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        PKCano
        Da Boss

        AKB2000020: Mac Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch P.2

        by @Nathan Parker

        Published: February 24, 2020 | Rev. 1.0

         
        Navigation
        Introduction
        Purchasing a Mac
        Setting Up a Mac
        Getting to Know a Mac
        Getting Started with Mac apps
        Getting to Know Apple Services
        Getting Support for a Mac
        Comments on AKB2000020 Mac Guide for Windows Users Wanting to Switch

         

        Getting Started with Mac Apps

        Apps (also known as applications, the Mac term for Programs on Windows) are at the heart of using a Mac. Contrary to the past, Macs can now run a wide range of common and popular apps, including many popular Windows apps. There are also some excellent Mac-only apps available as well. This guide will walk through many of the popular apps available for Mac, covering both ones included with a Mac as well as ones available to download. Apps will be grouped by category making it easy for Mac users to find the apps they need based on what they need to do with their Mac.


        Places to Acquire Mac Apps

        There are two main avenues for acquiring apps for Macs:

        • Direct Download: Mac users can directly download apps from the developer’s website, similar to how one does with Windows programs. This is the method I generally use, since it allows me to get the quickest updates available to Mac apps, as well as it opens the door for discounts such as educational discounts, upgrade discounts to new major versions, etc. The only drawback with this method is if one happens to download an app from an untrusted developer. However, Macs are generally secure, and practicing good security precautions such as always downloading apps from trusted developers can ensure one doesn’t encounter any issues. Most developers identify their apps with Apple, and Gatekeeper{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202491}, a feature included in macOS, notifies users when downloading apps from developers who haven’t identities their apps with Apple (this does not mean the app is not a trusted app, but Apple simply adds an additional level of caution).
        • Mac App Store{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204266#computer}: The Mac App Store is similar to the Microsoft Store on Windows and the App Store on an iPhone or iPad. It is Apple’s built-in store to purchase, download, and update Mac apps. While it is generally a safe place to purchase Mac apps due to Apple’s approval process, app updates from developers can be slower than directly downloading them from the developer websites, and discounts such as education or upgrade discounts to new major versions aren’t available. I tend to only purchase apps from the Mac App Store that I cannot purchase and download directly from the developer’s website.


        Productivity

        Included with Mac:

        Third-Party:

        • Microsoft Office{https://products.office.com/en-US/mac/microsoft-office-for-mac}: One can easily bring Microsoft Office over to Mac, and if one has an Office 365 subscription, installing Microsoft Office on a Mac is a breeze. Microsoft Office for Mac includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. While Microsoft Office for Mac still feels Mac-native, it should be familiar to Microsoft Office for Windows users, and compatibility with files created on Microsoft Office for Windows works exceptionally well.
        • Nisus Writer Pro{https://nisus.com/pro/}: Nisus Writer Pro is a solid and affordable word processor for Mac with more power than Pages without the extra bloat of Microsoft Word. I use it regularly as an alternative to Microsoft Word. It defaults to saving everything in RTF format, allowing for broad platform compatibility. It is an excellent word processor for everyday use. There is even a companion reference app for Nisus Writer Pro called Nisus Thesaurus{https://www.nisus.com/Thesaurus/}
        • Mellel{https://www.mellel.com/}: Mellel is a solid word processor for Mac for those who need exceptional performance for large documents (such as manuscripts or dissertations), and its RTL language support (such as Hebrew) is exceptional. It also syncs with an iPad app, so those working across Mac and iPad can use Mellel as a solid upgrade from Pages without the extra bloat of Microsoft Word.
        • Nota Bene{http://www.notabene.com/}: Nota Bene is the academic word processor I use for all of my papers. It is actually a port of the Windows version running in WINE and CrossOver on the Mac (depending on the version of Nota Bene). However, it still runs well on my Mac, and it’s tight integration with its own citation manager (Ibidem), web archive tool (Ibidem), and search and index tool (Orbis) streamlines my academic writing process. It also offers top-notch language support (Lingua).
        • LibreOffice{https://www.libreoffice.org/} and NeoOffice{https://www.neooffice.org/neojava/en/index.php}: Those looking for free office productivity apps can install LibreOffice on a Mac, plus there is a variant of OpenOffice/LibreOffice for Mac called NeoOffice that offers a more Mac-native feel. I’ve successfully used NeoOffice on Macs at times, especially older Macs without Microsoft Office.
        • PDF Expert{https://pdfexpert.com/}: PDF Expert offers a solid upgrade to Preview for Mac without the bloat of Adobe Pro. I frequently use PDF Expert for annotating and editing PDF documents on my Mac. It offers the right balance of professional functionality without tying one to an Adobe subscription.
        • Adobe Reader and Adobe Pro{https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/acrobat/pdf-reader.html}: Those who need the full functionality of Adobe Reader or Adobe Pro can bring it easily to the Mac, with a similar and familiar interface to Adobe’s PDF tools on Windows.
        • Scrivener{https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overview}: Scrivener is a handy tool for writers needing to plan and produce the first draft of their writing projects. I use Scrivener frequently on my Mac for major writing projects. I even typed the first draft of this guide in Scrivener. It also syncs well with companion apps for iPhone or iPad. The developers also offer a companion outlining tool for Mac called Scapple{https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scapple/overview}.
        • Ulysses{https://ulysses.app/}: Ulysses is another handy writing tool for Mac. I use it in the place of a note taking app to store all of my school notes, since it allows for quick and easy exporting in a variety of formats. It also syncs well with companion iPhone and iPad apps. While it does require a subscription and is Apple-platform only, it is an app I have come to rely on frequently.


        Web Browsers

        Included with Mac:

        • Safari{https://www.apple.com/safari/}: Macs come with Safari, Apple’s web browser based on WebKit. Safari is a secure, fast, and full-featured web browser, and it does well for new Mac users wanting to try out Apple’s own web browser.

        Third-Party:

        • Google Chrome{https://www.google.com/chrome/}: For those who wish to bring Google Chrome to the Mac, they can, and it has a familiar interface to its Windows counterpart.
        • Firefox{https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/}: For those who wish to bring Firefox to the Mac, they can, and it has a familiar interface to its Windows counterpart.
        • Microsoft Edge{https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge?form=MA13DC&OCID=MA13DC}: Microsoft has brought its new Chromium-based (the same technology used by Google Chrome) version of Microsoft Edge to the Mac. Windows users coming to the Mac who wish to sync all of their browser features with a Microsoft account will benefit from Microsoft Edge on Mac.
        • Brave{https://brave.com/}: Brave is a popular web browser based on Chromium (the same technology used by Google Chrome) due to its privacy-centric features. It works well on Mac (and Windows)
        • Waterfox{https://www.waterfox.net/}: Waterfox is a variant of Firefox popular with the AskWoody community. It runs well on a Mac (and Windows).

        For those needing a solid ad-blocker for their web browser, I recommend Ad Block Plus{https://adblockplus.org/}. It works across all major web browsers listed above.

        For those needing a solid password manager for Mac, iCloud Keychain{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204085} is included with the Mac, but it is limited in what it can do. I recommend 1Password{https://1password.com/} as the most solid password manager for Mac. I also explain other options in this Mac Security article on AskWoody{https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/mac-security-password-managers/}.

        Photos

        Included with Mac:

        • Photos{https://www.apple.com/macos/photos/}: Apple offers its own Photos app with is similar to its iPhone and iPad counterpart. Apple’s photos app offers the ability to manage photos, store and sync them over iCloud, as well as some basic photo editing capabilities. Third-party photo editing apps can add photo editing extensions inside of the Photos app, adding additional power to the Photos app.

        Third-Party:

        • Adobe Lightroom{https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom.html}: Photographers who use Adobe Lightroom can easily bring Lightroom to the Mac, with a consistent interface with the Windows version.
        • Luminar{https://skylum.com/luminar}: Luminar is a professional-level photo editor similar to Lightroom, without the need for an Adobe subscription. It offers powerful photo editing capabilities, as well as a plugin for Apple Photos (and other apps). It is what I personally use in conjunction with Apple Photos to edit my photos.


        Graphics

        Third-Party (none included with Mac):


        Video

        Included with Mac:

        • iMovie{https://www.apple.com/imovie/}: iMovie is an entry-level video editor for Mac users, especially those new to Macs and new to video editing. It is decent for making home movies or for classroom video editing settings in grade school.

        Available from Apple:

        • Final Cut Pro X{https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/}: Apple’s professional-level video editor. For Mac users who are professional film editors, this is the app to use. It offers an excellent amount of power and performance, a Mac-native interface, and no Adobe subscription required.
        • Motion{https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/motion/}: Apple’s professional-level motion graphics creator. For Mac users who are professional film editors building motion graphics, this is the app to use. It offers a ton of power and performance in a Mac-native interface.
        • Compressor{https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/compressor/}: Apple’s professional-level video exporter and companion app to Final Cut Pro X. For Mac users who are professional film editors, this should be included on one’s Mac.

        Third-Party:

        • Adobe Premiere Pro{https://www.adobe.com/products/premiere.html}: For environments that require Adobe Premiere Pro, it can be installed on a Mac (as well as all of its companion apps), all with a similar interface as its Windows counterpart.


        Audio

        Included with Mac:

        • GarageBand{https://www.apple.com/mac/garageband/}: GarageBand is Apple’s entry-level audio editor for Mac, included with Macs. While Apple markets it as “entry-level”, it offers a solid amount of power and performance. Some professional musicians will have enough tools with it to handle professional-level audio editing, and for those new to a Mac and new to audio editing, it is one powerful tool.

        Available from Apple:

        • Logic Pro X{https://www.apple.com/logic-pro/}: For those who need a solid upgrade from GarageBand, Logic Pro X offers the maximum amount of professional-level audio editing features, with an interface that is consistent with GarageBand. Professional musicians needing all the audio-editing power available should choose this app.
        • MainStage{https://www.apple.com/mainstage/}: Apple’s professional-level live performance audio app.

        Third-Party:


        Media

        Included with Mac:

        • iTunes{https://support.apple.com/guide/itunes/welcome/mac} (macOS Mojave and Before): macOS Mojave and before includes iTunes. For Windows users who have used iTunes in the past, the overall experience is the same (although it is slightly less glitchy on a Mac).
        • Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts{https://www.apple.com/itunes/} (macOS Catalina and After): macOS Catalina and later have broken up iTunes into three separate, dedicated apps for Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts. One can still access their iTunes music, movies, and TV shows purchases in the apps (Apple Music and Apple TV+ are not required to use the apps). For those who have used the Apple Music, Apple TV, and Apple Podcasts apps on an iPhone, the experience is similar. For those who need to sync an iPod, iPhone, or iPad using a Mac running macOS Catalina or later, this is now handled in the Finder{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210611}.
        • QuickTime Player{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201066} QuickTime Player is the default media player on a Mac. Since Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Apple re-designed QuickTime Player which is called QuickTime Player X (and made it Mac-only). Prior to QuickTime Player X, Apple offered QuickTime Player 7 and QuickTime Player Pro 7 for both Mac and Windows.

        Third-Party:

        • Switch Player{https://www.telestream.net/switch/overview.htm}: Switch Player is a third-party media player alternative to QuickTime Player from Telestream. It is available for Windows and Mac. It also offers a way to play and convert Windows Media Player files into a more compatible format for Macs.
        • VLC Player{https://www.videolan.org/vlc/}: The popular, versatile, and free VLC Player is available the Mac for those who need the Swiss-Army Knife of media players.
        • HandBrake{https://handbrake.fr/}: A useful, versatile media converter for Windows and Mac.
        • DropStream{https://www.airsquirrels.com/dropstream}: A useful utility for streaming a media file to an Apple TV or ChromeCast.


        Screenshots/Screencasting

        Included with Mac:

        • Screenshots{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201361} (Grab on macOS High Sierra and before): Apple includes a built-in screen capture utility. On macOS Mojave and later, it is called Screenshots. On macOS High Sierra and before, it is called Grab. In macOS Mojave and later, it can also be used to create screen recordings.
        • QuickTime X{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208721}: QuickTime Player X can also create screen recordings. It is available on any Mac from Mac OS X Snow Leopard and after.

        Third-Party:

        • Snagit{https://www.techsmith.com/screen-capture.html}: Snagit by Techsmith is a solid screen capture utility for Windows and Mac, and overall the experience is similar across platforms. It offers powerful editing and sharing features to markup screenshots. I use it daily, and I wouldn’t use anything else for taking screenshots.
        • Camtasia{https://www.techsmith.com/video-editor.html}: Camtasia by Techsmith is a solid screen recording utility for Windows and Mac, and overall the experience is similar across platforms. It offers powerful editing and sharing features to produce professional screencasts. For those who work in a cross-platform screencasting editing environment, this is the tool to use. I use it frequently to share screencasts with others.
        • ScreenFlow{https://www.telestream.net/screenflow/overview.htm}: ScreenFlow by Telestream is a powerful screen recording utility for Mac. It offers a simple, Mac-friendly interface and powerful editing and sharing features to produce professional screencasts. For those who edit screencasts in a Mac-only environment, ScreenFlow is a solid option from Camtasia due to its ease of use and Mac-friendly features.


        Cloud Sync

        Included with Mac:

        • iCloud Drive{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204025}: Macs include iCloud Drive, Apple’s cloud sync solutions similar to Dropbox or OneDrive. iCloud Drive is also built into iPhones and iPads, plus there is an app for Windows that allows for syncing over iCloud Drive.

        Third-Party:

        • Dropbox{https://www.dropbox.com/}: The widely-popular Dropbox cloud sync service has a sync client for Mac, which works similar to the Windows version and seamlessly integrates with the Finder.
        • OneDrive{https://onedrive.live.com/about/en-us/}: Microsoft’s OneDrive and OneDrive for Business are available for Mac, with both syncing seamlessly with the Finder using the OneDrive sync client for Mac. OneDrive and OneDrive for Business also integrates into Microsoft Office for Mac. OneDrive works similar to its Windows counterpart.
        • Google Drive{https://www.google.com/drive/download/}: Google Drive can be accessed on a Mac using Google’s Backup and Sync app, which works similar to its Windows counterpart.


        Messages and Calling

        Included with Mac:

        • Messages{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT202549}: Messages allows Mac users to send messages to other Apple device users over Apple Messages (iMessage), chat with businesses with Apple Business Chat, and send and receive text messages from a connected iPhone. The experience is similar to Messages on the iPhone.
        • FaceTime{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208176}: FaceTime is Apple’s video calling app. The experience is similar to FaceTime on the iPhone, and it works with any other Apple device users.

        Third-Party:


        Text Editors

        Included with Mac:

        Third-Party:

        • BBEdit{https://www.barebones.com/products/bbedit/}: BBEdit is a powerful text editor from Bare Bones software that has been on the Mac for years. It is available in a free and paid edition (with additional features). It is basically a superman version of NotePad on windows, offering powerful plain-text editing features for web developers and programmers.


        Books

        Included with Mac:

        • Apple Books{https://www.apple.com/apple-books/}: Macs include Apple Books, Apple’s built-in eBook reader. Apple Books includes access to the Apple Books store. It is basically Apple’s version of Amazon Kindle.

        Third-Party:


        Developer

        Available from Apple:

        Third-Party:


        Finance

        Third-Party:

        • Quicken{https://www.quicken.com/mac/compare}: Quicken has a Mac app, plus a web app that can also be used on a Mac.
        • QuickBooks{https://quickbooks.intuit.com/}: QuickBooks has a Mac app, plus an online version that can be used on a Mac.
        • Mint{https://www.mint.com/}: Mint runs in a web browser and can easily be used on a Mac. It is a great free finance app.
        • FreshBooks{https://www.freshbooks.com/}: FreshBooks runs in a web browser and can also easily be used on a Mac. It is a solid alternative to QuickBooks.
        • Billings Pro{https://www.marketcircle.com/billingspro/}: Billings Pro is a solid invoicing app for Mac that is a great alternative to QuickBooks for those who only need invoicing. It even offers a free version for those who need to invoice only one client.
        • Wave{https://www.waveapps.com/}: Wave is another free finance app that runs in a web browser and runs great on a Mac. It is an alternative to Mint.


        Remote Desktop

        Available from Apple:

        • Apple Remote Desktop{https://support.apple.com/remote-desktop}: Apple’s remote desktop and Mac management app. It is a bit dated and limited to what it can do outside the local network. It is mostly useful for managing multiple Macs over a local network.

        Third-Party:


        Security

        Third-Party:

        • Webroot{https://www.webroot.com/us/en}: While Macs receive fewer viruses overall than Windows, it is still a good idea to add an antivirus app to a Mac. Webroot is a solid option with a similar experience to its Windows counterpart. It is what I personally use as my antivirus app on a Mac.
        • Malwarebytes{https://www.malwarebytes.com/}: Malwarebytes is a solid and popular anti-malware app for Mac, with a similar experience (although fewer features) to its Windows counterpart. I have used it on the side with Webroot as a backup anti-malware app.
        • Little Snitch{https://www.obdev.at/products/littlesnitch/index.html}: Solid outbound firewall protection for Macs. It works alongside the Mac’s built-in inbound firewall. I use it on all my Macs for outbound firewall protection. It is similar to ZoneAlarm for Windows.

        Additional information on Mac Security can be found in my Mac Security series on AskWoody.{https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/mac-security-antivirus-and-anti-malware/}


        Backup

        Included with Mac:

        • Time Machine{https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201250}: Time Machine is Apple’s backup software included with a Mac. Plug in a hard drive, and Time Machine will backup a Mac every hour, making it easy to recover deleted files or restore an entire system backup. It is similar to File History on Windows.

        Third-Party:


        Weather

        Third-Party:

        • WeatherBug{https://weatherbug.com}: WeatherBug sits in a Mac’s menu bar and provides a quick-glance check of current conditions from a global network of commercial weather stations, plus a way to quickly check radar. I use it often for quickly checking weather conditions (since I own a weather station that contributes to the network).
        • RadarScope{https://www.radarscope.app/}: A handy Doppler radar storm tracking tool for Mac. Offers access to a wealth of Doppler radar storm tracking data, with raw access to the radar data. RadarScope also offers a couple of Pro tiers with additional features, plus it integrates with other weather services.


        Windows on a Mac

        For those who need the best of both worlds, there are various methods to run Windows or Windows apps on a Mac. Here are the most popular methods for running Windows or Windows apps on a Mac.

        Included with Mac:

        • Boot Camp{https://support.apple.com/boot-camp}: Boot Camp allows one to create a dual-boot Mac and Windows environment on the Mac, being able to switch between operating systems by holding down the Option key at startup. This allows one to run Windows using the Mac hardware’s full power, although occasionally Apple lags with driver updates on the Windows side which can be glitchy, as well as one has to reboot every time one wishes to switch between operating systems.

        Third-Party:

        • Parallels Desktop{https://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/}: Parallels Desktop is one option to run Windows on a Mac using a virtual machine, similar to Virtual PC or Windows XP Mode on Windows 7. This allows one to run Windows alongside a Mac without rebooting to switch between operating systems. Parallels offers the best Windows support and performance for Macs of the various virtual machine options.
        • VMWare Fusion{https://www.vmware.com/products/fusion.html}: Another option for running Windows in a virtual machine on a Mac. VMWare Fusion has broader compatibility with running additional non-Windows apps (such as various flavors of Linux) on a Mac, plus it is easy to move VMWare virtual machines between Windows PCs and Macs for those who may need to do so.
        • VirtualBox{https://www.virtualbox.org/}: VirtualBox is a free virtual machine option to allow one to run Windows on a Mac. It is similar to its Windows counterpart. It is a little less polished and offers a little less performance options as Parallels or VMWare, but is a solid free option.
        • CrossOver/WINE{https://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover-mac/}: CrossOver{https://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover-mac/} allows one to run Windows apps on a Mac without the need to run Windows on a Mac. There are even a handful of commercial Windows apps which offer versions of their apps for Mac based on custom versions of CrossOver. It has a difficult time running intense Windows apps (especially graphics-intense apps), but I have successfully run some apps I use on a daily basis with it. The free, open-source version is called WINE{https://www.winehq.org/}.


        Utilities

        Included with Mac:

        Third-Party:


        Work Apps

        It is also a good idea to check with one’s work employer to determine if the employer has any app recommendations for Mac. There are a handful of workplace communication and VPN apps I use from my employer, and each employer may have recommendations on apps to install on a Mac.


        Sending Feedback

        For those who want to send feedback to Apple regarding apps or services, there are a few methods to do so. I have outlined each of them in this AskWoody article.{https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/sending-feedback-to-apple/}

         
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