Mac Software You Wish You Knew About Before Now!

Written by:  Michael Dougherty • Edited by: Christian Cawley
Updated Aug 27, 2011
• Related Guides: Mac Os X | Mac

Looking for the best software for your Mac? Look no further. Here are my favourite Mac applications in a variety of categories.

The most important software you will run on your Mac is Mac OS X itself. It is critical that you update your OS (Operating System) on a regular basis using "Software Update". Software updates released by Apple provide security fixes, application updates and miscellaneous Mac OS X improvements. These various updates are extremely important to the long-term health of your Mac and should be installed as they are released. This will protect your Mac from potential security threats and/or software vulnerabilities.

Keep in mind that in this article I am going to list, what I think is, the best Mac software for every occasion (with a personal bias towards open-source software). There are alternatives to each and every piece of Mac software that I talk about (some of which I will list) but none I would choose over these excellent software titles for Mac OS X.

On to the software ...

System Security

Little Snitch

Little Snitch is a security application for Mac users, developed and distributed by Objective Development. This software with a very unique name covers a specific need for your Mac. Little Sntich is to outgoing connections what a Firewall is to incoming connections. With a firewall and Little Snitch installed not only will you have full control of who is connecting externally to your system but also what local programs are trying to establish an outbound connection.

Key Features

  • Protect your privacy
  • Define whom you trust
  • Keep an eye on your traffic

Price

$29.95 [1 Mac]

Download Little Snitch Trial

Antivirus

avast! Antivirus Mac Edition

avast! Mac Edition is an antivirus solution for Apple Macintosh machines running Mac OS X. It is based on a central virus-scanning daemon and includes a mail scanner, an on-demand scanner and an on-access scanner all controlled through a simple user interface. Although designed as a solution for individual desktops, and priced accordingly, the level of performance is closer to that normally delivered by server antivirus software.

Key Features

  • Full on-access scanning
  • User friendly interface
  • Automatic updates
  • Integrated email protection
  • Power PC and Intel supported
  • Simple installation

Price

$39.95 [1 Year subscription]

Download avast! Mac Edition Trial

System Maintenance

TrashME

TrashME is a Mac Uninstaller developed and offered for free by JIBAPPS. TrashME does an excellent job of finding and removing any files or directories left behind by Mac software you no longer use. These files and directories, over time, can take up a significant amount of space on your Mac and are often overlooked by other Mac OS X uninstallers. TrashME is easy to use, locates and removes leftover files and offers you a full list of installed applications on your Mac.

Key Features

  • Easy to use
  • Locates and removes leftover files
  • Offers a full list of installed applications

Price

Free

Download TrashME

System Tools

SuperDuper

SuperDuper is a backup program that allows you to create a bootable clone of any hard disk attached to your Mac. This clone can be used to boot your Mac if it was a clone of your boot drive or simply contain an exact byte by byte copy of another drive for backup.

While Time Machine by Apple is an excellent backup tool for your Mac, SuperDuper is an essential part of a complete backup plan for your Mac and compliments Time Machine perfectly.

Price

$29.90

Download SuperDuper Trial

Online Backup Tools

CrashPlan

CrashPlan is an online backup solution and in this day and age online or cloud based backup of your Mac's files should be a major step in your Mac backup scheme. Storing a copy of your most important files off-site protects your files should disaster strike locally. Many users make the mistake of storing all their backups at the same location, and should a disaster strike (like a fire), they lose every copy of their data. Multiple copies of your important files in the same location will protect you from file corruption or hardware failure only. Keep a copy of your files online using Crashplan and should the unthinkable happen, your Mac's files are still protected.

Price

$54/year [unlimited personal backup]

Download CrashPlan

Other top-notch online backup providers include DropBox, Mozy and JungleDisk.

Web Browser

Chrome

Chrome by Google is one of the fastest web browsers on the market today offering an extension database almost as impressive as Firefox. If you are an avid user of your Google account (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Reader, Google Bookmarks, etc) and want a browser that rivals Safari in speed, Google Chrome for Mac is the browser for you. Fans of open source software will love the open source version of the Google Chrome browser, Chromium. Chromium is basically Google Chrome without the Chrome branding and includes most options Chrome includes while keeping the software open source.

Price

Free

Download Google Chrome

Download Chromium

Alternative Mac web browsers include Safari, Firefox and Opera.

 
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