Essential software for MacBook Air!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by cr0fty, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. cr0fty macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2012
    North West, UK
    Hi all.

    My 2012 MacBook Air is arriving today and Im curious to know what essential/must have software I should have for it.

    I've been a PC user for years and pretty much have my AV, Firewall, utilities etc perfected but now I'm moving to Mac I have no idea.

    Cheers in advance folks,
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    There isn't any "essential" software unless you tell us what you use - or want to use - your computer for. Microsoft Office is always handy.
  3. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Really depends on your usage. I use the following a lot:

    Microsoft Office
    Circus ponies notebook
    Better touch tool
  4. cr0fty thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2012
    North West, UK
    Well AV and Firewall for starters. I'd particularly like a firewall that lets me control incoming and outbound access separately. Is MS Office much better than iWork? I was going to try and stay away from MS on my Mac lol.

    Oh and freeware & open source is always good. I hate paying for stuff that turns out to be rubbish. Plus with open source I can usually donate to the developer :)
  5. jojoba macrumors 68000

    Dec 9, 2011
    Whether office is better than iWorks depends on your work flow. I work in a windows environment, so to stay clear of compatibility issues I use MO. I've also heard several times that excel has more options than numbers. However, if neither of those factors are a concern to you, you will probably be fine with iWorks.

    You don't need anti virus with macs.
  6. arjen92 macrumors 65816


    Sep 9, 2008
    Below sea level
    There are many threads about what new users should install on their mac. So you should google a little bit better (there is also a page somewhere on with a list of software, check to see if there's anything you want).

    Anyway, you don't need AV, it will only slow your mac down. Also, AV on a mac is mostly about removing viruses for windows computers. It's primary task is not securing your mac (since it's already pretty well secured).

    To check all your connections you should check "little snitch". Although I heard that uninstalling little snitch is not the most easy task.

    Other than that it's really up to you. I have office, iwork, adobe, sparrow (for e-mail), and some other small programs like skype, dropbox and growl. Oh, and VLC is really nice.
  7. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Feb 27, 2011
    Obviously depends on what type of software you need. Create a list like the one below stating the types of software you need, then maybe some people will make some suggestions

    Office suite
    Photo manager
    Bitmap graphics editor

    You've already mentioned interest in the first 3 types. Here are my suggestions for them

    Firewall: OS X has inbound firewall built in. If you need outbound, look into little snitch.
    Anti-virus: No need unless you want to check files you share with Windows users for Windows viruses. There are some apps for this but I have no experience with them.
    Office suite: Microsoft office if you want max compatibility with the world, iWork if you want something a bit simpler and cheaper, Libreoffice if you want to go open source.
  8. MWPULSE macrumors 6502a


    Dec 27, 2008
  9. marioman38 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Elk Grove, CA
    A program called Little Snitch is an excellent program for monitoring your outgoing connections! I've been using it for 3 years now, works great to know what websites are trying to connect, what applications are trying to call out etc.

    Also iWork is excellent, I have MS Office but haven't had the need to use it yet. I much prefer Pages to word,
  10. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There is a built-in firewall in Mac OS X, and you don't need to control outbound.

    Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 10 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
    1. Make sure your built-in Mac firewall is enabled in System Preferences > Security > Firewall

    2. Uncheck "Open "safe" files after downloading" in Safari > Preferences > General

    3. Disable Java in your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). This will protect you from malware that exploits Java in your browser, including the recent Flashback trojan. Leave Java disabled until you visit a trusted site that requires it, then re-enable only for the duration of your visit to that site. (This is not to be confused with JavaScript, which you should leave enabled.)

    4. Change your DNS servers to OpenDNS servers by reading this.

    5. Be careful to only install software from trusted, reputable sites. Never install pirated software. If you're not sure about an app, ask in this forum before installing.

    6. Never let someone else have access to install anything on your Mac.

    7. Don't open files that you receive from unknown or untrusted sources.

    8. For added security, make sure all network, email, financial and other important passwords are long and complex, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

    9. Always keep your Mac and application software updated. Use Software Update for your Mac software. For other software, it's safer to get updates from the developer's site or from the menu item "Check for updates", rather than installing from any notification window that pops up while you're surfing the web.
    That's all you need to do to keep your Mac completely free of any Mac OS X malware that has ever been released into the wild. While you may elect to use it, 3rd party antivirus software is not required to keep your Mac malware-free.

    I use MS Office for Mac daily and can tell you it runs perfectly fine. I routinely share files with Windows users and have no problems at all. If you don't want MS Office for some reason, there are many alternatives, such as iWork, NeoOffice, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Google Docs, etc. Searching the forum will reveal dozens of threads discussing these various alternatives and the pros and cons of each, such as this small sampling:

    Helpful Information for Any Mac User
    Portables Fast Start: The New User's Guide to Apple Notebooks
  11. ChristianVirtual macrumors 601


    May 10, 2010
    I recently got DaisyDisk on all my Macs; gives a very nice graphical view on usage of storage; can be helpful on limited SSD.
  12. radicalcentrist macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Portland, OR
    My Daily Use....

    Chrome (for rendering Flash-enabled web)
    NValt (my general note-taking app, a fork off Notational Velocity, both of which sync to the Simplenote app on my iPhone)
    Default Folder X
  13. Trunks87, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    Trunks87 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2012
    Must have software for new MBA's

    Hello there,

    I've just purchased a 13" MBA w/ 8GB memory, 128GB SSD and love it! Wanted to share some software that I believe enriches the experience in no particular order of importance. Besides software, here's a cool sleeve to checkout. I got one in Black/Aqua :D

    I like a lot of everyone's suggestions in other threads. Just wanted to add a few:
    • NOD32 for Mac (Free 30-day trial). Apple's backtracked on talking about not having viruses and I'm not going to be the one caught with my pants down when things happen.
    • DropBox (Was going to use Google drive but their EULA is overboard)
    • CleanMyDrive **I guess this app has a poor reputation and was renamed so I've uninstalled it and no longer recommend it** (Delete's junk from removable devices, free for a limited time)
    • Day One (Journalling, will include encryption in next version)
    • 1Password (Expensive but manages all personal info like Credit Cards, Software License keys and website passes also compatible with iPhone/iPod, built-in syncing with DropBox)
    • VLC and MPlayerX between them, you'll never again worry about something being unable to open
    • Growl (Notification system)
    • PopClip (Appears when you select over text, in any app. Instantly copy & paste, and access context-specific actions like search, spelling, dictionary ...)
    • The Unarchiver (Like having 7zip on Windows!. I set the option to extract to same directory and delete source after successful extraction, its unbelievably efficient!)
    • WakeUpTime (Almost the best alarm clock ever, except that it can't wake up the PC if its got a pass set. Someone complained about this on a review for appstore hopefully there's a fix soon)
    • Onyx (Best feature of it is setting an informational dialog at logon prompt. I put mine to an "This bla bla belongs to ... If found please call ... or mail ..." it looks really good and doesn't make the logon experience cumbersome in-fact it enhances it as its in an aesthetically pleasing place)
    • TotalFinder didn't make the cut because I just use it for tabbed Finder view like I use Chrome for tabbed browsing. I'm waiting until the new OSX update comes out to see if its included then if not I'll be installing this too.
    • Mail (Built-in) was able to sync all 5 of my various accounts. I love that I can type something into spotlight or Alfred and it'll also cross-check my email.

    Chrome - Bonus information: In Google Chrome, go to View > Fullscreen. Now you have two screens (One with a full screen instance of Chrome), interchangeable by swiping 4 fingers to move across them.​
    Chrome - Bonus information 2: I signed in on my Windows laptop to Chrome and let it sync, then logged into Chrome for Mac to sync again. It's impressive how they've gotten everything (except cookies) INCLUDING add-ons to install back into Chrome.​
  14. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    None of the above... The only "must" is software that is actually useful to you personally and helps you get your job done in an efficient manner. Everything else is just "additional something" that you rarely open / use...

    I have not even heard about 90% of the things you have listed and I can't say I'm curious to check them out either... I have the tools that help get my job done, that's really everything that "I must have" on my device.
  15. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    It appears CleanMyMac has been renamed or repackaged, trying to hide from its poor reputation. I would not recommend CleanMyMac, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much. While you may not have experienced problems yet, enough people have that it's wise to avoid it, especially since there are free alternatives that have better reputations, such as Onyx.

    You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

    These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. In fact, deleting some caches can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

    Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

    Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.

    Also, there are already threads on software recommendations:

    Essential software for MacBook Air!
    MBA: [must-have] applications
  16. Trunks87 macrumors newbie

    Jul 2, 2012
    Good to know!!! Uninstalled and edited to add more info. Yeah I'm not into using Onyx for its maintenance capabilities as you mentioned, its really just there for the login dialog and that's about it ^_^
  17. aseems macrumors newbie


    Nov 7, 2011
    New Delhi, India
    Recommended for Trying

    First STOP "Automatically open safe items in Safari"
    VLC MediaPlayer
    The Unarchiver
    Pocket for Mac

    All Free :D

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