The Best Apps for M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

BY Parth Shah

Published 16 Jan 2021

apps for M1 MacBook

Apple unveiled its first Apple Silicon-based M1 Macs — the 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini late last year. If you have gotten a new M1 Mac recently, check out our roundup of some of the best apps for your new MacBook or Mac mini to use it to its full potential.

We have compiled some of the best and useful Mac apps that run natively on the M1-powered MacBooks. Before we move to the apps list, let’s understand the current app situation on the M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Apple calls Mac apps Universal if they include native code for both its new M1 chip and the Intel CPU. When developers update their apps to run natively on Apple silicon, they use something called a Universal binary. If an app has yet to be updated to Universal 2, an M1-powered Mac will still run it, but it will do so by converting the Intel x86-64 code using Rosetta 2 emulation software. However, apps that have been updated with Apple Silicon support tend to run much better on M1 Macs and do not affect the battery life in a big way either.

Check out our hand-picked list of some of the best Mac apps for M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Best Apps for M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini

1. MacCleaner Pro

MacCleaner Pro is an all-in-one utility tool for your Mac. Using the MacCleaner Pro, one can easily find and delete junk files, remove files that slow down your Mac and give your Macbook a performance boost. That’s not all. You can also remove duplicate files, uninstall apps, and analyze disk space.

MacCleaner Pro

The M1 MacBook Air comes with a mere 256GB SSD, to being with. You are going to fill up that space in a couple of months. Using MacCleaner Pro, one can easily make sure that you have enough free space to play with on the device.

Download: MacCleaner Pro

2. Duplicate File Finder Remover

If you only want to remove duplicate files from the Mac, look no further and go with Duplicate File Finder app on Mac. One can always create a smart folder on the Mac and define the system to find duplicate files. But it’s time consuming and less productive. Enter a third-party solution called Duplicate File Finder Remover.

duplicate file finder for m1 macbook

Simply open the app, import the Mac folder that you want to scan for duplicate files and remove all those irrelevant duplicates with a single click. The app allows you to merge and organize files, view file history, scan multiple folders, and more

Download: Duplicate File Finder Remover

3. CleanShot X

The default screen capture tool on the macOS works fine but the CleanShot X takes the experience to the next level with more options such as the ability to create GIFs, videos, self-time etc. What’s more? You can edit a screenshot using annotation tools such as arrow, hide information, rectangle, multiple color options, and more.

cleanshot x for m1 macbook

CleanShot X is one of our favorite tools at iPhonehacks. You can buy the software for $29 as a one-time purchase.

Download: CleanShot X

4. Filmora

Filmora is a powerful video editor designed for M1 CPU. With Filmora, the company aims to simplify the complex video editing process with basic editing features as well as tons of advanced features in an intuitive UI.

filmora for m1 macbook

You can expect over 800 built-in video effects, including titles, transitions, filters, as well as a huge variety of built-in transitions, blur effects, masks, color correction, and more. There is something for everyone here. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, Filmora has got you covered. Go ahead, give it a try from the link below.

Download: Filmora

5. GoodNotes 5

GoodNotes is one of the best note-taking apps for the Mac ecosystem. The app allows you to transform your Mac into smart digital paper and a powerful document management system. One can create digital notebooks and type text with your keyboard or write and draw with the mouse/trackpad or the Apple Pencil using Sidecar on your iPad.

goodnotes for mac

You can organize your documents in folders and create unlimited subfolders, and even favorite them for easy access. If your daily workflow revolves around frequent writing then go ahead and download GoodNotes 5 from the Mac App Store.

Download: GoodNotes 5

6. Parallels Desktop

With the latest v16.0, Parallels Dekstop is finally compatible with the M1 CPU on the Mac. Whether you need to run Windows programs that don’t have Mac versions, or you are making the switch from PC to Mac and need to transfer your data, Parallels Desktop has you covered.

Parallels Desktop automatically detects what you need to get started so you are up and going within minutes! If you need Windows, you’ll be prompted to download and install Windows 10 or use your Boot Camp installation.

Download: Parallels Desktop

7. Pixelmator Pro

Right after the release of the M1 MacBook Air and Pro, the team behind Pixelmator Pro released a compatibility version 2.0 with the huge redesign and underhood changes.

Pixelmator calls it ‘the biggest update to Pixelmator Pro yet,’ and it includes an all-new design, support for Macs using Apple’s new M1 chip, full compatibility with the macOS Big Sur, and much more.

pixelmator pro

In terms of tools, Pixelmator Pro 2.0 includes a new Effects Browser, a new Presets Browser (including over 200 new presets), and more. There are seven new color adjustment preset collections and eight new effect preset collections. While you do not need a Mac with the M1 chip to take advantage of the new features in Pixelmator Pro 2.0, the software does especially benefit from the performance gains granted by the M1 chip.

For new customers, Pixelmator Pro is available for $39.99 USD.

Download: Pixelmator Pro

8. Alfred 4

Alfred is a must-have app for macOS which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, text expansion, and more. You can search your Mac and the web, and be more productive with custom actions to control your Mac. It also allows you to launch applications and find files. Alfred learns how you use your Mac and prioritizes results.

alfred 4

Alfred 4 is already compatible with M1 architecture. The company is promising more features and better performance tuned for the M1 Macs.

Download: Alfred 4

9. Microsoft 365 Apps

It took Microsoft a while but the software giant is ready to support the M1 CPU on the MacBook. The updates are making the apps universal ones — meaning these versions will run on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, so any upcoming updates or features will be coming at the same time for both platforms.

The apps list includes Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Notably absent, however, is Teams. Office users who have automatic updates turned on should have the new versions available on their Macs.

Download: Microsoft 365

10. Zoom

Zoom doesn’t need an introduction unless you are living under a rock last year. Zoom used to work perfectly fine on the M1 laptop using Rosetta 2 emulation but it was hard on the battery life of the M1 MacBook.


As of December 21, Zoom officially rolled out an update to its video calling app so that it natively supports Apple’s silicone. This is a big deal given that the holidays are bound to be a popular time for video calls. Also, video calls are one of the things that typically hit your laptop’s battery life the hardest.

Download: Zoom

11. Lightroom

Adobe’s Lightroom is one of the first Adobe Creative Cloud apps to be optimized for the Apple M1 chip. For many creatives and professionals, it’s the default choice for editing and organizing photos. Lightroom Classic works perfectly fine with the M1 MacBook but with the recent universal update to the software, you will notice quicker editing and export times without affecting the battery life.

Download: Lightroom

12. Google Chrome

Even after a huge redesign and feature add-on to the Safari browser on macOS Big Sur, Google Chrome remains the default choice for the majority out there. The search giant recently revealed the M1 compatible browser.

In the case of Chrome, just be sure that you select “Mac with Apple chip” when downloading — otherwise, you’ll end up installing the Intel version, which will still run, but not as efficiently. Firefox is also on-board with the M1 MacBook. Microsoft Edge, another popular browser on the Mac is yet to be updated for the M1 MacBook.

Download: Google Chrome

13. Things 3

Things 3 is one of the best task management apps on the Mac platform. The company is claiming to rebuild the app from the ground-up to support the latest line of M1 MacBooks. The app allows you to create to-do lists and easily check items off as you get down with them. With the recent update, Things 3 supports notifications, Big Sur widgets, and all the latest additions to the macOS. The software is available on iOS and Apple Watch as well.

things 3

Download: Things 3

14. Fantastical

Fantastical recently won the Mac App of the Year award by Apple. It’s beautiful, clean, easy to use, and allows you to manage events and tasks like a pro on iPhone and Mac. You can set your calendar view exactly the way you want, and Fantastical also has widgets that you can pop into your Mac’s “Today” sidebar.


The free version is limited in a number of ways. To unlock the full potential, you will need to pay for a subscription that starts at $4.99 per month.

Download: Fantastical

15. Tweetbot for Twitter

Tweetbot is an award-winning, full-featured Twitter client for the Mac. It has a beautiful interface with light & dark themes, multiple-column support, and much more. You get to enjoy an expandable sidebar, drag and drop columns, timeline filters, mute filters, lists, multi-account support, and much more over the boring native Twitter app for Mac.

Do keep in mind that Twitter does not grant 3rd party apps access to every single feature that is available on Twitter’s website.

Download: Tweetbot

16. Bartender 4

If you’ve got a cluttered mess of a menu bar at the top of your Mac’s screen, a Bartender can help you bring order to things. You can smartly de-clutter that menubar space and arrange the app icons into an expandable yet invisible stack that autohides. The app also allows you to manually reorder the icons as per your usage and choice.

bartender 4

If you tend to have multiple apps running, then you can even use the keyboard shortcut to cycle between those app icons. Alternatively, you can also search for the app using the search box. Hiding certain apps protects your privacy from other folks and also cleans up the menu bar.

Download: Bartender 4

17. 1Password

1Password is the easiest way to store and use strong passwords. You can log in to sites and fill forms securely with a single click. It essentially takes away all the pressures of creating and remembering a password that’s actually complex and secure. The app is now optimized for the new M1 chip. 1Password offers both personal and family plans, to begin with.


Download: 1Password

18. Affinity Apps

Affinity suite of apps offers more bang for the buck compared to a pricey Adobe Creative Suite subscription. Affinity apps such as Photo, Designer, and Publisher are already compatible with the M1 MacBook. If you are tired of waiting for Adobe to update Photoshop and other apps, then you should seriously consider Affinity’s offering on the Mac.

Download: Affinity Apps

19. BetterTouchTool

If you have purchased the M1 MacBook Pro with TouchBar then you are in a treat with the BetterTouchTool app. macOS Big Sur does offer a certain level of customization to the TouchBar but BetterTouchTool is a utility that gives you even greater flexibility over what goes where when using the Touch Bar, allowing you to quickly tap useful shortcuts for your most important apps.


Download: BetterTouchTool

20. Scrivener 3

Scrivener 3, a well-known writing app for the Mac platform recently received a major overhaul with a host of new functions. Scrivener 3 is a major update to Scrivener that is now available on macOS. It is a paid upgrade for existing users and includes a whole heap of exciting enhancements, along with a refreshed and beautiful interface. The company claims to have modernized and rewritten the codebase for 64-bit for faster and stable performance.

Download: Scrivener 3

21. PDF Expert

I have been using PDF Expert for a couple of years and I can’t recommend it enough. The M1 optimized PDF editor allows you to edit, read, annotate, change text and images, fill forms, sign documents like a pro on the Mac. That’s not all. You can even use the app to read books with different modes such as Day, Night, or Sepia from the advanced settings menu.


Download: PDF Expert

22. CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is an all-in-one package to clear unnecessary and cache files from your Mac. It cleans megatons of junk and makes your computer run faster. CleanMyMac X replaces dozens of optimization tools for Mac. It can be anything you tell it to be: a macOS cleaner, a performance monitor, and a malware remover.

cleanmymac x

You can remove tons of clutter that lurks in iTunes, Mail, Photos, and even locate gigabytes of large hidden files. Mac cleaning tools in CleanMyMac X will cut the extra weight in seconds.

Download: CleanMyMac X

23. DaVinci Resolve

DaVinci Resolve is a powerful media tool that combines editing, color correction, visual effects, motion graphics, and audio post-production in one easy-to-use interface. DaVinci Resolve 17 features new image processing for the latest wide gamut HDR, a powerful audio engine, immersive 3D audio workflows, and more.

DaVinci Resolve is divided into “pages,” each of which gives you a dedicated workspace and tools for a specific task. All it takes is a single click to switch between tasks.

Download: DaVinci Resolve

24. AdLock

No, it’s not another Adblocker extension for your browser. AdLock is a native Adblocker for Mac. AdLock handles all the ad junk and makes your web-surfing experience crisp, clean, and hassle-free.

adlock for m1 mac

The software filters out Internet advertising to prevent access to unsafe web resources. These resources include phishing sites and pages that host malicious or unwanted software. AdLock also allows you to filter out apps and services to serve acceptable ads. On top of that, you will have peace of mind with default DNS filtering, HTTPS filtering, autorun, and live monitoring. Go ahead, give it a try from the link below.

Download: AdLock

25. Slack

This one needs no introduction, doesn’t it? Slack is a team chat tool that allows organizations to streamline the conversion in the company. The company recently added the ability to DM anyone on the platform. Slack aims to replace the decade-old email functionality. While I don’t see them completely succeeding, it did manage to cut-out clutter within the company.

slack for m1 mac

Download: Slack

26. Simplenote

Simplenote is an excellent Notes alternative for Mac. It’s clean, works across all platforms, syncs perfectly, and gets the job done with a bunch of features. You can use tags to organize notes, go back in time to glace at revisions, share notes, and use the default Markdown support.

Download: Simplenote

Start Using Your M1 MacBook

Go through the apps list above and spruce up your new MacBook experience with amazing apps and tools optimized for the M1 CPU. It’s only a matter of time for other developers to join the latest trend in the macOS. Do let us know which apps are you picking up in the comments section below.