My Top 5 iPadOS & iOS Apps for macOS Big Sur

Applications coming for another world to the Mac
Applications coming for another world to the Mac

Together, macOS Big Sur and the M1 chip lay down a new bridge for applications to come to the Mac. Because of that, I have never been that excited about the Mac. Since getting my M1 Mac mini, I’ve been testing many iPadOS and iOS applications in a new environment: on my Mac. Ladies and gentlemen, my verdict is in; let’s find out which apps I found the most compelling to use on the Mac!

1. Craft (Catalyst)

Craft's main page
Craft’s main page

On the first spot is a note-taking, a writing application called « Craft ». I recently discovered Craft, thanks to an article from MacStories. From a design and feature standpoint, Craft is close to the beloved Notion application. Their similarities are troubling to the point where I have to ask: should I switch to Craft or keep both of them?

Craft is available to the Mac via the Catalyst framework. It’s one of the best Catalyst apps out there. Because of that, I have to conclude that, with Big Sur, Catalyst-based apps are now far superior to any electron-based applications.

2. Universe (Catalyst)

Universe's main page
Universe’s main page

In the second position, Universe. I didn’t expect to see Universe coming to the Mac, but when you consider the type of customers this platform attracts, I guess it was a no brainer, a must. I’ve been using Universe, a site builder tool, since May of 2020 to help me build my Visual Space. It’s a place where I post highly processed urban exploration photos. Thanks to macOS Big Sur, Catalyst and the M1 Mac, Universe is now available on the Mac. It’s another prime example of what a Catalyst-based application should look and behave.

3. Slide (iPadOS)

Browsing Reddit with Slide
Browsing Reddit with Slide

Next up, in third the position, Slide. Up until now, native Reddit clients for the Mac were hard to find. Again, macOS Big Sur and Catalyst enable a bunch of Reddit clients for the Mac, and Slide is an excellent one. It’s not a Catalyst-based application; it’s the iPadOS version that is running perfectly on the Mac. It’s way better than having nothing.

4. Castro (iOS)

Castro podcast player
Castro podcast player

On the fourth position comes Castro, a popular podcast player for iOS. It runs great on the Mac. Because of its window size (Castro is not available as a native iPad app), It reminds me of desk accessories in Macintosh’s old days. Castro poses a challenge to Apple’s Podcasts apps.

5. Darkroom (iPadOS)

Editing images with Darkroom on the Mac
Editing images with Darkroom on the Mac

Lastly, in the fifth position is the well known photo-processing Darkroom. Darkroom is another excellent example of an iPadOS version running on the Mac. It is an entry-level photo-processing application for beginners looking to get quick results. I like the relative simplicity of this application compared to Pixelmator Pro or even Apple’s Photos app. Version 5.1 of Darkroom supports Apple’s ProRAW format. Darkroom works in conjunction with Apple’s iCloud Photo Library.

One major by-product of the transition to Apple Silicon, besides performance per watt, is a breath of fresh air for Mac’s applications availability. Apple opened up a new era for the Mac with the M1 chip and macOS Big Sur. Now, more than ever, it is possible to create high-quality Catalyst-based applications for the Mac. Another unexpected side effect could be the potential for richer applications coming to the iPad. In any case, it’s the users who will benefit the most from having more choices.

Finally, honourable mention goes to Flighty, a flight tracking app. As the pandemic has put on hold any travel plans, my use of this excellent application stopped. When the world returns to normality, I expect to come back to Flighty.

Be sure to read my thoughts on the “One More Thing” special event held to announce the transition that

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