The summer days are almost over and it’s time to go back to school and start your new semester. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to rage havoc all across the world, life cannot, and should not stop, especially when it comes to education. We know that staying productive has never been more difficult since the pandemic started but we got you covered.
The reason macOS in general, has been so popular among students all over the world, is due to the naturally user-friendly design of the system. However, it is not just the system, but the environment for productivity and utility macOS apps for students that makes it so desirable. Here are a few apps for Mac that would help you stay focused and organized during your online classes.
Top Mac apps for students
Do you find it difficult to remember the name of your classes let alone your schedule? Well, this is where iStudiez Pro comes to your rescue.
It is an app that lets you know what classes you have for the day and reminds you of the upcoming tests and due dates for your assignments. It can help you even calculate your GPA by letting you enter your grades which lets you know which subjects you have to start concentrating on more.
You can add in your timetable details such as the name of the class, instructor name, time of the class and keep them organized by colors and clean icons. It also helps you keep track of your assignments by letting you add the assignment name, your partner’s name (if you sync your contacts), the due date, etc.
It is a free app with no ads that are available on Android, IOS, Windows, and Mac. But you can buy the full version as an in-app purchase for $2.99 for mobile and $9.99 for desktop.
The full version contains features such as Tasks which lets you add the details of your assignment and Multiplatform Sync which lets you access your classes, assignments, and exams on all your devices meaning that you don’t have to waste your time by having to update on each of your devices.
As the name suggests, this app lets you plan your day’s schedule and keep you notified of your upcoming classes and deadlines for assignments.
One of the popular features is its Calendar which lets you view the total tasks you have for the day by simply looking at the number of dots under any date. Now with just a glance, you can know if you are free for the day to go on with your date or to pull an all-nighter to keep your grades up.
You can use this app without the need for the internet which means your productivity won’t stop even if your Wi-Fi stops. Plus the bonus of the rewards system will keep you motivated by giving out free movie tickets, free trials to popular apps and services, and discounts on popular products whenever you complete your assignments and tasks.
The Teachers.io is a solution for teachers to be able to connect with their students to give out announcements and provide resources for their classes. Now you can find files and information you need easily or reach out to your teachers for help.
This is a free app with a sync on all devices feature and has a premium version that lets you customize themes and remove ads for $4.99/year.
It is a simple To-do List application that serves more than just striking out things from your list and offers you a variety of features such as integration with your calendar and other third-party apps, habit tracker, etc…
The best thing in this app is the Kanban view in the List feature which is a simple way of structuring and checking your tasks. You can use it to organize and rearrange your list in a way that makes sense to you.
The full Calendar functionality is available for premium users and you can buy it to integrate the app’s calendar with your apple calendar. There is also a feature called Pomo Timer designed based on the Pomodoro technique which helps you log distractions and stay more focused while at work.
The reason why this is one of the best To-do List apps is due to its subtle and minor features. If you go into any of your tasks, you can see the percentage of how far you have completed your tasks for the day. This may not seem like a very big feature but can help you improve your success rate as you will see the amount of progress you have made for the day which will help you get motivated and stay more productive.
If you are still not sold about the idea of using this app, note that Marques Brownlee or popularly known as MKBHD uses this app to stay productive. You can download the free version of Tik Tik or get the premium version for $2.79/month or $27.99/year.
In a world where apps are packed with a lot of interesting features and functionalities, it is difficult to find an app that was just meant to do one thing. If all you are asking is for a simple To-do list app that is plain and powerful then let me introduce you to Taskpaper. It is a plain text To-do list that was designed just for the Mac ecosystem. It was developed for one thing and one thing only, that is to be a “To-do” list app.
The main feature of this app is its internal Tags, which are anything that is proceeded by the “@” symbol. By adding tags to your list, you can quickly access the list that you are searching for by entering its tag in the side navigation bar. Another key feature is Folding which is a technique to collapse your list down to its sub-heading to help you focus on just one task at a time.
The overall idea is to let the users do everything instead of the app which makes it simple and minimalistic. It is available for $24.99 after a 7-day trial period.
Imagine that you are typing a word document for your client and you are on a flow with ideas rushing out of your mind. Suddenly your text editor stops working and poof!
There goes away your last chance to impress your client so that you can get to ask them for a raise. If this has ever happened to you or you don’t want this to ever happen to you. Then let me tell you about Ulysses.
It is a simple markup-based text editor with auto-save and automatic backup which means you don’t have to lift your finger out of your keyboard to do anything. It syncs files effortlessly through iCloud and gives you the freedom to do the same with your Google Drive, Dropbox, or your hard drive. One of its loved features is its writing goal which lets you set a goal count for a worksheet and add a deadline date. It also lets you add a daily writing goal which will make you write every day.
If you are into blogging and publishing, then Ulysses was made for you because it lets you publish directly to WordPress, Medium, and Ghost. This means you can do everything in one place and your productivity is going to skyrocket.
Ulysses was designed for you to avoid procrastination and make you stay focused without any distraction, let it be when you write the next Rome & Juliet or the idea for a million-dollar project or even the grocery list and it all just costs you $5/month across all Apple products.
Having to study a whole book for a single test may seem like the end of the world but with MindNode by your side, you can mind map all the important points and topics helping you to keep calm and organized for the night before your exams.
Whether you are in the bathroom or with your girlfriend, this app lets you capture your thoughts and brainstorm ideas. It has all the features that are popular in every productivity app such as sync across all devices, focus mode, quick entry, customizable themes, and much more.
It has a unique feature called Visual Tags which lets you add more contexts to your thoughts and focus on the key points and with 250+ stickers, you can add more simplicity to your thoughts and give life to your ideas.
As they say, all great ideas were born with a single thought and with MindNode you can make sure that it doesn’t get lost. It is available free only for the Apple ecosystem and has a premium version for $2.99/month or $19.99/year.
Every student faces the problem of editing PDF files and converting them into word documents for their assignments and essays, but times have changed now with the introduction of PDFpen.
It is an all-purpose PDF editing tool that lets you edit the text in your PDFs for quick changes and lets you convert it into other formats such as word documents, excel sheets, or even PowerPoint files for major corrections.
You can add a page, delete a page or rearrange and add page numbers, and much more all in just one app. You can even add digital signatures which as a student you wouldn’t need unless you try to get those signatures for your report cards with a fake signature of your parents.
One of the key features is the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) which you can perform on your scanned documents. You can also send password-protected documents for more security. You can share documents via iCloud and dropbox to your iPhone and iPad and is available on Mac for $79.95 as a one-time payment.
Endless slides in zoom meetings have made it so difficult for us to take notes. What if there was an app to record important segments of the classes, take screenshots, and annotate important parts in it?
Say hello to CleanShot X, It’s not just your regular screenshot capturing tool but gives you the feel of more than 7 apps combined in one. It has more than 50 plus features including quick access to the tool, taking screenshots or screen recordings, sharing them through the cloud, and much more.
One of its interesting features is the Scrolling Capture which lets you capture things that don’t fit your screen. This can help you take screenshots of chats or take a picture of long written code files with a single clean shot. It also has built-in trimming tools for you to edit your screen recordings and OCR technology to copy texts from your screenshots making your life a little bit easier.
The best thing about CleanShot X is, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee and is available for $23.2 as a one-time payment which includes 1GB of cloud storage. If you are a team of students, then you can buy the app for $8/month billed annually which includes unlimited cloud storage and access key for your entire team.
Being focused on a task as a student with lots of distractions may sound challenging but Be Focused can help you do just that. It is a simple Pomodoro timer that allows you to organize your study time into intervals. This technique helps you complete your tasks by giving you a 25-minute work interval and a 5-minute break interval.
It allows you to customize the timing of your work interval, short breaks, and long breaks. The Long break is a timer that starts after you complete your target intervals for a task. You can enter a task name and start the timer or even pause it whenever there is a quick distraction that hasn’t affected your productivity.
It has a feature called Reports which gives you a summary of your tasks such as the number of work intervals, skipped work intervals, completed tasks, and duration of a task. Overall it is a simple app that just lets you focus on your workflow and keeping you out of distractions. It is a free app that is available for the Apple ecosystem. It also has a pro version for $4.99 which includes sync on all devices.
If you are reading this then that means you are a person who is well versed in productivity apps. Notion and Evernote are some of the famous apps in note-taking and staying productive but they have their disadvantages such as security issues and being slow.
If you value your privacy and don’t want your personal notes to be stored in a cloud database where the potential for a third party to access them scares you or you want the freedom to customize your productivity app to fit your workflow, then Obsidian may be the right thing for you
It is a plain text note-taking app that does not store your notes in the cloud but locally on your device. This makes it faster as all of your notes are present locally and not online. One of the greatest features is its customization. With an international community and community plug-ins, you can build the productivity app to work and look exactly how you want.
Every note that you create in Obsidian is connected just like the thoughts in your brain. Features such as Backlinks and Outgoing Links help you do just that. The best part is it is completely available for free for personal use and $50/month for commercial use.
Here are some of the apps that didn’t make our list but are still worth your time:
One of the hardest things as a student is to remember what we studied. Here is where Mochi comes to play, it is a simple app that lets you take notes, create flashcards, and then help you study them using spaced repetition system.
Spaced Repetition System (SRS) is a very powerful flashcard technique that uses the principle of forgetting curve which explains that it takes longer to forget something if you are reminded of it right before you forget it.
The simplicity of the app along with its useful features such as bi-directional linking between cards, adding attachments such as and cloud syncing makes it worth your time. You can also use tags to group related cards and even import decks that are available online which is perfect for remembering those words and sentences right before your Spanish quiz.
It is a free app that is available for Mac and has a pro version which would cost you $5/month for additional features such as sync across all devices and cloud storage.
Several apps overwhelm you with lots of customization options making you forget what you were supposed to do in the first place. But Things is how things should be in a To-do list app.
It is only designed for the Apple ecosystem and is a very powerful yet simple app. If you get Things, you would get done with things. It doesn’t have a lot of customization options for themes which are perfect because simplicity is greater than customization. It is not just your simple checkbox but your powerful task manager that helps you achieve your goals.
It has features like quick input by using Ctrl + Space key which lets you add tasks while using other apps. It also has a Logbook feature to go back and look at all your completed tasks which gives you a sense of walking down memory lane that you feel when you open your childhood diary.
It also uses tags and headings for you to create milestones or categories which give you a nice clean structure for your list. You can even add timely reminders by asking Siri which is a nice little feature. It is a one-time purchase with a 15-day trial and is sold separately for each of the apple products.
- For the Mac, it is $49.99
- For the iPhone & Apple watch, it is $9.99
- For the iPad, it is $19.99
Studying and being productive will be very difficult when you know that you access Instagram or YouTube anytime on your iPhone and Mac. But if you want the freedom to not use apps and websites for a certain period so that you can focus more on your studying, then we give you Freedom.
Freedom is an anti-distraction tool that is highly recommended if you want to block websites and apps on your Mac. It has a scheduling system that helps you be consistently productive through recurring sessions and also has a Locked Mode that helps you stay focused by not letting you quit during a session.
If you find only certain websites to be addictive such as our blog website or any other websites but you need to access the internet for your studies, then you can use the Website exceptions which block everything except the sites you need to access. It also has sync on all devices and is available for $2.42/month that can be used on all your devices.
Extra tips for productive study
1) Break it down: We often get scared by the huge volume of books that we have to study for a test which leads to procrastination. But by breaking down a huge task into simple and smaller jobs, you will find the confidence to complete the task.
3) Set goals: You will not be able to finish all your tasks in a single session but what you can do is to set yourself a goal to be completed within a certain period. By using Pomodoro timers, you can achieve that and keep yourself focused and productive.
3) Limit your distractions: If you are surrounded by distractions, you will only find it difficult to study but by limiting your usage of devices with the help of apps like Freedom and finding a quiet place to study can help you improve your study sessions.
Embracing your new school year
The capacity to learn is a gift, the ability to learn is a skill but the willingness to learn is a choice and you can choose to stay productive even if it is difficult to start at first. The best way to start is by embracing your new school year and following our study tips. We hope that the list of best Mac apps for students will give you the upper edge you need to excel at your school, whether it is on campus, or online.
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