Got a new MacBook? Here are the essential apps you need when setting up a new computer.

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If you’ve just purchased a new MacBook, the first task you’ll likely do is installing apps. While there are a ton of amazing Mac apps out there, knowing which ones are the must-have makes setting up a new installation easier.

In no particular order, let’s step through 6 essential apps for Mac that everyone should install right away.

Essential apps for your MacBook


The first entry on our list of essential apps for a new MacBook is YouTube. The app is sleek and intuitive, bringing the entirety of the video-sharing site at your disposal.

While watching videos on YouTube is fun, downloading them is a different story. YouTube makes it pretty hard for users to download the videos for offline viewing. Thankfully, if you are subscribed to YouTube Premium, you’ll have access to all the premium content, as well as special features such as audio playback while the screen is off and downloading videos for offline access. But even when used as a free app, you’ll be happy to know that there are more than a dozen YouTube video downloader apps for Mac out there. Yes, you can’t ask anyone there for help, but YouTube is a real gem! Just imagine how many videos about anything you can find here. Just remember to filter useful channels from useless ones.

VLC Media Player

Thanks to YouTube’s ubiquity, you probably don’t watch local videos too often. However, everyone should still keep a solid video player around on their Mac for when they need to play media files locally. Even if it’s not one of the tools you think to download on a new MacBook right away, it will prove useful someday.

For this task, VLC Media Player is the king. The app includes a ton of features and is capable of playing virtually every video and audio format you throw at it. You might not break it out often, but give VLC a download while you’re setting up your MacBook.


It’s not humanly possible to create strong passwords for every account and remember them all. That’s where a password manager kicks in. It’s a secure software that creates good passwords for you and locks them behind one master password, which is the only one you have to remember.

LastPass is the best free password manager and one of the most essential pieces of software you can download on your Mac. There are other password manager tools out there, but LastPass seems to lead most of the time. Furthermore, the price for the premium version is so cheap that it’s impossible not to recommend it to just about anybody.


As the name imply, Pocket for Mac is a free, easy to use bookmarking application that lets you sync and save Web content across a variety of Web-connected devices that also run the software. The app basically stores all the content in a simple, easy-to-use interface. The app doesn’t require an Internet connection to access saved content.

Like the browser extension and mobile apps, Pocket for Mac allows you to quickly save Web pages, video clips, and images to your accounts and access them at a later time. So why would you consider using Pocket for Mac desktop client rather than the browser-based Pocket? Well, the tweaked user interface features an improved icon layout and, more importantly, you can access content without an Internet connection. In the past, the only way to view your saved clips was to log into the Pocket website.

Pocket for Mac may come in handy if you’re an avid Web reader. You can use Pocket for free, but if you need enhanced search features and remove ads, then you may want to get a premium subscription and it’s quite affordable that it’s impossible not to recommend it to just about anybody.

PDF Expert

Working with PDF files is a common thing these days, and PDF Expert will make your work easier. Not only does the software allow you to fill out forms and merge PDFs, but it also offers you a ton of tools for editing, annotating, and signing files on the fly. Moreover, the app works well with Apple’s Continuity and Handoff features, so you can swap devices while in the middle of a task without running into any problem.

Google Drive

Last, but certainly not least on our list of best Mac apps is Google Drive. The app features useful applications that are all directly integrated into Google Drive. These include Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Google Photos, and Google Keep along with the actual Google Drive app itself. These apps focus primarily on office use for documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows but also work for note-taking, backing up your photos, and storing whatever file you can master. The best thing is that they’re all free unless you need more than 15GB of storage on Google Drive. Most people don’t. These are all essential Mac apps.


We’ve discussed essential apps for Mac that everyone should download right away, and they’re almost all free. If you don’t prefer one of our picks, you’ll find a suitable alternative without much problem. The vast majority of people will get plenty of use out of these tools and appreciate them more than the default software that comes installed with macOS. Download any one of these, and they won’t let you down. If we missed any of the essential Mac apps, drop a comment and let us know.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this article may be Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase through those links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This helps support our website and allows us to continue providing informative content about Apple products. Thank you for your support!

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