Best Apps For Mac Mini M1

The Mac Mini has a lot of performance for a small, quiet, and affordable package. It’s got more horse power than the original Mac models and just about every model from there on. Smaller in size than even some desktops but it still packs a strong punch. But what else can you do with this little powerhouse that is the Mac Mini? What software can you install?

Best Apps For Mac Mini M1

  1. Microsoft Office 365
    Despite the historic rivalry between two of the biggest computing behemoths in the world, Microsoft moved quickly to get many of its apps ready to work on Apple’s M1 chips. In fact, Apple revealed Microsoft Office would be ready from day one before the first M1 Mac was even released, along with many other apps.

That is great news if you use Office 365 on a regular basis in your work or leisure time. Every app included in Microsoft’s productivity bundle works natively on M1 Macs, with no need for Rosetta 2 to work its magic. That means you are set regardless of whether you need to create a killer presentation, analyse your company’s financial performance, or craft your next research paper – you can do it all natively on your Mac.

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  1. Ulysses
    Like its namesake, Ulysses is something truly heroic – a writing app that is everything you need to get your work done. It knows exactly when to be minimal and when to be present, ensuring it stays out of your way when you want to concentrate, but is never so minimalistic that you spend ages searching for an elusive tool or button. It has a raft of top features, and you can even set yourself writing goals to help you make progress and hit deadlines.

Another strength is its ability to keep all your documents organised. Your files are stored in a library, which can be categorised into folders and hierarchical groups, so you never lose your important work. Everything is automatically saved and backed up, and can be easily shared with others using Dropbox, iCloud, and more.

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best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: The Omni Group)

  1. OmniFocus

Staying organised can be difficult when you have a mountain of work to do and more coming in every day. Before long, you can end up feeling overwhelmed and not even know where to start, never mind how to get everything done. For situations like that, you need an app like OmniFocus – it is one of the best productivity apps on the market.

As a task management app, its goal is to allow you to get your ideas and plans down as quickly and easily as possible. You can add tasks to OmniFocus from any app, and everything syncs across your devices so you are never without your “second brain”, as OmniFocus puts it. Once you start using this app, you will wonder how you ever managed to work without it.

best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: Flexibits)

  1. Fantastical
    Calendars are usually thought of as pretty basic things in your day-to-day life. You create some lists and bring in your contacts, add a few appointments and tasks here and there, then wait for the day to arrive and the accompanying nudge on your device. Not much more to it, right?

Fantastical proves otherwise. It makes managing your schedule an absolute joy and is a great example of a perfectly thought-out Mac app. It excels in every area, from its ingenious shortcuts and hacks to its beautiful design and cross-platform compatibility.

It integrates reminders and collaboration features, too, making it a great all-rounder for your productivity. Don’t believe us? It has won multiple plaudits, including being named Apple’s Mac App of the Year in 2020. High praise indeed, and nothing it does not deserve.

best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: Doist)

  1. Todoist

Back in the day, if you had a list of jobs to do, you would write everything down on a slip of paper. Over time you would end up with notes and scraps distributed all through your house, stuck on the fridge and littering your desk, creating more mess and confusion. It was hardly an ideal way of keeping yourself organised.

Thankfully, those days are gone, replaced by cross-platform apps that keep us up to speed wherever we are. Todoist is one of the best, with its natural language input enabling you to create reminders quickly and easily – key to ensuring you spend more time doing and less time organising.

The app is clean and concise, boasts excellent collaboration and analysis tools, and connects to a range of apps like Dropbox, Zapier, Amazon Alexa, and more.

best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: Zoom 1)

  1. Zoom
    Zoom’s main strength is its simplicity. Setting up a video call is as easy as clicking New Meeting and sharing a link. You can schedule meetings, share your screen, record your calls, and more. There are even virtual backgrounds and filters if you want to have a bit of fun. It is no wonder it has become such a popular app.

Given recent events, it is almost impossible you have not heard of Zoom. Just as unlikely is that you have not used it at any point over the last 12 months. The good news if you own an M1 Mac is that Zoom’s team has moved quickly to make it work natively on Apple’s new processors, meaning you do not need to worry about whether your new computer will cause issues when trying to call your friends and family.

best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: Serif)

  1. Affinity Designer (and other Affinity apps)

If you are an artist or graphic designer, you will love Affinity Designer. It is used by designers all over the world to create posters, logos, user interfaces, icons, artwork, mock-ups, and much more. It has a huge number of tools and workflows that will be familiar to anyone who has ever used a top-level design app – plus plenty of original innovations – all wrapped up in an affordable one-off payment, without the need for an ongoing subscription.

In fact, the whole series of award-winning Affinity apps, including Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher, run natively on M1 Macs and are excellent on the iPad, too. If you are a fan of Affinity Designer and want to improve your work by making use of the other apps, that is good news.

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(Image credit: Pixelmator Team)

  1. Pixelmator Pro
    Photo editing is something a lot of us have done, whether that is in a professional capacity or merely touching up last year’s Christmas pictures. The problem with a lot of photo-editing apps, though, is that they can be overly complicated, with a bewildering number of tools packed into a teeming user interface that quickly becomes intimidating. Pixelmator Pro, on the other hand, keeps things simple while still giving you the power to breathe new life into your images.

One of its best features is its automatic photo-enhancement tool. This relies on an algorithm trained on 20 million images, so with a few quick clicks you can get your photos looking the way you want without the hassle. If you do want to dive in, Pixelmator Pro offers the full range of pixel and vector tools that you need in a clear and straightforward interface – perfect for pros and amateurs alike.


best M1-compatible Mac apps

(Image credit: Adobe)

  1. Adobe Lightroom
    We know Adobe is working hard on bringing its heavyweight apps like Photoshop and Premiere Pro to M1 Macs. While we wait, the company has built in M1 compatibility to one of its major apps: Lightroom. The lightweight photo editor is ready to go right from the off, with Rosetta 2 being nowhere in sight.

If heavy duty apps like Photoshop have put you off due to their overbearing complexity, Lightroom will be right up your street. Its stripped back approach to photo editing gives you all the essentials with none of the cruft, so it is perfect for beginners and consumers who just need to tweak a few snaps. You still get raw file tools, automation, non-destructive editing, and much more, meaning you do not need to sacrifice key features to get simplicity.

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  1. Luna Display

Buying a second display for your Mac can really help improve your workspace, but most options are not on the cheap side. At the same time, many of us have an iPad at home that we use when we are away from the computer. Wouldn’t it be good to be able to combine the two? Well, with Luna Display you can – it extends your Mac desktop onto your iPad, giving you a de facto second monitor.

But why not just use Sidecar in macOS instead? Well, Luna Display goes much further. It is not just for iPads – it lets you use another Mac as a second display if you prefer, which Sidecar does not. It is compatible with much older Macs (no need for macOS Catalina or later). It even lets you use an iPad as the main display for a Mac mini instead of a traditional monitor. It is a great choice if one display is not enough.

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Bear mac app screenshot

(Image credit: Shiny Frog Ltd)
Bear is a free note-taking app that’s versatile, encrypted and easy to use. While Apple continues to make meaningful improvements to its own free Notes app, Bear does a lot of what Notes does better, and with a bigger priority on your privacy. The free version of Bear lets you write notes and to-dos in portable Markdown, organize notes with nested tags, pull assets (like images or text) from web pages into your notes, and even draw or dictate notes using a stylus (for drawing) or Apple Watch (for dictation). If you subscribe to the upgraded Bear Pro version ($14.99/year) you get even more useful features, like the ability to sync notes between devices, encrypt individual notes with a password, or lock the Bear app with Face/Touch ID.

Download Bear

fantastical calendar view

(Image credit: Flexibits)
Sure, your Mac already has a built-in calendar, but Fantastical does it better. This award-winning app has long been a favorite of ours, and at least one Tom’s Guide editor swears by it as a productivity tool. The free version of Fantastical offers a slick, easy-to-use calendar that makes it easy to organize your tasks and see what’s coming up with a glance. If you’re willing to pay a monthly fee, you can subscribe to the upgraded version that offers more useful features, including cross-platform Fantastical access and syncing across Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.


Download Fantastical

Spark email app screenshot

(Image credit: Readdle Technologies Limited)
You can do better than the default Mail app on macOS, and Spark is one of the best alternatives. This free email client offers a number of handy features the competition doesn’t, including a suite of tools that make it easy for multiple people to manage an inbox by doing things like assigning emails to each other or composing emails collaboratively in real time. It also offers excellent tools for organizing your inbox, scheduling emails, and finding exactly the message you’re looking for using a natural language search engine. You can also find stellar Spark clients on iOS and Android, making it a great tool for managing email across multiple devices.

Download Spark

Alfred 4
Alfred 4 screenshot

(Image credit: Running with Crayons Ltd)

Alfred 4 is the latest and greatest version of Alfred, a better way to search for files on your Mac and the web at large. But Alfred is more than a search tool: you can use it to launch apps, look up spelling and definitions, do quick calculations, and generally make the most of your new Mac. The best part? It’s free, though you can pay a one-time fee to buy a license and upgrade to a version with more powerful features, including the ability to play music from iTunes, create workflows and hotkeys, customize Alfred’s look, and more.

Download Alfred 4

DaisyDisk screenshot

(Image credit: Software Ambience Corp)
DaisyDisk is one of the best disk space managers for Mac because it’s powerful, versatile and beautiful to look at. This $10 app will quickly scan your storage drive(s) to show you a gorgeous interactive map of how your Mac’s storage space is being used, and its drag-and-drop tools make it easy to quickly move files around and clear up some space. Plus, the latest version now supports scanning drives on cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.

Download DaisyDisk

Meeter screenshot

(Image credit: Bardeen Inc)

Meeter is a handy little app that sits in your Mac’s menu bar and organizes all your video calls in one place, whether they be on BlueJeans, FaceTime, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Webex, Zoom or about thirty other video-conferencing platforms. In normal times Meeter is ideal for remote workers, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it’s a useful app for anyone who regularly hops on video calls with family and friends. The free version connects to your calendar and automatically pulls in details for your upcoming calls, making it easy to quickly see what you have coming up and join with a single click — no more rooting through your email to find the right meeting link.

Download Meeter

CleanShot X
Cleanshot x screenshot

(Image credit: Make The Web)
CleanShot X is a turbocharged screen-capturing tool for Macs, and if you spend a lot of time capturing pics or video of your desktop it’s a real life-changer. The basic version costs $29 and gives you a more powerful suite of screen-capturing tools that make it easy to quickly snap a pic, edit or annotate it, combine it with other screenshots, and share it with whoever you need to via drag-and-drop. You can also record video of your screen (even while scrolling) with the option to capture your clicks, your keystrokes, or your webcam, then quickly upload that recording to the cloud or turn it into a GIF. Upgrade to the $8/month Pro version for unlimited cloud storage (the basic version gives you just 1GB), custom domain and branding options, and more.

Download CleanShot X

Pixelmator Pro
pixelmator pro screenshot

(Image credit: Pixelmator Team)

With a $40 asking price, Pixelmator Pro isn’t the cheapest photo editing app on the App Store, but it’s certainly one of the best. As of this writing it offers more than 50 image editing tools (including a full set of vector tools), including some pretty neat options like photo editing tools that tap into the power of machine learning. It’s a strong competitor to Adobe Photoshop, with the added bonus that you only have to pay for Pixelmator Pro once, whereas Adobe wants to charge you a monthly subscription fee to use its best photo editing tools.

Download Pixelmator Pro

iMovie screenshot

(Image credit: Apple)
Apple’s own iMovie isn’t the most robust or professional video editor on the market (those honors go to expensive software like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro), but it’s one of the easiest to use. More importantly, it’s free, whereas most full-featured video editors will cost you $100 or more. Since iMovie is Apple software it may well already be installed on your Mac, but if not, you can easily grab it from the App Store to do some quick video editing at up to 4K resolution.

Download iMovie

Grids screenshot

(Image credit: ThinkTime Creations LLC)

Sure, you can log into Instagram via your web browser of choice, but it’s not exactly the most ideal way to browse the image-sharing service. Enter Grids, a free app that makes browsing Instagram on your Mac a much more enjoyable experience. It has a nice clean interface that loads quickly, and you can use it to view Instagram photos and videos in a variety of layouts. There’s also a handy enlarged view mode for when you want to zoom in. The only downside is that some of the standard features of Instagram (like being able to direct message other users or watch their Stories) are only available in Grids if you subscribe to the Pro version, which is $2.50/month on a month-to-month basis or $1/month if you buy a yearly subscription.

Download Grids

Tweetbot for Mac screenshot

(Image credit: Tapbots)
If you use Twitter frequently, Tweetbot is a must-have app for Mac. This $10 app makes the experience of using Twitter much more enjoyable by giving you access to a powerful suite of filters that can help you block out spoilers, sponsored tweets, and more. It has a slick user interface with that makes it easy to track hashtags, switch between accounts, and jot down notes on user profiles that only you can see.

Download Tweetbot

Spotify desktop client screenshot

(Image credit: Spotify)

If you’re not already using Apple Music to kick out the jams, chances are good you’re a Spotify user. Even if you aren’t yet, Spotify makes it easy to set up a free account and start listening to your favorite artists, and the macOS desktop app gives you more control over your playlists than the web app in a slick, easy-to-navigate design.

Download Spotify

Steam for Mac promo image

(Image credit: Steam)
If you want to play games on your Mac, it’s a good idea to download Steam. Launched by Valve nearly two decades ago, Steam has grown to become one of the biggest PC game platforms in the world. Not every game on Steam is compatible with macOS, but Steam makes it easy to filter through its 50,000+ games to see which ones run on Macs. There are lots of amazing options too, including everything from Sid Meier’s Civilization VI and Stardew Valley to Cuphead, Hades, Disco Elysium and more. Plus, you can connect a compatible Bluetooth controller for some old-fashioned gamepad gaming on your new Mac.

Download Steam

When you absolutely, positively must play a video file and you’re not sure Apple’s QuickTime player will support it, VLC is the first media player you should download. It’s one of the best media players on the market because it supports so many different types of multimedia, including DVDs, audio/video CDs, and file formats like Xvid, DivX, Real Video, and more — including Ogg Vorbis, a personal favorite. The best part? It’s free, open-source, and available across multiple platforms, including iOS.


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