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New iMac – my 1st essential installs

The clock is ticking until my new Mac arrives but already I have plans…

M3 iMac

If you know me at all then you’ll know I love Macs and a new Mac is something that always excites me a tad – more than the iPhone if truth be known. And at the top of that pile is a new iMac.

I wrote the other day about my love affair with iMacs – it’s deep-rooted and goes back a long way. When I got my M1 Max MacBook I didn’t feel quite the same level of excitement that I’m already feeling for the arrival on Tuesday of my new, base-model M3 iMac.

It’s odd – I think in part that’s because the MacBook was always going to be a workhorse – a tool that I was going to use every day. I bought it with the simple notion of needing a hardworking machine that would be handle all the creative and productive work that I’d be throwing its way – and it certainly hasn’t disappointed. Barely does it miss a beat and is my go-to machine.

The other Mac in my current line-up is an M2 MacBook Air. I’d been guilty of neglecting and not using it often enough – but I am now starting to reach for it more. It’s my travel Mac now and more often than not when I am splitting my time between working at home and the studio, that is the Mac that will come with me. It’s super lightweight but more than capable of carrying out basic tasks – it’s a lightweight productivity beast.

It’s a staggeringly good Mac – make no mistakes, but next week things are gonna change, and I’ll be leaving it at home more often.

It’s iMac time

It will be a case of out with the old and in with the new next week when the new iMac arrives at my studio space.

Whilst I’ll be sad to see my lovely old iMac be put out to pasture, some of that sadness will be mitigated by the fact it is only being put to one side to make space for its successor.

It’s a case of the king is dead – long live the king.

But with the arrival of that new and latest iMac comes a dash of caution and online savvy! A few weeks ago I very nearly fell victim to being hacked. If you haven’t read the full story I’ll pop it here for you to read

Luckily I seem to have escaped being hurt, but it taught me a valuable lesson. Things could have got bad very quickly – luckily I did have a few things going in my favour – working on a Mac was possibly one of them, I did at least have some decent passwords in place and use a password keeper, I used 2FA enough and the last thing I’m convinced that helped me was regularly checking for any malware.

Hopefully, you’re enjoying this story  -  if you wanted to say ‘thank you’, the best way is simply to clap, highlight and get involved in the comments. And my promise to you…If you get in touch I will answer! So clap, highlight and comment away…

Clean install

Setting up a new Mac gets easier every time I do it – I’ve done it twice now in the past 18 months and Apple really has got it dialled into a fine art.

Part of the excitement of setting up the Mac is deciding what to install first – you have a pristine clean slate for just a few moments and the decision as to what we add to a Mac should be taken pretty seriously.

Having bought the base 256 GB iMac onboard storage will be at a premium and keeping it running smoothly and as quickly as possible will also be things running through my mind before I login to apps or hit install.

With it not being my main workhorse I am wondering if I even need to sign in locally to all my mail accounts – could I not save some space and just use the webmail apps instead? Makes sense right…

What goes on first?

There are a few things I will always need to install on any Mac that I want to work meaningfully on – the first is Creative Cloud.

For me, that one is a given. I pretty much live inside of Creative Cloud most of my working day. Although my new iMac in theory is the baby of the family, I’ve a sneaking suspicion that it is going to be able to handle a surprising amount of heavy lifting – I have pretty lofty expectations. Of all the apps on offer from Adobe, the essential ones to me are Premiere Pro, Audition, Lightroom, Photoshop and In Design. Those apps pretty much take care of any creative work I have to handle. I know Adobe apps pretty well and importantly can work quickly in them as well.

I recently bought a Samsung T7 SSD with 40 GB/s transfer speeds and I’ve been super impressed with the times I’ve used it – I only mention that from a point of saving projects that I might start on the iMac but then want to work on at home. With many of those projects being large files uploading to the cloud can often take too long so a quick SSD might come in handy. The I/O on the new Mac are Thunderbolt 4 so dragging files to the T7 should pretty swift.

In the cloud

The obvious option for saving smaller more manageable files is the cloud services – and there are heaps of them. I leaned heavily into Dropbox years ago and I’ve never thought about looking for alternatives.

I was speaking to a mate yesterday who’d recently switched his business Dropbox to Microsoft’s One Drive and said they were having all sorts of issues. I can only speak from a Mac user’s point of view, but Dropbox on Mac works great – and with Smart Sync it’s even better. With that, you can see all your files even if they are not locally stored. So Dropbox will be going on the new iMac for sure.

Of course, iCloud will be there the moment I sign into my account when setting it up. The other couple of cloud storage options that I might look into having on there – on the premise you can never have too much cloud storage is Google Drive and even explore further into Adobe’s cloud storage options as well.

It’s odd, working in this creator space I find that 90% of people use Google Drive over Dropbox. The number of times I hear or read ‘I’ve left in Google Docs’ or ‘you’ll find it in Google Drive’ I’ve lost track of and that is why I have got more used to Google’s cloud solution. If you can’t beat ‘em…

What next?

So with emails, creative apps and storage taken care of, there is then just one other app – or collection of apps that I will be putting on to the new iMac, and it links back to that close escape I had – well, that and just good Mac housekeeping.

For years now I have installed and run CleanMyMac on any new workstations I buy and I always consider it money well spent. In the main, I have used it to find duplicate files and unused apps or just to clear out general garbage. But after that attempted hack I have been running the malware checker daily. Now I am not saying it’s the be-all and end-all, but it certainly offers some peace of mind.

When I bought my earlier versions of CleanMyMac I bought it as a standalone app. It was great value as it was, but a while back I found a much better way of getting it and that is through SetApp.

What is SetApp?

Setapp is a subscription-based service for macOS and iOS applications. It provides access to literally hundreds of apps for a single monthly fee. It’s one of those things when you first hear about it, it seems too good to be true…but it honestly is that good!

One of the other apps I use daily, and am using right now is the writing app Ulysses. I’ve often banged on about how I rate it – it’s right up there with Creative Cloud for being a powerhouse creators’ app. That is also an app you can get as part of your one-off monthly fee. I think I spend about $40 annually on that one app – so even if I just used CleanMyMac and Ulysses out of all the apps on offer in SetApp, I’d already be quids in!

It’s super simple to download and then SetApp just sits in your dock. When you open it up it looks just like Apple’s App Store – it’ll feel super intuitive right out of the gate. They also make it easy to find what you are after by using the Collections tab. After what went on recently my eyes were drawn straight to the Digital Security toolkit – but there are loads to choose from – about 250 apps in all I think – and for one small monthly fee, you get access to them all.

Apart from Ulysses and CleanMyMac some of my favourite apps that I’ve come across have been using are Bartender, CleanShot X, Paste, iStat Menus, and BetterTouchTool.

New for me

I’m fairly naive as to how to approach companies whose gear I rate, but I got in touch with MacPaw – the guys behind SetApp. I honestly rate it so much that I wanted to not only let you know all about it but to see if I could offer you an even better deal on it.

Well, guess what – they have been brilliant and have given me a wonderful deal to offer you! If you use my affiliate link below not only will you get to pick and choose whenever you should fancy between all these apps, but they have gone one stage further and offered you a 30-day free trial as well. Yeah, I will earn a couple of pence if you do click through, but more importantly, you get to explore a world of creative and productive apps for free – well for 30 days at least!

My new M3 iMac lands with me next Tuesday. I am more excited than a man my age probably should be but hey – I do love my iMacs and now you know what apps I’ll be loading up on to it when it’s finally sitting on my desk!

Next week is already set to be a very good week.

Try out SetApp for yourself by clicking my link and open up an exciting new world of productivity and creativity.

On, and as always I’ll be sending out a free video newsletter this Sunday, just letting you know what’s going on behind the scenes here – if you fancy receiving it, just leave me your details here and I’ll be sure to pop you on the mailing list 🤛🏻

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