Applications to install on a new Macbook Pro

James Mills > Blog > Applications to install on a new Macbook Pro

I know everyone does these posts but I always find it helpful to document this sort of thing just in case it’s useful to others.

I’ve recently for a MacBook Pro 13″ M1. I’m going to add what I install (in no particular order) to this page. Let me know if it’s helpful.


Been using this for years now. It’s got everything in it. I don’t even think about passwords anymore, I just use a unique one for each service and store it in 1Password. With convenient apps for all devices and helpful browser extensions, it’s a no-brainer for me.

Spark Mail

There are hundreds of email clients out there and everyone has their own personal preference about how email should work. I’m a huge fan of Spark Mail. It just works. I love the “Smart Inbox” which helps me see at a glance what’s new and important to me. The other thing I like is that you create one login for Spark and then once you sign into that on Laptop, iPhone and iPad everything is in sync.


Since the very early days, I’ve been using DropBox. I use it for everything and anything. The only thing that’s not in DropBox is the code that I have in Git. Passport copies, travel insurance, receipts for expensive items, photos of childhood memories… it’s all in DropBox. Synced and accessible from anywhere. It’s a no-brainer.


Some love it some hate it. I love it. Slacks the core of all my communication at Successful Media and I try and invite as many external partners into Slack as possible. I create channels for almost everything. We have project channels (shared with a partner) and I have channels for deployment notifications, website uptime issues, etc.

Other Chat Clients

I hate that I have to install, manage and use so many differnt chat apps but that’s the world we live in. Here are the others:

  1. Skype – Business chat with people I cannot connect with in Slack
  2. Telegram – Useful for notifications (& people who don’t like Slack ;-))


We all need it. Much prefer this than Google Hangouts and MS Teams etc. Once you set your preferences to match your needs it’s so quick and easy to “jump on a call”.


I know people like to stay retro and use the CLI for Git but I’ve never been able to get into that. I’m a huge fan of using something with a GUI. I’ve tried a few over the years but GitTower is the winner for me. I’ve paid for a license for this for a long time. It does what it says on the tin. Great product.


Use what you feel comfortable with and certainly always go for the best tool for the job. For me that’s PHPStorm. I install it via the JetBrains Toolbox. Happy to be trying out the Apple Silicone version, hoping to see things feel slightly more responsive.


If you’re a little OCD about keeping your open windows organized then Moom will help. Easily snap windows to grids etc. Simple. Does what it says on the tin.


I should probably look at using the Apple Notes but quite frankly I just love the simplicity of Evernote. I’ve been using it since 2010 and so I have so much data in there. Quite literately everything gets dumped into Evernote. Everything including things like planning, documentation, settings, how-to, reminders, meeting agendas, follow-up notes, and most importantly random brain dumps!


A fantastic local tool to test and consume API’s. Great for requests and responses. I use it all the time.


If you do any work with databases then you’ve got to give TablePlus a go. It’ll also connect to Redis too!


Great tool for taking and sharing screen shots and screen recordings. I use this all the time to share things with people online.


The magic of everything! The Missing Package Manager for macOS (or Linux). If it can be installed using Brew then it should be installed using brew!

Things I then went on to install using Homebrew:

  1. brew install node
  2. brew install redis (actually don’t do this, see DBngin below)


If you spend a lot of your time in the terminal then iTerm2 will help add some helpful features to your day-to-day routines.

Once you have iTerm2 installed install ohmyzsh and take advantage of the many plugins and themes available to you.

Install Git

Install “Developer Tools”. This will happen once you type “git” into the terminal. for the first time (if not already installed).

Create an SSH Key

Loads of places to show you how to do this. If you’re setting up a new Mac you probably already have one you can just move. I’ve decided to create a new one. GitLab has some help for you here.

You can copy your key’s content by using this hand snippet.

If you don’t want to type your passphrase each time then add the below to your config file ($ touch ~/.ssh/config) (More info here)

Host *
  UseKeychain yes

Local Development (Laravel Focused)


Free All-in-One Database Version Management Tool! The easiest way to get started with PostgreSQL, MySQL, Redis & more

This is a game changer when it comes to getting a local database and Redis running locally to use with Valet. By the same awesome people as TablePlus.


I’ve only just started to use this but it seems helpful.

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