IMPORTANT / STANDARD / MUST HAVE SOFTWARE APPLICATION DOWNLOADS
On this page you will find links to a variety of highly recommended Essential Softwares and Applications that are either Free-To-Download & Free-To-Use,
Free-To-Download & Free-To-Try or just plain Buys (Pay-For). Many of the softwares and applications listed below will be needed as part of your overall apple mac
system such as Anti-Virus, CD/DVD Burner and Office.
Free-To-Download - Free-To-Download means you are free to visit a website in order to download the Free-To-Use and/or Free-To-Try software/application on it. It does not mean that website is paying your Internet (Telephone) Charges during that download.
Free-To-Use - Free-To-Use softwares/applications are normally free to use forever or at least until the company stops its production. Companies normally distribute a Free-To-Use version of their software/application in the hope you will like it and then upgrade to their Paid-For version of the same software/application. The Paid-For version is normally better in performance and/or has extra features.
Sometimes a company, like Microsoft, might distribute a Free-To-Use version of their software package (i.e. Microsoft Office) for Test purposes, known as: Beta (Test) Software, in order for people to test it for bugs (errors). The testers, known as Beta Testers, have a certain period of time to test the software before its major features begin to expire.
Software made for testing should have the word Beta, or Release Candidate (i.e. RC1 or RC2), attached to its name to denote it is currently in test-mode (Beta) or is almost ready for public use (RC). The benefits for the Beta Tester and RC User is that they get to road test software before it's officially released, which in the case of Educational Software is good for Programmers and Teachers for example but not good for the general public - This is because Beta software in general can crash/break OS X (Mountain Lion) at its worst due to the amount of bugs (errors) each piece of beta software can contain. So be careful before deciding whether or not to download and use/test Beta software. When software reaches the RC stages it tends to be more robust.
Free-To-Try - Free-To-Try softwares/applications are normally the Paid-For versions with one or more tiny limitations. A software/application might have
an Expiry Date (Trial Period) limiting it whereby it runs as the full version for 30 Days for example before switching back to its Free-To-Use (feature limited) version.
Or the Free-To-Try software/application just expires after its Trial Period without switching back to a Free-To-Use version.
Version Numbers. If you have ever wondered about the numbers next to a software title, such as BitDefender 1.14.0fc2206, they are the Version Number and Revision Number. The version number is normally split into the Major Number (i.e. 1) and the Minor number (i.e. 14). The major number stays the same until the software is re-released as a Major update (i.e. BitDefender 2). A major update usually means the software has had many of its problems fixed and/or had new features added to it whereas the minor number normally only changes when the software is re-released with Minor problems fixed, but no new features added.
The Revision number (i.e. 0fc2206) is normally changed when, after a re-release, the author(s) spots a problem/mistake in the software, quickly corrects it and then re-releases the software. So if you want to keep up-to-date with a certain piece of software it's wise to check that software's website occasionally so you can download and then upgrade to the latest version. Remember, you may need to uninstall the current software first before upgrading - See the Installing Software section for more information.
Open Source. Open-Source, known as: Open Source Software, means you are permitted to use the software and to modify/improve its source code as well as redistribute the software in a modified or unmodified form. Another term for Open Source is the older name of Public Domain (I won't go into its history/differences here!).
Freeware. Software known as Freeware means it's Free-To-Use at no cost, although these days some authors introduce their software as Freeware but then charge a small fee. Years ago Freeware meant Absolutely Free. Depending on the conditions of the Freeware author(s), the Freeware software might or might not include the source code, and might or might not be re-distributable - You might only be able to get it from certain software vendors. Freeware can be classed as Free-To-Use (above).
Shareware. Software known as Shareware usually means it is Free-To-Use for a trial period only. During the trial period, of 30 Days for example, some of the software's functionality might be crippled/disabled or it might be fully functioning software until the trial period has passed. Either way, when the trial period has passed the software either no longer works (expires) or some, more, of its functionality crippled/disabled. Paying a Shareware Fee will reactivate the software, making it completely functional again....for a another trial period, of 1 Year for example, or forever. Shareware can be classed as Free-To-Try (above).
Adobe Flash Player 126.96.36.1997
MacroMedia were the company who made ShockWave Player and MacroMedia Player - Now owned by Adobe. Basically. When you see a website using Animations and Flashing Adverts (Adverts that change picture every second or so) they were more than likely created with a Flash or Shockwave product. Flash Player is mainly needed for displaying Adverts in a web browser such as Safari whereas Shockwave Player is needed when playing Games and so on. My advice though, if you want an easy life, is to download both of these Free-To-Use products free from the Adobe website. Some web pages might not work properly otherwise. This is because more and more companies are using these products to promote/advertise their goods.
Click on the following link to download Adobe Shockwave Player 188.8.131.52.
Adobe Reader 11.0.10
Adobe Reader is a Free-To-Use document reader (viewer) for the PDF file format. A PDF file stores its information in such a way that its contents (i.e. Text and Pictures) can be Enlarged or Shrunk when viewed with acrobat reader or similar applications. And the way media and images are embedded makes this experience more enjoyable. For example. If you were to look at a Car Manual (Engineers Book) and look at a PDF Car Manual file they would look the same because of the way pictures and text are embedded. Adobe Reader has plenty of features, including Speech, to make reading a PDF file less boring. Adobe Acrobat is the software that allows you to create a PDF (Manual/Guide) file.
With many commercial companies writing their Software Manuals and so on in the PDF file format, and including Adobe Reader on their Installation CDs/DVDs as standard, it makes sense to have Adobe Reader installed on your apple mac computer.
Blackberry Desktop Manager 184.108.40.206
Blackberry Desktop Manager is an application that allows you to backup and restore your mobile phone data, manage apps, synchronise audio/video media via iTunes, synchronise photos via iPhoto and synchronise your calendar with iCal or Microsoft Entourage - Download B.D.M Here. You might also want to look at Pocket MAC ($29.97).
Burn 2.5.1 (CD/DVD Recorder)
Burn is a CD/DVD Recorder application that can create a Data (Folders and Files) Disc, Audio (Music) Disc or Video (Movie) Disc for you. You can burn (record) a data disc using OS X (Mountain Lion) for example but it lacks the extra features/options built-in to Burn as standard. The DOWNLOAD link for burn is in the bottom-left corner of its website page (in case you cannot find it).
NOTE WELL: Burn hasn't been updated since 2011 so I wouldn't really recommend it for Mavericks and future versions of OS X in case of problems (i.e. Crashes).
Dropbox 3.0.5 (Online File Storage)
Dropbox is currently the best Online File Storage service application. It allows you to easily synchronise audio/video files, photo files and document files between your apple mac computer and ipad 3 for example so that you can see those files when using those devices. You get 2GB of storage for free, but can upgrade to one of their payg monthly schemes. SkyDrive from Microsoft is another great Online File Storage service application you might want to use - You will need a Windows Live or Outlook e-mail account to use it though, which is not a big issue (just sign up for a free one). Remeber to Download the SkyDrive App.
Flip4Mac from Microsoft allows QuickTime Player and Web Browsers on your apple mac computer to play Windows Media files (.WMA and .WMV files). It's basically an add-on (plug-in / extension) called Windows Media Components.
Google Chrome 39.0.2171.99 (Web Browser)
Although on a Windows computer you might switch to a better/faster Web (Internet) Browser, such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, rather than use the built-in Internet Explorer web browser, on an Apple Mac computer the Safari web browser is sufficient enough for most needs with good performance. However, that does not mean you cannot have Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox 35.0 installled on your Apple Mac computer. You can. They work very well on OS X (Mountain Lion). Google Chrome is more of a "No Frills" web browser - Fot those occasions when you say "I'm not too bothered about security and internet fraud right now because I just want to use the internet for my routine, safe, activities only"....."I'm not going on any dangerous websites".
Java SE Runtime Environment 7 - Update 75
Apple Mac note - Many people believe Java to be bad news because of recent malware attacks whereby java has let the intruder into the computer, which to a very tiny degree is a valid reason not to use Java, but to put this into perspective ORACLE are actually very good at fixing flaws; hence why you often see the 'Java Update' notification (message window) appear on your computer. Many people also believe that even if Java is updated it is then only a matter of time before Java is abused again, but this is true of Security Software too - If it's out-of-date for one hour your computer will be vulnerable to attack within that one hour. Java overall is needed for certain functionality of certain devices and softwares, as stated above, and therefore you might need Java if you like it or not; but I would not put too much worry into whether or not Java is safe and whether or not to install it - Use it if it's needed/required and then update it when asked is the golden rule.
Klieme - Time Machine Scheduler
Time Machine Scheduler from Klieme is an application that allows you to schedule when Time Machine runs/starts a backup process, as opposed to Time Machine backing up your data every hour or so. With this application you can stall Time Machine's own schedule to run/start every 12 Hours for example so that Time Machine is not constantly backing up your data; which many, new, users find annoying.
Libre Office 4.3.5
Libre Office is a free, open-source, office suite that includes a Word Processor, Accounting, Database and Slideshow Presentation application. What makes it so popular is the fact that it can read and write (create) Microsoft Word documents (.doc files) and it also works on the Linux and Windows operating systems. This makes it ideal for those who want/need a free office suite that will work on both their Windows 7 computer and OS X (Mountain Lion) computer.
Microsoft Silverlight 5
Microsoft Silverlight is basically a Flash plug-in that enables interactive internet features for web browsers and applications. It is seen as the next best thing since Adobe Flash and works on Windows, OS X and Linux with all of their major web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari). If you want a better video and internet experience you might as well download Silverlight; it's free-to-use.
Mozilla Firefox 35.0 (Web Browser)
If you are a website designer, programmer and/or the type of person that likes to add extra functionality on top of their web browser then Mozilla Firefox is for you. It allows you to install extra pieces of software (known as: Add-Ons, Plug-Ins and Extensions) such as website management tools, dictionaries, clocks, internet tools and so on. If you are not a website designer etc you should consider using Google Chrome or Safari instead.
Mozilla Thunderbird 31.4.0 (E-Mail Client)
Although the e-mail client (e-mail application) built-in to OS X (Mountain Lion), called MAIL, is a great all-round e-mail application with icloud/synchronisation e-mail features, it sometimes screws up (as do all e-mail clients every now and then). So with this in mind, it is sometimes better to have a second e-mail client installed. Not necessarily for its, extra, features but more for its diagnostic value. Having a second e-mail client installed, such as Mozilla Thunderbird, means you can use it to check whether or not your e-mail can be sent and received when MAIL fails to do so.
Sophos Anti-Virus (Home Edition)
Sophos Anti-Virus (Home Edition), from SophosLabs, is an Anti-Virus and general Anti-Malware (Malicious Software) protection application that is Free-To-Use for personal (home) use. This means it only offers protection for personal use, not business use. So it will not protect your corporate servers, company computers and so on. One good thing about Sophos is that it can detect Windows based malware as well as OS X (Mountain Lion) malware, so if you are transferring Windows files it will scan for malware within them too.
Like any anti-malware software/application; Once you have downloaded and installed it do not think that is the end of the story. You still have to update it with an Update file, known as a Virus Definition file or Malware Database file. It's always best to manually update so you have piece of mind Sophos is up-to-date and therefore knows about the latest malware attacks and threats.
When Sophos scans your files for malware problems (i.e. for viruses) it's only scanning for malware problems it knows about, using the malware information stored inside the Virus Definition (malware database) file. So if your Sophos is only up-to-date on Monday, and two new malware problems are unleashed on Tuesday and Wednesday, and you then scan for malware problems on Friday without updating Sophos it will not detect Tuesday's or Wednesday's malware problems simply because it does not know about them. It's only up-to-date for Monday but not for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. So it's good practise to check for updated Sophos malware definition files every day, or at least every 3 days, as malware problems can be unleased (written) at any time on any day. Updating is required by all Anti-Malware softwares/applications, not just by Sophos.
TeamViewer is an application that allows you to remotely see and operate the desktop of another Apple Mac computer or Windows computer from your own Apple Mac computer. This means you could remotely help a friend, for example, with their apple mac computer problems by taking control of their apple mac computer. TeamViewer is free for all non-commercial users, but businesses must pay a license fee to use it. A business license gives a business plenty more professional features and support than those found in the non-commercial license.
TinkerTool is the equivalent of TweakUI for Windows. It allows you to set or reset certain, shown and hidden, system preferences (settings) for the OS X (Mountain Lion) operating system. It can tweak Finder and Dock settings, disable animation effects, show hidden folders and files as well as tweak general application settings.
The Unarchiver 3.9.1 (File Decompressor)
The Unarchiver is an application that extracts/expands/unzips/decompresses the contents of one archived (zipped/crunched/compressed) file. Or put another way; If you have a folder containing ten 1MB files that have been zipped/compressed/archived into one main file, The Unarchiver can unzip/decompress/unarchive/expand that folder whereby you can then view and use the contents of that folder. You can then view and use its ten 1mb files. The Unarchiver is similar to 7-Zip, WinZip or WinRAR on Windows 7. It supports many of the common File Formats and also has a Browser App (£2.49) that allows you to browse and so on through an archived file.
Note Well: This does not actually archive (compress/zip/compress) folders and files - OS X (Mountain Lion) can be used for this purpose using its Archive Utility.app application. It creates archived folders and files in the .ZIP file format, which is more or less the international file format for Windows based and OS X based folder and file archives these days.
BetterZip is an application that extracts/expands/unzips/decompresses the contents of one archived (zipped/crunched/compressed) file. Or put another way; If you have a folder containing ten 1MB files that have been zipped/compressed/archived into one main file, BetterZip can unzip/decompress/unarchive/expand that folder whereby you can then view and use the contents of that folder. You can then view and use its ten 1mb files. BetterZip is similar to 7-Zip, WinZip or WinRAR on Windows 7. It supports many of the common File Formats and also allows you to drag 'n' drop files into its mounted drive and view files without having to open the whole archived file. BetterZip is £13 to buy.
BitDefender Anti-Virus For Mac
BitDefender Anti-Virus For Mac is a good all-round piece of security software that protects against malware (viruses, trojans, phishing sites, key loggers, spyware, etc), both offline and online, in real-time for Mac Malware and Windows malware. The Windows Malware protection feature means if you have a Windows file on a flash drive or have imported it onto your apple mac computer BitDefender will check it for viruses for example. You can download a Free Trial of BitDefender from their website. Purchase Price is £29.99 Per Year, Per License, Per Computer, but you can also order for 3 Computers whereby the overall price per license works out a little cheaper.
Other security software includes: F-Secure Anti-Virus - 3 PC Licenses - £29.95 Panda Anti-Virus - 1 PC License - £40.99 Trend Internet Security - 1 PC License - £19.80 Intego Mac Internet Security 2013 - 1 PC License - £31.99 Although there is FREE Internet Security software out there much of it is poor, in comparison to Commercial Internet Security software, due to it not having Real-Time Protection and Windows File Protection for example. On Windows FREE Internet Security software can equal or better Commercial Internet Security software, due to sponsorship and/or advertising revenue, but on the Apple Mac its software market is geared towards promotion of Commercial (Paid-For) software which means not much FREE software passes the high-quality marker. FREE security software includes: Avast Free Anti-Virus Sophos Anti-Virus (Home Edition) Norton iAntivirus.
iWork (Pages, Numbers and Keynote)
iWork is the Apple Mac equivalent of the Microsoft Office 2010 suite for Windows 7. It is split into three applications - Pages (Word Processor), Numbers (Accounts) and Keynote (Slideshow Presentation) - all of which are priced at £13.99 each. Price-wise they are a cheap alternative to Microsoft Office 2011 (see below), but lack the superior features of Microsoft Office 2011. On the other hand the iWork suite is ideal if you own an iPad 3 because you can synchronise Pages, Numbers and Keynote files via iTunes to/from your iPad 3 and Apple Mac computer. Note - iWorks has been given for free or at £6.99 Each app when you buy a certain type of, new, apple device such as an Macbook Pro; so check the App Store to see what each iWorks app will cost you.
Microsoft Office 2011 (Home & Student Edition)
Microsoft Office 2011 is more or less the equivalent of Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows 7 - Expect some differences between them simply because they are both catering for different operating systems of course. Personally I like the Windows 7 version, but once you get used to it the OS X (Mountain Lion) version isn't too bad! As an example; When you open a Word 2010 document with Word 2011, Word 2011 might mess up some of the Word 2010 formatting/styling, but to be fair this does tends to happen only with more complex documents.
Price-wise Microsoft Office 2011 runs along the same price as Microsoft Office 2010, depending where you by it from, so you might consider buying the native Pages application from the Apple Store which can read and write (create) Microsoft Office .doc documents (see iWorks above).
PST Bridge Pro (1.1.17)
PST Bridge Pro is two applications in one - PST Viewer and PST Exporter. Together they allow you to view and convert (export) the content of a Microsoft Outlook .PST e-mail file into a Mac Mail .Mailbox e-mail folder/file set. You basically import (view) a .PST file and convert (export) it into a .Mailbox folder which you can then open (import) with Mac Mail. It can convert the e-mail message and keep its attachment(s). I have tested it out by buying it and it works - £19.90 to buy.
You can try out the demo version which allows you to convert 10 E-mails from each folder within your .PST file; so if you want to be a cheapskate you could always split your PST e-mails into folders containing 10 E-mails or less before using the demo version of PST Bridge Pro. Saying this; PST Bridge Pro is really ideal for those with large .PST files whereby it would be impossible to use the cheapskate method just mentioned. Not only that, it really is a piece of software worth buying.
Pixelmator is similar to Microsoft Paint in terms of its simplicity but offers more advanced features too; such as Magic Wand, Layers, Brushes, Gradients and other Special Effects. There are other paint packages out there but they are either ridiculously expensive, out-of-date (i.e. the crash OS X Mountain Lion) or just plain worthless. Pixelmator is free-to-try for 30 Days or £22.99 to buy.
One thing to bear in mind with the Apple Mac, and the paint packages catered for it, is that it uses Layers (layered images / images one on top of another / multiple canvases) instead of one image on one canvas. This is something you might have trouble understanding at first, but once you get used to it you should realise its advantages.
SugarSync is currently the rival to Dropbox, both of which are Online File Storage (Cloud) application services. SugarSync allows you to easily synchronise audio/video files, photo files and document files between your apple mac devices and mobile phone devices in the same way as Dropbox, but has the added advantage of being able to synchronise on-going documents - If you make changes to a document on your apple mac for example SugarSync will automatically synchronise that changed/updated document whereas with Dropbox you currently have to manually drop the file into the box first; hence its name. SugarSync also has a built-in file browser and photo gallery viewer.
SugarSync from the start is a Paid-For, Subscription, service whereas Dropbox gives you a free 2GB of storage space from the start. SugarSync subscriptions currently start at $49.99 (£32.76) per year for 30 GB of cloud space and go up to $249.99 (£163.84) per year for £250 GB; on the Personal Plan. Some may find this expensive when you consider Microsoft SkyDrive, Dropbox, PC World Cloud Storage and others. At the end of the day it is best to trial these kind of services - SugarSync has a 30 Days Trial added to the actual subscription (personal plan) but the catch is it wants your credit details first as it uses the old trick of: 'CANCEL your subscription within the first 30 Days' in order not to be charged.