10 iMac Applications for Your Must-Have List

Mac apps make the world go round! And while Mavericks has a lot of glory for its sleek design and power, you can’t do much, in terms of productivity, from your desktop without a quick app.
Read on to learn about ten iMac apps you can’t do without. Even if you don’t use one or two of these great tools now, you’ll probably realize that you need and want them in the future.
Some of these apps are built into OS X – read that as free – while others have to be purchased. Here you’ll see which one is, along with the ballpark price of the commercial stuff.

DVDs and CDs on iMac
If your iMac has an internal SuperDrive (or you’ve added an external USB optical drive to your iMac), then check out the two best DVD apps for Mavericks.

Watch DVD movies with confidence
Face it – this gorgeous 21.5 or 27 inch wide screen on iMac is perfect for watching DVD movies. Thanks to the good people of Cupertino, you’ll find that Mavericks DVD Player does a great job of showing you all your favorite DVD movies:
You can view your movie in a window or use the entire screen (especially with widescreen titles).
If your movie includes audio tracks, subtitles, and different camera angles, you can control it all from the nifty remote control that appears on the screen whenever you move your mouse.
You can scroll through video frame by frame or in slow motion to see the martial arts action you missed in the theater.
By default, the DVD player automatically launches when you load a DVD, including those you create yourself.
There’s even a feature that remembers if you’ve already watched a disc and also gives you the opportunity to replay the movie from where you left off.

Yes, they really called it Toast
Need to record audio and data CDs or DVD-V discs on your iMac? Cadillac’s recording software for Mac was, and always will be, unlikely to bear the name Toast, from Roxio. The latest version is Toast 11 Titanium, which is available online for about $80.
The audio recording features included in iTunes are certainly good, and the discs it produces are compatible with just about any audio CD player or DVD player you’re likely to find. You can also burn files to data CDs and DVDs without a separate application. However, you will need Toast to record specialized formats like
Video CDs
super video cd
Mac folders
PC/Mac Hybrid Disks
ISO 9660 . discs
multi-cycle tablets
Additional CDs
Manage and communicate with iMac
Calendar and Apple Mail are powerful apps, designed to organize things: time, calendar and/or email traffic on the Internet. (They do a great job, too.) Apple offers both in OS X, so you can keep your credit card in your pocket or purse.

Stay in the know with the calendar
The calendar is one of those weird things in the computer world. Unlike iTunes or iMovie, it’s not particularly exciting (in a multimedia way), and it doesn’t get much coverage in glossy Macintosh magazines. However, everyone ends up using it. Sooner or later, every Mac owner appreciates the calendar as an unknown hero. (And Uncharted Hero is free to boot.)
Unfortunately, the calendar cannot enter events for you. The elves won’t show the data and write to you magically, so you have to create the events manually. After they are in the calendar database, you can
Set alarms for specific events.
Add notes for each event.
Print the calendar.
Automatically import some data from other Mavericks applications.
Put the repetition of events on a regular schedule.
By default, the calendar has two calendars — home and work — but you can set up as many separate calendars as you like, to schedule everything from football seasons to DVD releases.
Good email app
Ask yourself this question: “Am I taking my email request for granted?” Sure, email may not take center stage in computer magazines these days, but consider what your life would be like with a low-key email app and a whip and buggy — almost as bad as no email at all.
The best email apps (like Apple Mail) have powerful, trainable spam filters that automatically improve when you manually check for junk. A top-tier performer (such as Apple Mail) provides fully automated scripting for common tasks, cheerful backgrounds, fonts and colors, and the ability to create HTML messages with embedded images and objects. Do you see a figure here?
One of the great features of Apple Mail is the ability to organize your messages by threads. (In plain English, thread groups come in so they can be read as an actual discussion.) Anyone who frequents Usenet newsgroups or discussion websites recognizes threaded view as easier to read than traditional threaded view, especially when your mail is heavy on Responses includes ongoing conversations with many of the people involved.
It’s free, it’s fun, it’s trendy – go, Apple Mail, go!

iMacs and Productivity
Sooner or later, you’ll need the ability to create flashy, professional-looking documents from your iMac, or you may need to run an absolutely must-have app that isn’t available for Macs. This section covers two productivity apps – Parallels Desktop and iWork – and the serious things they can do.

Windows 7 or 8 on iMac without restart
Well, there are fewer applications available for Macs as compared to Windows PCs, and practically every Mac owner on the planet has one or two programs for PC which makes life easier. Sure, you can use Mavericks Boot Camp to setup Windows on your iMac, but you have to reboot to use Windows, and it’s very difficult to share Mac data with Windows apps (even though they are already on the same computer).
More information about Boot Camp is always available from the OS X Help system, but you can start rolling the ball by double-clicking the Boot Camp Assistant icon in the Tools folder (found inside the Applications folder). The assistant provides step-by-step instructions on the screen. Just make sure you have your Windows 7 or Windows 8 installation discs close at hand.
What if you don’t want to restart and want to easily share data between Mac and Windows apps? Fortunately, Parallels offers a solution: Parallels Desktop for Mac. The program retails for about $80, but this does not include a licensed copy of Windows. (Yes, you have to provide your own.) However, this nifty program can run almost all Windows XP, Vista, and Seven programs – without restarting your iMac – while supporting external USB devices, Ethernet networks, the Internet, and your iMac printer.
Parallels Desktop emulates everything that is necessary for you to get the full functionality of Windows. For example, this gem automatically (and transparently) handles Windows Internet connection, network tasks, and CD and DVD access. You can run full screen or run Windows in a window (pun happily intended).
As if that wasn’t enough, you can also run multiple operating systems. So if you need Red Hat Linux, Ubuntu, or Windows 2000 along with your Windows 8 system, no problem – all it takes is the installation disk for these operating systems and hard drive space. Excellence!
Of course, performance is an issue — and to be honest, Parallels Desktop isn’t meant for PC gaming, even with the latest Macs and the super duper GeForce and Radeon video cards. As today’s most demanding PC games push the physical PC to the limit, they run very slowly on a Mac emulating a PC – they run slow. (Also, almost all popular PC games today are also ported to OS X, so why not just run the Mac version?)
If you must run a Windows game on your iMac, consider using Boot Camp to boot directly into Windows, which will allow your system to allocate all of its resources to the current game.
The more memory your iMac has installed, the better it is to run Parallels Desktop!
You can install files
More than one version of Windows
Almost any other operating system produced for PC
Parallels Desktop for Mac makes it easy to shutdown an emulated computer — similar to a laptop that goes into hibernation — while keeping your open documents intact. When you reflash your “virtual” Windows machine, it’ll be back to the exact same point when you shutdown.
iWork Suite
Some say that the Macintosh version of Office should be an automatic purchase at the moment you buy your computer — it’s that indispensable to every Mac owner. The applications that make up Office may be superb, but every owner of a brand-new iMac should try the three free iWork suite applications before jumping onto the Microsoft productivity bandwagon. (Note that owners of older iMacs will still have to buy the iWork applications from the App Store.)
Most computer owners simply don’t use or need all the features and hoo-hah that’s built into the Mac Office applications! For example, if all you produce on paper are simple letters, typical schoolwork, or brochures for your home business, Word might be an expensive case of overkill. Plus, the three iWork applications produce documents that are as good-looking as anything from the Office suite!
You can exchange Word documents with others who use the Pages word processing application, which is part of the iWork suite. The same goes for Excel and PowerPoint. Respectively, Numbers and Keynote are powerful alternatives to their Microsoft counterparts. In fact, all iWork applications offer the same ease-of-use and simplicity you’ve come to expect from OS X Mavericks and iLife favorites such as iPhoto, iTunes, and GarageBand.
iWork applications offer templates and assistants that are similar to those in Office, so creating all sorts of specialized business and personal documents is easy. New templates and clip art are always available online as well.
System stuff to consider with your iMac
The utilities in this section help keep your hardware, software, and files in tip-top shape.
Maintenance
The following two applications are indispensable utility tools that every Mac owner should master (no matter what type of Mac you’re using).
If you’re not already using Disk Utility, you should. On a regular basis. Really.
Most Mac owners think of Disk Utility only for checking internal and external hard drives. But don’t forget the most important function that Disk Utility offers: the ability to fix file and folder permission problems. Launch Disk Utility and check your OS X startup drive on a weekly basis. Permission problems can cause your applications to act like they’re on mind-altering drugs or even lock you out of using those applications altogether!
Of course, there’s more to Disk Utility, but you’re not likely to use heavy-duty functions very often, such as partitioning or RAID management. These are advanced features that one typically uses only when initializing a new hard drive.
Protecting your iMac from viral infection should be a top priority. Get yourself an antivirus application — one that automatically checks the discs that you load as well as the stuff that you download. Check out VirusBarrier 2013 or the excellent freeware application ClamXav 2. Set your antivirus application to automatically download the latest virus definition files from the Internet and scan your entire system once monthly.
Files
Care to compress a folder full of files to save space on your hard drive or maybe send them via e-mail? Perhaps you’d like to use the keyboard and the power of Unix to perform file manipulation miracles that are practically impossible by using the mouse. Either way, the following applications have you covered.
In the Windows universe, the WinZip archive file is king, followed by WinRAR and a host of other archiving formats. Mavericks has built-in support for compressing and decompressing Zip archives.
Mavericks can unarchive a Zip file when necessary — just double-click the archive icon — and you can right-click a file or folder and then choose Compress from the menu to create a Zip archive.
However, there is another archive format that’s popular among the Mac set — the Stuffit format, which is handled StuffIt Deluxe, from Smith Micro Software. The application will set you back $50, but it’s worth every penny for the convenience and flexibility that archives bring to your Desktop:
Smaller archive file sizes than comparable Zip archives
Industrial-strength data encryption to secure your archives
Support for files that normally don’t compress well, like JPEG images
Archive browsing without actually expanding (a real timesaver)
Direct burn of archived data to CD or DVD
If you’re interested in doing the command-lines dance, know how this must-have application is a little different from the others: You have to type your commands manually, and there are no icons or fancy graphics. You’re in the character-based Twilight Zone, and only the bravest of Mac novices will venture there.
However, when you launch the Terminal application, you open a window into the Unix core that lies underneath OS X. Suddenly you can do wondrous things that you can’t do from the Finder menu:

  • You can manipulate hidden and hard-to-reach files, like preference files.
  • You can work with Unix applications such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP) and the Apache Web server.
  • If you’re familiar with wildcards and the command-line hieroglyphics that make up Unix, you can manage your files with a speed that no graphical user interface (GUI) can match.