Bloated macOS App Folder

macOS app folder

Many of us have more applications than we need, I’ll confess I have a bloated macOS app folder. Do you?

In less than four decades, I invested many, many thousands of dollars in macOS software. Unsurprisingly, I’ve spent far more money on software than hardware.

Hardware (1980—2019): TI99, NorthStar Advantage (Perspective: In 1982, I paid a lot of money for a NorthStar 5 MB hard drive, yes it was MB. When I formatted the drive it took almost a day.), Macintosh, Compaq, Macintosh, NeXT and then Macintosh again

Software: Hundreds of programs

Early on, I had so many applications that I was able to trade them, straight up, no cash, for a new NeXT computer, NeXT monitor, NeXT printer and a couple of NeXT apps, including FrameMaker. I loved NeXTSTEP, so when Steve Jobs and his OS returned to Apple, so did I. So began a new era of buying lots of macOS software. My curiosity led me to buy way too many programs. “Hi my name is Frank Eves and I’m… a software addict.” 😉

Let’s use Markdown applications as an extreme example: I’ve cycled between Atom, Bear, BBEdit, Byword, Coteditor, Folding Text, Highland 2, iA Writer, Markdown Pro, Marked 2, Quiver, Sublime Text, Scrivener, Texts, Typora, Ulysses, Visual Studio Code and others.

I’ve recently begun the process of simplifying my applications folder. I started by choosing two productivity pillars, a plain text editor, and a graphics app. I had three criteria. My selected apps had to be:

  1. macOS native
  2. stable
  3. pleasurable to use.

It’s worth mentioning that I abandoned Adobe InDesign and Adobe Photoshop years ago because they had become overkill for my needs. These days I write almost everything with markdown and I level, resize, crop, colour enhance and stroke the borders of images. It’s a rare day that I have to delve more in-depth than that. People who know me expected I would start with Byword or Multimarkdown Composer and Acorn or Affinity Designer. All four applications are excellent, but those people’s assumptions were wrong.

I chose BBEdit and Pixelmator Pro because they best fit the reality of what I do. Instead of building an applications collection to face every possible eventuality, I elected to focus on meeting 99.9% of those eventualities.

BBEdit and Pixelmator Pro icons
BBEdit and Pixelmator Pro icons

A free trial is available for both apps:

  1. BBEdit
  2. Pixelmator Pro

BBEdit

This thing is Mac-only, fast, handles large files and has exceptional find and replace. Bare Bone’s developers have been delivering stable software for over a quarter century. It’s not Atom, Sublime Text or VS Code and from my vantage, that’s a good thing. BBEdit is straightforward​ but powerful. It has the best manual in the text editor universe. If you can’t find an answer in the manual, contact support. BBEdit also has an amazing group of friendly power-users who often contribute suggestions and answers on their mailing list.

Here’s an old BBEdit post, ‘The Perfect Markdown App

Also check out Dr. Drang’s site for a brief overview and a couple of links to other reviews. John Gruber’s commentary is always worth reading.

Pixelmator Pro

Although Pixelmator Pro may not be a Photoshop replacement for graphics professionals, it comfortably handles 100% of what I need it to do. That plus, it’s the fastest, most elegant, logical, macOS graphics app I’ve encountered. Using it is easy and it makes me smile every time I use it.

Visit the Pixelmator Pro website for product details. You will find plenty of helpful videos.

Victor Agreda authored a comparison of Photoshop and Pixelmator Pro that’s worthy of your time.

I expect to follow this post with a list of a few other applications that I find essential.