Paid Mac Apps For Free

In a previous article where I talked about the 5 best cheap Mac apps under $10, it seems that many of you wanted to know if these apps had any free alternatives. The straight answer is yes, but it is a little bit more complicated than that. As a rule of thumb, you should know that for every paid Mac app, there is a corresponding free app out there. You just have to search for it.

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That said, the free apps do have their own limitations. Mostly the limitations have to do with the user interface of the app. The paid apps generally have a more modern and easy to navigate user interface than their free counterparts. The paid apps also bring more features which make the apps more productive. I guess what I am trying to say is that in most cases, you essentially get what you paid for. That’s not to say that there are no good free apps out there. On the contrary, there are a ton of awesome free apps, and if you want to see a lit of them, do let me know in the comments section below.

However, this article is not about the best free Mac apps, it’s about the best-paid macOS apps and their free alternatives. Before we get into the article, one thing I would like to mention is that I have taken a little bit of liberty with the concept of free apps, which you will understand as we get into the article. So, if you don’t think that the paid apps deserve the price that they are asking for, here are the 7 best paid Mac apps and their free alternatives:

7 Best Paid macOS Apps and Their Free Alternatives

Since there are going to be a lot of apps on this list, I am not going to go in-depth for each one of them. Rest assured all the apps that I mention in this list has been thoroughly tested by me. Also, if you like to see an in-depth review of any of the apps mentioned in this list, do let me know by writing in the comments section below. I will make sure to fulfill as many of your requests as I can.

1. Best Password Manager App for Mac: 1Password

It’s 2018 and if you are not using a password manager today, I am sorry to tell you the truth, but you are a fool (unless you have a Sheldon like memory which allows you to create and remember strong and random passwords). If you take your account safety seriously, you should be using a password manager. A password manager not only allows you to create random and secure passwords but it also makes them easily accessible. All you need to do is remember one master password. As long as you remember that you can use your password anywhere, be it on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

1Password according to me is one of the best password managers you can get for yourself. All your data is encrypted using end-to-end AES-256 encryption and PBKDF2 key derivation, which is a technical way to say, that there is no way in hell anyone can get into your account if they don’t know your master password. The service syncs all your password across devices and supports all the major platforms including macOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows. So, no matter which device you are using, you are covered.

Install:1Password - Free trial ($3.99/month - paid annually - individual plan / $4.99/month - paid annually - family plan up to 5 members)

1Password Free Alternative - LastPass

One of the biggest restrictions that come with using the free version of any password manager software is that the free version doesn’t allow you to sync your password across devices. This is where LastPass wins as the free version of the software allows you to sync your passwords across devices. Remember that I told you that I am going to take a little liberty when it comes to what free app means, that declaration applies here. Although LastPass does have a premium subscription model, it’s free version is enough to fulfill all your individual needs. In fact, I myself use the free version of LastPass and has never felt a need to upgrade to the paid version.

That’s not to say that the paid version doesn’t come with extra features. The paid version brings features like desktop application logins, desktop fingerprint identification, two-factor authentication, and 1GB of encrypted file storage. That said, none of those features are necessary. All the necessary features like password creation, auto-fill and auto-login in browsers, password sync across devices, form filling, secure notes, and more are present in the free version. That’s why I consider, LastPass to be the best free password manager you can use today.

Install: LastPass - Free ($2/month - paid annually - individual plan / $4/month - paid annually - family plan up to 5 members)

2. Best Menu Bar Manager for Mac: Bartender 3

One of my favorite features of Mac is its Menu Bar and the apps that it can hold. The Menu Bar not only provides us with a quick way to access important information and give us app specific contextual menus, it also allows us to use Menu Bar apps which are quite nifty applications. However, if you are as obsessed with apps as I am, you will soon find that your Menu Bar has become too crowded and unorganized.

That’s where Bartender comes in as it allows you to organize your menu bar apps, by hiding them, rearranging them, or moving them to the Bartender Items. But that’s not all, Bartender also allows you to quickly search for Menu Bar apps and use keyboard shortcuts to access them. Bartender is a must-have application for anyone who is looking to manage their Menu Bar items.

How to install paid mac apps for free

Install: Bartender 3 - Free trial for 4 weeks - $15

Bartender3 Free Alternative: Vanilla

I will be the first one to come out and say that Vanilla is nowhere as powerful as the Bartender app. That said, The app is free and allows you to hide your Menu Bar apps elegantly. When you install the app, you will see a small arrow icon which you can click on to either expand or hide the Menu Bar icons.

Although the app is free forever, it does have a Pro option which adds extra features like keyboard shortcuts and automatic icons hiding. However, if you are not ready to pay, the free version will just serve you right as the app never ever nags you for upgrading.

Install:Vanilla - Free/$3.99

3. Best Storage Manager for Your Mac: DaisyDisk

DaisyDisk is one of my most favorite macOS apps and considering how much it helps me, I am more than happy to pay for the service. I have already talked about the app in great detail in the best Mac apps under $10 article, which you can read if you want to. The short version is that the app helps you scan your Mac’s internal storage as well as any other storage devices that are either physically connected to your device or are on your server and helps you find and delete unwanted items to free up storage on your device. DaisyDisk is a prime example of an app which is really useful but that’s not why you are buying it. You are buying it for its extremely beautiful user interface which makes using this app a delight.

Install:DaisyDisk - $9.99

DaisyDisk Free Alternative: GrandPerspective

GrandPerspective is the best app for anyone who is looking for an alternative to DaisyDisk. The basic premise of the app is the same as DaisyDisk, that is, it scans your Mac to give you a graphical representation of the disk usage. You can choose to either scan your entire Mac or individual folders. Once you run the scan, the app will show all your files and folders represented by solid colored squares.

The bigger the file size, the bigger is the square. Thus you can easily find out which files and folders take up the most space. The app is free to download from its official website but cost $1.99 on the Mac App Store. But whichever app you download, you are essentially getting the same thing. The paid version is just your way of supporting the developers.

Install: GrandPerspective - (Free from Sourforge / $1.99 from Mac App Store)

4. Best Writing App For Mac: Ulysses

Ulysses has garnered a lot of hate after the service decided to go the subscription route, but the thing is, whether you love it or hate it, there is no denying the fact that it’s the best writing app for Mac. In fact, all the article that you see on this website have been researched, drafted, and written on Ulysses. The best part about Ulysses is that it is an extremely powerful and productive writing tool which packs enough features that can handle any writing project irrespective of its size or complexity, and yet it still manages to maintain a simple and distraction-free UI so you can get the work done. I have already published an article detailing all the features of the app which you can go through if you want to make yourself familiar with the app.

Install:Ulysses ($4.99/month or $39.99/year - special student pricing available)

Ulysses Free Alternative: Typora / Elephant / Focus Writer

Probably the hardest thing when drafting this article was finding a worthy free alternative for Ulysses, and sadly even after scouring the whole internet, I could not find an app which can replace Ulysses alone. Don’t get me wrong, Typora is a fairly worthy app, however, it’s only free till it’s in beta.

Focus Writer is free but it neither bring the handy markdown editing feature nor the exceptional organizational feature of Ulysses.

Elephant is an open-source alternative to Evernote which also has a built-in markdown editor.

In the end, I still think that iA Writer ($9.99) is the best Ulysses alternative but you can surely check these apps to see if they can help you in replacing Ulysses or not. If you are already using a Ulysses alternative which you think is better than anything mentioned on this list, do help us out by dropping its name in the comments section below.

Install:Typora / Elephant / FocusWriter

5. Best Photo Editing App For Mac: Affinity Photo

Get Paid Mac Apps For Free

I have used a ton of photo editing apps on Mac, however, I have always come back to Affinity Photo. The biggest reason why I prefer Affinity Photo is not just because it packs more features that you will ever need and is regularly updated, it’s because Affinity provides a plethora of resources to help you master the software. I also love the fact that unlike most of the good photo editors out there which uses subscription-based pricing, Affinity photo charges a onetime fee.

One more reason to go for Affinity Photo is its iPad app. Affinity Photo’s iPad app is the most robust photo editing app that you can use on your iPad, period. If you are ready to pay the price, Affinity Photo will provide you with one of the most versatile and extensive suite of tools you will find in any photo editing software.

Install:Affinity Photo - $49.99

Affinity Photo Free Alternative: Fotor / Gimp

Fotor is probably the best free alternative to Affinity Photo which makes this one the best free photo editing app for Mac. The biggest benefit of using Fotor is the way it handles its interface. All the important tools are available right within your reach and you don’t have to dig through various sub-menus to find them. That said, Fotor is not truly free as it offers in-app purchases.

If you are looking for a truly free alternative to Affinity Photo, Gimp is what you should be looking at. Gimp is an open source photo editing tool for Mac. Being an open-source app, it brings all the advantages and disadvantages that come with the domain. What I mean by that Gimp has all the photo editing tools and features that you will find in any pro photo editing tool, however, it also comes with a steep learning curve and you will have to invest a considerable amount of time in learning it.

Install:Fotor / Gimp

6. Best Productivity App for Mac: Alfred

If you have ever searched for productivity apps for Mac, I can bet that Alfred was at the top of most of the results. Alfred is such a powerful tool that I will need to dedicate a series of articles if I want to really explain its power. The app not only helps you to quickly find files, apps, and more on your Mac, it also allows you to search the web, execute system level commands, create and execute workflows, assign hotkeys, control your music, automate your workflow, and much more. The possibilities are endless here. With its latest update, Alfred has taken the route of the freemium model where all its basic functions are free but pro functions are hidden behind a paywall, which you will need to buy if you are serious about using Alfred.

Install:Free / £19

Alfred Free Alternative: Quicksilver / Flashlight

QuickSilver is an open-source alternative for Alfred. Almost everything that you can do with Alfred, you can do with Quicksilver for free. However, as it is with any open-source application, Quicksilver also comes with a steep learning curve and doesn't have a great UI. That said, if you are ready to invest your time, you will be thoroughly rewarded.

Quicksilver will turn you into a Mac ninja, making you a far more productive than your average Mac user. However, if for some reason you are yet not ready to give up on Spotlight and still want all of Alfred’s power, you might want to check out Flashlight. Flashlight is not an app in itself but a collection of plugins which enhances the features of Spotlight bringing it closer to the likes of Alfred and Quicksilver.

Install:Quicksilver / Flashlight

7. Best Task Management App for Mac: OmniFocus

I understand that everybody has their own system for managing tasks, and there can be no one task management app which is best for everyone. However upon trying multiple apps, I have found that OmniFocus is one of the best if not the best task management app for Mac. OmniFocus uses the “Getting Things Done” principle to help you, well, get things done. I love how OmniFocus not only allows me to create individual tasks, it also allows me to create projects, folders, attach contextual menus, defer tasks, and more. OmniFocus also comes with apps for iPhone,iPad, and Apple Watch, so no matter which Apple device you are using, OmniFocus is always there for you.

Install:OmniFocus - $39.99

OmniFocus Free Alternative: Wunderlist / Todoist / Reminders

Paid Mac Apps For Free

While I searched high and low for a free task management for Mac, every app that I found which was worth getting on the list followed a freemium model. Of all those apps, I found Todoist and Wunderlist to be the best of the bunch. I personally prefer Wunderlist more than Todoist, however, Todoist has certain advantages over Wunderlist and most of those advantages have to do with various automation tools which greatly cuts down the time you spent on the app itself and more on the tasks in hand.

However, if you don’t want a freemium app and need something truly free, I think the built-in Reminders apps that come with macOS and iOS is your best hope. The Reminders is not only for creating one-time reminders rather you can also create lists which can act as your projects. The app also allows you to set due dates and share reminders with someone which is a much-needed feature if you work in a collaborative environment. However, the biggest thing that goes in favor of reminders app is the fact that it is deeply integrated with Siri so you can use Apple’s voice assistant to easily create tasks without having to open the app itself.

Install:Todoist / Wunderlist

Paid Mac Apps and Free Alternatives: Final Thoughts

Since I took this topic on, I realized that while some of the paid Mac apps have worthy alternatives, most of the best paid apps offer features and user interface which cannot be replicated by any free app. Maybe that’s why it’s better to pay for the apps that you are going to use on a daily basis rather looking for their free alternative.

Paid free apps for iphone

That said, not all of us are lucky enough to afford all the paid Mac apps. Hence, what I feel the best thing to do is to buy the apps which are essential for your workflow (you can look at cheaper alternatives which are much easier to find than free ones) while use the free ones for those which are not that important and will not hamper your productivity in a big way.

Getting your art out there has never been easier than it is today. Just a few decades ago, people needed sophisticated tools and other expensive methods to show others their creative talent. Digital platforms have revolutionized this landscape and a lot of artists are getting recognized every day. However, if you’re looking for drawing apps for Mac, you can find a ton of options and it can be a little overwhelming.

In this article, we are going to streamline that list so that you can choose the best drawing app for you. Let’s jump into it.

Contents

  • 1 Top 10 Best Drawing Apps for Mac:

Top 10 Best Drawing Apps for Mac:

We have compiled a list of 8 best drawing apps for Mac that you can get today. The list is ranked based on which app we think is the best, but you can choose whichever app suits your art style.

1. Adobe Photoshop

What can I say about Adobe Photoshop that hasn’t been said already? Photoshop has been around for a long time and it gets new updates every year. It’s one of the most sophisticated drawing apps for Mac and will be a lot of help for a creator. You can create your own image and also edit other images to your liking. This software has a lot of love and support all over the world and it’s easy to understand why. There are a lot of videos online that’s going to help you learn Photoshop and there’s a large online community who’d be happy to help you. The newest version, Photoshop 2020, has an AI called Adobe Sensei that will help you get better selections.

Photoshop is great, but it is expensive. You will have to pay a subscription fee of $20.99/month if billed annually and you can do so here. So if you’re new to the creator scene, then I’d recommend checking out other entries.

2. Autodesk Sketchbook

If you want a professional drawing app with a lot of bells and whistles and if you want it for free, then Autodesk Sketchbook is for you. This app is so versatile and feature-rich that it will appeal to a lot of people. It has a minimalistic design and is preferred by a lot of content creators. There are over 140 brushes and you can even import brushes created by other artists. You can also get custom perspective guides among other things.

You can check out more features and download the app by clicking on this link.

3. Corel Painter

Corel Painter is an app that’s designed by creators for creators. It has a wide variety of tools you can use to propel your art to the next level. With over 900 brushes, this app is loved by many artists. Corel Painter also supports GPU acceleration so that you can get your work done much faster. Their website has hundreds of videos that will help you perform better.

How To Get Paid Mac Apps For Free 2018

Corel Painter costs $339.99 and there’s no subscription. You can download the app here.

4. Rebelle 3

If you are into realistic painting, then you will find Rebelle 3 appealing. It’s a unique app that uses realistic watercolor, acrylic paint simulations. The resulting image will look like it was made on paper with real colors and if this suits your art style, then you should definitely go for it. It makes the colors seem extremely realistic and you can even get simulated watercolor drops. This app was supposed to be an experimental software designed by Peter Blaškovič and it is popular among watercolor painters and CG artists.

You can check out Rebelle 3 and its features on its website. You can get Rebelle 3 for $89.99.

5. FireAlpaca

If you are new to digital drawing or if you have older Macs, then FireAlpaca should be a nice fit for you. It doesn’t have as many features as the earlier entries on the list, but that’s why it’s recommended to beginners. You won’t find the options overwhelming and you can worry about getting a more powerful Mac later on. It’s a small app that’s simple, easy and free to use.

You can check out the feature list of FireAlpaca on their website.

6. Preview

Preview comes pre-installed on a Mac and it can do much more than sign PDFs. If you want a simple drawing app for random doodles, the Preview should be good enough. You can open up any image on Preview and click on the Markup icon (pictured above) to access a lot more menus. It can help you doodle, make notes and even select shapes with the lasso tool. Since this is an in-built app, you don’t have to download anything.

7. Clip Studio Paint

If your dream is to become the best mangaka on Za Warudo!(means “the world” for all of my readers who are not JoJo fans), then you deserve a great manga illustrator. Clip Studio Paint is highly recommended if you draw a lot of manga panels. You can decide panel layouts and customize the tools for your art style pretty quickly. This drawing app for Mac also works great if you want to draw comics.

Clip Studio Paint is available for the free trial and you can get the standard version for $49.99. You can get the full-featured version for $219.99.

8. MediBang Paint

MediBang Paint, just like Clip Studio Paint is aimed at anime and comic-book artists. It has over 50 brushes and a large number of backgrounds that you can choose from. They have tons of tutorials for you on their website and you can snap grids and arrange the panels easily. This app is also available on iPhones and iPads. Medibang Paint is available for free and you can download it here.

9. Inkscape

Inkscape is an app that will appeal to a wide variety of creative people. It can help you create anything from sketches to website designs. It’s a versatile app that’s open-source and free to use. Inkscape also has a very helpful community that will help you use the app.

Mac App Store Download

You can download Inkscape for free by clicking on this link.

10. Patina

Patina is another simple app that lets you create sketches to your heart’s content and simply moves everything else out of the way. It has a simple layout and it’s extremely simple to use. you can use it to make a lot of sketches and doodles on other images too. Patina has a lot of essential features but misses out on stuff like multiple layers. This app is, however, perfect for beginner artists.

Patina is a free app available on the App Store and you can download here.

List of 19 Drawing Software For Macbook

Here is the total list of top Drawing tools and Apps for your Macbook.

How To Get Paid Mac Apps For Free

  1. Adobe Photoshop
  2. Autodesk Sketchbook
  3. Corel Painter
  4. Rebelle 3
  5. FireAlpaca
  6. Preview
  7. Clip Studio Paint
  8. MediBang Paint
  9. Inkscape
  10. Patina
  11. Adobe Illustrator
  12. Leonardo
  13. Affinity Designer
  14. Krita
  15. Tayasui Sketches
  16. Paintbrush
  17. Tayasui Sketches
  18. Sketch
  19. Sip

Final Take

These are some of the best drawing apps for Mac. I hope that this article was helpful to you. If you have any doubts or if we missed your favorite app, then please let us know in the comments section down below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.