10 Ways to Discover Awesome Apps

At AppStorm, we pride ourselves on finding and presenting the very best apps. But have you ever stopped to think where we find all our wonderful apps? They don’t just appear on our doorsteps, we have to go out and search for the very best and most recent apps.

In this roundup, I’ll cover some of the best ways to seek out awesome apps. If you’re looking to discover new Mac software, you can’t go wrong with these wonderful sources.

Mac App Store

This one is a no-brainer. Apple’s Mac App Store only launched at the beginning of the year, but it already has thousands of brilliant apps waiting for you to find, from old favourites to the up-and-coming stars. The Featured page is curated very well, with an excellent collection of software constantly on show. If you’re looking for something more specific, the search feature works (admittedly not excellently), or you can browse by category. The App Store has to be the most comprehensive hub for Mac apps on this list, and the easiest way to install apps too.

Apps in the App Store

Apps in the App Store

iTunes RSS Feeds

This is a hidden gem which I have only discovered recently and have loved ever since. Apple has set up a specialized web page where you can generate quite specific RSS feeds which will alert you of all kind of apps, be it simply “Top Mac Apps”, or “Top Grossing Weather Apps”. I’m a sucker for free stuff, and am subscribed to the “Top Free Mac Apps” feed – Every day, I’ll get one or two recommendations, so it’s always easy to look through them. What makes this method so good is that you haven’t got to go out of your way to find apps, they’ll be delivered right to your RSS client.

Generating an RSS feed

Generating an RSS feed

Apple Blogs

There is a sea of Apple blogs out there, all competing to give you up-to-the-minute news on what the nutritional value of Steve Jobs’ lunch was. As interesting as the standard news is, my favorite articles in any Apple blog is their software articles and reviews. What makes these guys so great is that they’re used to reporting news as it happens, so if a big app is released, you’ll hear about it that day. As I’ve said, there are a million different blogs to choose from, but I’m particularly enjoying TUAW’s recent “Daily Mac App” series.

Apple blogs

Apple blogs

AlternativeTo

AlternativeTo has always been a big player in the world of software discovery. What makes this service different is that it’s not for finding great apps you might like, but more for finding great alternatives to software. For example, if you used iTunes, but wanted something that will work a bit better, you can go the iTunes AlternativeTo page, and you’ll find out about apps like Songbird, Spotify and Miro, and from there, see reviews of it. Usually, if I’m looking for a new app, it will be to replace another app which hasn’t fully satisfied me, so AlternativeTo is an absolutely invaluable resource.

AlternativeTo

AlternativeTo

I Use This

I Use This is another wonderful source for apps, not dissimilar to AlternativeTo. People can click “I use this”, on an app, and with such ratings, you can see just how popular apps are, discover the newest apps, and much more. Like AlternativeTo, you can see similar apps, and there are reviews on the site. Most of the reviews are quite old, but it’s still a brilliant place to find new apps. One benefit of I Use This is that, in many cases, you can download the DMG direct from the site, which is very useful.

I Use This

I Use This

Developer Sites

This might seem like an obvious option for many people, but for others, they’d never consider it. You know those apps you use? There are real people who spend many hours making those apps. And funnily enough, those people have, more likely than not, made other wonderful apps, probably in a similar sort of market. For example, if you use and love LittleSnapper, you might want to check out all of RealMac’s apps, and you’ll discover RapidWeaver and Courier, both of which are awesome apps which would complement LittleSnapper wonderfully. Try to check back regularly too, or subscribe to their blogs, as devs are constantly bringing out awesome new apps.

RealMac Software's website

RealMac Software's website

Software Bundles

We at Envato recently released a great software bundle, with such software superstars as TextExpander and 1Password. You’ve probably heard of those two apps, but have you heard of Arq and Alarms, two other apps in the bundle? I certainly hadn’t. Generally, app bundles will give you a few big names to get you excited, and then a few lesser-known (but still amazing) apps which you mightn’t have heard about otherwise. Software bundles are two-a-penny these days, and there will always be a nice bundle running. One huge advantage of this is if you find an app you want, you can buy it, along with several other great apps, for a massively discounted price.

Our Freelance Mac App Bundle

Our Freelance Mac App Bundle

Bodega

Bodega is like the hipster version of the Mac App Store. It was a one-stop-shop for Mac software before being a one-stop-shop for Mac software was cool. This free app is absolutely stunning, and features apps I’ve never heard of. Spend five minutes in Bodega, and you are almost guaranteed to find an app you want, and installing apps from it is pretty straightforward too. Many people suspected Bodega to be killed off by the Mac App Store, but it’s certainly still going strong. Why not check out our review of Bodega?

Bodega

Bodega

Google

It’s impossible to write an article about discovering anything without including Google, the mother of all discovery services. The ways of finding apps through Google (or other search engines) is unlimited, but the best way seems to be to enter the task you need done, followed my the word “mac”. So if you wanted an app for project management, just Google “project management mac” and you’ll find apps like Merlin, OmniPlan, iTaskX and FastTrack. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with Google.

Google

Google

AppStorm

Excuse the shameless self promotion, you didn’t honestly think I was going to leave this one out, did you? If you’re reading this, you probably know about Mac.AppStorm, and how we find awesome (and not so awesome) apps, and write wonderful reviews of them. However, did you know that we also find and review iPhone apps, iPad apps, web apps and Android apps?

If you’ve been missing out on these great sites, then go straight to our archives, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do! You can also check out our awesome AppStorm home page for a feed of recent articles from the various sections.

Yours truly, Mac.AppStorm

Yours truly, Mac.AppStorm

Conclusion

There you have it, 10 fantastic ways to find brilliant apps. So what are you waiting for? Go and find some awesome apps right now!

I hope this post has been of some use to you, and that maybe you’ll be able to find some amazing software from the sources I’ve listed.


  • Aaron
  • thecw

    Appshopper.com rss feed

    • http://iaian7.com Iaian7

      Absolutely! I use Appshopper.com constantly, for both iOS and OSX applications. It’s best for price checks, tracking deals, and creating wishlists…not so much for product comparisons. Macupdate.com is easily my favourite for that, as few other websites support such easy cross referencing, commenting, and application update history.

  • Sigilist

    The previous two comments have some of the more interesting overlooked hot spots for finding apps, though we might not all agree on what’s the best. The article itself is just okay for what it recommends; some of them are just too obvious, or disappointing, and one is below average (I Like This) for several reasons… one being it is almost always out of date on multiple levels for any of its entries.

    You might have polled your readers for input to broaden the possibilities in selecting things to review before writing this article. No one expects you to know everything. That being said, your blog has still been a sound source of information on the whole, and I will keep reading.

    Of all you recommend, “I Like This” is the worst way to find better apps. It is giant popularity contest… and the entrants actually change with versions but the votes don’t. It is a silly way to present a hierarchy of choices for what’s best to try first and inevitably leads to loads of installs and deinstalls…. no matter if one is looking for something simpler / more automated or an app with better options and versatility. My vote of ILT… stay away! Even the AppStore, which is now glutted with space wasters, would be better.

  • xen0blade
  • http://www.fireflypages.com Brandon

    I also like http://www.allmymacapps.net (Allmymacapps)

  • http://appsblood.com Laurent Pantanacce

    Another way to find awesome apps is to discover how other users rated the apps. On http://appsblood.com/ios/wall you can discover Top 200 Mac apps, Top 200 Mac free apps, Top 200 Mac paid apps, Top 200 iOs apps, Top 200 iOS free apps and Top 200 iOs paid apps.
    The ranking is based on the number of user ratings and the rating itself (4/5 or 5/5).

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