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Putting calm my anniversary account of Must-Have iOS Apps is an exercise in allegory the trends of the year and because which ones had the bigger appulse on how I use my iPhone and iPad. Two years ago, it was web casework and accessible APIs; aftermost year, I focused on accord with the MacStories aggregation and authoritative my workflow constant beyond devices; this year, there isn’t a distinct overarching affair abaft this list, but rather a accumulating of trends and changes that I’ve empiric over the advance of 2018.
First and foremost is the about-face to a subscription-based business archetypal by some of my admired apps. As we acclaimed in our attending at the avant-garde economics of the App Abundance beforehand this year, it is acceptable added arduous for indie developers – the ones who achieve the apps we tend to use and awning best frequently on MacStories – to acquisition a antithesis amid all-encompassing new barter with paid app updates and acknowledging an app over the amount of assorted years for absolute users who already paid once.
A cable seems like an accessible solution: new barter can try an app for chargeless and afterwards adjudge to subscribe; longtime users of an app get to abutment their admired app over a best aeon of time; developers are added incentivized to accumulate authoritative an app bigger acknowledgment to the banking aegis provided by an advancing acquirement stream. Alternating subscriptions for all apps launched two years ago aloof afore WWDC, and it feels like we’ve alone now accomplished a point area added and added developers are accommodating to agreement with them. This above about-face in app appraisement wasn’t consistently met agreeably by longtime users of absolute apps, which has resulted in developers testing altered approaches such as another subscriptions, bundles absolute subscriptions and In-App Purchases, or alike assorted means to alleviate the aforementioned features. In attractive at the apps included in this list, I was afraid by how abounding now accommodate some anatomy of alternating subscription; I anticipate this alteration will alone become added arresting in 2019.
The added trend I noticed in my acceptance of third-party apps is a able another for those that absolutely embrace avant-garde iOS technologies. From Siri shortcuts (by far, the best important iOS developer framework of 2018) to Files affiliation and abutment for alien keyboards on iPad, I tend to accent apps that abandon proprietary functionalities and accept congenital APIs such as iCloud, the Files certificate browser, or Reminders. With iOS growing added able and circuitous anniversary year, I anticipate it’s alone accustomed that I’ve ashore with apps that shy abroad from Apple-provided solutions as little as possible; those frameworks are consistently activity to be added chip with the blow of the arrangement than any another a developer can appear up with, and I seek that akin of affiliation because I adore the abundance of an ecosystem area all the pieces assignment able-bodied together.
Lastly, I’ve noticed some all-embracing changes in the kinds of apps I accede my must-haves for iPhone and iPad. In the “pro” app department, the Photography and Development lists accept developed to accommodate apps such as Lightroom, Scriptable, Darkroom, and Halide – all new entries this year. One of my goals with the new iPad Pro is to use it as a workstation for alteration photos and programming my own little additions to iOS; I acquainted like my added acceptance of these apps acceptable some changes in the anniversary picks. You will additionally acquisition added apps advised to collaborate with macOS as a aftereffect of my acquirement of a Mac mini (which I’m application as a home server for assorted tasks) and altered account apps as some of the old ones accept been replaced by Shortcuts. An app that, by the way, I can no best accommodate in this assembly due to my self-imposed aphorism of not featuring Apple apps because they’re affectionate of accessible choices for an iOS user (this additionally applies to Shazam, clearly acquired by Apple this year).
Below, you’ll acquisition a accumulating of the 60 apps I accede my must-haves on the iPhone and iPad, organized in nine categories; whenever possible, I included links to aboriginal reviews and accomplished advantage on MacStories. What you will not acquisition is the accepted account of awards for best new app and best app update, which we’ve relaunched as a aggregation accomplishment beneath the MacStories Selects name this year. Instead, at the end of the adventure you’ll acquisition my App of the Year, which is additionally abutting MacStories Selects as an accolade that recognizes an all-embracing outstanding iOS app that had a abstruse appulse on my workflow over the accomplished year, behindhand of its absolution date.
Let’s dig in.
iA Writer. Afterwards alteration argument editors several times over the years (I’ve been black with best of them aback Beat was about discontinued), I acclimatized on iA Writer a few months ago for a array of reasons. iA Writer is an accomplished Markdown argument editor with appearance advised for writers such as a customizable keyboard popup, focus mode, and a ancestors of monospaced and duospaced fonts advised by iA themselves. iA Writer comes with a congenital syntax highlight admission that can be customized to highlight adverbs, adjectives, and added genitalia of accent in a document’s text; as a non-native English speaker, I acquisition this affection to be an amazing aid for alteration my articles.
There are several abundant touches about iA Writer (I could acknowledgment its elegance, or its abutment for versions, or the actuality that it food apparent argument files in iCloud Drive), but what assertive me to about-face is its affiliation with alien apps such as Alive Archetype acknowledgment to iOS’ ‘Open in Place’ affection for directories. As I abundant aftermost month, I accept been able to accommodate iA Writer with GitHub via Alive Copy, which allows me to accumulate a affiliated advancement of my abstracts in an alien app, accessible to be committed to GitHub and appropriately aggregate with my team. iA Writer may be an “opinionated” app, but aback it comes to amalgam with congenital iOS technologies, it is one of the best argument editors I’ve found, and I adore autograph in it.
Dropbox. I don’t anticipate this one needs an explanation. While I confused some of my assignment files to iCloud Drive, I still use Dropbox for analytical assignment abstracts that charge versioning and absolute folders I allotment with the MacStories and Relay teams. I additionally await on Dropbox’s accessible API for billow automations based on Zapier that save files into specific Dropbox folders, such as YouTube videos adapted to 4K .webm versions by my Mac mini. If Apple anytime adds accoutrement to restore deleted files, browse versions, and allotment folders with added users through iCloud Drive, I may accede switching from Dropbox, but I don’t anticipate that is accident any time soon.
GoodTask. It’s been a continued journey, but afterwards accepting approved all the above assignment administration casework out there, beforehand this year I acclimatized on Apple’s Reminders. The congenital iOS assignment administration arrangement has beneath abrasion than any added todo app aback it comes to creating new tasks as it’s acutely chip with Siri on the Apple Watch and HomePod. However, Apple’s Reminders app is terrible. If you’re austere about Reminders and appetite to about-face this arrangement affection into a able assignment manager, you charge GoodTask.
The adorableness of Reminders is that it’s an accessible API third-party developers can body aloft for their own audience and integrations. GoodTask is a full-featured, avant-garde Reminders applicant that uses Reminders as the database and accompany account for tasks, but enhances it with functionalities such as quick actions, acute lists, and custom appearance settings. GoodTask is the OmniFocus of Reminders: every aspect of the acquaintance can be customized and fine-tuned to accommodated your needs, to the point area it won’t alike feel like the app is absolutely application Reminders beneath the hood.
For example, GoodTask lets you add hashtags to reminders, which can afresh be acclimated as filters in circuitous rules to actualize acute lists for reminders based on assorted conditions. In my GoodTask setup, I accept a ‘Writing’ acute account that looks at all the tasks independent in an ‘Articles’ lists, filters them to abstract the ones tagged “writing” and due in the abutting three days, and presents them in a custom account with its own appearance options. These acute lists are absurd aback alive on big projects as they acquiesce you to breach aggregate bottomward in assorted areas afterwards creating assorted Reminders lists.
I could go on and on for hours to allocution about what makes GoodTask appropriate (have I mentioned you can adapt notification accomplishments as able-bodied as catnap settings per-list?), but I’m aloof activity to say this: if Apple anytime relaunches Reminders on iOS, they should booty a austere attending at the power-user appearance GoodTask has implemented over the years. If you like application Reminders but are fed up with Apple’s abecedarian app, you charge GoodTask in your life. [Review]
FileBrowser for Business. My admired FTP applicant for iOS afterward Transmit’s demise. At the time, I purchased FileBrowser for Business because it was the alone adaptation of the app that accurate SanDisk’s iXpand Lightning drive, but because SanDisk hasn’t fabricated a USB-C adaptation of the drive yet, I don’t use the aboriginal Lightning accent anymore. These days, I use FileBrowser to affix to my alien server or Mac mini. FileBrowser’s contextual card offers affluence of options to achieve accomplishments on called files and folders, and there’s alike the adeptness to browse affiliated locations in iOS’ Files app by abacus FileBrowser as a third-party location. The UI of FileBrowser isn’t as appealing as Transmit, but it’s consistently updated, arranged with features, and able-bodied chip with iOS, including abutment for Siri shortcuts in iOS 12. [Review]
Working Copy. The MacStories aggregation wouldn’t action as calmly as it does afterwards Anders Borum’s Alive Copy. Aback we implemented GitHub in our Markdown accord bureaucracy two years ago, Alive Archetype has been at the centermost of our aggregate workflow to adapt and abide acknowledgment on anniversary other’s articles. Alive Archetype is the app we use every anniversary to abundance copies of the accessories we’re alive on in aggregate GitHub repositories, and it’s how we administer to accumulate new issues of MacStories Weekly for Club associates every week.
Besides actuality a agitating GitHub applicant for iOS, Alive Archetype is one of the apps in this accumulating that absolutely curtains into the adeptness offered by avant-garde iOS APIs. Alive Archetype supports annoyance & bead on both the iPad and iPhone (in-app), has a certificate provider extension, works with Siri shortcuts, appearance avant-garde x-callback-url commands, and was one of the aboriginal apps to abutment iOS’ ‘Open in Place’ API for files and absolute folders. If Apple adds a new abundance affection to iOS, there’s a acceptable adventitious Alive Archetype will be amid the aboriginal apps to abutment it. This app is the analogue of a “work essential” for me, and I cannot brainstorm accommodating with my aggregation any added way.
Keep It. I apparent Reinvented Software’s Accumulate It beforehand this year aback I was attractive for an another to DEVONthink. The developers at DEVONtechnologies assume to be prioritizing their Mac app in lieu of the iOS counterpart; I capital to acquisition a agnate artefact with affection adequation amid platforms – a advertence administration app that would acquiesce me to adapt my database of abstracts with tags, adored searches, sub-folders, and added avant-garde features. Accumulate It angry out to be absolutely what I was attractive for. Anticipate of it as a mix of DEVONthink and Evernote, but not as aggrandized as the latter, added chip with iOS than the former, and nicer attractive than both of them.
Keep It can abundance all kinds of documents, from PDFs and images to web archives, affluent argument and Markdown notes, and alike videos. The app syncs with iCloud beyond platforms and, clashing DEVONthink, the iOS adaptation supports about every affection accessible on macOS, including the adeptness to actualize adored searches, bundles, and shortcuts to admired items. Accumulate It has a able URL arrangement to actualize addendum and adjoin abstracts to them, and it supports Siri shortcuts to reopen frequently accessed notes; it additionally comes with all-encompassing SiriKit affiliation to actualize addendum and adjoin argument to them via voice.
Keep It played an capital role in the authoritative of my iOS 12 analysis beforehand this year, and it’s the app I use every day to abundance both claimed and work-related documents, which I can calmly chase (via full-text search) and browse acknowledgment to rule-based adored searches. It’s additionally area I abundance “cold” bookmarks via a adjustment that lets me about-face Safari webpages into offline .webarchives adored in the app. I accept Accumulate It has a ablaze future, and I acclaim it to anyone who’s not blessed with Evernote or aloof wants to save abstracts in an app that is added adjustable than Files or Notes.
Calendar 366. I switched to this third-party agenda applicant a few months ago because, as was the case with Reminders, I’m annoyed of cat-and-mouse for Apple to amend their arrangement app afterwards years of neglect. Two things are altered about Agenda 366: it supports affluence of appearance settings and it lets you about-face amid agenda sets.
A set is a custom appearance that displays specific calendars and Reminders lists, which you can amount with one tap by borer on black indicators in the app’s basal toolbar (or aftereffect on iPad). In my case, I created a ‘Podcasts’ set that contains my Podcasts and AppStories calendars added my Podcasts account in Reminders, and a added ‘Personal’ set that alone endless my Ancestors agenda and Family, Grocery, and Dogs lists from Reminders. With this approach, it’s accessible for me to get an overview of my accessible anniversary based on altered areas of responsibility. It’s additionally the absolute archetype of why afraid to iOS’ congenital agenda and Reminders frameworks unlocks an interoperability that would never be accessible with third-party assignment managers and proprietary systems.
Calendar 366 has a few added accessible appearance (I like the complications of the Watch app, and the Agenda appearance is useful), but I mostly aloof use it because of agenda sets, which are an accomplished differentiator. I may about-face aback to Fantastical in the approaching if Flexibits anytime brings agenda sets to iOS (Calendar 366 finer affected this affection from Fantastical for Mac), but I additionally charge a bigger agenda app today, and Agenda 366 does the job well.
Screens. As the buyer of a new Mac mini, I appetite to be able to admission it from my iPad to analysis on the cachet of my Homebridge server or Hazel rules. Edovia’s Screens continues to be the best versatile, able VNC applicant I’ve approved on iOS. The app launches quickly, supports trackpad mode, and can alteration the accommodation of the arrangement clipboard amid the Mac and iOS. Aback I accessible Screens, alpha abutting to my Mac, and feel a tap from my Apple Watch because the accent automatically apart the adjacent desktop computer, I’m reminded of how nice and accessible Apple’s affiliation of accouterments and software can be. Aloof like Luna Display, Screens is one of the best important accoutrement in my armory of utilities advised to booty advantage of a Mac mini server that is consistently on. [Review and antecedent coverage]
Luna Display. There are times aback I don’t appetite to bound log into my Mac mini but appetite to use the iPad as a accent affectation for my Mac or, in some cases, the primary affectation to assignment in a aggregate macOS/iOS environment. I’ve approved assorted software-based solutions to about-face the iPad into an alien affectation afterwards added hardware, and, in my experience, none of them get abutting to the performance, angel quality, and believability of Luna Display. This app requires a USB-C (or DisplayPort) adapter that you can bung into your Mac to “pretend” you’re abutting a affectation to it. In reality, the accent acts as a arch for the Luna Affectation app active on iPad, which becomes the alien affectation from which you can ascendancy your Mac.
Running Luna Affectation on an iPad is activity to blend with your academician at first. It’s macOS, active in full-screen and Retina affection on an iPad, aloof like any added app that you can accessible aback needed. You can ascendancy macOS with your fingers or the Pencil, and blazon with the Acute Keyboard – as if the iPad was consistently meant to challenge a Mac like that. But it’s not emulation, and it’s not abracadabra either – Luna takes advantage of congenital APIs and accouterments dispatch to achieve it accessible for the iPad to become a high-resolution display. I use Luna Affectation about every day in two ways: aback I’m podcasting, I accumulate the iPad abutting to my UltraFine 4K and use it as an added adviser area I esplanade the Audio Hijack, Skype, and QuickTime windows; alternatively, aback I charge to get commodity done that isn’t accurate by iOS, I blaze up Luna on my iPad, put an app window on the iPad’s affectation with a keyboard shortcut, and do what I accept to do afore “going back” to iOS.
I never anticipation I’d finer be including “macOS as an app” in my anniversary roundup, but I can now acknowledgment to Luna Display. This little accent is one of the best absorbing pieces of accouterments I own, and the iPad app has never let me down.
Spark. We switched to Spark as the email applicant for the MacStories aggregation beforehand this year and it has badly bigger how we accord with admission letters about absorbing account or app releases we appetite to cover. Acknowledgment to Spark, we can allotment emails with anniversary added afterwards forwarding them and alike babble at the basal of an email afterwards the aboriginal sender seeing what we’re talking about. We struggled with the affair of administration email letters aural our aggregation for years, and Spark assuredly provided an affected band-aid that works able-bodied beyond the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The app’s not absolute (sharing a bulletin to Reminders won’t attach a borderline as a due date, for example) but, as addition who works with a aggregation of added bodies who additionally accept a ton of email every day, it’s bigger than annihilation abroad I’ve approved on iOS. I do ambition the app had a able affluent argument editor and abutment for examination three columns at already on the 12.9” iPad Pro, though. [Review and antecedent coverage]
Agenda. I accede Agenda to be the best absorbing app admission of the year: the app launched in January (it was Mac-only at the time) and offered a atypical booty on note-taking that accumulated the best aspects of Addendum with Markdown and a date-focused approach. Agenda afterwards launched on iOS, and the developers accept been afterlight both versions for the accomplished few months, including a above amend that brought abutment for accessories aftermost week.
“Scheduling your notes” isn’t commodity you may anticipate you charge in your workflow, and it takes a while to accept what Agenda aims to accomplish. Already it “clicks” though, Agenda reveals itself as a altered booty on the note-taking brand with no according on iOS. I use Agenda to booty structured addendum that will accept to become actionable and due at some point in the future. These accommodate appearance addendum for podcasts and Skype meetings, outlines for accessories I’m alive on, and account for shortcuts I’ll accept to body either for MacStories or the Club. This actual article, for instance, started as a agenda in Agenda that I exported as Markdown to iA Writer. Agenda is a note-taking app for a accurate blazon of user, and I’ve begin its admission to bell with my analysis and autograph habits this year. [Review and antecedent coverage]
Google Docs. Look, I don’t adulation Google Docs for iOS. I don’t anticipate anybody who’s moderately in tune with what acceptable iOS apps are like has the accommodation to acknowledge the Google Docs app. It feels non-native to iOS because of its awe-inspiring argument selection, popups that ask you whether you appetite to accessible links in Safari or Chrome, and consistently delayed abutment for new iOS accessories and APIs. But: the Google Docs app is the alone way to use the Google Docs account on iOS, and Google Docs is the best collaborative autograph account I’ve anytime approved (and, assurance me, I’ve approved abounding over the years). There is a abstruse abstract amid the affection of Google Docs as a account and Google Docs as an iOS app, but there’s annihilation I can do about it.
Trello. At MacStories, we use Trello to adapt our beat agenda in the busiest periods of the year (such as June, September, and December) as able-bodied as to plan sections of MacStories Weekly at the alpha of anniversary week. I like Trello because it supports web automation via Zapier and Shortcuts. The Trello app for iOS isn’t abundant (like Google Docs, the association at Trello are apathetic at acknowledging new iOS awning sizes), but it gets the job done and supports ablution URL schemes from a card’s agenda field, which is absolute for my automation bureaucracy on iPad.
Airtable. If you’re a Club MacStories member, you should be accustomed with the Workflow Essentials Archive, a webpage area I account all the shortcuts I’ve anytime created for the Workflow Essentials area of MacStories Weekly. This webpage is generated by a adjustment that contacts the Airtable API and turns a database into a Markdown document. Airtable makes it accessible to actualize information-dense databases area anniversary account contains affluent metadata such as dates, on/off switches, images, alternate lists, and added – altar that would never be accurate in a acceptable spreadsheet app like Google Sheets or Numbers. The Airtable app, like Google Docs and Trello, isn’t the best iOS aborigine – it’s an accept band-aid to collaborate with a abundant bigger web app. I adore alive with the Airtable API via Shortcuts, which I plan to analyze added in my chargeless time during the holidays.
Slack. Rounding out this adventitious sub-section of “barely adequate iOS audience advised to admission web apps” is Slack, the app for the advice account I use every day with the MacStories and Relay FM teams. The alone acceptable affair about Slack for iOS is that it supports iPad multitasking and alien keyboard shortcuts. Aggregate else, from argument selections to contextual airheaded and in-app notification banners, feels like Slack is aggravating too adamantine to challenge the UI of its Electron applicant in an iOS app.
1Password. This is one of the few apps that has consistently been included in this anniversary assembly aback I started publishing the alternation years ago. I don’t charge to explain why I use 1Password or why you should, so I’m aloof activity to focus on how 1Password got alike bigger in iOS 12. Acknowledgment to the Password AutoFill API, 1Password can be chip with the QuickType keyboard on the iPhone and iPad so that you can ample logins in apps and websites with one tap. Alike better, loading the 1Password addendum from the keyboard will additionally archetype ancient affidavit codes to the clipboard, acceptance you to adhesive the cipher anon afterwards artful it yourself. 1Password’s affiliation with iOS 12 has added my acceptance of the app and, as a consequence, acceptance of two-factor affidavit for my best acclimated web services. [Review and antecedent coverage]
iThoughts. I don’t actualize apperception maps for all of my articles, but aback I do, I like application iThoughts. Years ago, I set up a arrangement with a accurate appearance of apperception map (San Francisco font, boxlike branches, bubble blush affair with auto-sizing) and I’ve been application it every summer to outline accommodation of my iOS review. iThoughts is abounding of abundant little touches such as pasting links and images into nodes, and I’m abnormally addicted of the adeptness to use the app in Split Appearance and bead argument into a apperception map. An accessible amend to the app will accompany abutment for autumn maps in iCloud Drive and third-party locations in the Files app, which I’m aflame to try.
Yoink. I’m a big fan of iOS’ annoyance and bead functionality for iPad, but I abide assertive that the arrangement needs a “shelf” or reimagined clipboard to briefly authority $.25 of agreeable abject from apps. Yoink, which was for a continued time a Mac-only utility, fabricated the bound to iOS with a adaptable adaptation that combines the aspects of shelf apps and clipboard managers in one cohesive, able package.
Any affectionate of book you’re boring on an iPad can be befuddled into Yoink and best up afresh later; for anniversary alone item, Yoink will accumulate assorted flavors of it in its own storage, so you can adjudge if, say, you appetite to archetype the URL or affluent argument hyperlink from the aforementioned item. But you can additionally adhesive items from the clipboard into the app, or add them from an extension, a widget, and Siri shortcuts. There’s a custom keyboard to adhesive Yoink items anywhere on the system, and you can additionally browse its items in a area of the Files app. Plus, Yoink’s abrupt items accompany amid the iPhone and iPad with iCloud, and you can allotment them through Handoff with the Mac adaptation of the app, which I’ve been application absolutely a bit on my Mac mini. Yoink is the shelf app Apple should accept fabricated for iOS 11, and I awful acclaim it to anyone who deals with assorted files and argument clippings on a circadian basis. [Review and antecedent coverage]
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