Ask DN: What are your favorite desktop apps on Mac or PC?

over 7 years ago from , Product Designer

Some of my favorites on my Mac. For personal use: Evernote, Pocket, Twitter, Day One, OmmWriter. For work: Slack, Sketch, Monochrome, iTerm, Sublime, Cyberduck and iWork.

Anything awesome I'm missing out on? What are some of the apps you can't live without?


  • Updula LeeUpdula Lee, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    As an OS X user, I cannot live without:

    • Alfred (Productivity boost)
    • PopClip (Because selecting text can do much more)
    • Airmail (Not totally happy with it, but it's the best)
    • aText (TextExpander cheap replacement)
    • Chrome (All-in-one browser)
    • Sublime Text 3 (With SpaceGray theme and some useful packages)
    • Transmit (Best FTP client out there)
    • Sip (Color picker)
    • Adobe PS and AI (To edit clients' files)
    • Sketch (Mostly for side projects, not production)
    • Movist (Best movie player)
    • Xtrafinder (Better tabs management alongside Alfred)
    • MAMP (localhost)
    • Keka (Awesome and free archiver)
    • OpenEmu (For playing PS1 games mostly, can't wait for PS2 support!)
    • MacUtil (Very useful tools to enhance OS X)
    • Parallels Desktop (Running Windows 7)
    • CloudApp (Mostly to share files and screenshots)
    • JPEGmini (Does a better job than ImageOptim, but I use them both)
    • Simple Comic (Comics reader)
    • Translate Tab (Instant translation alongside PopClip)
    • Subtitles App (Subtitles downloader)
    • Wunderlist (Task manager)
    • Transmission (Torrents)
    • iStudiez Pro (I'm a student, so...)
    • AppZapper (Uninstalls crappy apps with a drag & drop)
    • licecap (Quick GIF recording)
    • Plug (The Hype Machine client)
    • Simplenote (For text notes)
    • Twitter for Mac (Because I need Interactions)
    • HyperDock (Great for managing windows)

    Plus some more basic apps like Dropbox, and you know...

    11 points
  • Diederik EenschootenDiederik Eenschooten, over 7 years ago


    9 points
  • Mason LawlorMason Lawlor, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Some that haven't gotten much love:

    • Logic Pro (audio)
    • After Effects (motion, interactions, prototyping)
    • Cinema 4D (3d rendering)
    • Slicy (although Adobe's "generate" is similar now)
    • Github (I love working in terminal, but the app is so much better)
    • Vagrant/Virtual Box (recently switched from MAMP)
    • Popcorn Time
    • Spectacle (I can't plug this app enough)
    • Caffeine (quickly keep your mac awake)
    4 points
  • Thibault MaekelberghThibault Maekelbergh, over 7 years ago

    Atom, Slack, Evernote, Things, Next, Transmit, Vox, Clear and Alfred.

    Menubar: Infinit, Sip, Spectacle, Caffeine, Bartender

    3 points
    • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, over 7 years ago

      I just don't think Atom is there yet.

      0 points
      • Thibault MaekelberghThibault Maekelbergh, over 7 years ago

        Why not? I found it to be much better than Sublime. Haven't tried Brackets yet but certainly happy I made the switch from Sublime / Coda to Atom.

        I love how it shows Git modifications out of the box and how the snippets are easier to write than Sublime's XML like snippet creation. Plus, the package manager and theme manager is a lot easier and more user friendly than Sublime.

        2 points
        • Sam SolomonSam Solomon, over 7 years ago

          I really want to move to Atom, but last I checked predictive text wasn't there yet. Once that happens, I'll be willing to try the move again.

          0 points
      • Paul NevinPaul Nevin, over 7 years ago

        Been using it for the last couple of months and I've found it to be very stable. They update it nearly every other day, so it's really improving on a weekly basis. They still have to get rid of the file size limit (1 or 2Mb, can't remember) but I think that's planned for v1.0.

        0 points
  • Strash PoyarkovStrash Poyarkov, over 7 years ago

    Hi. This is my favorites on Mac.

    Design pack: Adobe CC, Skala Preview, HiFivicon and ImageOptim. Code pack: Brackets (before Brackets I used Sublime too), Yummy FTP Lite and sometimes CodeText.

    3 points
    • Adil Majid, over 7 years ago

      What are some of the benefits of Brackets over Sublime? I had it installed for a while but have never really checked it out

      1 point
      • Strash PoyarkovStrash Poyarkov, over 7 years ago

        I really love the Live preview in browser. Also Brackets have tool to working with psd and layers (live convert to css). But I don't use this feature. :) One day I decide try Brackets, now I don't want back off to Sublime anymore.

        1 point
    • Henry KaufmanHenry Kaufman, over 7 years ago

      I use Brackets as well, and I don't think I could go back to any other editor.

      1 point
  • Julio MontañoJulio Montaño, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    My favs:

    • Flux
    • Writer Pro
    • Clear
    • Sunrise
    • Sketch
    • Mailbox
    • Sublime Text
    • Terminal
    • Caffeine
    1 point
  • David KizlerDavid Kizler, over 7 years ago
    • Sketch
    • Sublime
    • Alfred
    • Moom
    • Default Folder X
    • XtraFinder
    • Nvalt
    • Evernote
    • Cloud.app
    • Frank de Loupe
    • Text Expander
    1 point
    • Gadzhi KharkharovGadzhi Kharkharov, over 7 years ago

      +1 for NValt, although it seems that the developers dropped it.

      0 points
      • Samuel MarksSamuel Marks, over 7 years ago

        I use nvALT pretty frequently to store credentials for sites I'm working on or quick snippets of commands to run (moving databases from one server to another, etc).

        I just took a look at SimpleNote and while the design is better, I wasn't terribly impressed (couldn't find a preferences dialog to set a global shortcut and the editor didn't have support for basic formatting).

        I haven't been able to find something that works better than nvALT yet, though I would certainly be open to switching if someone finds a better one :)

        0 points
  • Alex M.Alex M., over 7 years ago

    OS X apps I use on a daily basis: Design & Development - Adobe CC apps - Sketch - Skala Preview - Transmit - Brackets - ImageOptim

    Management/planning - Things - 1Password - MindNode Pro - Dropbox

    Music players - Rdio - Spotify - Simplify

    Other - Tweetbot - Steam

    1 point
  • Matt SoriaMatt Soria, over 7 years ago

    I was just thinking the other day that I can't imagine computer life without Divvy — I'm not sure if there is another program people use to achieve the same thing (keystrokes that organize your windows), but I can't imagine working without it.

    1 point
  • Rick KhannaRick Khanna, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Some Mac apps I use that I haven't seen listed yet:

    Pathfinder - It's basically a way better Finder that integrates well with OS X. It's good for the power user and it's got tons of settings atypical of most Mac apps.

    Jumpcut - A super simple plain text clipboard history saver. I use this constantly.

    Codebox - Synced code snippets

    Colorsnapper - Menu bar eyedropper

    Picasa - Underrated personal photo management app by Google

    Miro video converter - Kinda shitty but the only thing available for converting videos to .ogg and .webm for html5 video.

    1 point
  • Jesse DobbelaereJesse Dobbelaere, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Wunderlist, Alfred, Pocket, Codekit (!), PHPStorm, Tweetbot, Day One, Sketch 3, Sublime Text, Ember (my inspiration stash), Messages.app so I don't have to take my phone to send SMS/iMessage, Kaleidoscope, Sequel pro, ImageOptim , ... oh and QuickCast

    1 point
  • David AlandíDavid Alandí, over 7 years ago

    Tweetbot, Evernote, Chrome, Sunrise Calendar, sketch3, Photoshop, Affinity Designer, FontExplorer X, Sip, LiceCap, App Zapper, Utorrent, VLC, and Transmit.

    1 point
  • Francis VegaFrancis Vega, over 7 years ago

    Photoshop, Illustrator, Skala preview, Sublime (but now I'm learning Vim) iTerm.

    Non desktop app: Python to write my own design scripts and javascript to write photoshop scripts.


    1 point
  • James RosenthalJames Rosenthal, over 7 years ago

    Sequel Pro is pretty great, and SourceTree is a staple for my everyday workness.

    0 points
  • Daniel SchutzsmithDaniel Schutzsmith, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I'm using many of the same apps as others have noted here: 1Password, Alfred, Dropbox, Adobe CC, etc.

    Here's a few that I've found useful that haven't been listed so far:

    Desktop Apps

    • FontExplorer: I deal with a lot of design files all day, so I need something to turn fonts on and off. This app does that and also helps by creating groups that I can turn on and off for different projects.
    • Tower: An amazing Git client made just for Mac! Works really well with git-flow. Since moving to Git a few months ago, Tower has been my god-send for making it so much easier. I don't mind CLI Git but when it comes to files and folder structures, I'm way more visual. Also, if you haven't learned Git yet, definitely check out their online book (love the illustrations they made too!)
    • Desktop Server: Great server for local Wordpress development that runs on top of XAMPP. I also use MAMP, but Desktop Server is so much quicker to spin up or import a dev environment. Also has easy publishing to live servers so I'll usually publish the master branch from our git repo right from my laptop.
    • Hype: My go to tool for making web animations. Really easy to work with. Coming from Flash, it felt the most familiar out of all the animation apps I tried.
    • Plex: We've got 3 little kids at home. And we LOVE movies. So Plex is our central media server where we keep all the movies we love. It's been an amazing way for us to watch our own movies on demand from our internal network. Also, the Plex Pass is worth the price just to be able to run it on XBox / Playstation and from your phone as a remote control! Works seamlessly with Chromecast too! But that's not all it does: also stores our family photos, so something like our wedding 12 years ago is a click away for the kids to checkout (which they do often)!
    • OmniDiskSweeper: I seem to accumulate lots of files on my computer, so this app has been great for the past few years helping me see where everything is being stored and then either deleting or saving to a backup disk.
    • Sequel Pro: MySQL Administration with PHPMyAdmin is such a drag. This app makes it a super freaking breeze! I can confirm it works great with Rackspace, DigitalOcean, Cloudways, and WPEngine servers.
    • Todoist: Been using this for a few months now to handle my task management. In the past month, I've really been humming at it - works phenominally with my personal setup. Have it on my phone and in Gmail on Chrome as well. The app is built on top of the GTD Methodology but I use it with a mix of FranklinCovey and the Pomodoro Technique as well to stay on track.

    Menu Bar Apps

    • Dash: Puts all of the documentation you'd need just a click away! And works offline! Holds all my manuals for PHP, Wordpress, Laravel, JQuery, FontAwesome, Bootstrap, and more.
    • ExpanDrive: Mount SFTP, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, etc as local drives.
    • TotalTerminal: An add-on for Terminal that lets you customize it a bit more and also provides the terminal as an old school dropdown visor!
    • Tomighty: Super simple pomodoro timer. I swear by this being the #1 catalyst in improving my productivity in the past month.
    • MemoryDiag: Great tool to show how well your RAM is doing, flush it if you want, and fun to look at!
    • TunnelBear: I got hacked a few years back at a coffee shop in NYC, so I take security very seriously when out and about. This app is a VPN and keeps my wifi connection secure (as secure as it can at least). Best of all, tweet about them once a month and get a free GB of bandwidth transfer!
    0 points
  • Daniel KorpaiDaniel Korpai, over 7 years ago

    If I have to code or design, these are my favorite apps:

    • Sketch 3
    • Sublime Text 3
    • Transmit
    • CodeKit
    • ColorSnapper
    • Divvy
    • Xcode

    For writing:

    • Writer Pro
    • Typed
    • Ulysses

    For reading and collecting ideas:

    • Pocket
    • Evernote

    For communication:

    • Tweetbot
    • Airmail
    • Skype
    • Hangouts
    • Slack
    0 points
  • Michael SenaMichael Sena, over 7 years ago

    Didn't see this listed here:

    Omnifocus (rolls-Royce of task management apps)

    0 points
  • Ericson LucianoEricson Luciano, over 7 years ago

    Here mine my favorite app

    Evernote Pocket Wunderlist Scala Preview Slack Promodoro One Ember Sketch

    0 points
  • Brian A.Brian A., over 7 years ago

    Illustrator - An obvious choice, but I couldn't survive without it. I've tried Sketch on numerous occasions and it just don't feel "right".

    Alfred - By far my most-used app. My dock is essentially for monitoring status now; everything gets launched with Alfred.

    Sip - Easily the best color picker I've ever used. Being able to send colors to AI with a keyboard shortcut is fantastic.

    Little Ipsum - Real content is always best, but this is great when you need some quick filler for something.

    Bartender - Enables my OCD and keeps the menu bar nice and clean.

    0 points
  • Chetan Raj, over 7 years ago

    DockPhone for OSX Yosemite

    0 points
  • Marcel VossMarcel Voss, over 7 years ago

    Tweetbot and Tower!

    0 points
  • Cihad TurhanCihad Turhan, over 7 years ago

    Cool suggestions.

    Bookmarked ✓

    0 points
  • Wesley HainesWesley Haines, over 7 years ago


    Have not found a single person here who messes around with it though.

    0 points
  • Lee Fuhr, over 7 years ago

    Keyboard Maestro.

    Another unpolished workhorse. This basically lets you record mouse and keyboard actions and then play them back via hot key. It has a ton of other options, but that's the core and how I use it. It lets me automate so many otherwise unautomatable things.

    0 points
  • Lee Fuhr, over 7 years ago

    A Better Finder Rename.

    A work horse. I'll create droplets that do a bunch of things to rename my files (e.g. getting rid of Photoshops onerous and unavoidable layer comp numbering when using the "Layer Comps to Files" script). Then I'll use Hazel to automatically run files in a particular folder through that renamer droplet.

    0 points
  • Lee Fuhr, over 7 years ago


    Holy crap do I use the heck out of Hazel to automatically process my files.

    0 points
  • Lee Fuhr, over 7 years ago


    0 points
  • Jason M, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    noizio - Free ambient noise app released recently. Can't believe it's not already listed here.

    coda - torn between this and brackets as my main code editor cyberduck - when I just want to deal with ftp stuff

    0 points
  • Loren Morris, over 7 years ago

    All the usual design applications and my daily must-haves:

    Hues 2 Beta, LittleIpsum, Icon Slate, Alfred, Skitch and Telegram.

    0 points
  • Jonathan BrodheimJonathan Brodheim, over 7 years ago

    Moom, Ulysses, 1Password, Stache, and Things. Can't function without them!

    0 points
  • Drew AlbinsonDrew Albinson, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Many of these have been said but I'll repeat them for the +1 effect: (OS X)

    Personal: Rdio (music), Kuvva (wallpapers), Mailbox (gmail), Wunderlist (to-dos), Sunrise (personal calendar), Evernote (notes), Steam (games), Popcorn Time (movies), Found (utility), Caffeine (utility), Dropbox (cloud storage), TweetDeck (social)

    Work: Adobe CC apps (design/illustration/photography), Brackets (code), Filezilla (FTP, need to switch to transmit), Airmail (exchange e-mail), ImageOptim (compress images), Scout (for SASS & Compass, moving to CodeKit soon)

    0 points
  • Vasiliy LeytmanVasiliy Leytman, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Nice online radio player — Radium

    App to save web pages in PSD, split into layers by css class names — Layers

    Asset management — Pixa (more functional than Amber and supports Sketch, thou not the last versions yet)

    Cheap and functional online backup — iDrive

    Program that forces you to stop each hour (or as you want) and meditate (or like that ;)) — Time Out

    Best tool to make screen casts — ScreenFlow

    Window manager — Moom

    All others seem to be already mentioned ;)

    0 points
  • Will BakerWill Baker, over 7 years ago

    Adobe CC, Scrivener, Ulysses, Brackets, 0xED, Wunderlist.

    Also Steam and OpenEmu for the days off.

    0 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, over 7 years ago

    In my dock: Mailbox, Chrome, Spotify, Messages, Hipchat, Photoshop, Sketch, Framer Studio, Sublime Text 3, iTerm 2, Wunderlist, licecap

    In the background (but equally indispensible): Flux, Sip, Dropbox, Kuvva, 1password, iaWriter

    0 points