One common characteristic of every Mac computer is the dock that spans the bottom of the screen. It’s filled with those native Apple applications that Mac users either love or hate. The restrictive Apple ecosystem may make you feel like there are no alternatives to those apps in your dock, but fear not: You can find plenty of alternatives to the apps you don’t want to keep.
It’s incredibly annoying that iCloud only allows you to sync photos with iPhoto. iPhoto is slow and has limited photo editing capabilities, and Photo Stream works inconsistently. Fortunately, you can find a few alternatives to iPhoto. The list includes:
- Picasa. Picasa from Google shines when it comes to tagging, searching and organizing photos, which is what you’d expect from Google. It supports geotagging and facial recognition, and it integrates with Google Plus, which can be both good and annoying. Picasa is free, but the editing tools are still pretty basic.
- Lyn. Lyn can organize photos from iPhoto, Aperture, Lightroom and any other photos on your hard drive. It also has more sharing features than iPhoto so that you can share your photos to Flickr, SmugMug, Dropbox, Picasa and 500px.
- Pixa. Pixa is a great tool for designers and other professionals who like to surf the Web to collect inspirational images. You can simply drag images into the app, and Pixa will automatically tag them according to dimension and primary color. You can also create manual presets to have Pixa tag your images your way.
Mail is big and buggy to begin with, and it’s had some annoying problems ever since Apple released Mavericks. Choose a good Mail alternative plus an antivirus for Mac program that can scan attachments for malware.
- Postbox. Postbox has a cool summarizing feature that shows short summaries of each reply in an email thread. It supports Dropbox for attachment handling, and it supports Gmail labels.
- Inky. Inky is a free email app that organizes your incoming email according to purpose and priority. Social emails go into one folder, and business emails go into another.
- Airmail. Airmail integrates with both Dropbox and Google Drive. It also has an archive feature, and plenty of keyboard shortcuts. If you need Exchange support, then Airmail is the Mail alternative for you.
Adding events to Calendar is so cumbersome and annoying that the Mac App Store is full of apps, like QuickCal, that try to make it simpler. If you’d prefer just one calendar app, try one of these:
- Fantastical. Fantastical, which is available for Mac, iPhone and iPad, combines a calendar and reminder list in a single interface. Addresses for events can be sent to Google Maps or Apple Maps.
- Caliander. Caliander’s window orders events horizontally across the Mac desktop, and an event line travels through the events to give you a good visual of what the day will bring. Events that are happening soon appear larger so that you always know what’s next on your agenda.
- SmartDay.SmartDay is a calendar that also populates items from an attached to-do list. If you like to see events and to-dos in one place, then you’ll like SmartDay.
The interface for iTunes keeps getting more complex and difficult to navigate. You can try one of these alternatives to iTunes that offer plenty of integration with music libraries outside of the iTunes universe. Just stick to downloading music from legit sources. Artists deserve to be paid, and you don’t deserve to download a Mac virus.
- Tomahawk. Tomahawk integrates not only your local iTunes library but also libraries from SoundCloud, Grooveshark, Last.fm and Spotify premium accounts. Integration with Google, Jabber and Twitter allows you to see your friends’ song collections.
- Fidelia. The Fidelia app is great when you want better sound quality than you’ll get from iTunes. It supports FLAC files and offers optimal sample rate conversion using iZoTope technology.
- Ecoute. Ecoute will take you back to the good old days of iTunes, when the interface was clean and simple to use. Ecoute connects to Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm accounts.
Even Apple lovers have their limits, especially when dealing those native dock apps. Fortunately, developers are offering great Mac app alternatives that can give your dock, and your Mac experience, a whole new dimension.
Mac workstation image by Rego Korosi from Flickr Creative Commons
Mac, MacBook and iPhone on desk image by Simbe90 from Flickr Creative Commons