10 Things You Don't Need To Install On Your Mac

Many people online claim that there are certain third-party apps that you need on your Mac. But usually this isn't true, or only applies if you use your Mac in a specific way. As a super user, I often see these lists and notice I don't use any of these "must-have" apps.

Comments: 32 Responses to “10 Things You Don't Need To Install On Your Mac”

    Daniel Dick
    1 week ago

    I hope to learn what I am wasting time on. Thank

    John Russell
    1 week ago

    “Guilty” as charged :-) but some are just plain fun. Alfred together with its PowerPack, for example can do so much and I really like the things it can do – – just for fun. Capto offerings duplicate MacOS screen captures, of course, but so many audio, image, and video features are all together in one place and it’s cool. Your points are well taken, though.

    Robert Rutledge
    1 week ago

    Is KeyBoard Maestro one of the things you find to be not useful or just limited to a specific group of folks?

    1 week ago

    Robert: Yes. I don’t use it.

    Nicole
    1 week ago

    The one point I want to make is, Macs are vulnerable to malware, and not only due to user error. I love Apple products but people need to accept the evolving nature of malware. It’s rare and there are obvious risks to avoid, but malware comes through email, texts, and even the AppStore got tricked. Always investigate suspicious activity, even when you are diligent about safety.

    Akos
    1 week ago

    Can you remove the menubar icon for apps that do not have such setting? Option+drag? Or any other trick?

    laverne lachapelle
    1 week ago

    “Another thing people talk about is a Spotlight Replacement tool.” I rarely disagree with anything you post but I find Find Any File.app so much easier to use and set up searches on that I happily paid $5? for the app. It’s just great. I still use Spotlight, but often I find that Find Any File is the better choice.

    1 week ago

    Akos: If you Command+drag an icon down to the bottom of the screen it should remove it. But I’m not sure if some apps forbid that.

    Lindy
    1 week ago

    Gary, you are so right. We love gadgets. I’m going to do some belated spring cleaning of apps I am not using.
    But I feel compelled to put a shout out to my 2 favorite 3rd party utility apps that I use every single day.
    “FindAnyFile” is way more adaptable and faster than Spotlight, and NameMangler which is amazing.
    I know OS X has the ability to rename but not to the control this application allows.
    Stay safe everyone and wash your hands after using the internet!!!🤣

    John Thomas
    1 week ago

    Well said. I’ve been telling old and new Mac users this for years.

    Karen Brown
    1 week ago

    Ah, you didn’t mention the most common thing Mac users don’t need—Adobe Reader! I tell our Mac Users group often to dump it—it causes problems. Preview is much better.

    1 week ago

    Karen: You are right!

    Will
    1 week ago

    I used to use Dragon Dictate every day but the new dictate functions built into IOS and into Word for Mac have made Dragon Dictate redundant. Admittedly, DD has some features IOS doesn’t have but I suspect there will be a catching up process over the years.

    Douglas Brace
    1 week ago

    There are sometimes that you need Adobe Reader. Some features (e.g. commenting, filling out a form, and signatures) are in Preview are not compatible with Adobe Reader on Windows.

    Douglas Brace
    1 week ago

    I use a uninstaller app, as an easy way to easily reset a program to defaults.

    Douglas Brace
    1 week ago

    I use a cleaner tool because I want system and user cache and temp directories to be deleted. Does that potentially slow things down? Yes but I do not do it for speed reasons, I do it because I want a consistent “beginning” experience for applications I use. I do the same for my web browsers and I delete their data deleted. I understand the intention of the video but other experts that do just as much or more work as you do not agree with your philosophy. Thank you for all of your posts.

    1 week ago

    Douglas: You can comment, fill out forms, and add signatures in Preview. You don’t need Adobe Reader for those things. FYI.

    Douglas Brace
    1 week ago

    Gary, I am aware of that but I have come across PDF files where those features were used in Preview but they did not retain the information that was typed in the field, or the appearance/formatting was different, or the comments were not visible when viewing them in Adobe Acrobat Reader in Windows or Mac.

    Jean-Paul Pinnel
    1 week ago

    Hi Gary, I would suggest to delete your „Adjusting Photos On Your Mac With Affinity Photo“ video tutorial, before telling people not to install every app suggested by others. Is the Photos app not good enough to deal with photos? Affinity Photo surely has more features, so as Mosaic as window manager or Alfred as spotlight replacememt.
    Don‘t get me wrong, 99,9% of your video tutorials are awesome and educating, but not this one!

    1 week ago

    Jean-Paul: What I’m saying here is that you don’t NEED to install anything. That doesn’t mean you may not WANT to install something because you have a use for it. I say that several times in this video. What I’m warning against is people telling you that you NEED to install something. There is nothing you NEED to install. Every user is different and no one should make a blanket statement that because they like an app, that you should have it on your Mac too.

    Russ
    1 week ago

    Thanks Gary. It’s nice to re-visit this topic now and again. What’s your view on Adobe Flash Player. Of course, we all use it on websites to view videos. My issue is how the updates are delivered. I get a pop-up saying you have an update click here. How do you know it’s not bogus? Is there a correct way to update Adobe Flash? Thanks for all your posts.

    1 week ago

    Russ: Flash Player is gone at the end of the year, so it doesn’t matter. Rarely is it used anymore to view videos. Usually now it is just games, and some old sites that still use it for fancy interactive things. The correct way to update the Flash Player is by using its System Preferences pane. Or, by going directly to Adobe’s site.

    Gail
    1 week ago

    Gary, tysm. My Mac was slow & did stupid things. I deleted CCleaner for Mac (which took longer and longer to load over time), and Malwarebytes which Apple recommends. My computer is now running great. I did look up how to manually delete cookies, i.e. Preferences, Privacy, & Manage Website Data, & Empty Cache. I would like to do this twice a day. Can let me know if this is okay? Also, Malwarebytes caught things that the built-in programs didn’t. How can we catch and rid the puter of malware? ty

    1 week ago

    Gail: Don’t delete your cookies and cache that often, or at all. In fact, deleting your cache will slow things down (the whole point of a cache is to speed things up).
    What did Malwarebytes catch, specifically? Just don’t install things you don’t completely trust from now on and you won’t need it.

    Ramon
    1 week ago

    I use Preview a lot, but have found the PDF Pen Pro has saved my life a few times because Preview will not fill out forms properly or have some fields turn out with a white font or black background and illegible. Thanks for the great posts, Gary.

    Derek Hackett
    1 week ago

    Do you use a database? I’ve enjoyed using them for years but since moving to a Mac (with no Windows) I am having trouble finding one that suits my basic needs (Since the demise of Bento).

    1 week ago

    Derek: What do you use a database tool for? It is one of the primary tools of a computer, but in most cases you don’t need a raw database, but an app (or service) that has a database as a part of it. All computer users use databases, but few know they are even doing so. (Examples: Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Mail, games, etc)

    betty
    6 days ago

    Main thing I disagree with is keeping the Apple Mail app. It’s one of the worst…pathetic. It’s one of the worst I’ve ever used. I like Thunderbird, since I have multiple email addresses and many filters. Since most people don’t, then Mail might work for them. I like Mozilla apps since I can edit them in mostly plain text, search emails in Text Wrangler or BBEdit, even Terminal. I’m looking for a command to switch from plain text to HTML on the fly.

    Douglas Brace
    6 days ago

    I agree with Betty mostly because Apple Mail is proprietary. Mozilla Thunderbird is open source and cross platform which is important for something is local computer storage of email. This means that you could backup your email and easily transfer it to another computer that runs either Windows or Linux.

    6 days ago

    Douglas: Modern email uses IMAP and your email is stored on the server. So transferring email from one computer to another isn’t something you ever have to do. You just sign into your account.

    Ibby Ruttle
    6 days ago

    Thank you, thank you! I hope I am commenting on this topic! I read that one could print pdf files on Reader or Preview. I had no idea about Preview! I had documents I had to sign today! they would not print on Reader. I saved the document, opened it in Preview and it printed! Wonderful!

    Tom Abbott
    3 days ago

    Thanks Gary. I was watching one of my favorite productivity YouTubers, and he was going on about Alfred, so I downloaded it. I quickly found that there was a learning curve, and I would have had to put some time into learning this tool. I also couldn’t launch one of my favorite apps, while Spotlight launched it in one second. You’re right, there’s probably some cool things Alrfred can do, but do I REALLY need it, is it worth the time to try and figure out? Probably not. I’m sticking with Spotlig

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