10 Most Overrated Mac Apps (According to Real Users)

The macOS app ecosystem continues to impress me with apps that are like mirror-finished Japanese kitchen knives: functional and highly polished. But I have also tried several strongly recommended apps—only to discover that they were not all that it’s cracked up to be.

Wanting to know which apps have made other users feel the same way, I started a discussion on Reddit, where I asked a simple question: What are some of the most overrated Mac apps? This article summarizes the answers I received.

1. CleanMyMac X

Mac users on Reddit believe that CleanMyMac X is the most overrated app out there. They argue that macOS doesn’t need the help of a third-party system cleaner (let alone a paid one) to stay snappy and reliable.

What I think:

I personally find CleanMyMac X useful enough that I don’t regret spending money on it. In my opinion, the app’s true value lies in the extra tools that are included with it.

The extra tools help me keep my apps updated, allow me to uninstall apps with all of their leftovers, make it easy to discover large files, and much more. Yes, you can do the same with free apps like Latest, AppCleaner, and GrandPerspective, but it’s nice to have everything in one place.

At the same time, I understand why many users find the app overrated since you don’t really need it—it’s just nice to have it.

2. Fantastical

Fantastical is the second most overrated Mac app in existence according to the users who answered my question. The decision to switch to a subscription-based pricing model with the release of version 3.0 angered many long-term fans of this calendar app, some of which have since then switched to alternatives like BusyCal.

What I think:

The popular calendar app likely wouldn’t be mentioned in this article at all if its developers didn’t decide to switch to a subscription-based pricing model with the release of version 3.0.

Most users of third-party calendar apps have a firmly established workflow, and they choose apps based on their ability to support it, as well as how nice they are to use. It makes sense to pay for a calendar app just once and upgrade only when the workflow changes and can no longer be supported by it.

By forcing users to pay for the app on a monthly or annual basis, Fantastical developers have significantly lowered its value proposition and made the app overrated in the eyes of many users.

3. CleanShot X

CleanShot X presents itself as the ultimate screen capturing tool, but it has apparently failed to convince many Mac users because it ranks as the third most overrated app in the entire macOS app ecosystem.

What I think:

Most regular Mac users take screenshots only for their personal needs, so they’re perfectly happy with the functionality provided by the built-in screen capture tool in macOS. CleanShot X is not aimed at regular Mac users. It’s aimed at people who take, edit, and share screenshots on a regular basis.

One such person is Alin Panaitiu, the creator of Lunar, and this is what he wrote in the thread I started on Reddit: “I think that people who recommend it, do use it at its full potential. It’s definitely not overrated, it’s my most used app. I probably use it 20 times a day and couldn’t do my work without it’s awesome keyboard-driven annotation tools.”

I get where Alin is coming from because I also couldn’t function without a capable screen capturing tool. My personal choice, however, is Snagit because it also runs on Windows.

4. Warp

Mac power users love the ability to interact with the macOS operating system using text commands, but they don’t see much point in fancy terminal emulators like Warp that try to wear more hats than they perhaps should.

What I think:

When it comes to the terminal and the Unix underbelly of macOS in general, I think that some people just like to keep things simple. Warp doesn’t keep things simple.

Instead, it tries to enhance the terminal experience by adding a whole bunch of extra features, such as cursor positioning, completion menus, natural language command search, and others.

5. Google Chrome

Can Google Chrome, the most popular web browser in the world, be one of the most overrated Mac apps? Enough users think that it can for it to take the fifth place. The same users recommend Edge as a much better alternative for those who want a Chromium-based browser.

What I think:

I was using Google Chrome from its initial release (September 2008) until the release of the new Microsoft Edge (January 2020). Just like many other users who moved away from Google Chrome, I couldn’t help but notice the browser getting slower and more memory-hungry with each release.

While I wouldn’t exactly call it overrated because I believe not many people are singing its praises these days, there’s no doubt in my mind that better browsers exist.

6. Raycast

Raycast is a shiny new launcher whose functionality can be extended using third-party extensions, but not everyone is in love with it. Some users believe that it doesn’t bring to the table anything worth writing home about because Alfred exists.

What I think:

There are many macOS apps that attempt to make Spotlight better and more useful, and Raycast is the newest kid on the block.

Because this kid sports a stylish haircut and a pair of cool sneakers, some people, especially those who have never spoken with him, assume that he’s all sizzle and no steak. In reality, he has an easy-going personality and can do everything from singing your favorite song with you to solving a quadratic equation in his head.

7. Canary Mail

macOS comes with a great email client, and there’s also no shortage of third-party alternatives. Canary Mail is one of them, but quite a few Mac users are convinced that this freemium app with subscription-based paid plans is not worth the price.

What I think:

When people ask me to recommend them an email client for macOS, Canary Mail never comes to mind. Instead, I always ask them if they have a Microsoft Office subscription. To those who do, I recommend Microsoft Outlook. To those who don’t, I recommend the native Mail app.

Gmail users should also consider Mimestream because no other client integrates Google’s email service better with Apple’s operating system.

8. Things

Things is widely lauded as the best task manager for the Apple ecosystem, but it seems that not everyone agrees. Why? Because it costs a lot to get the app on every platform and because free cross-platform alternatives like Microsoft To Do exist.

What I think:

I personally would never pay for a to-do app. Some people are not as stingy as I am when it comes to spending money on software, and that’s awesome, but even they can choose from a number of free to-do apps that can do most of what Things can do while being similarly enjoyable to use.

9. Ulysses

It seems that there are now more Markdown editors for macOS than there are Mac users who can write Markdown documents without a cheat sheet. While it’s great to have multiple options, sometimes less-known options don’t get all the attention they deserve. That’s not the case with Ulysses, which is recommended often and, according to some users, undeservingly.

What I think:

I do use a Markdown editor every day, and I have spent my hard-earned money to buy it. My Markdown editor of choice is Typora. One of the main reasons why I purchased it is its affordable price of $14.99.

Ulysses is nowhere near as affordable as Typora—let alone the myriad of freeware Markdown editors that you can find in the App Store or on GitHub. The app costs $49.99 per year or $5.99 per month, and that’s just too much for me and many other Markdown fans.

10. Magnet

Windows management isn’t a strong suit of macOS. Many third-party apps attempt to fill the gaps, and Magnet is so popular that it’s been endorsed even by Apple. What Apple won’t tell you is that there are many excellent free alternatives available outside the walled garden of the App Store.

What I think:

Magnet is a highly polished windows manager for macOS, and the price its developers are asking for it ($7.99) seems fair to me. It just seems to me that most people buy it and endorse it only because they don’t know that Rectangle, a free and open source alternative that does the same thing, exists.

Raycast, the new launcher some Mac users think is overrated, also has a windows management extension that gets the job just fine in my opinion.

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David Morelo

David Morelo

I’m a professional tech writer who likes to help people live their best digital lives.