We’ve selected a few Mac gems that meet the following criteria:

  • Easy-to-use

  • Free or low-cost

  • Helpful on a daily basis

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again! It’s an ideal collaboration tool for businesses and other groups. Best of all, it works seamlessly with your Mac.

Pixelmator is an astonishingly capable and vastly cheaper alternative to Photoshop. Beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast, and powerful, it’s won an Apple Design Award and listed as on the 2012 Best of Mac App Store. It’s a lightweight in terms of storage and power, so it’s perfect for your MacBook Air.

Ad Blockers are available for Safari, Firefox and Chrome. They’re a snap to install and once you do, you’ll wonder how you lived without them! Besides blocking nearly all advertising, they help load pages faster, reduce distractions, and protect your privacy.

OpenOffice is a terrific, FREE fully compatible alternative to Microsoft Office, e.g., Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Developed entirely by volunteers, you can support their efforts here.

AcornHost Web Hosting. For about the same price as GoDaddy, 1and1, or Register.com, you get great customer service, faster pageloads, and the good feeling of supporting a responsible small company that’s doing right by the planet. We’ve been hosting with them for years and have had zero complaints.

PlainClip is time-saving answer for all the times you copy text from a source that has different formatting (font, size, style, links) than where you’re pasting it.

Mountain Tweaks lets you turn off some undesired appearances and functionality of Apple’s newer operating system. Re-enable scrollbars, disable auto-correct, speed up the interface, and more.

f.lux adds a warm hue to your screen after sundown, promoting sleep by attuning your Mac to the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Time Machine Editor  lets you change the default one-hour backup interval of Time Machine. Unless all you do is writing, most people don’t need a backup every hour, since it will slow down your computer’s performance. This is especially useful if you have a Time Capsule, or you edit photos, video, or other large files, as you would spend most of the day backing up.