Mac owners tend to come in two flavors. Those who have been Mac owners since Apple Computer, Inc. was synonymous with the Mac. And those Mac owners who are relative newbies, either coming over from the dark side of Windows, or those who are new to computers altogether.
Every now and again an online publication will list a bunch of apps that new Mac users should download and install immediately because it will make your Mac life better. Here’s a list from a couple of years ago compiled by a popular Apple oriented website so I’m going to play the Devil’s Advocate, stuff my tongue into my cheek, and give you reasons to save yourself– if you’re new to the Mac– some time and money.
Google Chrome – No. Don’t do it. Google’s popular browser tracks you and collects information about your whereabouts online and there’s no reason to give them more data. Safari works fine.
Skype – Microsoft owns Skype now and the company cannot be trusted so just use FaceTime. The video quality is better anyway, and why would you want to associate online with someone who uses Windows?
Dropbox – I use Dropbox. It works faster than iCloud, which comes with more data and is free for Mac users. Free and slow is good enough.
Fantastical – This is a Calendar replacement that doesn’t so much replace Calendar as it does give you a better visual experience, even beating Apple at the user interface. But you’re spending more money for the same functionality. Stick with Calendar. It’s free.
Evernote – Notes app that works everywhere. Apple’s Notes app only works on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. That’s all you need.
Tweetbot – It’s a better interface for Twitter than Twitter’s own Mac app so you’re spending extra money to look at thousands of useless tweets from celebrities, politicians, and newsmakers which are available on the free app.
Pixelmator – Think of Pixelmator as an affordable Photoshop Lite. This graphic design and photo enhancement app is inexpensive, has a large number of rabid users that matches the steep learning curve. If you’re an iPhone user get that version instead because it’s much the same thing and costs less.
iStat Menus – This convenient utility displays memory, battery, disk usage, and other stats which are also available in the OS X app Activity Monitor, which does more for free.
Airmail – Please. It’s just another way to do email. Who needs that? Isn’t one way enough?
1Password – This app is much loved and very expensive but it has more features for managing passwords and usernames and other important personal information, but is not any more secure than OS X’s built in Keychain app which is free.
MacUpdate Desktop – Think of this as the updater to Mac apps that do not come from Apple or the Mac App Store. Pay up front to be notified when apps need to be updated. Many apps do that already.
All those apps are great apps but absolutely not necessary for new Mac users. If new Mac users get these apps, install them and use them, then who will I have to lord it over and highlight my vast first generation Mac owner knowledge?