If you’ve seen my writing before, you likely already know how much I love the iOS and MacOS platforms. They are my preferred way...
State of the Apps 2016clackapedia
This is a tribute to CGP Grey’s State of the Apps articles he has done in the past. While waiting for the next one, I decided to go ahead and make one myself. On that note, let’s get to it!
Cross Mac and iOS
Ulysses (Mac) (iOS)
I use this app for all of my blog post writing, I find the workflow and design to be the best to be able to just sit down, and focus on writing.
You can organize any way you see fit, easily set goals for word count, character count etc. When ready to export your final work, you can easily export to formats such as HTML, DOCX, EPUB, and one click publish to WordPress blogs and Medium.
Fantastical 2 (Mac) (iPad) (iPhone)
Cross the Apple-sphere I find this to be the best calendar available. The best feature making it ideal for me is the ability to use it’s “Natural Language Processing” Allowing me to create an event simply by typing “Dinner with Bob tomorrow at 7pm @home” adding this entry to my Home calendar.
OmniFocus (Mac) (iOS)
This is the “Inbox for my life” my to do system that I flow everything through, allowing me to always keep up to date what what I have done, need to be doing, and what is coming up in the future.
I need to do my review!
Day One (Mac) (iOS)
This app is designed for journaling, to allow one to post their thoughts, photos etc. into your own private journal whenever you want. With Day One 2, you now can create multiple journals and can have up to 10 images per entry vs the previous option of 1 per entry.
They have switched to their own sync service with this, instead of Dropbox which some have not liked. However, I find the extra benefits, such as the IFTTT integration worth the change. Now whenever i post a status on Facebook, or Like or Retweet on Twitter, an entry is created.
With the iOS client now, you can allow it to sit in the background and load up an “activity feed” of pervious locations, making it really easy to create an entry based on your locations, calendar events and pictures taken! This data is local, non synched and can be deleted at anytime, taking that privacy seriously.
1Password (Mac) (iOS)
If you use a password anywhere on the web (that’s you!) You need a utility like 1Password. You remember your master password, and 1Password logs you into all your sites without having to lift a finger, making it easy and simple to create custom complex passwords for every site you visit. You can even store all your 2 factor authentication tokens in 1Password to make it even easier to work with.
Tweetbot (Mac) (iOS)
This is my preferred twitter client over the 1st party one that is made by Twitter. Among it’s features are easy to use lists, no ads, and the ability to mute, users, key words or specific hashtags.
For example, I have someone I like to follow but they live tweet some shows i don’t care about. By adding that hashtag to my mute list, I never see these tweets.
Airmail (Mac) (iOS)
Best way to describe this application would be email for power users. It is infinitely customizable, with extensions for pretty much any app you can imagine.
Among the apps and services that it can utilize:
- Calendars Invites
- Apple Calendar
- Apple Reminder
- Fantastical 2
- Appigo Todo
- The Hit List
- Draft 4
- iA Writer
- Code Hub
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
I occasionally need to use Windows applications on my Mac, and in these times, I personally find VMWare Fusion to be the best option for me to do so. It is my preferred virtualization solution, however many people also like Parallels as an option as well.
Have you ever been working on code or with an API, etc. and needed to view documentation? Dash makes this infinitely easer by allowing you to have all of your documentation offline. Dash offers support for over 150+ docsets from things like Bootstrap to Swift to Ansible
I could probably do a separate post going into great detail about how much power is inside this little app, but for now I’ll just go over the basics.
Alfred is a finder replacement, adding several different power user features that you may find useful. You can search your entire file directory (not just files, navigating the Mac File System), create custom automation workflows, hotkey search different sites, and much more!
Note much of this ability comes with buying the PowerPack Add-On which I highly recommend doing so
Often I have to type out certain sets of text over and over again, from requests for travel, to certain steps to troubleshoot issues. TextExpander allows me to create “Snippets” with commonly used test to generate on request. You get apps for Mac, iPhone and Windows and they all sync. The one issue some may have with this app is there is a subscription model for the software. If you prefer a one time price, Alfred also recommend includes some text expansion capabilities.
Firewall for Mac, does a great job of making sure only the items you want out go out! One piece of advice, When you start it for the first time, set it in “silent mode” to allow all traffic through and work normally for a day or two. You will then see all the rules generated from this in the Little Snitch Preferences. You can then move the rules you want to become permanent rules, and this prevents the pain of being prompted for EVERY single connection when you first start using the program.
Hands down the most versatile remote server client I have ever worked with. You can have all your RDP sessions, SSH sessions, Apple Remote Desktop and more in one single client with your credentials and keys all ready to go in an encrypted file. Plus, if you’re connecting to 10 systems or less total, this app is free!
Hazel is an incredibly powerful piece of automation for organizing all of your files. Hazel looks at directories you tell it to, then periodically performs tasks based on the rules. For example, I use GIFwrapped for all my gifs on iOS, so I have a rule to move any .gif file from my Downloads directory to the Dropbox folder GifWrapped uses for Gif storage. There is so much you can do that I would recommend MacSparky’s Hazel Video Field Guide to get the most out of it as you can!
If you’re not ready to fork over for the Video Field Guide here is a good tutorial for an older version of hazel. Most of the material still holds true for the current version of Hazel
That Menu Bar….
This is a simple little utility allowing you to easily mount, unmount, or remount any dmg image you download or load on your Mac. You can also do the same for any server you have recently connected to, rejoining with one click.
Best way i would describe this little app is adding iOS text pop up with much larger power user features. Their copy on the App Store does a great job summarizing
PopClip appears when you select text with your mouse on your Mac. Instantly access context-specific actions including copy and paste, plus extensions like Send to Evernote. If you select text containing a URL, email address or file path, PopClip can open it. Select a misspelled word, and PopClip offers corrections. Select any text to do a web search with those terms, or select a single word to get the dictionary definition.
More than 100 free extensions are available, including Paste and Match Style, Translate, Send to Evernote, Word Count, Capitalize and much, much more. See http://pilotmoon.com/popclip/extensions.
As you start to use all these utilities, you may find your Menu Bar getting a little crowded. Bartender adds features to add, remove, re-sort and move to a hidden menu every menu item on your menu bar. This includes all the Apple built in ones. While i wish this functionality was built into MacOS, this is worth every penny for the convenience!
Here’s an example of it running on my 13 inch Retina MacBook Pro
The three dots on the right hand side drop down the bartender menu, showing you all to toolbar options you have had hidden but available whenever you are ready to work it
Traveling with your laptop and tethering with your phone’s data? It can be tricky to just sip that data since all your apps assume you’re on a regular wifi connection and may burn large amounts of data in the background. TripMode allows you to lock down internet access to only the apps you give permission to, and you can respectively see how much data each app is utilizing. You can even set TripMode to activate every time you join your hotspot!
iPhone & iPad
This app has been an absolute godsend for me being scatter brained. The app is an easy to generate reminder application. However, what makes it unique is the face that every reminder you generate will keep reminding you to do the task at a repeated interval until you complete the task yourself. It has saved me on more than a few occasions in remembering to take my medication.
I love podcasts and personally I find this to be the best podcasting app of the bunch. The Smart Speed feature that trims silence is fantastic and I have yet to see any competition make their variation of this tech as seamless as Overcast (I currently have saved 66 hours of time with the silence skipping!). Overcast is free, but you can pay if you choose to in order to upload your own media files and have no ads.
I use Facebook but don’t like the regular Facebook app. This is a web wrapper for the Facebook website allowing you to have a Facebook app, but not needing the full control that the regular Facebook app wants from you. The paid one linked here includes an integrated ad blocker for your Facebook feed.
Plus, you don’t need to have a separate app for messenger anymore, they are both integrated in the same app.
Personally i find Narwahl to be the best of the Reddit clients available for iOS. I get a clean night and day appearance, a clean iPad experience and can even open any reddit link in safari.
This app uses the safari view controller for opened links, so if you are using an ad blocker you will have the same blocking looking at links through the app.
A very powerful Markdown editor for iOS. The upcoming update (currently in free beta here) will allow for split view as well as the ability to have support for the iPad’s larger screen size. This app also supports the TaskPaper format and it’s workflows is how I do my Omnifocus Automation.
Hands down the best youtube app for iOS, it does cost some money but is worth it for the features. You don’t get ads, can have default iOS picture and picture, and can have audio play in the background! Pretty much all the features of youtube red without the monthly subscription!
App in the Air
I use TripIt to have all my itinerary information for flying to be in one location. They offer an annual subscription service to send you push notifications for changes of your flight. A much cheaper option that I found to be just as good if not better is App in the Air.
It sends you all updates to your flights, as well as has a nice layout for you to view your entire flight history.
Best way I would describe workflow is “Drag and Drop” scripting automation. You can drag actions and inputs from hundreds of ios applications and websites to create custom workflows to do pretty much anything you could think of. Items such as
I highly recommend MacSparky’s Video Field Guide and MacStories for good documentation of the full powers you can utilize with this application. Federico Viticci, the founder of MacStories also just started a 3 part podcast on editorial on his iOS productivity podcast Canvas I would recommend checking out as well.
I plan to post more workflows and examples on what it can do in the future.
I don’t want to leave you all out in the dark! Beyond Text Expander and 1Password Here’s some more for you too!
Like the idea of Dash, but don’t have a Mac? Don’t worry! Funny story, the developer of Dash actually gave this developer access to all the DocSets he uses to make the Dash app function, since he didn’t want to focus on the Windows side. You won’t have some of the same things such as finder integration that you would get on OSX, however the main core is here for you to enjoy!
Been around for quite some time, if the idea of Text Expander’s annual subscription makes you sick to your stomach, this app should take care of all of your needs there!
RoyalTS was the first, then he made RoyalTSX for MacOS. Hands down the most versatile remote server client I i have ever worked with. You can have all your RDP sessions, SSH sessions and more in one single client with your credentials and keys all ready to go in an encrypted file.
Until next time, hope this helps your productivity!