While most of the apps in this list are free, some of them offer a paid option. That being said, when it comes to paid apps, I have only included those options that offer a generous free tier. I am using free versions of all the apps (that offer paid options) and find them suitable for most users. No app with a free trial or heavily restricted free tier has been included.
Bitwarden is an open-source password manager available on all the major platforms, including iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. You can access the app on multiple platforms and sync your passwords across unlimited devices for free. The app uses zero-knowledge encryption, meaning your passwords are safe, and even the company cannot access that information.
The app makes it easy to subscribe to RSS feeds and brings excellent search capabilities. It also brings a beautiful design and I adore its dark mode. It also supports online feed syncing services such as Feedbin. I still prefer Reeder 4 as it brings more features, but seeing how NetNewsWire is still young and free to use, I cannot fault it. If you are looking for a free RSS reader, you should try NetNewsWire.
While that's great in most situation, I wish Apple included a way to create a whitelist for apps that are not functional in dark mode. The default Mail app and the Evernote app are a few examples of an app that still work best in light mode. That's where NightOwl comes in. It's a menu bar app that allows you to create a whitelist of apps that you don't want to use in dark mode. Not only that, but it also allows you to quickly switch between dark and light mode with a simple click at its icon. You can read more about the app in our article here. The app is completely free to download and use with a voluntary donation.
Before I discovered Unsplash Wallpapers, it used to be a chore to change wallpapers. First, I had to find good wallpapers, then I had to download them, and only then I could use them. With Unsplash Wallpapers app, you can change the wallpaper just with one click. If you like a wallpaper, you can even download it. If you love wallpapers, you are going to love this free Mac app.
ImageOptim is one of the most used free Mac apps on my MacBook Pro. In my line of work, I have to attach a ton of screenshots (like in this article). And before I upload any picture on my website, I pass it through ImageOptim. The app deletes all the unnecessary metadata such as GPS position and camera's serial number and compresses the image. This allows me to upload the image on the web without any privacy hazards and ensures that the file sizes are low.
Basically, it is super powerful photo editing app for Mac that allows you to use pro-level photo editing features for free. You are required to learn the app as it has a steep learning curve but once you get used to it, you won't go back to even the best-paid photo editing apps on the market. This one is definitely one of the free Mac apps that you can download in 2019.
Lightworks is a another free video editing app which gives you access to all the tools that you will need to get your video editing on. To be fair, Lightworks also sell a Pro version of the app, however, the free version is powerful enough to handle most of the tasks. Whether you are a budding YouTuber or someone who just want to give an edge to their homemade videos, Lightworks is the right tool for you. What I love most about this app is that the website gives you ample tutorial videos to get you started. If by any chance you were looking for a free video editing software, look no further and download Lightworks.
In researching the best free apps for the Mac, I started by using Apple's category list. This makes it easier to cover the wide variety of content available. If an app is on the Mac App Store, it is in one of the 21 categories that Apple has listed.
Because this is a "free" app list, I tried to only include apps that are truly free or whose functionality is not diminished without an in-app purchase. You will see some apps that have premium content that can be unlocked with an in-app purchase, but I've included them on the list because I feel that the free content is noteworthy.
Though this list is long, it is by no means complete. There are just too many free Mac apps available to include everything. If you don't see your favorite free Mac app on this list, please add it in the comments section with your reason for why it stands out. (Remember: It has to be truly free or the free version of an otherwise premium app that is noteworthy.)
Wave is one of those exceptions to the rule of no services without a dedicated app. It is a free software tool for small businesses. You can use it for invoicing, receipts, accounting, and more. You can also add credit card processing and payroll for a small additional fee. It is set up to work with what your business needs are. If you don't need a feature, you aren't paying for it. If you only need a feature sometimes, you only pay when you use it. Because Wave is dedicated to making small business tools work the way small business owners need them to, I've included it on this list.
When it comes to coding, nothing keeps your characters more organized than TextWrangler. The text editor works with a wide variety of coding syntax and even has color coding for different programming languages. You can easily access files on FTP and SFTP servers. It is also a fantastic app for non-programmers for its many smaller details, like line wrapping, email templates, and quote styles. It is one of the best free code editors around.
Right inside the iTunes app on your Mac is a universe of knowledge. There are thousands of specialized courses, which you can download for free, that are lead by professors at some of the most popular colleges in the world. You can learn statistics from Harvard, business from Stanford, psychology from Yale, and much more. Subjects cover architecture to women's studies, with practically everything you can think of in between. To access iTunes U, open iTunes on your Mac and select it from the menu.
HandBrake is a free, open-source software program that lets you convert practically any media file to MP4, M4V, or MKV. You can convert your entire DVD or Blu-ray collection into digital form to watch on your Apple TV without having to pay someone to do it for you. You can quickly choose which type of device you want your file to be transcoded to support (like iOS or tvOS) and then get to converting within just a few seconds. For more advanced file conversion fans, there are a number of great features to help you perfect your digital movie catalog.
VLC is the best free, open-source media player for the Mac. With it, you can play nearly any media file, including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MKV, WebM, WMV, and much more. It has a number of customizable features so you can create your ideal viewing situation or set up your music listening experience the way you want. It does support DVD and Blu-ray decryption through the libdvdcss library if you are so inclined to use it.
If you're not using Apple Music (actually, even if you are), Spotify is the next best music streaming service for the Mac. With the Mac app, you can listen to thousands of songs across all genres. It includes a useful playlist section so you can keep track of your favorite music. It also has a great music discovery section where you can see what's trending or music you might like based on what you've been listening to. The social aspect makes it one of my favorite free social media apps for the iPhone, too.
Money Wiz is a great personal finance tracker for balancing your bank account. The free version lets you manually add account information like income, expenses, and account transfers. If you sign up for the monthly subscription, you can connect your online bank accounts and have the work done for you. You can also create a budget (though you can only track one budget before being asked to upgrade). You can also set up a schedule reminder to keep you on track for paying bills that are due at the same time each month. It features a few more customizable features, like creating a new category for income and expenses, as well as creating financial reports based on your net worth, cash flow, and balance over time. Money Wiz works better with the subscription upgrade, but is very useful for keeping your checking accounts balanced.
GIMP is pretty much the open-source version of Photoshop. You can fix minor photo errors, like light balance and contrast, or manipulate your image using the masking and removing features, similar to that of Photoshop's. You can also add filters, resize, create layers, mix up background objects, and a whole lot more. It's the best free version of Photoshop you can use on the Mac.
Autodesk is famous for its artists' apps, which feature a rich selection of brushes that seem hyper-realistic. You can use it to create vector graphic images, illustrations, and photorealistic works of art. There are dozens of customizable pens, pencils, and paintbrushes, and the color palette is so robust that you can perfectly match practically any color in the world. The free download comes with dozens of amazing tools, but you can upgrade to the pro version to unlock even more options. It is a graphic artist's best tool on the Mac.
You've never seen the human body the way it is presented in this medical book. It shows you the entire make up of the body's systems. For free, you can examine, in interactive 3D, the entire skeletal and connective tissue layers, including names of bones, surfaces, insertion points, and more. You can zoom in on specific areas of the body for detailed interactions and animate muscle movements. You'll learn more about human anatomy than you ever thought possible. 2b1af7f3a8