Mind mapping is a terrific visual method for capturing thoughts and ideas. For both business and personal use, a mind map is ideal for brainstorming sessions and helps you organize your concepts easily.

If want a stellar mind mapping app for Mac, the App Store has plenty. The problem is that most are paid—and expensive at that. But luckily, there are several free mind map apps for macOS that have great features and are a breeze to use.

1. SimpleMind

SimpleMind Lite Mac Mind Map

Getting started with SimpleMind Lite is just as the name implies: simple. This mind mapping software has an intuitive interface that lets you create a mind map in a snap.

First, pick your style. You can choose from a variety of options like bright colors, chart, grayscale, and colors on black. Then to add nodes, you can either click the plus (+) on your current node or the Add Child Topic button from the toolbar. To insert text into a node, click the T on the current node or double-click inside the shape.

Other features include:

  • Undo and redo buttons
  • Print and zoom options
  • Freeform or horizontal layouts
  • Color palettes and custom colors
  • Easy deletion and clipboard options

You can use SimpleMind Lite for free and without ads. But if you would like additional features like Dropbox and Google Drive sync, media and document options, or app customizations, check out the paid version.

And remember, there are other types of Mac apps that support visual thinking.

Download: SimpleMind Lite (Free) | SimpleMind Pro ($29.99)

2. XMind 2020

XMind 2020 Mac Mind Map

If you want a free mind mapping tool that lets you begin with a template, check out XMind 2020. You can choose from over 25 templates that offer different colors, layouts, and diagram styles.

To add nodes, click either the Topic or Subtopic buttons from the toolbar. To insert text, just double-click inside the shape. You can freely move the nodes without losing their connections or turn subtopics into main topics.

Other features include:

  • Full set of icons such as priority, numbers, tasks, stars, and symbols
  • Stickers for education, business, travel, sports, weather, and more
  • Zen mode for full-screen mode with a night-view option
  • Ability to add notes or summaries to nodes
  • Sharing via local file save, social media, or URL

Xmind 2020 gives you awesome features for free. But if you would like to unlock full version or also use it on iOS, you can check out the in-app subscription plans. You might also take a peek at mind map apps specifically for iOS.

Download: XMind 2020 (Free, subscription available)

3. MindNode

MindNode Mind Map on Mac

MindNode is a terrific mind map app for Mac that lets you capture, organize, and share your thoughts easily. You’ll love the intuitive interface and expandable outline view.

Start your map with a single node in the center and then click the plus (+) to add a child node. With each thought, idea, or item you add, you’ll see a different colored connector. Then simply pop in the text you want to use and add another just as easily.

Other features include:

  • Fold and unfold nodes from either the outline or map for a compact view.
  • Search for titles in the outline view with a keyword.
  • Share a mind map using your Mac’s share menu.
  • Right-click any node to open a shortcut menu for adding new nodes, copying and pasting, and other helpful shortcuts.

You get great features with the free version of MindNode. But to expand your map with visual tags, notes, tasks, themes, and additional features, check out the subscription option.

Download: MindNode (Free, subscription available)

4. Junkyard

Junkyard Mac Mind Map

Junkyard is another slick and easy-to-use mind mapping app for Mac. What’s nice about Junkyard is that you receive all features for free. There is a small ad at the bottom of the window that you can remove with an inexpensive in-app purchase. But if you don’t mind the ad, this is a great freebie.

To create a node, click the Settings (gear icon) button on the sidebar. To add a child node, do the same and then drag the arrow from the parent to it to form the connection. And you can enable full-screen mode for more canvas space.

Other features include:

  • Outline view of your mind map
  • Many font options and five color palettes
  • Shapes, colors, and borders for the appearance, lines, and groups
  • Automatic alignment guides
  • Connection line labels

Download: Junkyard (Free, premium version available)

5. Mydea

Mydea Lite Mac Mind Map

Mydea’s free mind mapping app is a good choice if you enjoy adding icons, symbols, and even links to your diagrams. You can choose from five layout options, like mind map or fish bone. Then select a style, which applies colors and shapes to your mind map.

The toolbar is intuitive and lets you create topics and subtopics with a click. Double-click inside a node to add the text. If you want a number or progress symbol, just hit the Assets button. The app lets you move all nodes freely and zoom in or out for different views.

Other features include:

  • Ability to add notes to nodes
  • Ability to include hyperlinks in nodes
  • Hide and unhide nodes or groups of nodes
  • Add tags that you can attach to nodes

Mydea Lite lets you add up to 20 nodes per mind map. If you would like to add more, consider the paid version, which also provides support for XMind documents and importing or exporting in Markdown format.

Download: Mydea Lite (Free) | Mydea ($7.99)

6. SimpleMindMap

SimpleMindMap Mac Mind Map

A final app to check out is SimpleMindMap. This one offers a host of interesting and useful features.

For basic mind maps, click the plus (+) inside a node to add a child. Or use the blue and pink plus (+) buttons in the toolbar for brother and child nodes. You can then double-click a node to add text or use the text box in the toolbar. You can move and resize the nodes and diagram freely while keeping the connections.

Other features include:

  • Click a node’s minus sign to hide all child nodes
  • Change the line and fill color of nodes
  • Choose node and child node shapes
  • Add objects like emojis and symbols
  • Modify the canvas with grid and snap features

SimpleMindMap lets you create mind maps with a limit of 80 items for free. For simple maps, this is ideal. But if you need more, you can upgrade to the full version via in-app purchase for unlimited items.

Download: SimpleMindMap (Free, premium version available)

Let Your Thoughts Flow With a Mind Map for Mac

Free mind mapping software for macOS is great for basic diagrams and helps you get the job done. Whether you like modest mind maps with just a few nodes or those that go a bit further and contain many, there’s sure to be an app here that you’ll like.