10 Must-Have Free Mac Applications

[ 0 ] October 18, 2010 |

If you’re a Mac user, you know how hard it can be to find quality apps that don’t require you to get out your credit card. Thankfully, the most essential Mac applications also happen to be free! Check out our list of the top 10 must-have free Mac apps:

1. Firefox

With tons of expansions, add-ons and skins, it’s no surprise that Firefox is the leading open-source internet browser for the Mac. Its multitude of intuitive features make it leaps and bounds more user-friendly than the Mac’s native browser, Safari.

2. Growl

If you’re on the forgetful side, Growl’s handy notification system unobtrusively sends you reminders about nearly everything on your computer – from a new email to when you’ve finished downloading a file. Best part is, you control every aspect of its notification system.

3. Quicksilver

This is seriously one of the handiest freeware Mac apps you’ll download. It’s everything: an application launcher, file system browser, data organizer and beyond. It seriously does so much you’ll need to check out this beginner’s guide to wrap your brain around it.

4. Thunderbird

I don’t like opening a web browser to check my email, so I consider Thunderbird a lifesaver. It accesses any POP mail account and downloads new messages right to your desktop. It’s super-easy to use and has a few nifty extras, such as tabs and add-on support.

5. Adium

A tiny but powerful client for Instant Messaging, Adium connects to pretty much any popular IM network (AIM, MSN, Yahoo, Facebook chat, etc.) in one easy application. It’s invaluable in this age where socializing involves more typing than talking.

6. OpenOffice

If you’re not willing to burn a hole in your wallet getting Microsoft Office Suite (which has been historically rocky on Mac OS X), this free productivity suite is a great alternative.  You can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, charts – and did I mention it’s free?

7. DropBox

Multiple computer user? DropBox syncs any of your files to a cloud server and lets you access them on any other Mac with DropBox installed on it. It’s also an extremely handy tool to back up your most important files.

8. VLC

QuickTime is only useful for so many video formats. VLC plays pretty much any video file type you throw at it – whether it’s popular (.WMV, .AVI) or more esoteric (.3PG). The player itself isn’t quite as pretty as QuickTime, but it’s definitely more flexible.

9. Handbrake

This extremely popular DVD ripping application also converts most movie files, and is especially useful for high-quality video playback on portable devices. It makes The Dark Knight look awfully sweet on an iPod Touch!

10. CarbonCopyCloner

So you’ve just downloaded all these new free Mac applications. What’s next? Back up your Mac! CarbonCopyCloner creates a bootable backup of your entire system disk for an external hard drive. It’s peace of mind for the cost of nothing.

What are some of your favorite free Mac apps?

Category: tech shopping tips

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