Curated picks of third-party apps
Photo editor (mac ) Affinity Photo £48.99 serif.com
It’s hard not to love Affinity Photo. Whether you fancy yourself as a seasoned pro or a photo novice, you’ll find this image editor powerful and easy to use. Its interface offers the perfect blend of ease of use and quick access to powerful features, and its useful batch processing is a great addition. An app that packs both power and practicality for less than £50? We’re in!
Writi ng app (Mac ) Scrivener About £34 literatureandlatte.com
It’s not often that a sequel is even better than its predecessor, but Scrivener 3 is a great example. Version 2 was already good, winning MF319’s group test, but version 3 adds so much. Its revamped interface is hugely customisable, its templates are fantastic, managing footnotes is a breeze, and the whole app is light and speedy. If you write, Scrivener is absolutely essential.
Outli ning app (iOS) OmniOutliner 3 £9.99 for Essentials, £38.99 for Premium omnigroup.com
Sometimes you just need to get your ideas down quickly. For times like that, you need to get OmniOutliner 3. It’s extremely easy to get started, and enables you to quickly search and reorganise your notes. The Pro version adds encryption, automation, custom templates and much more. It’s the best way to jot down and organise your ideas.
Video editor (Mac ) Final Cut Pro X 10.3 £299.99 apple.com/uk
Apple’s Final Cut Pro has always been a good option for video editors, and the latest version makes it even better. It introduces ‘roles’, which can be colour‑coded to make your timeline’s components easier to navigate, something that’s further boosted by the streamlined interface. This version also supports the Touch Bar and wide colour gamut display on recent models of MacBook Pro.
Utilit y (Mac ) Carbon Copy Cloner 5 £31.10 bombich.com
When disaster strikes and your hard drive fails, having a backup can be a lifesaver. This app makes creating and restoring from backups an absolute breeze. It comes with a helpful guided restore feature, plus a Cloning Coach that monitors what you do and looks out for potential problems. If you’re looking to clone or back up your hard drive, this is the app you need.
Productivit y app (mac /iOS) Fantastical 2 £38.99 (Mac), £2.99 (iPhone) flexibits.com
If you find your calendar and reminders are getting out of control, Fantastical is the app for you. It supports natural language entry, so that you can enter events and reminders as you would speak and Fantastical will get to work. It’s got a nifty menu bar shortcut, plus a great interface, clever calendar management and a powerful iOS app to boot.
Note -taki ng app (Mac /iOS) Notability £9.99 (Mac), £9.99 (iOS) gingerlabs.com
If you want a notetaking app that can do just about anything, buy Notability. It’s great if you need one that’ll recognise and convert handwriting to text, import all sorts of file types, and sync your work to iCloud. You can annotate content as you please, and it’s even better when used with Apple Pencil. You can even combine audio recordings with annotations as you speak. It’s the complete note-taking app.
System enha nceme nt (Mac ) Bartender 3 £11.10 macbartender.com
Some apps are so simple and effective that you don’t know how you lived without them. Bartender is one: it lets you choose what appears in the menu bar, and when things appear too. You can set triggers, such as an app only appearing when it’s updating, and rearrange items. Bartender’s settings are clear and concise. It sounds simple, but it’ll change the way you use your Mac.
Email ma nager (Mac /iOS) Spark Free sparkmailapp.com
Feeling inbox anxiety? The solution could be Spark, an email app for Mac and iOS. It’s centred on a ‘smart inbox’, which prioritises your emails based on perceived importance – no more losing that vital work email among a sea of spam. You can snooze messages to be reminded about them later, and search your mailboxes by expressing yourself in natural language, too. And to top it all off, it’s free.