Good Apps For School Mac

Apr 15, 2020  However, that does not mean that there are no good free apps out there. In fact, there are a ton of them. That’s why it is going to be a long article as I am bringing a list of 35 best free apps you can get for your Mac right now. Some of the apps on this list are evergreen and you most probably already have them installed on your device.

BestMacBook for StudentsiMore2020

Whether you're still in high school or racing across your college campus, a laptop is an essential piece of equipment for every student. Apple makes some of the best laptops around with its MacBook lineup. Whether it's a powerful MacBook Pro, or a light and portable MacBook Air, Apple's laptops will power you through any task you'll meet. For most students, the 2020 MacBook Air is the best choice. It has enough power to face most any academic challenge you come up against, while still offering up to 12 hours of battery life.

Best Overall: MacBook Air (2020)

Most students looking for a new MacBook should pick up the MacBook Air. It's less expensive than other MacBooks, as well as lighter. And though it might not be as powerful as the MacBook Pro, it offers enough power for the average student to get through their daily scholastic workload, especially when outfitted with the optional quad-core Intel Core i7 processor.

The 2020 MacBook Air should also have enough battery to take you from class to class. Like previous versions, the latest iteration of the MacBook Air features up to 12 hours of battery life. This version also features an improved, scissor switch-based Magic Keyboard, just like the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro is probably overkill for most students. Sure, some will be able to take advantage of its more powerful processors available to it. Still, if most of what you're doing is writing papers, putting together presentations, or doing research on the web, you probably don't need the level of power a MacBook Pro offers.


  • Great balance of price and power
  • Light and portable
  • Scissor switch keyboard is back
  • Touch ID
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life

Best Overall

MacBook Air (2020)

Sweet spot of power, portability, and price.

Lightweight, yet with enough power to get you through most academic tasks, the MacBook Air is the perfect student computer.

Source: iMore

Because the 2019 MacBook Air uses the same processor as the 2018 model, you can save a good deal of money by going with the 2017 model of MacBook Pro. No Retina display, no Touch ID, but it's still a fairly capable machine, even if the processor is a few years old at this point.

You should also have enough battery life to get through your daily workload. Like the more recent models, the 2017 MacBook Air is rated for up to 12 hours of battery life.

While I'd still recommend the newest MacBook Air for most people, the 2017 model is still a solid alternative if you're looking to save some money. It's not flashy, and it won't win any awards for speed, but it'll still be a dependable device throughout your academic life.


  • Relatively cheap
  • Still a solid performer
  • USB-A ports
  • SD card slot
  • Excellent battery life

Best Value

MacBook Air (2017)

A capable computer for the money.

The 2017 revision of the MacBook Air is still a capable machine that will get you through most of your tasks without hassle.

Source: Rene Ritchie / iMore

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the computer to get if you need the most power that you can afford in a portable package. You can configure it with several options, whether you need that eight-core processor, 64GB of RAM, or 8TB of storage.

But even at its base configuration, a six-core Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU, it'll still handle any task a student can set to it besides the most computationally intense workflows. If you want a no-doubt-about-it machine, get this MacBook Pro.


  • Latest Intel processors
  • Configurable up to 8TB of storage
  • Myriad of expansion options
  • Bigger display


  • Bigger than other options
  • More expensive
  • May be overkill for most

Best for Power Users

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

Most bang for your buck.

The 2016 MacBook Pro will perform great at any task you set it and should last you well after your academic career is over.

Best Power Alternative: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

Though this model won't reach the heights of the 16-inch model, for those students that need or want more power than the MacBook Air can offer while sacrificing as little portability as possible, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is a good choice.

It's missing some advantages of the 16-inch model, namely the bigger screen, large storage options, and discrete GPU. However, it's powered by recent Intel quad-core Core i5 processors, so you'll still have enough power for fairly demanding tasks, such as photo and video editing, graphic design, and mobile music production.


  • Balances portability and power
  • More portable than 16-inch model
  • Option for up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports


  • No discrete GPU
  • Limited to quad-core processors
  • Limited storage choices

Best Power Alternative

Best Apps For School Mac

13-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

A big step up from a MacBook Air.

This is the MacBook you should get if you need a step up in power from the MacBook Air.

Bottom line

Whether you need a computer for high school or college, the most recent MacBook Air is the right choice for most students. Whether you're writing papers, putting together a Powerpoint or Keynote presentation, or even editing some images for a photography class, the MacBook Air will be a reliable performer in your academic pursuits.

It doesn't have the power of something like the 16-inch MacBook Pro, nor even the 13-inch MacBook Pro. But it's still a capable machine at a solid price. The Retina display is beautiful and vibrant, and the built-in Touch ID sensor makes everything from authorizing operating system tasks to paying for things online with Apple Pay more convenient and secure.

The MacBook Air, for a long time, was the best Mac for most people, including students. Thanks to recent revisions, it occupies that space again, offering a light, portable package with enough power and battery life to get you through an entire day of school.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Joseph Keller is a senior writer at iMore. An Apple user for more than a decade and a half, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for a decade. An outspoken analyst and critic, he writes at, podcasts at, and you can find his show at Follow him @reneritchie on Twitter and Instagram

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

Hubba Hubba

Make sure you have all the ports you need for your Mac with a USB-C hub

The MacBook Pro (Late 2016 and newer) sports at least two, and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports, but that's all. What to do if you need other ports? Get a hub!

Back to school shopping used to only include notebooks, pencils, and some new clothes. Nowadays, the month before school is about making sure students have the best tech to help them in their studies. Whether you're getting your child ready for a new school year or you're going off to college, these are the best apps to help students get ready for the new school year.

If you need some new hardware to run these apps or other accessories to help out your studies, check out our Back to School Gift Guide.

Good Apps For School Mac And Windows


OneNote is an extremely powerful application for taking notes. You can type or write notes with ink, record classes or lectures with a microphone, and annotate your notes with color and highlights.

It plays nicely with other Office applications like Word and Excel and makes it easy to keep track of all of your notes.

One of the best features of OneNote is that it easily syncs across all of your devices as well as the web. It can also sync with your classmates to enable better collaboration.

It's available for free on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and HoloLens and there are also free versions on iOS and Android.

Index Cards

Physical index cards are a staple for memorizing information. The Index Cards app for Windows 10 has all of the advantages of physical cards and adds some features enhance the studying experience.

You can create unlimited stacks of cards, enter contents with a keyboard or ink, highlight content, tag cards for easy organization, and add photographs to cards.

I loved using Index Cards when I reviewed the app and highly recommend it. The only downside is that it's only available on Windows 10 so your cards can't sync to your iOS or Android devices.

It's available on Windows 10 and Surface Hub. There is a free version or you can upgrade to pro for $4.99. At the time of this article's publication, there's a sale lowering the price of pro features to $2.49.

Neon Notepad

Neon Notepad is a simple note-taking application that has a Compact Overlay Mode. It's a great way to keep a spot open for notes above all of your programs, or a good way to keep notes on the screen while watching Netflix.

The app doesn't have a lot of depth to it, but in my testing it worked very well.

It's available for free on Windows 10, Surface Hub, Windows 10 Mobile, and HoloLens.


Penbook takes excellent advantage of inking options on Windows 10. You can use a variety of styles of paper, from college-ruled to sheet music to take notes.

It's a simple to use app for note taking and also lets you plan for the weeks and months ahead. Inking support allows you to highlight and color different parts of your notes to make content stick out.

You can easily export notes as PDF or print them out as well to have physical backups.

The app is available on Windows 10, HoloLens, and Surface Hub for $9.99.

A great calculator

While some classes require a specific calculator, many tasks can be done using your Windows 10 devices. From scientific calculations to graphing equations, there's a lot of powerful tools available on Windows 10.

I recently did a roundup of the best Windows 10 calculator apps and found quite a few apps that can handle most daily mathematical tasks.

The calculator app that's best for you will depend on your needs and any of the apps from the roundup will probably do the job you need to do. I'm partial towards Naturplay Calculator for its design and functionality. It has an attractive Fluent Design and scales well on bigger screens.

Summing things up

Technology is now an integral part of studying in school and while picking the right hardware is important, the right set of apps can make all the difference. These apps will help you stay on top of your studies and help keep you organized.

Which apps do you use for school? Let us know in the comments below.

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