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Need a good Mac app for your photo, video, or audio needs? We've collected a list of the best apps for audio and visual tasks on macOS.
Even if you're not a photographer, graphic designer, or podcaster, there might come a time when you'll need access to a quality app. Whether that's retouching a photo for posting to social media or recording an important Zoom call, a good toolkit of audio/visual apps is a must-have for Mac users.
With that in mind, here are some of our picks for excellent audio, video, design, and photo apps for macOS.
Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom
As you're probably aware, Adobe's suite of creative software is the industry standard in many creative endeavors. That's because Adobe apps are powerful, and, though there can be a learning curve, intuitive.
Unless you work with video or graphic effects, the apps you're most likely to use as a photographer — or average iPhone user — are Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Both are excellent tools for managing, editing, and touching-up your photos.
Although you can get all of Adobe's app for one monthly fee, one of the best values in the Creative Cloud suite is the photography plan, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom and costs $9.99 a month.
That's the regular price but until December 3, Adobe is offering Black Friday discounts on most of its apps.
Affinity Publisher, Designer, Photo
The Affinity suite — which includes apps like Publisher, Designer, and photo — represents an excellent alternative to Adobe Creative Cloud without the need to fork over money every month for a monthly subscription.
Although they don't have the name brand recognition as Adobe's products, Affinity's apps are powerful and easy to use. You can use Photo for image editing tasks, Designer for graphic design, and Publisher as a layout tool alternative to InDesign.
Each app costs $54.99 for a lifetime license, meaning it's a one-and-done purchase with continual support. Even if you buy all three, you'll still be spending less than subscribing to Creative Cloud for a year. Unless you need Adobe's video apps or another niche program, Affinity's apps are a great choice.
Sometimes, you need to record audio from your laptop or Mac. While you can ostensibly just place your iPhone next to your Mac's speakers and use Voice Memos, Audio Hijack by Rogue Amoeba is a much cleaner and high-quality alternative.
You can set any app on your Mac as the audio input source and hit record to save the audio from that app. That includes web browsers, Zoom sessions, or Skype calls. You can also use Audio Hijack to record audio from microphones, mixers, or other hardware input devices.
The app itself is free to download and try out, but noise will be added to a purchase on clips that last longer than 10 minutes. A full lifetime license to Audio Hijack costs $59.
Webcams have become an essential tool in the era of remote work and school, but the built-in camera on your laptop probably isn't going to cut it. Unless you have a recent device with a decent camera or a dedicated webcam, Camo might be your next best bet.
This is an app that basically allows you to use your iPhone as a webcam on your Mac. As you might know, your iPhone has a camera that puts others to shame — including the 1080p setups on newer Mac devices. Your iPhone likely beats out expensive dedicated webcams, too.
The quirk with this app is that Apple's first-party platforms don't support it — Safari or FaceTime won't work. But if you mostly use Zoom or third-party browsers, Camo lets you use what's likely the best camera in your possession as a webcam. It's free to try out, but the Pro upgrade costs $79.99 for a Lifetime license.
Pixelmator Pro is another alternative app to Affinity's or Adobe's photo editing platforms. It's an app created by a pair of brothers in Lithuania, and it's largely based on both open-source and macOS technologies.
Although not as established as Affinity or Adobe software, Pixelmator features an overall workflow much more akin to an Apple app than a professional image editing tool. It's intuitive and has less of a learning curve. But don't let that fool you — it's still a full-fledged image editor with powerful features.
It's also cheaper than either Adobe Photoshop or Affinity Photo. You can usually buy Pixelmator Pro from the Mac App Store for $39.99. That's a one-time fee, so no subscriptions necessary.
However, for Black Friday 2021 and at least some time afterwards, Pixelmator Pro is available for half price. There's no indication when the sale will end, but it must be soon.
If you're looking for a solid option to organize video, audio, and photo content into a single platform, Plex is your best bet. It's both a media server and a media player, so it can serve as a one-stop-shop for all types of media consumption on your Mac.
Plex can stream media file types on your system, including MP4 videos and MP3 files. Additionally, Plex can also directly stream content directly from platforms like YouTube. It also runs on a variety of platforms, from Apple TV to PlayStation.
The most important parts of the platform are free to use, but Plex also offers paid tiers that feature additional tools like multi-user support, auto syncing for mobile devices, metadata fetching for music files, and other features. Plex Pass costs $4.99 a month.
Setapp is an all-in-one subscription service that grants access to a variety of quality Mac apps for a single fee. As you might expect, Setapp's portfolio of apps also includes some audio and visual options.
That includes Capto, which lets users get a video capture of their Mac's screen, and TouchRetouch, a simple photo editor that lets users apply easy-to-use image refinements to their photos. PhotoBulk is an option for editing batches of images all at once.
You can find other graphic-, audio-, or visual-related apps on Setapp, so it's well worth a try. It costs $9.99 a month for users on a single Mac, and there are increasing price tiers for users with multiple macOS machines or Mac and iOS devices. You can learn more here.