I have to admit that I don’t enjoy spending money on software even though I do so fairly often—both as part of my work and for personal reasons.
It’s perhaps because software just feels too intangible to me. Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that there are excellent free alternatives to most paid apps.
There have, however, been several software purchases that I don’t regret one bit. In fact, I’m convinced that all Mac users should do themselves a favor and buy the apps I recommend below instead of settling for their alternatives.
Note: I’m not paid to recommend any apps featured in this article.
1. CleanMyMac X (system cleaner)
Price: $39.95 per year (included in Setapp)
Who should buy it: Mac users who want to keep their beloved computers in pristine condition.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: CleanMyMac X saves me a lot of time when performing common system maintenance tasks, such as deleting leftover files, finding space hogs, and keeping apps updated. The app is ridiculously well designed, and it comes with useful security and privacy protection features to keep today’s threats at bay.
2. Typora (writing app)
Price: $14.99 (one-time purchase)
Who should buy it: Writers who can appreciate a capable writing app that doesn’t get in their way.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Distractions are like parasites that can steal your best ideals and steer you the wrong way. Typora keeps me focused on writing while giving me everything I need to turn ideas into publishing-ready articles. There are many official and community themes to choose from, so your Typora doesn’t have to look like mine does on the screenshot above.
3. Snagit (screen capture software)
Price: $62.99 (per major version)
Who should buy it: Those who want to go way beyond the capabilities of the native screenshot tool.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: As useful as the screenshot feature in macOS is, it’s simply not designed to take, annotate, and organize large quantities of screenshots on a regular basis. Snagit is, and it can do so much more than that. This screen capture software also runs on Windows, and you don’t even need a separate license.
4. Pixelmator Pro (graphics editor)
Price: $39.99 (one-time purchase)
Who should buy it: People who need a great graphics editor for occasional use
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Pixelmator Pro is more capable than Microsoft Paint and less difficult to learn than Adobe Photoshop, making it perfect for Mac users like me, who don’t manipulate images often but want to achieve great results when they do. The fact that the software isn’t subscription-based is just the icing on the cake.
5. Reeder (RSS reader)
Price: $9.99 (per major version)
Who should buy it: Netizens who refuse to believe that RSS feeds are dying.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: There are plenty of free RSS readers to choose from, from self-hosted solutions like Tiny Tiny RSS to open source projects like QuiteRSS. The problem is that their usability and polish are nowhere near as good as what Reeder has to offer—at least in my opinion. Thanks to this app, I always look forward to my morning dose of reading.
6. PDF Expert (PDF editor)
Price: $139.99 (one-time purchase) or $79.99 a year
Who should buy it: Those who spend an unenviable amount of time annotating and editing PDF files.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: While PDF Expert can’t make PDF annotating and editing fun (no app can), it does help me accomplish everything I need to accomplish quickly and smoothly. It also provides a great reading experience thanks to Day, Night, and Sepia modes.
7. MacFamilyTree (genealogy software)
Price: $34.99 (per major version)
Who should buy it: Amateur and professional genealogists.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Genealogy can be a rewarding hobby, especially if you use excellent software like MacFamilyTree to capture and visualize your family history. This app is so good that some genealogists buy Mac computers just so they can use it. While I’m not one of them, I can definitely say that MacFamilyTree motivates me to contribute to my family tree.
8. Vellum (ebook creator)
Price: $199.99 for ebooks or $249.99 for print and ebooks (both one-time purchases)
Who should buy it: People who want to self-publish beautiful ebooks.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Writing an ebook can be a lengthy process, and it doesn’t end with the last punctuation mark. With Vellum, I can effortlessly turn my work into a beautifully formatted ebook and see how it will look on a variety of ebook readers. The app is pricey, but so are professional ebook formatting services.
9. Disk Drill (data recovery)
Price: $89 for Pro version (per major version) + $29 for lifetime upgrades
Who should buy it: Unlucky Mac users who have accidentally deleted important files.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Disk Drill proved itself to be worth the price the few times I needed to recover lost data. Because the app comes with multiple extra data protection, data backup, and data management features, it doesn’t just sit unused in my Applications folder.
10. NetSpot (Wi-Fi analyzer)
Price: $49 for Home version (per major version) + $19 for lifetime upgrades
Who should buy it: Wi-Fi users who are unhappy with their signal strength and internet speeds.
Why I don’t regret spending money on it: Thanks to NetSpot, I was able to determine the optimum location for my Wi-Fi router and select an uncluttered channel. As a result, I’m now getting the speeds I’m paying for, and that’s enough for me to not regret spending money on it.