Opinion: Mac App Recommendations for College Students


Every year, incoming college students across the country buy a new Mac and then go off to spend 3/4 of the year taking classes in various subjects. In the retail business, they call this “back to school time,” which means sales on random products, services and software. 

Apple is no different and because all of you students are out buying new Macs and such, you should probably download some apps that will be able to help you both in and outside the classroom.

Here is our list of some of the best and most powerful apps for college students today:

  • Pastebot: What this app does is basically save everything that you copy (your Command + C’s) and puts it into an organized list so that if you need to, you can access it later. Coming from someone like me who has this app on their MacBook Pro for school purposes, it has saved my butt a few times and can come in handy in a pinch. As long as the app is open on your Mac, it will save everything that you copy. Pastebot does cost $9.99 in the Mac App Store. We do also have a review of the app as well if you are interested in checking that out too before you spend your hard-earned cash on it.
  • Evernote: This one should be essential for this generation of students who are always on their laptops and want to take notes during class. Evernote is so powerful and can be organized in so many different ways. Best of all, it is available for a free download in the Mac App Store and can be used on an iPhone, iPad and/or Apple Watch.
  • Third-party emailing apps: Although this one is not specific to any particular apps, it is a good idea to have your school email available on your Mac from an app. Yes, you can just have it on your iPhone or iPad, but sometimes you should have it on your Mac just to be on the safe side. My recommendations for a third-party app would be Spark or Airmail 3 for Mac. They have a great UI and for the case of Spark, will not cost you anything extra. Airmail 3 will cost you $9.99 in the Mac App Store. However, for those who have a school that uses Microsoft Outlook, it is completely okay to use the Outlook for Mac app. It has a great design to it and will get your email sent just how you like them.
  • Grammarly: You may have heard of this one through a browser extension on Safari or Google Chrome. What you may not know is that you can download an actual app to use the service too. It can come in handy for when you have to write those long papers in Microsoft Word or Pages and need an extra set of eyes on your grammar and spelling. Simply copy and paste the paper (I would suggest by paragraph) into Grammarly and let it do all of the work from there. Once you see the changes, you can make said changes to your Word or Pages document. Best of all, there is a free version and the app itself is free to download too.
  • Tweetbot for Mac: Let’s face it, we all need a break from class or sometimes the lecture is really boring and we want to go on Twitter but do not want to take out our iPhone to do so. Tweetbot for Mac is a great alternative since you can view Twitter on your Mac without going to the official Twitter website, but that the app can be used in Split View mode. So, you can type your notes (from an app like Evernote) and still be able to view your Twitter timeline. However, please note that a lot of the app’s services and features will soon be taken away in middle-to-late August due to radical Twitter API changes.
  • Amazon Kindle/iBooks apps: Can you download an e-version of your textbook from the Kindle or iBooks app for Mac? If so, then this app will allow you to view your eTextbook on your Mac! Both apps have iOS versions too, which will allow for access on an iPhone or iPad. On top of that, they are both free downloads in the Mac App Store.
  • Wunderlist: Are you the kind of person that needs to have every task written down for you day-by-day? Wunderlist is an app that is available for both the Mac and iOS so that you can make lists, keep track of your items and check them off when you are done. It’s a free app in the Mac and iOS App Store.
  • CARROT Weather: What, a premium Mac weather app? That’s a thing?! You bet it is and it is the best one on the market…or at least in the Mac App Store. The app can provide you with the latest weather conditions and will send your notifications on your desktop when it is about to rain or snow and will send notifications if you get put under a severe weather warning. The app also has a nice-looking radar too. It does cost $11.99 in the Mac App Store and does also have premium subscriptions. CARROT’s Premium Subscription is $3.99 a year and the Ultrapremium Subscription is $9.99 a year. CARROT Weather is currently available for the Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Apple Watch (with the option for a CARROT watch face complication too). Be sure to read our review of the iOS version of the app where most of what you read there can be transferred to the Mac app, as well.

Those are just some of the best apps that I can think of right now for students. If you are a student reading this, make sure to get your free copies of Apple’s iWork and iLife that you can download by going into the App Store.

On top of that, if your college has Microsoft Office available to you to download, get it through them instead of stores like the Apple Store and Best Buy, which are going to charge you over $100 for a copy.

David Becker
Author: David Becker

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