Leo Babauta: new mac software

These are really just notes for myself, because I always have to remember what to install when I get a new Mac (I pass old ones down to my wife and kids when they are no longer fast enough to run my business).

I share this list with the hope that it will be useful to a few people who get new Macs.

These are the first pieces of software I install on a new Mac, in order:

  1. Google Chrome. Much better than Safari, and I use it for almost everything.
  2. 1Password. I store all my passwords here, so I need this asap when I get a new computer. Use this or a similar password manager (Lastpass, KeePass) so you never forget your password again, and don’t have to re-use passwords, a practice that is very insecure.
  3. Dropbox. To sync my important files. Once I install this, I have almost everything I need.
  4. Launchbar. Makes it super fast to launch files and other things I use a lot. Installing Launchbar means I move a lot faster on the new computer.
  5. TextExpander. Turns little snippets of text into commonly used code, emails, signatures, urls, etc. Makes my work so much easier, and I find myself wishing I had already installed it, almost immediately upon getting a new Mac.
  6. nvAlt. My note-taking app (a fork of the great Notational Velocity), I throw all bits of text and other info in here, put to-do and idea lists, things to try, wishlists, bucket lists, etc. I sync my Notational data via Dropbox, so as soon as I install this and point it to the Notational data in Dropbox, I have all my info at my fingertips. [Update: As of 2017, I’ve been using the Notes app that comes with Macs and iPhones.]
  7. Skype. This isn’t as crucial as the above items, but I use it on a regular basis for interviews and meetings, so I usually need it within a day or two of getting a new computer.
  8. Transmit. I use this for uploading via FTP and to Amazon S3, two things I do on a regular basis to manage various websites and courses (including this site). Indispensable.
  9. Byword. My main writing app these days, mainly for its Markdown support and full-screen mode. [Update: I’ve been back to use Ommwriter as of 2017.]

And that’s it! Really, the first 5 are most essential, and the others are just needed within the first few days. I hope you find this useful!

Update: Here are some more that I find really useful, as of 2017 …

  • Ommwriter
  • VLC
  • Slack
  • Anki
  • Fantastical
  • Zoom

[more articles]