Did you just get a new Mac? Or maybe you’ve had one for a long time and are just looking for some cool affordable apps to download. Either way, we’ve got a fun roundup for you. There are a bunch of paid apps on the App Store, and many of them do their job well, but what about free ones? What if you don’t want to pay for a new text or photo editor? There are a lot of free and open – source alternatives to popular apps, but they’re often hard to find.
In this roundup, we’ve gathered a list of great free apps that you should download, even if for a moment to try them out. They’re great, and you’ll likely find at least a few to add to your workflow. They’re also all native apps not tied to a service – so you won’t find the likes of Evernote and Droplr – so you can use the apps anywhere, anytime.
Here’s the list, just for your Mac.
Notes, Task Management, Markdown, and Word Processing
Imagine – Quite possibly the best little text editor for the Mac. It supports Markdown, has eight background colors, and saves everything in a plain or rich text file for easy access in any other editor. Imagine is the most affordable way to go distraction – free.
TextWrangler – A contender for the top – of – the – line text editor. This is basically the free version of BBEdit, one of the most popular text editing apps available. It can be used for coding, server administration, basic text editor, and much much more. It even has the ability to open a file from an FTP server directly and then save it back there once finished, which is handy for Web developers.
Brackets – If you don’t like TextWrangler, there’s always Adobe’s open – source code editor Brackets. It’s updated ever two and a half weeks and includes many handy features, from fullscreen editing and a beautiful interface to syntax highlighting. Check it out.
OpenOffice – It’s one of the most powerful and popular open – source word processing apps on the market. If you really need to edit a Word document and aren’t in the mood to spend $20 on Pages, this is the perfect alternative. It’ll perform as well as Microsoft Word, but without the hefty price tag. And, it just got updated to v.4.0, with a number of small improvements. There’s also its slightly – less – well – known fork, LibreOffice, but they’re both very similar.
Photo Editing and Graphic Design
HDRtist – A quick way to process your photos with HDR (high dynamic range). You could go out and buy Photomatix Pro for $99, but that’d be a waste if all you need is some quick processing. HDRtist does a decent job for free, and it’s fairly easy to use.
Fotor Photo Editor – This is a fantastic alternative to iPhoto. If you need some more advanced editing functions, Fotor will do the job nicely. It has a simple user interface with quick adjustments, frames, borders, and even a tilt – shift mode. If you would like to get started with photo editing, this is a great tool.
Skitch – You’re telling me you use Preview for annotating images? Well, not after you use Skitch. It has a fantastic array of features for annotating, cropping, rotating, and inserting text into your images effortlessly. The app is developed by the Evernote team and it’s updated regularly (and, yes, it can function 100% without an Evernote account).
SketchBook Express – Do you enjoy drawing on your computer? Take it to the next level with SketchBook Express. It includes a number of beautiful brushes, six layers of space for drawing, and a drag and drop feature for importing images. Grab a capacitive stylus and you’ll be set!
The Unarchiver – There was once a time when, to extract a RAR or StuffIt file, you had to download StuffIt Expander, which cost money. Well that is no longer an issue since the developers made the software free, but who cares? The Unarchiver does that much faster, also for free, and you’ll never notice its presence. Uncompress anything, from BinHex (whatever that is) to CABs and LBRs.
Caffeine – You remember that one moment when you’re downloading an update, but your Mac refuses to stay on? Caffeine will give it some Kenyan brew and cheer it up for you. With one click, the app will stop your Mac from going to sleep. Handy.
Wake Up Time – Alarms are easy on iOS devices, but if you don’t have one there are alternatives. Wake Up Time is the best free one we could find. It looks nice and makes setting an alarm extremely easy. Why not give it a try for tomorrow’s big early meeting?
GeekTool – Make your desktop look like one from all the cool films. Using “Geeklets”, you can add information about your system right to your desktop, from CPU usage to internal temperature and battery health. On top of that, you can put the weather on there using Yahoo. There’s a whole lot more, too.
Houdini – Rather than using the CMD + H shortcut to hide apps, Houdini will do it for you once they are inactive for a certain amount of time. It can be handy if you like an organized workspace.
Touchgrind – Use your Mac’s touchpad for something useful. (If you don’t have one, either buy one for this game or move on to the next listing – it’s required.) The game basically gives you the ability to control a small Tech Deck – like skateboard with your touchpad. It’s also Retina – optimized.
CSR Racing – Need for Speed is no longer a pricey dream. CSR Racing makes it free (so long as you don’t opt in for those in – app purchases) to have a street race with a custom car. You can only do a certain amount per day since you run out of fuel, but if you leave it for a while the tank will fill back up. Use up that nitrous.
Pocket Planes – From the developers of Nimble Quest comes a tycoon – style game in which you create a airplane enterprise and fly around VIPs. It’s fun, in a pixellated way.
And From You?
That’s all from us, but maybe you have some cool free apps you’ve been using lately. Tell us all about them in the comments. Don’t forget to view more post on our site to get more info you want to know like data protection or file recovery for your Mac.