10 Must-Have App Mac Apps for Productive Students

From life-admin to remembering to submit your assignments to ensuring you never loose your work. The Macbook is a great friend throughout university and beyond, a worthwhile investment. Finding great apps you can use (most together with your iPhone/iPad) is difficult and it took me many years to find the good ones. So I’ve put together this list to get you started!


This is a must have for any Mac. It is possibly the best media player around, no matter what file get thrown your way. Quicktime will do the job most the time, but this is your just-in-case will work all the time.



I loved evernote for taking notes. I used it on my iPad (when I still had it), but more often than not took hand-written notes and used their scan feature to scan them digitally. This enabled me to tag them, put them into virtual folders and search them also. It is a really powerful tool and one of, productivity guru, Francesco D’Alessio’s favourite bits of software. Check out his student specific YouTube guide. You can sync between all your devices on any platform.

Basic – FREE | Plus – £22.99 / year | Premium – £44.99 / year


If you need a task manager / To-Do list, this is the one I’d go for. Todoist has some great features, you can divide by Project, or organise by Label, share projects with others and syncs across your devices! I’ve recently started using the GTD methodology (summary coming soon) and its great.

Basic – FREE | Premium – £27.99 / year

Dropbox / Google Drive / MEGA

Cloud storage is something I swear by. If I’m spending hours writing something I want to be sure I do not lose it no matter what. Storing online has 2 benefits: first its safe; second you can access it anywhere! I am only discussing the free versions here, all have Premium options for extra storage space.

Dropbox is the most popular, almost everyone has heard of it and many people have it. It is pretty good overall and their apps are functional, working with the MS suite. Only downside is the low storage you get with the free version.

Google Drive (15GB – free) is also a must-have. It’s great for collaborative work, with Google Docs/Sheets/Slides you and your team can work on the same file at the same time and it will simultaneously update & save – there’s even a built in chat function. You need a Google account, but you probably have one anyway!!

MEGA (50GB – free) is my favourite! You probably haven’t heard of this New Zealand company, but you’ll love them. You get a whopping 50GB with their free account, its available on iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, on OSX, Windows & Linux (as MEGA Sync), as a Chrome extension and through any browser. The sync is super quick and possibly the best feature is that, unlike the previous two, they will never look through your files! So you can store personal info with their end-to-end encrypted service. Get it!


You’ve probably heard of password managers. They’re heralded as a must have for internet security. I had been hearing about them for years, but never could be bothered to use one. Just seemed too much hassle. Then I got one. It changed everything. I swear by Lastpass, it holds all my login details, has my card numbers saved, my passport info, everything – all I need to remember is one (pretty complicated) password. It has extensions for most web browsers, with autofill and auto-login (cutting the ‘enter’ button part out of the process). You can get it on your phone and separately on your Mac. It will even go through and change your passwords for you to ensure you keep your security high on that all-important Amazon account! (& other major websites).

Basic – FREE | Premium – £22.99 / year

Keeping You Awake

Get fed up of your Mac going to sleep every time you pop to the toilet? This is your solution. An updated clone of the much loved Caffeine app that is no longer updated, Keeping You Awake does a very simple task. Stops your Mac from going to sleep, you can set it to stay on indefinitely or anywhere from 5 mins to 5 hours. I always have it on indefinite. This open-source super lightweight app is a must-have for any mac user.



Like to keep up with the news? Have a long reading list? This app will sort you out. It’s a ‘save for later’ app, that does exactly what it says on the tin. Install the browser extension and just click it when you want to save that page for later. Syncs across devices, so you can save that news article on your Mac then open it up on the bus into uni on your phone.


Fantasical 2

OK, so this one is a bit pricy. I absolutely hate the Apple calendar, for some reason I could never get along with it, especially on my iPhone. I wanted a calendar that I could use on both my Mac and iPhone that would sync and seem native. I read many reviews and tried a few of the free ones, Google’s Calendar is a pretty good option on iPhone but sadly I don’t like the web interface. Anyway, Fantastical 2 has so many good reviews and recommendations I bit the bullet and bought the Mac & iPhone apps. I do not regret it at all, I’ve had it for over a year now and LOVE IT. I use it everyday and would recommend to anyone who wants to use a digital calendar/diary. Oh, you can also use natural language, like: “Research Methods Lecture every Tuesday 1400 – 1500 in Room 302”

iPhone – £4.99 | Mac – £48.99

Google Chrome

I’ll be honest, Safari is alright. It gets the job done. But if you’re looking for flexibility and adaptability you want to get Chrome. It has thousands of extensions that you can install which make using it so much more fluid. It syncs with the iPhone/Android Chrome app and so you can see what pages you’re viewing on your Mac from your phone & vice versa.

Must-have extensions:


If you want to get loads of apps for a small monthly price ($4.99 / month Student Rate) this is how. You get access to loads of cool apps that allow you to do many many things. I haven’t actually used this yet, but the apps available look so good, I had to include it. Great for the super productive and developers!

$59.88 / year (around £46 at time of writing)


I hope this list will get you started on getting the most out of your Macbook at university. Any other suggestions Tweet us or comment below!!


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