3rd Party vs Apple 'Core' Apps


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 17, 2009
Denver, co
I've been going back and forth between using Apple apps for what I call "Core" functionality - Calendar , Email, Web Browsing, Task management, Note Taking, Photo Management , and 3rd party apps that do the same thing. I look at Mac OS and iOS apps, so it was difficult to decide where to put this post. I chose Mac Apps forum.

In each case, I ended up using both, which is redundant but gets me the features of both. Here is my list -

# Calendars
* Apple Calendar - Travel Time, Time to Leave, and the ability to click the map on the appointment to start Apple Maps ( ios only )
* Fantastical 2 - Natural language to enter appointments, list view of upcoming appointments. Quick appointment entry in Menu bar ( Mac only )

# Email -
* Apple Mail - identifies updated contact info, meeting info, locations, and ( I think ) travel itineraries .
* Airmail - Custom Tasks ( ios only ) , sync signatures across devices, store email account settings in iCloud and unlock all of them with just your Apple id,

* Apple iTunes / Music App all the way - Apple Music service rocks, library sharing, and the huge selection is great.

# Note Taking
_I'm all over the place here_
* Apple Notes - Simple. iCloud sync.
* Byword - iCloud Sync, Markdown support
* Evernote - Cloud sync, Tags , Notebook stacks , saved searches. - basically, I really like it except for lack of Markdown support.

# Photo Editing
_I don't do much of this_
* Apple Photos - iCloud Storage, Organize Photos, tag, Markup(ios only), Face recognition.
* Pixelmator - Layering , advanced editing tools.
* Photosweeper - deletes duplicat photos from Photos.
* Preview - Quick view/editing of Photos that are not in Apple Photos library. This app is much more powerful that most people think. Google it!

# Podcasts
* Apple Podcasts - I never use it. I re-try it periodically because I like that it sync's between Macs and iOS devices, but they refuse to add the 2 features that I want the app, despite me submitting feature requests every year.
* Pock Casts - Silence trim. Voice boost. Sync's across iOS devices, syncs some data with their Desktop app. I use this app daily.

# Task Management
* Apple Reminders - Simple. iCloud sync. Siri integration. Many apps can sync with it - IFTTT,OF, Amazon Alexa, so on.
* Omnifocus - Great for GTD, frequent updates, locations, contexts ( soon to be tags ), projects, just a ton of great features. I tried several competitors to try and on that works on Windows, but nothing else comes close.

# Web Browsing
* Chrome - Works on Macs and PC ( Windows, Linux ). Huge array of Extensions to choose from.
* Safari - Keychain for passwords and payment info, Reading List, Native text shortcut support.

While I'd really love to go "all Apple" and use the free apps that they provide, they fall short in some area that is important to me.

Post your list or apps that you prefer to use in this thread.
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Reactions: TiggrToo


macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2013
Great Post !

FWIW - here are my favorites - in the same context

• Apple for sync to iOS phone and ipad
• Outlook to schedule meeting and connect with windows users

• Outlook 2016 - great for mutli platform connections - exchange servers - and multiple email adresses
• Thunderbird - great plugins - delayed sending - scheduling etc.
• apple mail - don't use it on the mac - just on the iOS devices

#Music / Audio
• iTunes
• Garage Band
• Pro Tools
• MPEG Streamclip - handy utility

# Note Taking
• Reminders - most of my notes are here - works for me - easy and sync across iOS - can add other particpants (apple users)
• Notes (Apple) - use for more extensive projects - pictures and files etc.
• Microsoft One Note - use mostly when windows users ask me to participate
• EverNote - stopped using about 2 years ago
• OmniGraffle - great for creating graphics and diagrams

# Photo Storage and Catalogue
• Photos 2 - main catalogue of photos
• iPhoto - 10 years of legacy photos catalogues and still works on Sierra and High Sierra
• Photos 3 - testing

# Presentation
• Keynote - one of my used apps - awesome!
• PowerPoint - Some times I am forced to used it
• OmniGraffle - great for creating graphics and diagrams
• GoToMeeting - Online communication and presentations

# Task Management
• Outlook (email and calendar)
• Reminders (Apple)

# Web Browsing
• Firefox - main browser and work
• Firefox Developer - testing
• Safari - personal use only - banking and other personal stuff
• Opera - test - never signed in to any web sites or google etc.

# Back Up
• Carbon Copy Cloner


macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
Sounds fun.

I’ve switched to Apple notes since they did the big upgrades. It’s not my favorite (Bear was/is great) but it’s free.

Fantastical over Calendar
Due over reminders
1Password over keychain
Dark Sky over weather
Overcast over podcasts
Waze over maps (for navigation only)


macrumors 65816
May 24, 2009
For core applications, which for me is mail, address/contacts, calendar and notes, I only use the Apple applications. I want the syncing of items like contacts, calendar and notes to be seamless and it is using the cloud.

Photos is used only for syncing modified images from the computer to the iOS devices. Otherwise I'm in Lightroom, Alienskins, etc.

Programming I've got a slew including MAMP coupled with Coda2 and some others.

My use of 1Password predates the shared use of keychains and never switched. 1Password, stand alone version, not subscription, is what I use and no cloud syncing there.


macrumors member
May 8, 2014
• Fantastical 2 on both iOS and Mac - The natural language interpreter is fantastic-al.

• Apple Mail on both devices
• Inbox by Google - Testing because of the ability to defer mail to the future

#Music / Audio
• iTunes
• Spotify - Was using Apple Music on trial; Spotify just has better discovery playlists

# Note Taking
• Byword - iOS and macOS - Lovely and clean Markdown text editor
• Microsoft One Note - used for notetaking for my MBA program

# Photo Storage and Catalogue
• Photos - Pushed everything from Aperture

# Presentation
• Keynote - When I want to impress people who ask, "what did you make that in?"
• PowerPoint - When I don't care

# Task Management
• Clear - iOS and macOS - Fast, simple, fun and colorful
• Reminders (Apple) - When I can convince Siri to make a reminder for me. These also show up in Fantastical.

# Web Browsing
• Chrome - main browser at work
• Safari - main browser at home

# Back Up
• Time Machine, but only at work.
• Dropbox, Box.net, MEGA, etc.
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