From Windows to MacOS - few helpful apps that have eased the transition

From Windows to MacOS - few helpful apps that have eased the transition

This blog post contains the list of MacOS-specific apps I personally find absolutely essential in everyday's productivity.

8 months ago I've crossed the barricade & embraced MacBook Pro for both professional & personal purpose (all kinds of skunkworks - mainly codework & blogging). Until then I've been splitting my time between various editions of Windows & distros of Linux (starting with Slackware & Debian, through Mandrake, ending with Gentoo & Ubuntu) - so I had no prior experience with Apple computers, nevertheless the transition was much less rough than I've expected. Partially thanks to few tools that have helped me a lot, by smoothing some MacOS edges I was finding troublesome & hard to cope with. Today I'd like to share this list - maybe at some point you will find it useful as well.

Disclaimer: the list doesn't cover such obvious choices as: Homebrew, zsh or iTerm2. Neither it does contain the tools that are available on all the mentioned platforms (like VSCode, Google Chrome, Sublime Text 3, Greenshot, LastPass, Slack, NordVPN). Just the MacOS-specific apps that made the difference (for me).

Bear (link)

I do make notes. All the time. Structured, unstructed. Hierarchical or flat. Formatted & plan text. As a producer of a vast amount of information ;P I like keeping it tidy & well organised (in the past: in Keep, Evernote or Airtable; these days: in Notion), BUT before I put it there, the noting pretty much always happens in Bear.

Why so? Why to put info in 1 app to move it to another one later? Because Bear is freaking incredible - so sleek, smooth, perfectly responsive & minimalistic, that using it feels like a guilty pleasure :D Things like accidentally using a keystroke/gesture/UI element that does something different than intended do happen in Notion, but never happened to me in Bear.

Alfred (link)

No brainer - many Mac users make it their 1st installed app on their new machines. Productivity booster that works far better than basic Finder+Launcher combo - thanks to its hotkeys, search-powered launcher, scriptable custom actions, snippets management, various automations & many, many more (half of that I'm probably not even aware of) - some of these goodies can be bought as an additional PowerPack.

Paste (link)

The best clipboard manager I've ever used. Snippets, clipboard sharing, quick-pasted, raw (non-formatted) & original content pasting, previewing - pretty much EVERYTHING you were looking for in clipboard managers + really nice, elegant presentation.

Magnet (link)

Creators call it a workspace organizer - I tend to agree. I was always struggling with how Mac app windows behave when you switch between many (especially in multi-monitor configuration), but Magnet makes it trivially easy (with few, easy to remember short-cuts or icons) to organise your working space in any way you want - by automatically aligning apps in most practical patterns, to increase the usability & data visibility (on screen). Simply golden.

Karabiner (link)

If you're a mechanical keyboard lover like me ;) you'll absolutely need Karabiner to configure non-Apple external keyboard(s). Easy to use, never caused any trouble and (what is absolutely the most important) makes you able to use your WASD/Das/UMK/whatever like it was designed for Mac :)

This is my absolute-bare-minimum list. Anything else you'd like to add/recommend?

Sebastian Gebski

About Sebastian Gebski

Geek, agilista, blogger, codefella, serial reader. In the daylight - I lead software delivery. #lean #dotnet #webdev #elixir. I speak here for myself only.