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New to Mac OS X? Here are 30 of the best apps available

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Entertainment & Social

Spotify (Free)

Spotify Mac App

Apple Music isn’t for everyone. Fortunately, Spotify’s official desktop app represents the perfect alternative for those looking to branch outside the Apple ecosystem. The Mac app gives you access to the entire Spotify catalog much like its mobile counterpart, letting you search and listen to nearly any track, artist, or album free of charge. You can also use it to build custom playlists, or capitalize on personal recommendations that span jazz, hip-hop, rock, and everything in between.

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HandBrake (Free)

Handbrake App Thumb

Yes, DVD ripping is still a thing in the age of digital distribution. That said, HandBrake shines when it comes to converting media files and encoding videos, especially when you factor in how quick and effortless the open-source software makes the process. The software also comes with a plethora of video-editing tools designed for splicing, adjusting framerate, and adding subtitles among a laundry list of other useful actions that come second to its optimization presets.

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Parcel (Free)

Parcel App Thumb

Honestly, who still shops in brick-and-mortar stores anymore? Parcel is aimed at the online shopping aficionado, rendering it ideal for anyone who’s constantly expecting a package at their doorstep. The tracking app works with more than 250 services — including mainstays such as UPS, USPS, FedEx — allowing you to see where your packages are at a glance with little more than a tracking number. Push notifications and Spotlight integration is just a bonus.

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uTorrent (Free)

uTorrent App Thumb

Solid BitTorrent clients are few and far between, but uTorrent ranks among the best. The lightweight app excels when it comes to download speed and features, the latter of which includes a wealth of controls that allow you to adjust bandwidth and uploads speeds on a whim. You can also use it to download items in sequential order, resume stopped downloads, and easily access official BitTorrent Bundles lined with a host of movies, music, and other freely-licensed content. It’s even developed by BitTorrent, Inc., which makes it as close to official as it gets.

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BitTorrent, Inc.

VLC (Free)

VLC Media Player Thumb App

VLC media player is better than Quicktime in nearly every facet that matters, most notably speed and file compatibility. The open-source software also supports nearly every media file you can muster, from AAC to Theora, while offering speedy video conversion, extensive subtitle support, and a host of video filters that let crop, de-lace, and general customize playback. The intuitive interface isn’t half bad, either.

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Adium (Free)

Adium App Thumb

Adium is a multi-protocol instant messaging client that can bundle all of your accounts into one simple application. Just tell it which services you use — AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Facebook, etc. — and it’ll pull all of your contacts and organize them into a unified space with a clean UI.

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Slack (Free)

Slack Mac App

Google Hangouts is second to Slack, a messaging client that’s recently taken office productivity and discussion to new levels. The service’s attractive desktop app pairs features all the tools available in the browser-based version of Slack — i.e. private channels, Giphy integration, themes  — along with better control over notifications and increased support for multiple teams.

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Tweetbot (Free)

Tweetbot Mac App

Tweetbot 2 is for the power user who’d rather skip the outdated, official Twitter app for Mac in favor of something more capable. Like the last-gen version of the software, the newest iteration presents you with multiple columns and windows, along with tools to mute users, hashtags, and specific keywords. It supports third-party apps such as bitly and Paper, and showcases a streamlined interface that pair perfectly with the redesigned look of El Capitan.

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