other stuff!

#2 Sketch (http://www.sketchapp.com)

Sketch is maintaining the design part of every web / app / online product creation process. It's the ultimate vector editor for anything UI, forget photoshop. This is way faster than photoshop, way smaller in size (38.2MB!) and just way better.

Anything can be exported in many different formats, and while everything being vector you can also automatically export files for retina display and other high definition needs. Web SVG's are not forgotten and it's canvas system makes it great for multiple screen designs or just development phases.

 

Graphic design

"Do not ⌘C, do something ⌘N."

#1 Affinity Designer (https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/designer)

You might be surprised I don't have photoshop right here in this first place, that's cause I can actually live completely without it, I still have it installed, I just use it less and less. Affinity designer is a hybrid, it's primarily a vector editor so it's replacing Illustrator at first, but it's also equipped with pixel mode, meaning you can edit individual pixels in your design. It's an interesting concept and with the need for vector graphics for scalability and high-resolution displays I believe it can easily replace Photoshop as well, at least partially.

UI is straightforward, it's blazingly fast, zoom-in function is without lag endlessly and it's also quite small (Under 500MB). It can export PSD's so workspace compatibility doesn't have to be an issue. Handles SVG's well. What are you waiting for?

 

#2 Affinity Photo (https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/photo)

Talking about Photoshop, it's most justified function is bitmap editing, photo editing, working with photos, working with bitmap stuff, creating collages, mashing things together, effects and all that stuff. As a designer you sometimes have to do that, you can't always rely on vector stuff.

That's where Affinity Photo comes into places as the final Photoshop's nail to the coffin. It's equally as great as Designer, equally small and fast. Right now the only thing I'm waiting to get replaced is inDesign, since I sometimes have to use that as well, but don't worry Affinity is planning to release the Affinity Publisher in 2016.

 

Spare Time

"Either you run the day, or the day runs you."

#1 Spotify (https://www.spotify.com)

Music is what drives me while working and even when not. I need music, I can't imagine not having it, life would be bland and days would be too long. That's why I pay for Spotify. I actually used to steal music several years ago, downloaded it off of torrents, mp3 sites or shared with friends and while I'm not proud of this fact I resort to the fact that there was no other option of acquiring music besides buying expensive CD's that get scratched and take physical space.

The desktop OSX app has beautiful UI and obviously there was a lot of UX research put into it. It's just great, coupled with Alfred's workflow for controlling Spotify it's even better. I highly recommend this service to anyone and the app even more.

 

#2 Transmission (http://www.transmissionbt.com)

Contrary to the previous statement I will mention this Torrent client. It is hands down the best torrent client you can get on Mac, forget uTorrent and other spyware-ish crap that only comes in bundled with ads and nasty stuff.

While also allowing you to set upload speed to 0kb/s which is quite selfish and according to the system P2P is supposed to work also very asshole-ish BUT in countries like Czech Republic you are actually committing a crime by seeding when it comes to movies and tv shows. It's just very lightweight, important-feature packed and small.

 

#3 Kuvva (https://www.kuvva.com/mac)

While it might be hard to justify $5 for something you can do manually, Kuvva just does it so good. If you don't know Kuvva yet, it's a great repository of carefuly selected artistic wallappers from artists, designers, creative people. It's definitely got some of the best wallpapers I had a chance of having on my screen.

It's very easy to use and you can also sign in to get your own collections and favorites flowing through your wallpaper settings. I no longer think about that next wallpaper I'll find and get set up, Kuvva does that for me and I love it.

 

#3 Plex (https://plex.tv)

Movies! TV Shows! Videos! I couldn't live without Plex. It allows me to form a library of my tv shows and movies to be played either on the computer equiped with the library or on any other device in the household, like tablets, phones, other computers (laptop) and chromecast! (chromecast is a great nifty little thing btw!)

Just set up the Plex Media server on your most powerful machine and you'll be able to do that, plus it can automatically grab subtitles for you if you set it up right. There's even the possibility to be able to access your library externally on the road, it just needs some settings to work and you'll be able to play your movies while at a friends house. (provided both of your internet connections are good enough) Coupled with CouchPotato or TVShows apps you can ultimately automate getting movies and tv shows.

 

Others

"The shit that didn't fit."

#1 Flu.x (https://justgetflux.com)

If you're like me and you use the computer a lot, you know that staring at the screen can cause your eyes to be sore, or even impaire your vision in the long term. There's many factors why a screen is not healthy to look at and Flu.x is trying to fix at least one of the biggest parts.

It plays with the color saturation of your display to adjust it for night viewing, since the blue-ish tint we get at night is absolutely horrendous for our eyes and let alone mind (troubles with sleep often come from the blue tinted screens). It can be turned of for a period of time if working on a colour sensitive project, otherwise it can automatically work in the background and save your eyes. Definitel grab it!

 

#2 Raindrop (https://raindrop.io)

There's constantly stuff to bookmark, save, remember. Raindrop is one of many apps that help with bookmark syncing and collecting. It has it's extension for I think almost any browser (even Yandex!) that helps you sort everything and save bookmarks nicely.

It's very simple and easy to understand (that's mainly why it wins for me) and it can also sync everything to your mobile devices (ios/android apps) and is accessible from the web if you're not on your computer. You can easily share stuff with other people , smart search, add tags, and more. For $2 a month you can upgrade to Pro (otherwise free) to get some more benefits like dropbox backups and nested collections.

 

#3 Nozio (http://noiz.io)

As I said earlier I need music when I'm working, but sometimes it happens that I just need some background and music might actually be too much at the very moment. That's why I have Noizio, it's free and all it does is give you a selection of high definition ambient sounds.

Wheter it's rain, busy places, fire, water or space sounds (yes!) Noizio has some great ambient soundtracks for your work. Sometimes it's the most inspiring thing to hear actually. + It sits and looks nicely in your menu bar.

 

Conclusion

There's probably many more applications I use often or every day, I tried to come up with the most influential to me and the ones I really can't imagine not having. It's been tough and I hope I've done a good job. If you've got your own list of app that you can't live without, definitely leave it in the comments, I'd love to look at them!

As a footnote for anything OSX apps related I recommend bookmarking http://www.macupdate.com & https://www.reddit.com/r/macapps !

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