Best Apps for M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

If you’re using a new M1 Mac, then you might probably notice that not all apps have been updated with Apple Silicon support yet. Therefore, while some software can run much smoother on the new Mac, others may affect your Mac battery life and performance. So, make the most out of your new laptop with the best apps for M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

Pixelmator Pro 2

Right after the launch of the M1 Macs, the Pixelmator Pro team decided to release their Pixelmator Pro 2.0. And the new version is redesigned and improved with many underhood changes.

From M1 processor support to the full compatibility with macOS Big Sur, this is the biggest update of Pixelmator Pro that focuses on the new Mac generation. The Pixelmator Pro 2.0 includes a new Effects Browser, a new Presets Browser (including over 200 new presets), and many more. Moreover, there are 7 new color adjustment preset collections and 8 effect preset collections. 

Even though you don’t really need a Mac with the M1 chip to take advantage of this new update, this is still one of the best professional image editing tools on Mac. In addition, Pixelmator Pro is currently available for $39.99 for new users.

Pros Cons
  • Pro-level software for photographers, artists, and designers
  • More affordable than other solutions
  • Many additional effects like ML enhanced resolution
  • Still lack some editing options like image transparent in Photoshop
  • Can’t import/rasterize vector files

Alfred 4

Honestly, we think Alfred 4 is a must-have app for macOS. This software not only boosts your efficiency with hotkeys, keywords, and text expansion but also allows you to create your own custom actions for the Mac. On top of that, Alfred 4 can learn from your user experience in order to increase your productivity.

Alfred 4 is already compatible with the Apple M1 chip. And, the company promised to add more features and improve its performance on the M1 Macs in the future. The app has a free version and a powerpack for more powerful features.

Pros Cons
  • Great way to search for apps on Mac
  • Easy to use
  • Time saver
  • Difficult to sync

Microsoft 365 Apps

Microsoft 365 contains all of the basic office software, including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and OneNote. Well, it took Microsoft a while to release their new update on January 12, 2021.

But, the software is finally ready to support the M1 chip now! Microsoft 365’s latest updates turn the app into a universal one, meaning this version can run perfectly on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs. Therefore, any upcoming features will come at the same time on both platforms. Mac users who have automatic updates turned on for these apps should have the new versions available on their devices now. In case you haven’t downloaded Microsoft 365, the app offers a variety of options, from a Microsoft 365 Personal ($6.99 per month) to Family ($9.99 per month).

Pros Cons
  • Best office software for Mac
  • Save more money with a whole year plan
  • Multiple plans for businesses
  • Internet issues can disrupt productivity


On December 21, Zoom officially launched a new update to natively support Apple’s silicone chip. This is such a great news as more people are working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, note that the video call feature is one of the things that typically drain your laptop’s battery life the most. So, make sure you have plugged in or enough battery before making a call. Zoom is still free to download!

Pros Cons
  • Huge meeting capacities
  • Impressive features
  • Easy to use
  • No toll-free dial-in numbers for the US or the UK
  • Recently patched some security flaws


Lightroom is one of the first Adobe Creative Cloud apps to be optimized for the M1 MacBooks. For many pro and non-pro users, this app is always the default choice for editing and organizing photos on Mac. Although Lightroom Classic still works pretty well with the M1 MacBook, with the recent universal update, you will notice big changes in its editing and export times.

Pros Cons
  • Fast and easy photo books, slide shows, and galleries
  • Easier to learn than Photoshop
  • Presets
  • No layers or blend modes
  • Limited editing options

Things 3

If you’re looking for a quality task manager, this one is worth considering here. In fact, we believe Things 3 is one of the best task management apps on the Mac. Besides, the app developer just released a new update to support the Macs with Apple M1 chips.

Things 3 allows you to create to-do lists and easily check items off as you get down with them. In the newest update, Things 3 supports notifications, widgets, and all of the additions in macOS Big Sur. Plus, this app is also available on iOS and Apple Watch as well.

Pros Cons
  • Easy input
  • Flexible interface
  • Syncs with your Apple devices
  • Can’t delegate or collaborate with others

Bartender 4

If you’ve created a mess on your Mac menu bar, then a Bartender 4 is here to help you put everything in order. You can simply organize that menubar space and arrange the app icons with a few clicks. Alternatively, you can also hide certain apps to cleans up the menu bar and protect your privacy too.

On top of that, this app also allows you to manually reorder the icons in the way you like. If you tend to use multiple apps at the same time, Bartender 4 has the keyboard shortcut to cycle between apps, especially for the task.

Pros Cons
  • macOS Big Sur Support
  • Quick reveal
  • New Menu Bar item spacing
  • Loading issues appear sometimes

PDF Expert

Personally, I have been using PDF Expert on my 2017 MacBook Pro for a few years. And, I just can’t recommend this app enough. This M1-optimized PDF editor allows you to edit, fill forms, sign documents like a pro on the Mac. But, that’s not all. You can even use PDF Expert to read books in different modes like Day, Night, or Sepia from its advanced settings menu. The app is free to download, but you can pay $79.99 (1 license for 3 Macs) for more pro features.

Pros Cons
  • Convert and reduce the size of PDF files
  • Group most-used tools into Favorites (Pro only)
  • Advanced editing tools now require an annual subscription for new users
  • No one-time purchase option for Pro features

We hope you have found an useful M1-support Mac app in our list. Also let us know if you have any questions in the comments!

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