First Apps on a New Mac

- 2 min -
Joe Buhlig

Last week, I mentioned I had purchased a new MacBook Pro. Instead of the migration process, I set it up as a new machine. That means I had to decide which apps needed to be installed first. Simple, right? Well, not so much.

I had to be specific about the order I installed apps because there are a few that the others are dependent on.

I told my wife that I’m useless on a stock Mac. It’s so true. I hit keyboard commands and nothing happens. I stare at the screen trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.

So here’s the first five apps I installed on the new MBP, in order of installation:


If an app allows me to sync my data using DropBox, that’s what I use. DropBox holds so much data for other apps that I want to have the data available before I install the app itself. It’s vital to pulling in settings, data, and files that I use to customize my computer.


I sync my 1Password data via DropBox. So once DropBox was installed, I could install 1Password. Since 1Password stores all of my software licenses and passwords, it’s vital to have it in place before I install anything else on a new computer. It makes the login and license key entry process tolerable for the remainder of the setup.


TextExpander does a lot of work for me. One of its primary uses is filling in forms with my email addresses. When doing computer setup, you end up typing your email address constantly. I wasn’t about to go through the login processes without it. And again, my TextExpander data is being synced via DropBox.


I don’t use DropBox for OmniFocus, but I do need to be able to use the Quick Entry of OmniFocus to capture tasks. This is especially true when setting up a new computer. I just knew I would be installing one app and remember that I wanted to change some settings in another. I needed to have OmniFocus available to capture the new stuff.


Alfred is my preference in keyboard launchers. I have some workflows and keyboard commands set up to bring my most common programs to the front. For everything else, I invoke Alfred, start typing the name of the app, and hit enter. This saves me a lot of clicks when I have a bunch of new apps to open up.

DropBox syncs the data behind 1Password and TextExpander, which are vital for app installation. OmniFocus helps me remember what to do and capture new tasks. Alfred makes it easy to get the new apps going. Once these five are in place, I’m off to the races.