A look back at 2015: My Top Mac Apps

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Ok, so it’s the middle of February, 2016 and I haven’t published my yearly “best of” lists for 2015. I had drafts started in November, but life happens.

Here are some of my most-used Mac apps that were new or received major updates in 2015. As usual, it was a great year for software and I couldn’t possibly write up all of the awesome apps that came across my screen, so pardon the omissions.

iOS and other goodies to follow soon!

Productivity

iThoughtsX
iThoughtsX (along with iThoughts HD) has become my primary brainstorming app. I’m not going to deny that I still use and love an overwhelming array of brainstorming tools, but if I had to give up all but one, iThoughts would be the winner.
Fantastical 2
The release of version 2 added a full calendar window, improved natural language recognition, and a whole new look to my favorite calendar app. When I started using it, it was just an easy way to add stuff to my calendar with a hotkey. In 2015, I don’t think I opened Apple’s Calendar app once.
Quip
Quip.com released a Mac app. It’s not a purely native application, but it does exactly what I need it to do. Quip has replaced Google Docs and Google Sheets for most of my needs, especially in the areas of shared documents and change tracking.
Curio
Curio 10 was huge. Where iThoughts is my brainstorming app, Curio is the ultimate tool for gathering all of my ideas, including contacts, related emails, task lists, outlines, and more, and making sense of them.
Spillo
Pinboard is still how I manage all of my bookmarks, read-later stuff, and web archiving needs. Spillo is the best client available right now for my Pinboard management needs.
Zen Timer
After all the hassles I went through with ADD treatment, getting back into a Pomodoro-ish system was the best productivity move I made last year. Why not make it beautiful and fun while I’m doing it?

Design

Acorn
Gus Mueller continued to make one of the best (and fastest) image editing apps even better with Acorn 5. It can not only replace Photoshop for most users, it now supersedes it in multiple areas.
Sketch
If Acorn has replaced Photoshop for me, Sketch has replaced Illustrator. It provides excellent tools for vector-based web and app design, and the community resources and extensibility are outstanding.

Utilities

TextExpander
When I’m listing most-used utilities, I sometimes forget TextExpander. Not because I’m not using it every minute I’m on my computer, but because it’s become so much a part of my everyday computing that I forget it’s not part of the OS.
1Password
A major update to my all-time favorite password manager. Visual redesign, multiple vaults, and new features that continue to defy the idea that you have to give up security for convenience. Also, 1Password for Families was just announced yesterday!
Dash
Dash 3 is awesome. If you’re a developer and don’t have it, just get it. You’ll see.
CleanMyMac 3
I don’t use it every day, but when I need to clean up caches, remove applications, clear out development junk, securely delete files, or other system-related tasks, CleanMyMac (not to be confused with MacKeeper) is my favorite tool for all of it.
Revisions
Revisions is one of the coolest Dropbox utilities ever. Basically a historical view of your Dropbox with diffing and versioned restore capabilities.
Dropzone 3
Dropzone is always in my menu bar (the main one that Bartender doesn’t hide). The latest version (3.0) is pretty much a full rewrite, with more advanced plugin capabilities and a whole new look.

That’s my “short list.” Stay tuned for my top iOS picks, and since I started reading again in 2015, some books, too! Did I miss your favorite? Feel free to add on in the comments.