The Top 7 Apps For M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pros YOU Should Be Using

Every app on this list runs natively on the M1 architecture and might even help protect your investment.

Michael Mohr
PixelPoison
4 min readDec 3, 2021

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Silicon Info

Silicon Info lives in the menubar

The first app on this list is silicon info. This is a simple menu bar app that lets you know if the foreground app is natively compiled for arm. This can be useful because it’s not always clear if an app supports the arm architecture or not. This app is completely free and open source.

iStat Menus

iStat Menus can also show a plethora of other information. Check out their website!

It’s hard to make a list like this without including iStat Menus. The app has been updated recently to include all the sensors for the new M1 Max and Pro laptops. I use it to give me enhanced battery info and to monitor memory and CPU usage. If you like knowing what’s going on at a system level, this is a great app to have.

AlDente

You can set the charge limit from the menubar.

The battery life on the new MacBook Pro’s are really good. They’re good enough that you don’t really have to have full charge all the time. Lithium ion batteries like to be charged to around 70–80% for optimal battery health. AlDente is an app that limits the charge of your battery to whatever percentage you want so your battery can have a longer lifespan. Its core functionality is free but if you want extra features like having a top off button, there is a paid upgrade. Once again though, this is an open source app. I keep mine limited to 80% almost all of the time and this is more than enough to get through a typical day. macOS has its own battery optimization algorithms built-in now, but if you’d like to take manual control and always keep the battery at a lower charge, this is a great option.

UTM

Running Kali linux on my M1 Pro MacBook Pro

If you’re a power user, macOS may not always provide every feature that you need. In the past we had Boot Camp to install windows on our machines, but at least for now, that option is no longer available on arm-based Macs. UTM is a virtualization program that lets you run Linux, Windows, or whatever else you want on your M1 Mac. There is also parallels if you want a more polished experience, but that cost a subscription if you want the full version, and I hate subscriptions. UTM is free and open source.

Things 3

In addition to the reminders and notes app, Things 3 is how I keep track of a lot of my life. It has a really nice design and it runs natively on all of Apple’s platforms. There is no subscription cost, it’s a one time purchase. It’s a really good way to manage projects and life goals in an interface that is simple enough not to paralyze you with choices. If you’re familiar with Todoist, it’s very similar to that except there’s no subscription fees.

1Password

I can’t really show the full app for privacy reasons… oops!

MacOS and iOS both have a built-in password manager that uses your keychain data to store passwords. If you only use Apple’s devices and you only use Safari, that option might work for you, but for everyone else you need some kind of password manager. I’m not going to tell you that 1Password is the best, but it has worked very well for me. I have no affiliation with them but I’ve used their services for a few years and it has made my life easier. It’s competitively priced and their apps have a pretty good interface.

Time Machine

This last one is a freebie. Time Machine is something that comes with every Mac and almost everyone should be using it. Time machine backs up your boot drive and any other drive that you ask it to. It can back up to a local disk or to a NAS. If you have a large external hard drives that need backed up, or if you want to archive data, Time Machine may not be your best option. But if one day your laptop dies and you need to restore your internal hard drive data, or if you accidentally delete an important file, a Time Machine back up will save your ass. I have it set to back up to an external drive plugged into my old Mac Mini over the network, so it just backs up whenever I am at the house and I never have to think about it.

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