The must-have free Mac apps

Mac users surely they enjoy their computers, and how can I blame them? They have beautiful form factors, usually very good screens, a slick-looking interface and very good applications to choose from. But what if I told you there are some applications that you might be missing that will improve your experience as a Mac user?

Sounds cool, huh? Read on to find out which are these programs.


Okay, this one is a bit like cheating: Pages is one of the applications that come preinstalled when you purchase a new Mac, along with Numbers and Keynote. The difference is that, unlike those two, Pages is freakin’ awesome! Its interface is very minimalistic and elegant and provides the user with a no-frills writing experience. It’s no wonder why many writers prefer this app to something like Word or LibreOffice Writer.

It can even read PDF and DOCX files, although by default it will save in its default format. To work around this, select File and then Export as to select your favorite format.

You can get Pages on the Mac App Store.

Note: If you purchased your Mac prior to October 2013, Pages will cost you another 19.99€.


Onyx is a must-have for anyone who’s serious about its Mac and want to keep it running smoothly even during the course of the years. This utility, downloadable for free from its developer’s website, allows you to do all kind of automated maintenance stuff on your OS X system. Don’t let your precious Mac crawl to a halt: install OnyX NOW!

Avira Antivirus Free for Mac

There aren’t many free antivirus programs for the Mac. A while ago, ClamAV used to be, but its developer had a change of heart and started charging for it. Since it’s available for free on other platforms (namely, Windows and Linux) I had no intention of paying for this software. Avira is, in my opinion, one of the best free antivirus programs on Windows, thanks to its reliability, ease of use, and unobtrusive behavior, compared to offerings from other companies. Yes, I’m looking at you, AVG. Compared to its Windows counterpart, Avira Antivirus Free for Mac offers less frills, but the core content is all there. No computer is 100% secure against worms, viruses and trojan and using a Mac is no excuse for not having an antivirus.

You can get Avira Antivirus Free for Mac on Avira’s website.

Lightshot Screenshot

Taking screenshots on a Mac sucks. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never remember those nasty, nasty keyboard shortcuts to snap a picture of what’s happening on-screen. Thankfully, Lightshot is here to help. Not only does it allow you to take a screenshot of a portion of your screen, it also allows you to downscale Retina screens to make your screenshots easier on your Internet bandwidth. The default keyboard shortcut for it is dumb, but thankfully you can change it to whatever you want.

One nifty feature of Lightshot is that it also allows you to share your screenshot directly on Facebook.

Lightshot is available on the Mac App Store.


Let’s say you installed an application on your Mac, decided you didn’t like it and want to remove it. You would think that everything associated with that application will be completely removed from your computer. Right?

Wrong. This is where AppCleaner comes in handy. Just open AppCleaner, click on the list icon on the right and select the application you want to uninstall. You’ll be prompted with all the stuff associated with it and can remove them all with a simple click.

Does that sound awesome? Even more awesome is that AppCleaner also allows you to remove widgets and plugings. Now that’s awesome.

AppCleaner can be downloaded from Freemacsoft’s website.


Another app from the developer of AppCleaner, LiteIcon lets you change every icon in your computer easily. Unfortunately, starting with OS X El Capitan, you cannot change system icons anymore, but you’re still free to change all other applications’ icon to your heart’s content.

You can download it from Freemacsoft’s website.


If you’re running OS X 6.8 through 10, you can use XtraFinder to add more advanced features to Finder, like dual-pane navigation, advanced folder merging, tabs, cut and paste, and more.

It sounds too good to be true, then of course there’s the throwback: in OS X 10.11 code injection is no more possible, meaning XtraFinder won’t work on that version of OS X. XtraFinder’s website lists a workaround, but that will make your Mac less secure. Do that only if you know what you’re dealing with.

Get XtraFinder here.


We all know that TextEdit, OS X’s default text editor, is pretty bad. Maybe not as bad as Notepad on Windows, but still bad. If you’re serious about your text editing stuff, you may want to consider using an alternative. In the case of OS X, the crown of best free text editor would go to TextWrangler, a powerful text editor that supports lots of features, such as code highlighting, automatic backup of files, reading from and writing to compressed files, and much, much more.

You can get it for free on Bare Bones Software’s website.

About Andrea Luciano Damico 137 Articles
Andrea Luciano Damico is a freelance translator from Italy. Among his interests are linguistics, technology, video games, and generally being a chill guy. He runs Let's and