Besides the top Mac automation apps I use—Keyboard Maestro, BetterTouchTool, Hazel, TextExpander, PopClip, smart folders, and iClip—I have about twelve other applications that greatly help me produce content, complete client work, and keep me productive.
As a long-time Mac user, I think online and desktop applications have significantly improved in the last several years, providing users with time-saving workflows, strategies, and approaches to getting things done.
While many of the following Mac apps should address the needs of general and pro-Mac users, some apps are subscription-based but are well worth the money. However, there are suitable alternatives to the listed apps, so I invite you to recommend apps that you find helpful in your work.
Note: a few of the app reviews below include affiliate links. I appreciate your support in using those links.
This year, I have mastered Amazing Marvin for all my daily tasks and project needs, thus increasing my productivity. I use over a hundred Marvin strategies and settings to help manage and stay on top of projects. I’ve used several task managers, but Marvin exceeds them all. Marvin has a significant learning curve for advanced task and project planning, but you can tailor the setup to fit your needs. You can read my full review of Marvin here. I’m glad that I decided to purchase the full-time license.
Arc Web Browser
I spend 90% of my day using the Arc Chrome-based web browser. It’s the browser I’ve always wanted because it allows me to pin bookmarks into workspaces and folders and take and save screenshots in Easels. Without Arc, my work would be much less organized and time-consuming. While I would love for Safari to be my default web browser because it’s cross-platform for all my Apple devices, it doesn’t compare to the productivity features in Arc. You’re missing out if you haven’t tried out this application yet. It’s still free, and they add updates every week!
Mem AI is my go-to AI knowledge management tool. It helps me capture, organize, and retrieve information seamlessly. I use it for note-taking, brainstorming, and generating content. This year, the developers of Mem have focused intently on improving Mem’s search and AI features, making it a powerful second-brain application. Mem AI can generate content based on my growing notes, quotes, brainstorms, and reflections database. Unlike ChatGPT, Mem’s AI generates content based on how I think and view topics I write about. Does it replace the writing I do? No! It’s more like an assistant, helping me generate thoughts and ideas. You can hold chats with Mem AI to help you process your thoughts. If you’re not doing so, you owe yourself to start building a knowledge base.
This productivity application is like Spotlight and Alfred on steroids. I regularly use several Raycast extensions for daily tasks, including retrieving clipboard items, performing file searches, generating passwords, opening saved URLs, and accessing my latest Raidrop bookmarks. I particularly like the Floating Notes extension, which I trigger using a BetterTouchTool finger gesture. Raycast includes a pro AI version, but I’m unsure if it’s worth it right now, given that many other AI applications can do more than Raycast. The pro version, however, includes unlimited clipboard history, and since the developers also offer a well-featured free version, I purchased the pro version to support their work.
This year, I also mastered pinned, snoozed, and set aside emails in Spark Mail. I achieve Inbox Zero nearly every day because Spark Mail makes it easy. You can display a traditional Spark sidebar, a skinny sidebar (shown in the screenshot below), or no sidebar. Recently, AI was added to Spark, and it’s a delight to see it quickly write email replies, which can be a huge time saver. Here’s my full review of Spark Mail written before its AI update.
If you read my blog posts before 2022, you will notice how they are not as well edited as they are today, thanks to Grammarly. I’ve never been able to proofread my writing effectively. Grammarly checks my grammar and spelling and helps me enhance my sentences like a professional editor. It’s not a simple application that automatically corrects your mistakes. You need to review the edits it suggests and make the changes, just like you would when working with an editor. The app also features AI technology that can rephrase your content in the style of your choice. The previous three sentences are examples of the revisions Grammarly makes. A suitable alternative to Grammarly is ProWritingAid, which provides a lifetime subscription. The only drawback to ProWritingAid is that it’s not available in all desktop apps but in web-based apps.
I have used this quick-capture note-taking application for several years because it’s perfect for quickly jotting down thoughts and ideas. Other notebook developers could benefit from including the user interface and features found in Drafts. Although the app is cross-platform, it does not yet include AI. It is one of the few applications for which I don’t mind paying a subscription.
Whenever I use this (single payment) app to take a screenshot, it automatically saves the shot on my desktop. This feature allows me to easily reference or use the screenshots as I work on a task. I can take screenshots quickly and easily by triggering the ScreenFloat shortcut with a BTT finger gesture. I can also save screenshots to the app’s library for later use.
This is the second screenshot, video, and desktop recording app I use. It comprises annotation tools and the capacity to share screenshots from your CleanShot account. I also trigger shots using a BetterTouchTool gesture. CleanShot (affiliate link) has a clean user interface with a keyboard shortcut for all its actions and features. It’s a single payment app; you can pay for the upgrades if you need them. Read my full review of CleanShot here.
I started using this bookmarking app when it was first released, I think, seven years ago. Though several other bookmarking apps are on the market, I stay with Raindrop because it’s cross-platform, easy to search, and includes a text highlighter. The app allows for permanently saving bookmarked pages in case they are removed from their original site.
There are several workflows and how-tos that I might forget because I don’t perform them daily. Scribe allows for capturing the steps for completing tasks and saving captured steps as a document. I can access my saved documents using Scribe’s Google extension. The pro-version of Scribe is too expensive for my needs, but it does enable you to capture screenshots outside of web applications. Scribe also uses AI that can write descriptions for your how-to.
Screen Studio 2
The best app I purchased last month is the desktop video recording app Screen Studio (affiliate link). I love this app for the time it saves me in post-production. Screen Studio is not for advanced, complex video editing but is powerfully useful for quick and short videos. The app automatically records your webcam for talking head videos, and then in post-production, it zooms in on areas of your recording where you point and click with your cursor. It also provides colorful customized backgrounds for your video captures, making your video attractive. Screen Studio has dozens of other features and settings that help make custom edits to your productions. The app does not allow for second tracks or titles, but it includes automatic text captions and offers a one-time purchase option. The exporting of videos is relatively slow, but overall, it provides a clean, straightforward way to produce videos.
Let me know what you think of these suggested Mac apps for productivity. Use the comment section below to suggest alternative apps that should be used for increasing workflows and getting things done.