Setapp’s suite of apps transformed my productivity, finances and creativity

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Setapps has a great suite of mac apps.
Like many people out there, I rely on apps to navigate my day-to-day because technology continues to change my life.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

By Unique Michael

Like you, I’m constantly trying to find new ways to use my Apple devices. That usually means trying new apps, but it’s not always clear which apps are worth installing and which are a waste of time and money.

Instead of trying apps haphazardly, there’s an option that’s been called the “Spotify of Mac apps.” This unique and inexpensive subscription service lets you access more than 200 popular and well-regarded Mac apps to download and try.

That option is Setapp, and right now you can save 36% on a one-year subscription.

A common struggle with productivity

I’ve downloaded a lot of bad apps in my time. Free apps are often promising, but they’re also often crippled. They aren’t optimized for personalization and can lack useful features. Premium apps, the ones that require you to pay, demand more vetting. I read the reviews, but I’m often left with a bunch of similar apps I opted into subscriptions for and no real solution.

Setapp — rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by ProductHunt — is what stopped the cycle. Here are all the ways how.

Diving into Setapp

Have you ever wished for an app that could clean your house? There isn’t one, but there is one that can clean your computer. In fact, Setapp gives you access to several of them. The ones that make a huge difference within the first day are Gemini — which found and deleted 215.67GB of my duplicate files — and CleanMyMac X, which performed a thorough audit and cleanse of my computer. My Mac is now running twice as fast.

But cleaning your Mac is just the stop. There are hundreds of apps on offer within Setapp. It offers great apps for writers, students, professionals, computer maintenance, calendar management, personal finances — the list seriously goes on and on.

I saw an app called Manuscripts with the description Write a book and do it easily. That actually made me laugh, but the app does not disappoint. The templates offered for a variety of book types provide guidance and motivation (two things I’ll be using for the book I’m writing).

Don’t want to bother switching from the native Calendar app? After several days of using BusyCal, I am forever changed. This app aligns all your calendars and tasks, displays the weather, and more, making it easier to separate work from home.

Setapp also delivers apps for tracking crypto investments in real time (Moonitor) and for tracking your income and spending to help you budget and save money (Chronicle).

Check out this video to see even more of the apps available in Setapp:

My Explorer

After I downloaded Setapp, I dived into a few app subcategories in Setapp’s left-hand sidebar. First up was the Collections tab, which groups sets of apps together by the types of problems they solve. For example: Get things done, which houses four apps.

Well, that’s me. I need help getting things done. So that’s the little box of apps I clicked on. Be your most productive self with Setapp’s GTD toolkit. Save time with a handy windows manager, top-rated progress tracking app, and more.

Is it too good to be true? Let’s find out. The first app, called Timing, automatically tracks time spent on your Mac. While you work or fool around on social media, Timing sits in the background and tracks what you’ve been up to.

After a few hours using Timing, I was impressed by how easy it is to optimize my time for tasks. I can figure out when I’m most productive during the week and when my most active hours are. Fortunately (and unfortunately), Timing also gives you a productivity score — and mine still wound up low. I’ve loved the app’s capabilities but I definitely need more help staying focused.

The next app in the Get things done collection is called Mosaic, which promises to organize windows on my desktop. I’m notorious for having a ridiculous number of windows open, but after installing this app and finding it not particularly intuitive, I quickly moved on to the next one, MindNode.

MindNode gives people the ability to visualize ideas with mind maps, but it requires macOS 11.0 or higher and I’m due for an update. So it’s definitely a good idea to run a backup and get the latest Mac operating system before exploring Setapp.

Finally there’s GoodTask. It’s an app that keeps all your tasks in one place. It utilizes smart lists and various filters to manage how tasks are shown. This is exactly what I need: the power to personalize organization.

After a few days of using GoodTask, I am sold. This app has helped me convert tasks into habits. For example, I set a goal to meditate alongside a YouTube meditation playlist. Under the task called “Meditation,” I created a smart filter called “habit.” GoodTask aligns with my calendar and helps me stay focused on what matters. Sure, you need to kind of teach the system how to keep you focused, but the results prove well worth it.

What I love the most about GoodTask is how it helped me break down daily routines and responsibilities with sub-tasks.

Lifestyle

There are so many apps under Setapps’ Lifestyle section. Ready for wallpapers that sync with time? 24 Hour Wallpaper is the app for you! There’s an app called ChatMate for using Whatsapp on your computer. Canary Mail promises to beautify and simplify the email experience, including a bulk cleaner and one-click unsubscribe technology.

Creativity

Setapp’s Creativity section is wild. Perfect for content creators, digital artists and experience designers, these tools can make working on personal and professional projects a lot easier and more fun. Check out Vidrio — it creates a holographic screencast using your webcam.

There’s also CleanShot X. This app has changed the way I take screenshots and record my screen. I once cobbled things together with Quicktime and Command + Shift + 4. After installing CleanShot X, I can use one shortcut to take screenshots, record my screen, and capture content from specific windows.

(The Timing app told me I spent three full hours exploring Creativity apps.)

Developer Tools

Whether you’re new to software engineering or are a seasoned professional, Setapp offers a lot of tools to evolve your workflow. Many of them are too advanced for me to talk about, but a couple stood out.

The Auxl app organizes and tests code. You can use it to develop APIs. If you need to track time, use the app Buildwatch to do that in Xcode. Then there’s CodeRunner, an app that lets you edit and run code in any language.

My favorite app in this section is RapidWeaver. Without any coding whatsoever, it let me build a website for my friend’s online business. The examples RapidWeaver offers prove very helpful for getting started.

Productivity

In the Productivity section, I found an application called HazeOver. It’s so incredible that I’m not sure why Apple hasn’t made this a standard feature for laptops and desktops.

HazeOver dims any window and app that isn’t being utilized. When I first activated the app, I was very pleased with the aesthetic. After a few hours of having dim windows, I felt less anxious about all the things I had to do. My brain is now staying focused on the task at hand, and the Timing app showed my productivity score went up 25% after two days of using HazeOver.

Mac hacks

If GoodTask organizes your tasks, what app organizes your projects? The app you seek is called Workspaces. After installing this app, I’m ready to become a Setapp customer for life. Workspaces adjusts your working environment based on what your needs are.

When I click on the Workspaces icon at the top of my screen, all of my projects are displayed. If I click on a specific project, it activates based on my specifications. For example, if I’m working on the book I’m writing, I’m redirected to my outline and I can see all of the milestones needed to move my project from idea to reality. Having Workspaces on your computer is like having your own dedicated project manager.

Is Setapp worth it?

I was skeptical at the beginning about Setapp, because it just seemed like a lot to sift through. But the apps are curated, they’re sorted in a smart way, and several of them work very well together, making it easy to make life easier.

Instead of downloading Mac apps on a whim from the App Store, it’s way more rewarding (and affordable) to try Setapp. Whatever challenges you may have, Setapp will most likely have 10 apps to help. And you can use them all with a single subscription. No joke.

I haven’t had a chance to explore the iOS apps, which Setapp began adding last year. There’s an additional fee for those but I’m sure it’s worth it. When I get my new iPad, I’m installing Setapp immediately.

See for yourself why Trustpilot gave Setapp 4.4 stars and Cult of Mac’s reviewer called my new favorite Mac tool “flawless.” For a limited time, you can get 36% off a one-year subscription to Setapp. At the sale price of $69, you’ll get access to more than 200 apps (and their updates) for less than $6 a month.

Buy from: Cult of Mac Deals

This post was written by Unique Michael, a freelance writer based in Florida. Prices subject to change.