Mac Apps I Can’t Live Without

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Mac monitor in white room with a white desktop displaying app icons featured in the associated article

Like many designers, I really enjoy using my Mac and tweaking it with nice little time-saving apps. Because I also use a Windows machine for heavy design work, it’s important my environments have similar tooling. Here are a few apps I use that are indispensable and bridge that gap.

Design tools

Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer

Affinity Design logo Affinity Photo logo

I own copies of these for both Windows & Mac. I really love supporting these non-subscription-based apps. The design tools are fantastic, especially Affinity Designer’s drawing tools.

These will run you a one-time fee of $25 – $50 depending on the sale.

https://affinity.serif.com/en-us/

Pika

Pika logo

Pika is an awesome color picker, with built-in contrast checking for accessibility. And it’s free. What’s not to love?

https://superhighfives.com/pika

Sim Daltonism

Sim Daltonism logo

Ever wonder how your UI or design looks to someone who is colorblind? Are you worried there may not be enough contrast between key colorful elements? Then this app is for you.

And it’s free in the App Store.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sim-daltonism/id693112260

Productivity tools

RedQuits

RedQuits logo

Mac’s red button on windows is completely baffling to me all these years later. It’s a glorified minimize. Why give the impression that it will actually close the app if it never does? RedQuits fixes one of my biggest Mac annoyances for free.

RedQuits no longer has a site, but you can still find downloads of it in the wild.

HyperDock

Hyperdock logo

HyperDock adds one of my other favorite features from Windows back, app window previews right in the dock. It also adds in keyboard-driven window management like Windows has, and window snapping. Very, very helpful.

HyperDock will run you about $10.

https://bahoom.com/hyperdock/

Keka

Keka logo

Keka blows Mac’s archive support out of the water. Handles tons of formats and auto-expands then deletes the old archive if you so desire, saving you one extra step of clean up. It’s one of those great set-it-and-forget-it apps.

And it’s free. Awesome.

https://www.keka.io/en/

Encrypto

Encrypto logo

Since I do store sensitive content at times on cloud services, I need an additional layer of protection on those docs. And that tool must be cross-platform. Encrypto checks all those boxes for me and is also free.

https://macpaw.com/encrypto

Qi FM

Qi logo

Finally, Qi FM is a great little focus & ambient sound app with a built-in timer. It just quietly sits in the status bar doing its thing. Not only that, but the quality of the audio is so high, I forget the ambiance isn’t real at times.

The base version (what I use) is free, the full version is $5.

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/qi-fm-focus-relax-sounds/id1479696191

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