Here Are Your Top Mac Apps Of 2011, Now Choose Your Number One [Best of 2011]


best mac apps 2011

As we reminisced in our previous poll, 2011 has been a monumental year for the Mac App Store. There have been countless new releases and updates that we’ve covered on the site, and the Mac app ecosystem has reached a whole new level of excellence.

We told you to choose the 10 most innovative Mac apps of this year, and your votes garnered some interesting results. Here are the 10 most innovative Mac apps of 2011. And now we need you to choose your number one.


If you aren’t already using Evernote, you’re missing out on a robust, streamlined productivity tool for managing your digital life. The note-taking/to-do app is available on every platform imaginable, and the Mac app acts as the hub for collecting information and entering large amounts of data.


As the ultimate password manager, 1Password on the Mac acts as your personal vault for storing sensitive information like passwords and credit card numbers. Not only can you store your logins and have them automatically filled in when browsing online, but 1Password will encrypt your database to keep it protected like Fort Knox.


Think of Pixelmator as Photoshop for the rest of us. The gorgeous photo editor looks like it was made by Apple, and there’s plenty of power inside to make it a viable Photoshop substitute for most purposes. It’s also incredibly cheap comparatively, so you can’t go wrong.


We’ve covered the 1.0 release of Alfred extensively on the site, and it’s clear that Alfred deserves to sit amongst the top ranks of innovative Mac apps for 2011. The lightweight launcher utility makes operating a Mac delightful, and there’s plenty of available plugins for fine tuning your experience. Don’t let the cute hat fool you, Alfred doesn’t mess around — it gets stuff done.


Spotify has helped revolutionize the way we listen to music, and the service finally went live with a Mac app this year. With an elegant interface and vast catalog of content, Spotify for Mac is a must-have for those that are inclined to the subscription-based model of music consumption.


Disgruntled users of Apple’s Mail app have found happiness in Sparrow during 2011. The innovative app rocketed to the top of the Mac App Store and made huge splashes in the blogosphere this year. Sparrow’s incredible UI and Apple-like attention to detail make it an essential app for those that want a new take on Mac email clients.


RSS fanatics know Reeder very well. The app originally launched in the iOS App Store, and its users rejoiced when it finally came to the Mac. For most, Reeder is the de facto Google RSS client on all Apple devices. With gestures and a minimalist interface, Reeder for Mac is the crown jewel of RSS readers for the desktop.


Aspiring DJs can spin like the pros now thanks to djay for Mac. The app offers an intuitive interface for mixing music on the go or with a turntable setup. With iOS apps to match, djay for Mac makes it easy to play at a party or enjoy mixing tunes on your own.




Fantastical makes adding calendar events on the Mac a dream come true. The menubar app acts as your personal assistant that parses natural text input (“Schedule my doctor’s appointment for tomorrow at 3”) and interprets it into an iCal event. Regular iCal users will immediately see the value of such an app, as it isn’t exactly easy to add events in Apple’s calendar application natively.



Cloud makes it super easy to send and share links, text, video, images, and the like with short links. The lightweight app sits in your Mac’s menubar and lets you upload stuff to your account quickly with a keyboard shortcut. Cloud then takes whatever you’ve copied in your clipboard, uploads it, and spits out a shortened URL for sharing online. Simple and efficient.

Get Voting!

Those are your 10 most innovative Mac apps of 2011. Now it’s time to select the ultimate winner. Vote for your favorite below and we’ll announce the winner, as selected by Cult of Mac readers, next week!

  • Joe Frohlinger

    With disclaimer that I haven’t tried them all, the one that pops up quickly is Alfred. It’s intuitive, smart and lightning fast. So far it’s been amazing!

  • prof_peabody

    I don’t like or use any of those except Pixelmator and Pixelmator is heavily flawed.   

    Even if one was being very generous, it would be hard to characterise many of these as “innovative” also.  None of them do anything really different or new and they all have fairly standard user interfaces.  

    If I had to pick, “djay” (although I’ve never used it), seems to best fit the bill of something new and different.  

  • Chris Farrugia

    Reeder is horrible.  Reason being, it doesn’t precache images the way it does on the iPod or iPad.  Therefore, you sit and wait for feeds to download when it could be doing that in the background.  It’s garbage and not worth the money when you are better off with Google Reader.  I’ve emailed the developer numerous times asking him about it and never heard a word back.

  • Blake Beavers

    Alfred is the best thing on the Mac App Store

  • N0M0reUsernames

    I Love Alfred. I use it for everything. Everyday. its wonderful!

  • Elsic1975a

    If you haven’t used FantastiCal, you’re missing out. Everyone I showed it to bought it. Seriously, it’s worth a try!

  • scott ronan

    I use Evernote everyday on every device I use; iPad, iPhone, iMac and work Windows laptop.  I couldn’t do without it.

  • Nik Webster

    It’s interesting if you look at the feedback that has been posted for these apps. Many are unhappy about price, performance and usability. Makes you wonder how this top list was compiled?

  • imbenking

    Spotify?? Hasnt than been widely used and popular since at least 2009? Hardly a new contendor for best of 2011.

  • takeo

    Life without 1Password would be so much less of a joy – it really is amazing.

  • David_Lazarus

    I have a number of these apps, but the one that I use most is 1Password. Once you start converting over from previous passwords to more secure ones it makes life safer. I now have multiple user names and several hundred randomly generated passwords. Even changing them regularly is easy. Using it on iOS makes it secure as well. 

  • 5imo

    If some thing is just realised in the US regardless of how long its has been around it will be seen as new.

  • freedotz

    …I miss Sherlock

  • Tymo Teusz

    I would like to like Alfred, but I don’t see any extra functionality in it. It is like Spotlight with a little faster direct access ti entries, which are at the bottom of the “list”. Or am I wrong?

    Maybe someone could tell me some scenarios where Alfred comes to its full strength? I am always looking forward to enhance my workflow. So come on, give me some tips ;-)

  • ptujec

    Talking about innovation it might be fair to mention QuickCal since it did natural language parsing for calendar events (and todos) long before the app you mentioned above. Just sayin…  

  • alexheath

    “unhappy” is the normal characteristic of most people that comment on blogs. Don’t let it affect your opinion of the list’s credibility

  • Mystakill

    Alfred is not just a search tool for Spotlight.  It can also perform mathematicall calculations, control iTunes, browse your filesystem, search your address book, send email, assign global hotkeys, and search Google, Bing, USPS, FedEx, UPS, or any number of other sites or services, either natively or with an extension.  It’s also highly extensible with AppleScripts, shell scripts, filters, etc.  There’s thriving community of users who contribute their own extensions (… as well.

    Alfred itself is free, but some of these features require the purchase of the PowerPack (…, which is well worth the cost in saved time and increased productivity.  You’ll soon wonder how you lived without it.

  • Mystakill

    I prefer LastPass to 1Password; it’s free for most features, and at $12 annually for the premium features, costs much less than 1Password.  It’s also multi-platform without requiring you to purchase it again for each platform; 1Password requires separate app purchases for OS X, Windows and iDevices.  For those using Linux, 1Password isn’t even an option.

  • djrobsd

    djay is a joke and a disgrace to the DJ community.   I hate when companies try to devalue a creative industry and make people feel like “anyone can be a dj”..  There are so many better programs for the Mac to DJ on, DJ is for wannabes.  If you really want to DJ you need to invest in a real piece of software like Traktor or Virtual DJ, and buy some decent controller or dual Pioneer CDJ players hooked up to USB and ACTUALLY dj.

  • David_Lazarus

    Any password manager is better than none. Yes 1Password is pricey but it is regularly updated and syncs rapidly across devices. Which password manager you use is down to preferences. 

  • Mystakill

    Odd – I replied to this yesterday, but it’s disappeared from Disqus.  At any rate, there are quite a few reasons why you should check out Alfred.

    First, in addition to allowing you to search your documents, apps, address book, and other local content, it can also track your packages, perform searches through various web sites and services (Google, Bing, eBay, Amazon, etc.), perform mathematical calculations, navigate and display content your local files, and listen to and control iTunes.  In addition, it’s highly extensible with AppleScripts, shell scripts, filters, etc.  You can also define global hotkeys and custom searches, and review/use your clipboard history and manage and use text snippets.

    There’s quite a bit more that I haven’t touched on, and it’s updated fairly regular with new features.  Some of the features I listed are part of the £15 PowerPack add-on (family and lifetime licenses are also available), but it’s well worth the cost in added features and productivity gains.  The free version contains quite a bit of functionality as well, although I’d recommend downloading it directly from rather than getting it through MAS, as the MAS version will eventually have to be neutered in some way(s) in order to comply with Apple’s overbearing rules which will start being enforced in March.

  • Stephen Long

    I use 1Password every day and have it for Mac, PC, iPhone and iPad: brilliant!!

  • Ryan Lackey

    I’ve been a big fan of several of these for a long time (especially 1Password), but thanks for introducing me to the others (Pixelmator in particular looks really useful for me!).

  • Robert

    Me too. I’m surprised no one has developed a replacement.

  • KieranFurie

    Keepass is a good free alternative that has support in one way or another for all the major desktop and mobile operating systems. It’s a little less straightforward as you’ll have to keep the database in sync manually or through a third party like dropbox but it’s a good free option.