Best Apps for M1 powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in 2021

The latest 13-inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air mark Apple’s switch from the Intel processors to its own Silicon chips. Apple has introduced an ARM-based processor- the M1 Chip, which is the first Apple chip designed especially for the Mac. The M1 chip features an 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores, four high-efficiency cores, an integrated 8-core GPU for smooth graphics performance, and an advanced 16-core Neural Engine that ensures up to 11x faster ML-based processing. 

In this article, we’ll be mentioning the best apps for M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

We know that apps are built to run on specific processors. Now, in the case of the M1 chip, not all the developers have updated their apps to run natively on the newer Silicon Macs. M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro can run native, universal, and the apps that are designed for Intel chips. For context, Universal apps are those that carry code for both M1 as well as Intel-based computers.

To avoid complications, Apple has introduced an emulator, Rosetta 2, that’s designed to seamlessly run the apps that haven’t yet transitioned to Universal versions. If an app contains instructions for Intel-based processors, macOS will automatically launch Rosetta and start the translation process. Once the translation is finished, the system will launch the translated executable, rather than the original.

Therefore, the apps that are designed to run on the Intel processor will require Rosetta technology to work seamlessly with the M1-powered Macs. When we see that an app can run on the M1 Macs using Rosetta 2, it means, those apps do not have native M1 support but can be used on M1 Macs using Rosetta translation technology. Apple is encouraging developers to build Universal apps so that they can be used on both, Intel-based as well as M1-powered MacBooks.

Coming to the native apps, these applications are coded in specific languages, for specific platforms. The apps with native M1 support are optimized especially for Apple’s M1 chip. As these apps are built for a specific platform, they can offer optimized performance by using device-specific hardware and software. The most common example of this is the A-series chip on iPhones.

Let’s have a look at some of the must-have apps for M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro introduced so far. 

Please note these apps will also work on the M1-powered Mac Mini as well as the latest M1 iMac.

The latest M1 Pro and M1 Max SoCs

With the latest 14” and 16” MacBook Pro 2021, Apple has launched even more powerful and blazingly fast, M1 Pro and M1 Max processors. These Apple processors are successors to the M1 chipset and promise to deliver game-changing performance and power efficiency. Talking about the M1 Pro chip, it features a 10-core CPU, 16-core GPU, up to 32GB of unified memory, and up to 200Gb/s memory bandwidth. This latest Apple’s in-house chip claims to deliver up to 70% faster CPU and up to 2x faster graphics performance than the M1 chip. 

Coming to M1 Max, Apple says this is the most powerful chip ever created for a pro notebook. This advanced chipset features a 10-core CPU with eight performance cores and two efficiency cores. There’s a 32-core GPU paired with up to 64GB of unified memory and an impressive 400Gb/s memory bandwidth. It’s worth mentioning that as compared to M1 Pro, M1 Max delivers up to two times faster graphics processing. Precisely stating, you can edit up to 20 streams of 4K ProRes and up to streams of 8K ProRes videos with M1 Pro and M1 Max, respectively. 

Fortunately, all the apps mentioned below are compatible with the M1 Pro as well as M1 max chipsets. Therefore, if you’ve got an M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro, these apps will deliver optimized and faster performance. 

List of the apps that work with M1 Macs

Web Browsers for M1 powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

1. Safari

Native M1 Support: Yes

Safari offers an amazingly fast performance on M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. It claims to deliver the best browsing experience ever on a computer, with websites loading quickly and a smoother browsing experience through complex pages. Also, the M1 Mac users can customize the start page with a background image and add shortcuts as well. Other exciting features are the addition of privacy reports and tab previews. Whenever a user hovers over a tab (in the tab bar), it will bring a small preview of the content. This is extremely helpful when you’ve got multiple tabs opened from a website, and you just can’t distinguish between them via the favicon. Also, Apple claims that Safari is upto 1.5x faster at running Javascript and almost 2x more responsive on the latest M1 Macs.

2. Chrome and Firefox

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

Google has released an updated version of Chrome that’s designed especially for the M1 MacBooks. It will run faster than the x86 version. Initially, some aspects of Google Chrome used Rosetta 2, but now, Chrome has been updated to run natively on M1 Macs. That means no more performance drops or crashing unexpectedly issues. For M1-powered Macs, make sure to download Chrome by selecting the “Mac with Apple chip” option, after clicking on the download link.

Besides Chrome, Firefox has been optimized to run natively on M1 Macs. 

Apart from these web browsers, Microsoft Edge works on m1 Macs with Rosetta 2 technology. 

Download Google Chrome

Download Firefox

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Best Productivity Apps for M1 powered MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini

1. Microsoft Office

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

Microsoft has released new versions of Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, OneDrive, and OneNote that are compatible with the latest M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Earlier, they used to run on the latest M1 Macs by using the Rosetta 2, but now they are fully optimized for the M1 processors. The native version also includes the latest optimizations for the macOS Big Sur. Now, you won’t experience lag or any other issues when you start and run the application on Apple Silicon Macs. It’s recommended to install the November 2020 release (build 16.43) or later, for the best experience on your M1 Macs.

Download Microsoft Office

2. iStat Menus

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

Bjango has released iStat Menus 6.51 with Apple Silicon native support. iStat Menus 6 is an advanced Mac system monitor that gives you highly detailed CPU information with current usage and also shows the list of apps that are using the most CPU. It helps you spot apps that are causing battery drain issues on your MacBook. It also shows disk usage and activity, detailed network info, and other important information. The updated version includes a host of improvements, including more colors and theme options, design refinements across the entire app, notifications for a wide range of events related to CPU, GPU, battery, network, sensors, and others.

Download iStat Menus

3. Fantastical

Native M1 Support: Yes

Apple’s Mac App of the Year 2020, Fantastical, is an advanced calendar and tasks app that packs a ton of impressive and powerful features. The app sports a beautiful and clean design that allows you to easily manage your everyday tasks. There’s a mini window that gives a quick glance at your schedules. It’s a perfect productivity app that has got reminders as well as collaboration features. The intuitive natural language parser can turn normal words and details into actual tasks or events. The free version lets you do basic tasks, and the premium version offers various additional features like calendar syncing, Push updates for Google and Exchange, full-screen views, Time zone support, and more. 

Download Fantastical

4. Alfred 4 

Native M1 Support: Yes

Alfred is an award-winning macOS app that boosts your efficiency with text expansion, hotkeys, keywords, and more. When you launch apps and find files on your Mac or bowser, the Alfred 4 app learns how you use your Mac, and then it prioritizes the results. It’s one of the best productivity apps for M1-powered Macs that lets you work more efficiently and cut down on repetitive manual tasks. You can link hotkeys, keywords, and actions together to create your own workflows. 

Download Alfred 4

Other productivity apps for M1-powered MacBook Air,  MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini

Name of the AppRosetta/Native supportM1 Supported Version
Microsoft TeamsRosetta
DownieNative4.1.9+
TelegramNative7.2.3+
TextSnipperNative1.3.1+
DiceNative2.0+
Curio Native14.4+
ScreensNative4.8+
little snitchNative5.0.2+
DropboxRosetta
PCalcNative4.8+
CleanMyMac XNative4.7.0+
OmniFocusNativev3.11.7

Best Photo Editing Apps for M1 MacBooks

1. Pixelmator Pro

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta: Yes

Pixelmator Pro 2.0 is redesigned to take the advantage of the unified memory architecture of the M1 chip for faster and much responsive image editing. It delivers up to 15x faster ML Super Resolution on the latest M1 MacBooks. Pixelmator Pro has an all-new, refined design, where every tool, button, and menu is updated to make the app more intuitive and interesting to use.  The app is fully compatible with macOS Big Sur with a new unified toolbar. Users can now customize the interface, list of tools, and toolbar. Plus, several new tools and features have been added, including Effects Browser, Presets Browser, over 200 amazing new presets for Color Adjustment, Style, Shape, and more. Also, the app can increase the sharpness and detail at an incredible speed. 

Pixelmator Pro 2.0 runs natively on both M1-powered as well as Intel-based Macs. 

Download Pixelmator Pro

2. Adobe Lightroom

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta: Yes

From June 2021, Adobe Lightroom can run natively on M1 Macs and offers some serious improvements. Adobe claims that operations on M1 MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are at least two times faster as compared to the Intel models. Besides, Batch editing photos is more than four times faster. Other updates include new premium presets created by pro photographers and the ability to specify custom ratios when cropping. In addition, users can now opt for portrait presets for various skin tones and go for styles like futuristic and cinematic.

Download Adobe Lightroom

Other Photo Editing apps for M1-powered MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini

Name of the AppRosetta/Native supportM1 Supported versions
Waterlogue ProNative1.3.1+
Pixelmator ClassicRosetta
PixelmatorNative2.0 Pro+
Affinity DesignerNative 1.8.6
Affinity PhotoNative1.8.6

Best Designing Apps for M1 powered MacBook

1. Adobe Photoshop

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

Earlier, Photoshop for M1 Macs was in beta version, but now it’s being widely rolled out to Creative Cloud customers with M1 Macs. On March 10, 2021, Adobe released a version of Photoshop that runs natively on Apple Silicon Macs. Adobe says that Photoshop can complete most tasks almost 1.5 times faster on the Apple Silicon Macs as compared to the Intel models. Plus, the app opens up more quickly, and selecting a subject is faster on the M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. 

However, some of the features are currently missing in the Photoshop of M1 Macs. It includes preset syncing, shake reduction filter, import/export/playback of embedded video layers, the opening of U3D formatted files, and more. Fortunately, users can switch to the Intel version (with Rosetta 2) and access those features that are currently missing in this latest Photoshop of M1 Macs version. For this, head to the Applications folder on your Mac, locate & right-click on the Photoshop icon, select Get Info, and choose the “Open in Rosetta” option. Doing this will launch the Intel version of Photoshop. 

The company is planning to bring more features and optimize the performance on M1 Macs. 

Besides Photoshop, Adobe is also bringing Lightroom CC to M1 Macs in early 2021.

Download Adobe Photoshop

Besides Photoshop, Adobe is also bringing Lightroom CC to M1 Macs in early 2021.

Download Adobe Photoshop

2. Affinity Publisher, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Designer

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

Affinity 1.8.6 update is fully compatible with macOS Big Sur and optimized for M1 MacBook Pro as well as MacBook Air. It brings several advantages and improvements that are particularly noticeable when working on documents with thousands of pixel layers, vector objects, and text. High-performing GPU with unified memory allows faster handling of complex documents. 

Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and Affinity Publisher (Apple’s Mac app of the year) are available to download via the Mac and iOS App Store. Affinity Photo and Designer include support for smart objects in PSD imports. Besides, Affinity Publisher’s update has added support for IDML for importing Adobe InDesign files. This is really helpful for users who rely on Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite for their workflow.

Also, M1 Mac users can expect a more responsive user experience for pixel editing, painting, document rendering, filer effects, and more. The Affinity Suite 1.8.6 will make these apps run faster, smoother, and feel more responsive on the M1 MacBooks.

Download Affinity Publisher

Download Affinity Photo

Download Affinity Designer

Name of the AppRosetta/Native supportM1 Supported Versions
Adobe IllustratorRosetta (working partially)
SketchNative70+
Cinemagraph ProNative 2.9+
PixelmatorNative2.0 Pro+
Pixelmator ProNative2.0 Pro+
Vectorize Native1.1+
xScopeNative4.5+
Logoist 4Native4.1+
Pixelmator ClassicRosetta

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Best Video Editing & Production Apps for M1 powered MacBook 

1. Final Cut Pro 

Native M1 Support: Yes

Final Cut Pro has been updated as a universal app. That means the app is fully optimized to work on the new M1-powered MacBooks while being compatible with the Intel-based MacBooks as well. Apple claims that Final Cut Pro can intelligently frame a clip in a fraction of the time. Plus, the app has got a noticeably improved performance and efficiency on Apple’s M1 architecture. It allows up to 6x faster rendering for a complex timeline, amazing real-time playback performance, and better export capability for 4K ProRes as well as 8K ProRes videos. Plus, it delivers accelerated machine learning analysis for Smart Conform by using the Apple Neural Engine on the M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

Download Final Cut Pro

2. DaVinci Resolve

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

DaVinci Resolve 17.1 Beta 1 offers universal app support to M1-powered Macs. This version is released with over 200 features and improvements, including HDR grading tools, next-gen Fairlight audio engine, redesigned primary color controls, support for over 2,000 tracks, and more.  Also, the unified memory architecture on Apple Silicon allows DaVinci Resolve to leverage the power of CPU and GPU more effectively, without the need for PCI Express Transfers. The app brings a wide range of creative tools for colorists. The primary controls have a new, easy to use design, and the new HDR palette allows users to create custom color wheels for targeted corrections. The app now allows you to analyze loudness, reverse audio clips, move automation, view and navigate transients, export multichannel files, preview video while editing, and offer several other useful features.

The app claims to offer up to 5x better performance as compared to the previous generation Macs.

Download DaVinci Resolve

3. Adobe Premiere Pro

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta 2: Yes

It’s worth mentioning that earlier the Adobe Premiere Pro could run through Rosetta 2, but from 20, July 2021,  the app can run natively on M1 Macs. Adobe Premiere Pro is now officially supported and offers from a 50 percent to 77 percent faster editing experience. In addition, Adobe Character Animator and Media Encoder have got native M1 support. 

Download Adobe Premiere Pro

Other video production apps for M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, and Mac Mini

Name of the AppRosetta/Native supportM1 Supported versions
Cinema 4DNative R23 SP1+
VLCRosettaYes
SublerNative 1.6.6+
OBS Studio Rosetta

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Best Finance Apps for M1 Macs

The finance apps mentioned below have been updated to support Apple Silicon Macs.

Name of the AppRosetta/Native supportM1 Supported versions
iFinance 4Native 4.6.0+
MoneyWiz 2020 Native2020.4.6.1+
BankivityNative8.0.3+
QuickenNative6.0+

Best Music Apps for M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac Mini

Here’s the list of music apps that have been updated to work with the latest M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, as well as Mac Mini:

Name of the AppRosetta/Native support
Logic Pro XNative
GaragebandNative
Neural Mix Pro
Native
GrooveNative
MiC+Native
HyperMicNative
JAM+Native
Symphony DesktopNative
AudacityRosetta

M1 MacBook Apps for the Developers

Various apps that are widely used by developers have been updated to work on the M1-powered Macs. Some apps have been optimized for the native M1 support, while others run on Apple Silicon hardware by using Rosetta 2. Let’s have a look at the M1 chip compatible apps for the developers.

Name of the AppRosetta/Native support
PythonNative
NodeNative
Open JDKNative
BBEditNative
iTermNative 
SparkleNative 
FireNative 
HazeOverNative 
gitNative
OpenSSL macOSNative
RRosetta
PHPStormRosetta
PHPRosetta
.NetRosetta
TensorFlowNative
FlutterRosetta

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Must-have Apps for M1 Macs

Here are some highly useful apps for your M1-powered Macs. Whether you want to store passwords, add a second display to your M1 Mac, or want to customize the input devices for your M1 MacBook Pro, these apps are a must-have for your M1-powered Macs.

1. Zoom

Native M1 Support: Yes

Rosetta: Yes

Zoom needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular and widely used video conferencing apps available today. You can connect with your family, schedule business meetings, share your screen, and do much more with this app. Besides, there are a lot of other add-ons that make the Zoom app both fun and useful. Earlier, Zoom worked on Apple Silicon Macs via Rosetta 2 emulation. With the update rolled out in December 2020, the Zoom app now runs natively on the M1 processor, adding more functionality for M1 Mac users. That means no need to worry about whether or not the app will run properly on your M1-powered MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, M1 Mac Mini, as well as the latest M1 iMac. If you need the best video conferencing app for M1 Macs, Zoom remains the top choice.

Download Zoom

2. Twitter 

Native M1 Support: Yes

The Twitter app is optimized for M1 Macs. That means it will run natively on M1 iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, M1 Mac Mini without Rosetta 2 emulation. This has made Twitter for Mac a lot more responsive, polished, and less prone to bugs. 

If you prefer a third-party app, make sure to check Tweetbot. It runs natively on M1 processors and has got a beautiful, feature-rich interface. There are dark and light themes, timeline filters, multi-account support, iCloud sync, and much more. 

Download Twitter

Download Tweetbot

3. Luna Display

Native M1 Support: Yes

Want to use an iPad or a Mac as the second display for your M1-powered Mac? Luna Display can help you do this. The app allows you to extend your M1 Mac desktop onto an iPad or any other Mac that you’ve got. This is a fantastic feature, especially if you’ve got the latest M1 iMac as it lacks the Target Display Mode. Besides, you can also use your iPad as an external display for your M1 Mac Mini, rather than going for monitors. Also, Luna Display 4.5 adds support for wired connections over Ethernet or Thunderbolt. 

Download Luna Display 

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4. 1Password 

Native M1 Support: Yes

If you need the best free app for the  M1 MacBook Pro to create strong passwords and keep them safe in one place, 1Password is worth giving a shot. This app remembers all your passwords and keeps them secure behind one password that only you know. You can store logins, addresses, notes, passports, bank accounts, Driving Licenses, and more. Besides, you can sort your stored information in different vaults for easy access. With this app, you can easily full online forms with a single click. On top of it, the app notifies you when your information is exposed to a compromised website. For M1 Mac users, 1Password is a perfect app to store financial, personal or any other information that you want to keep safe. Impressively, the app is fully optimized for M1-powered Macs. 

Download 1Password

5. Bartender 4

Native M1 Support: Yes

The Bartender app gives you total control over the menu bar items on your M1 Macs. It smartly de-clutters the menu bar space and neatly arranges the app icons. The menu bar items are hidden yet always accessible. You can also reorder app icons according to your usage or preference. The Bartender app also allows you to set Triggers to show menu bar items exactly when you need them. The app runs lightning-fast and natively on the M1-powered Macs. If you need the best app for M1 MacBook Air or Pro to organize your menu bar, Bartender is a great pick.

Download Bartender

6. BetterTouchTool

Native M1 Support: Yes

If you’ve got an M1 MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar, you’re going to love BetterTouchTool. macOS allows you to customize the Touch Bar, but BetterTouchTool is a highly useful app for M1 Macs that offer more flexibility. You can customize the Touch Bar for improved interaction with your M1 MacBook Pro. Besides Touch Bar, you can customize MacBook Trackpad, Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse, keyboard shortcuts, and other input devices. 

If you’re serious about customizing the Touch Bar and other input devices, BetterTouchTool is the best app for your M1 MacBook Pro.

Download BetterTouchTool

7. Reeder

Native M1 Support: Yes

Reeder is the best RSS feed reader app for Apple Silicon Macs. The app rocks a clean and beautiful interface that lets you focus on the content that you’re reading. You can sync all your articles and feeds with iCloud or use a third-party service that’s supported by Reeder. The app also offers various useful features, including Read Later, Bionic Reading, Reader view, and others.

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8. Spark 

Native M1 Support: Yes

Spark is one of the best multi-account email clients of Apple Silicon Macs. It has got a modern design and features a Smart Inbox that shows up what’s important and cleans the rest of the inbox. This mail app for the M1 MacBook Air smartly categorizes new emails into personal, notifications, newsletters. You can also collaborate with your teammates and write a professional email together using a real-time editor. The app supports iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Box, and there’s a built-in calendar as well. 

Download Spark

9. NordVPN

Native M1 Support: Yes

The NordVPN app now runs natively on M1 MacBooks and delivers an optimized and faster performance to its users. That means M1 Mac users can now privately surf the web and protect their Wi-Fi connections against cyber threats. In addition, users can change their location and log into public Wi-Fi safely. 

Download NordVPN

Other Apps that are fully compatible with the M1 powered Macs

Apple’s apps

Various Apple apps, including Garageband, Pages, Numbers, iMovie, Keynote, Final Cut Pro, and Logic Pro have been updated to work smoothly with the M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Pro as well as MacBook Air. 

iPhone and iPad Apps 

A wide range of iOS and iPadOS apps are also compatible with the latest M1 MacBooks. Many iPhone and iPad apps are available to download from the Mac App Store. Moreover, all the existing Mac apps that are working with the Intel-based MacBooks will work with the new M1 Macs. 

CrossOver 20 

Wondering how to run Windows apps and games on M1 Macs? Use CrossOver 20. It can run many Windows apps on the M1-based MacBook Air as well as MacBook Pro, without the need to install Windows. This is great news for everyone who used Boot Camp to run Windows as the latest ARM-based MacBooks cannot run Windows. The app requires the beta of macOS 11.1 Big Sur and the Rosette technology to run on the M1 Macs. 

Download CrossOver 20

World of Warcraft

Blizzard has updated the World of Warcraft for Apple’s M1 chip. The users will have to update to version 9.0.2 and unlock the true performance of the game on their powerful M1 Macs. Soon, we’ll see more games being updated to work on the Apple Silicon Macs.

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That was all from our side on the best apps for M1-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in 2021. In the coming months, we’ll witness more apps and games that can run on the latest M1 Macs. We’ll be updating our list as soon as we spot such apps. So, make sure to bookmark this page.

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