Best Apps For Macbook Air

MacBook is the world’s thinnest notebook computer, it has an astonishingly thin design. The MacBook Air is an ultra-portable laptop that doesn’t skimp on computing power or high-speed connections. This app was specifically designed to help you discover the best software geared specifically towards your Macbook Air experience.

Best Apps for Apple M1 MacBook Air, Pro, and Mini - AppleToolBox

Best Apps For Macbook Air

For a Better Writing Experience
Screenshot of Ulysses writing app for Mac
LibreOffice (Free)
Tired of paying for Microsoft Office, unimpressed with Apple’s default office suite, and unable or unwilling to switch entirely over to Google’s G Suite on the cloud for everything? Download LibreOffice, a full-featured suite that includes the usual applications, such as a word processor and spreadsheet editor. It’s completely compatible with all the usual Microsoft file types, including legacy formats such as .doc. It’s open source and costs nothing to use, even commercially. For goodwill, donate a few bucks if you end up liking it and using it a lot.

Microsoft 365 ($84 per year)
OK, OK, I know I just presented a very worthy, free alternative to Microsoft Office, but there are two features that make paying $7 a month for a Microsoft 365 subscription worth it, if you use them. First, Word’s included Editor feature, which scans for grammatical mistakes and makes suggestions, is as useful and easy to use as Grammarly. Second, Microsoft quietly rolled out free in-app voice transcription in Word, and it’s as accurate as any expensive stand-alone voice transcription software I’ve used.

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Ulysses ($50 per year)
I love Ulysses’ plain text and clean interface for writing longer stories, but it’s also perfect for short stories, novels, poetry, and scripts. It strips away all the unnecessary icons, buttons, and settings and lets you focus on your work. You can get a free trial before committing to the subscription fee. (You can opt for $6 per month instead of the annual payment plan.) If you do shell out, the iOS app is bundled with the MacOS version.

MacBook Air displaying Highland 2 app
Highland 2 (Free)
Highland is a plain text editor designed primarily for screenplays and stage plays, but there are templates for things like novel writing as well. What’s nice is that it’ll automatically configure exported scripts in industry-standard formats, and there’s a new gender analysis tool that’ll break down how many lines are spoken by your characters, categorized by gender. The basic version (which watermarks PDFs with the company logo) is free, but a one-time $50 purchase nets you upgrades and more features, and it gets rid of the intrusive watermark.

Day One ($35 per year)
Journaling is a meditative experience, but if you’re like me and your handwriting looks like an SOS message carved into a rock, you tend to avoid writing on paper. Day One is a great digital journaling experience that lets you insert photos, save voice recordings, and export your logs in various formats, like PDFs. Your journal entries are end-to-end encrypted, automatically backed up, and secured with a passcode or biometrics too. There’s a free version, but it’s severely limited, so you’re better off paying the $35 per year for the full suite of features. There’s a seven-day free trial available.

Dark Noise ($10)
Working in a noisy place—or a dead-quiet one—can be monumentally distracting. Dark Noise lets you custom-mix its 50 built-in sounds to create the perfect audio illusions, whether “perfect” to you is raindrops falling on a tent or a box fan thrumming away on a windowsill. Even if you’re not under audio attack, a smooth layer of background noise might boost your concentration.

For a Better Viewing Experience
Screenshot of VLC Media Player app for Mac
ApolloOne ($12 per year)
If you need a heavy-duty image viewer that lets you edit and view metadata, batch-process catalogs of RAW image files, and set up automated processes to sort and classify photos for you, then step up to ApolloOne. This is a program for serious photographers—or at least people who take a lot of pictures and want to organize them. The 14-day free trial has limits on what you can do, but it’s a good way to see if you’ll want to pay $12 a year for the Standard Edition or $20 a year for the Pro Edition. (You can use the free trial past 14 days if you don’t mind the annoying pop-up reminders to subscribe.) Another alternative is XnView MP (free).

Xee³ ($4)
A lightweight image viewer, this app doesn’t come with all the options and clutter of more advanced programs, but it’s nicer to use if you don’t need all those features. Xee³ is clean, like MacOS’ default viewer, but it lets you browse through folders of images and move photographs more easily. For $4, it’s yours for life. It reminds me of Windows Photo Viewer—in a good way.

VLC Media Player (Free)
An oldie from 2001, this is a great video player that’s continually supported. It works with a ton of file formats and codecs, even allowing you to convert from one file type to another, and it gives you a range of audio and video compression methods for making smaller files out of raw or larger ones. If you download a lot of videos, it’s a no-brainer. It’s also an open source product, so be nice and donate a few bucks for the creator if you end up using it a lot.

Skitch (Free)
From the folks who brought us Evernote, Skitch one-ups MacOS’ built-in Screenshot app. Once you capture a screenshot of a program window, a portion of the screen, or the whole screen, you can edit and annotate it with arrows, shapes, textual callouts, and more. You can also pixelate (make fuzzy) portions of an image to obscure sensitive information, or to draw focus.

For Better Organization
Screenshot of Paprika Recipe Manager app for Mac
Paprika Recipe Manager COURTESY OF PAPRIKA APP
Hazel ($42)
Tidying up folders is a slog, and sorting all your files into place never ends because you have to keep doing it over and over as you continue using your computer. That’s where Hazel steps in. You tell it which folders to watch—say, your Downloads folder—and it’ll automatically move files to new destination folders and sort them by name, date, type, what site they came from, and more. Newly created or downloaded files are moved automatically. It’s a one-time purchase.

Shift (Free)
Instead of having to sign in to all your email, workflow, and social media accounts with individual browser tabs, you can link all of them into Shift. That means having just one app window open for all your work tasks. You can hook up Gmail, Slack, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Airbnb, LinkedIn, Spotify, Google Docs, and more (plus Chrome extensions!). The Advanced tier unlocks everything you’ll want for, uh, $100 per year. Try the basic (and free) tier first.

Deliveries ($5 per year)
You’re drowning in packages. Keeping everything straight is a nightmare, and it’s stressful to know that if you miss an email or if a delivery date changes, a porch package thief might make off with your goods. This app gives you a clean, color-coded space (purple for FedEx, brown for UPS, etc.) to keep track of delivery statuses and due dates for all your packages, and you can upload tracking information through Amazon links too. It costs $5 per year or 99 cents per month.

Evernote (Free)
If you need more from your note-taking app than bread-and-butter checklists and wish you could scribble in your own handwriting, upload pictures, and scan documents, Evernote is your app. To sync across more than two devices, have access offline, and upload more than 60 megabytes a month, you have to pay $8 a month for the Personal tier or $10 a month for the Professional tier.

Paprika Recipe Manager ($30)
Save recipe web pages and Paprika automatically formats them into a uniform design. All your recipes are organized in folders, and you can use the app’s interactive features to check off ingredients as you cook and scale up or down the ingredients needed for different serving sizes. There’s an iOS app and an Android app, but you have to buy each separately for $5. It’s also available on Windows for $30, so you can sync recipes across multiple platforms.

Best apps for macbook air m1

Lightroom is the first of Adobe’s hugely popular apps to be optimized for Apple’s M1 silicon. And for many people, it’s the default choice for editing and organizing their photo collection. Now the app has been updated to leverage the power of Apple’s M1 chip to make that editing go even quicker.

Keep in mind this is the regular version of Lightroom; Lightroom Classic doesn’t run natively on M1, but Adobe says there are no known issues running it through Rosetta 2 translation. In my experience, Lightroom Classic feels very similar to its performance on Intel Macs.

A native M1 version of Photoshop is set to follow sometime next year, but Adobe hasn’t given release time frames for other apps such as Premiere Pro.

Adobe Lightroom

Free from the Mac App Store (Creative Cloud subscription required)
Adobe Creative Cloud

$52.99 monthly from Adobe
Google Chrome
Google Chrome
Two major browsers, Chrome and Firefox, have already been updated to run natively on M1 Macs, so you shouldn’t encounter any issues or irregular performance drops when using either. In the case of Chrome, just be sure that you select “Mac with Apple chip” when downloading — otherwise you’ll end up installing the Intel version, which will still run, but not as efficiently.

Microsoft Edge currently has M1 support in its beta channel, so that shouldn’t be too far off either.

Google Chrome

Free from Google

Free from Mozilla
If Apple’s built-in Calendar app isn’t doing it for you, then Fantastical might be the more advanced alternative you’re looking for. Its natural language parser can turn normal sentences about your plans into a perfectly formatted appointment entry. You can set your calendar view in exactly the way you want, and Fantastical also has widgets that you can pop into your Mac’s “Today” sidebar. There is a basic free version; the Premium version, which starts at $4.99 a month, offers additional features such as the ability to add tasks, full screen views, and calendar syncing.


Free on the Mac App Store
Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365
Microsoft has quickly updated its entire Mac suite to fully optimize Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, and OneNote for M1. So you should notice very speedy performance when doing work with any of them. I’m sure many people will prefer these over Apple’s own productivity apps like Pages and Numbers.

Microsoft 365 for iMac

Free from the Mac App Store, Microsoft 365 subscription required
Microsoft 365

Subscription starts at $69.99 / year
Hear me out: the Twitter app for macOS has actually gotten very good. It took some polishing and bug fixes to reach this point, but Twitter for Mac is now full-featured, responsive, and not nearly as crash-prone as before. If you haven’t given Twitter’s native app a chance yet, now’s a great time.

If you still prefer a third-party app, Tweetbot remains the go-to, and it’s also universal and M1-ready.


Free from the Mac App Store
iMazing is a great device manager for digging into everything residing on your iPhone or iPad. You can create backups (different from the regular Apple ones) and grab your messages, photos, music, and more right off the device.

But it was also discovered soon after the launch of M1 Macs that this software can be used to “side load” and install iPhone apps — even those that have not yet opted in — to macOS. If you’re experimenting with this, just expect that not everything will work flawlessly.

iMazing also recently added the option to clearly see which apps on your system are universal or developed for Intel.


Free trial, personal licenses start at $45
If you’ve got a cluttered mess of a menu bar at the top of your Mac’s screen, Bartender can help you bring order to things. A longtime favorite macOS utility of ours, this app lets you neatly hide everything under one menu bar icon to ease up on the chaos. You can also set triggers so that certain icons only show at those times when it makes the most sense.


Free trial, $15 to purchase
Neural Mix Pro
Neural Mix Pro
Neural Mix Pro is an app that lets you separate the various parts of a song — vocals, instrumentation, and beats — and listen to them individually. You can also change up the tempo of a song without ruining the pitch. A handy tool for DJs and musicians, it also just appeals to my inner music nerd. The end result can still sometimes sound a bit phase-y (like most vocal remover software) and have some artifacts, but it does a better job than other apps I’ve tried for this purpose. Just know that it’s pricey compared to other recommendations here; you’ll have to pay $50 to unlock the app.

Neural Mix Pro

Free from Mac App Store, $49.99 to unlock all features
If you’ve got the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Apple’s M1 chip, well, that means you’ve also got the love-it-or-hate-it Touch Bar above your keyboard. There are ways of customizing it to your liking in macOS settings, but BetterTouchTool is a utility that gives you even greater flexibility over what goes where when using the Touch Bar, allowing you to quickly tap useful shortcuts for your most important apps.


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