12 Apps That Should Be in the Apps Starter Kit

If you are searching for good apps at the Mac App Store, chances are you’d take a look at the featured app categories on display.

I’m talking about the “Apps for Writers,” “Get Stuff Done,” “Better Together,” and “Great Free Apps” categories where apps similar to one another are grouped together and given a snazzy section of their own. More importantly, these categories help you cut search time by providing unique gateways to apps that can contribute to your productivity, help you stay fit, or make work easier for you.

One of my personal favorites is the “Apps Starter Kit,” which welcomes new Mac owners with a set of 30 apps that can enhance user experience further. Although the suggestions are pretty helpful (I see a few of my favorites in there), it’s pretty limited. There are a handful of other apps at the Mac App Store that deserve a cozy spot in this category too. So in this post, I’ll share 12 apps that should be in the Apps Starter Kit as well.

A Bigger Apps Starter Kit

The Apps Starter Kit is a great place to start when choosing apps to buy and/or download for your new Mac. Here are other apps that should be on this category as well:

Growl notification system

Notifications made beautiful by Growl.


Start your Mac download spree with Growl. It is by far the best notification system for the Mac, informing you in the most beautiful manner what your apps are up to, who sent you that latest email, who’s calling you on Skype and more. With its paid upgrade to 1.3 following OS X Lion, Growl is more powerful, intuitive, and personal with a whole collection of sounds and styles ready at your disposal.

Older Growl users new to the latest version may find the new preference pane a bit more complicated than usual, but features like the notification rollup make it a worthy upgrade.

Price: 1.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.7 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Growl

alfred launcher

Alfred, your very own Mac butler.


Alfred is another great app to download as soon as you get hold of your new Mac. It’s a great companion to have when you need to search and open files, search and open apps, define words, make quick calculations, perform system commands, and many more. It’s easy to use, it’s beautiful and it’s fast, making it a must-have productivity app.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Running with Crayons Ltd


With Cloud, almost everything is shareable.


Cloud makes file sharing on the Mac and to the web really easy and quick. You can upload almost anything to Cloud, including browser URLs, archives, bookmarks and copied text. Just drag to the cloud menu bar icon and it will instantly generate a shareable link.

Although it’s limited in terms of file size (25MB for free users, 250MB for Pro), it works well for users who need to quickly share a file or two, who love slick design, and who do not like ads.

Price: Free, pricing plans for the service
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Linebreak


Record videos and images with Screeny.


There aren’t a lot of screen recording apps out there that are affordable and of great quality, so when I came across Screeny, I was convinced that this is my best alternative to Screenflow and Camtasia.

Simply put, Screeny records screen activity (with audio), captures screenshots, and resizes the canvas to adjust file size and focus. Opening up the preferences, you can adjust the canvas transparency, video frame rate and upload finished recordings to your Cloud account. It’s a convenient and high quality recording app to use for troubleshooting, video blogging, recording online meetings, etc.

Price: $14.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: Drew Wilson


Task management made simple and beautiful.


Multi-platform, free, cloud sync—all this in one beautiful task manager called Wunderlist. This productivity app puts together simple but elegant design and seamless functionality to give you a tool that is beautiful and that manages and organizes all of your tasks well.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: 6Wunderkinder

tiny expander

Extract 25 archive types with Tiny Expander

Tiny Expander

One problem I had with the Mac was not being able to extract anything other than .zip files. Tiny Expander is a simple utility app that solves this completely. It works seamlessly with the system in that as soon as you double-click an archive file, it extracts immediately. No open windows, no notifications, it just works.

Of course, you can open up Tiny Expander’s preferences to change the default settings. You can choose to extract files to a default folder or remove the archive as soon as it’s done extracting. The features may be limited, but it serves its purpose well.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later, 64-bit processor
Developer: Macinapps.com

textexpander for mac

TextExpander for Mac

TextExpander for Mac

TextExpander is another great app that deserves a spot in the Apps Starter Kit. It saves you time and keystrokes by creating abbreviations that, when typed, would automatically insert snippets, email signatures, text templates, and fill up submission forms. Tired of always entering your email address, by-line, or About Me profile description? This is the app you will need.

Price: $34.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: SmileOnMyMac, LLC

ia writer

iA Writer keeps your focused while writing.

iA Writer

When you need to write a letter, your homework, your app’s sales copy, or web copy for your brand new website, iA Writer helps keep you focused. It’s a distraction-free writing app, which means there’s no noise, no formatting options, and it’s not dependent on your mouse to work. Along with that are a few great features, such as autosave, auto markdown, and focus mode.

All in all, iA Writer is a great writing app for everyone.

Price: $19.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Information Architects, Inc.

wallpaper wizard

Wallpaper Wizard: Quality wallpaper management

Wallpaper Wizard

Wallpaper Wizard will change the way you use desktop wallpapers for good. It’s a fun app that switches wallpapers in such a polished and smooth manner. What’s more, it organizes wallpaper collections while giving you access to hundreds more stored in their impressive database. From abstract art to zebras, you can select from a wide variety of wallpapers and upload to your own selections through your Wallpaper Wizard online account.

Price: $6.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: Coppertino, Inc.


With BreakTime, you need to take breaks from work.


I’m pretty sure that with a new Mac, you’d be spending twice as much time tinkering and working with it than usual. While this is understandable, it’s important to give yourself a few breaks in between. BreakTime can help you with that.

BreakTime works by timing your breaks and making sure that you stand up and rest. It dims the screen, disables your dock, and through its “enforce” mode keeps you from ending your breaks too early. The overall design is quite impressive, making it one of the best in its category.

Price: $4.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: excited pixel

smart converter

Convert videos and audio with Smart Converter

Smart Converter

You may never know just when you need to convert a .wav file for the iPod or an .avi video file for the iPad. Unfortunately, most media conversion apps are geared towards tech-savvy users and are a bit expensive, so having a nifty and free alternative like Smart Converter is a relief. It’s a video and audio conversion app that’s easy to use and that converts almost any file to versions optimized for a particular device—Apple TV, iPad, Android tablet, iPhone/iPod, etc.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or later
Developer: ShedWorx


Personal finance management with Koku


Looking at the current Apps Starter Kit, there doesn’t seem to be an app for personal finance. To fill in this gap, you can take a look at Koku, a beautiful personal finance management app that makes it easy to manage and monitor all of your banking accounts—checking, savings, and even credit cards. You can finally take a look at your spending habits, the expenses most paid for, and make significant changes to the way you manage your income.

Price: $29.99
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later
Developer: FadingRed

What Else Can We Add?

There are certainly many other apps that deserve to be in this category, including those that aren’t sold at the Mac App Store. Some of the non-MAS apps I’d throw in would be Dropbox, CleanMyMac, Postbox or Sparrow for alternative mail clients, Concentrate and Watts.

I’m sure you have more apps to add to the Apps Starter Kit. List down apps that you think spanking new Mac owners should download as soon as they boot up their computers for the first time.