Brendan Dawes
Analogue + Digital

The First Things I Install on a New Mac

Having recently put my trusty 2012 iMac out to pasture — a machine that has given me great service over the years — I had the task of installing the apps I can't do without when working on my Mac. I'm not talking here about things like Photoshop, Fusion360 etc, but more utility type apps that speed up my workflow on day-to-day basis. In no particular order, here's that list.

Fresh is one of those apps I can't do without. It does one simple thing — press a key combination and it will show you the last few modified documents, meaning that file you just saved can be instantly found without navigating folders etc.

Default Folder is great when working with open and save dialogues. My fave feature is mousing over an open window in the background will let you target that folder in the open / save dialog with one click. So good.

SizeUp lets me quickly arrange windows with key combinations that quickly become like muscle memory. Moving a window to a corner, or getting it to fill half the screen becomes trivial with this lovely app.

Alfred is my preferred launcher. Yes I know Spotlight can do some of this stuff, but honestly I find Alfred much quicker, more intelligent, plus it can do things like clipboard history, snippets and much more.

Hazel is the app I use to keep my files in order. It'll run tasks in the background at certain times or when a folder changes, moving files to a certain folder, or the trash etc. It can do a lot more such as tagging, adding labels etc. I find it keeps my desktop and other folders nice and tidy.

I hope there's something new to you in that little list. The rest of the things I put on a new Mac are Dropbox, Backblaze for backups, 1Password for passwords, Skyfonts for fonts and of course MacVim, Tmux and various other command line stuff such as FZF.