Pop: An iOS Writing App That’s Nearly Too Minimal [Review]

Pop: An iOS Writing App That’s Nearly Too Minimal [Review]

Pop creates a dead simple writing environment on the iPhone and iPad.

Minimalism is a fascinating thing. Our world is getting increasingly loud and busy, yet many are starting to want more minimal and distraction-free experiences. Apps specifically are another way that the minimalism trend can be observed; more and more applications are getting back to the roots by cutting away superfluous effects and features.

Pop is a perfect example of how minimalism manifests itself in a basic iOS app. Unlike other writing apps for the iPhone and iPad, Pop is just a blank pad to jot down text. Nothing else. Nothing at all… But really, that’s all there is.

Pop: An iOS Writing App That’s Nearly Too Minimal [Review]

Pop super-sized on the iPad

The Good

The name “Pop” means “piece of paper,” because that’s all you get with the app. No multiple pages, settings, sharing options, etc. — just one blank white space and your fingers. I love the idea of that because it totally drowns out the noise that most iOS text editors bring to the table.

You can’t archive notes, so what you write down had better be good enough to copy and paste elsewhere or save for later. The font is simple and nice, and the app works as advertised. If you want minimal, it doesn’t get any more minimal than this.

The Bad

Some design choices in Pop seem a little off. I don’t particularly like the solid white icon. The app could be a little more recognizable with some sort of simple app logo. As is, it kind of looks like an app icon that’s broken and missing its real logo.

The tiny paper curl at the bottom right of the app’s interface was constantly tempting me to flip it up with my finger. iBooks and other reading apps operate in the same way; grab the corner of a page to flip it over. I got no such luck with Pop, which was disappointing. Tapping the page corner will instead make your iOS keyboard hide itself to let you read text fullscreen. Without using the page curl for a feature like multiple notes, the design choice seems a little superfluous. The iPad keyboard can be hidden already by tapping the down arrow at the bottom right of the screen.

Although Pop is on the iPhone and iPad, there’s no way to sync text between apps yet. Hopefully this feature is coming in a future update.

This is the simplest writing app I’ve seen for a mobile device. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you. Pop is available in the App Store for $1.

Pro: Fast, simple, unique.

Con: May be too simple for some.

  • mr_bee

    Wow. Seems to go a bit too far in terms of minimalism for me. I was just ready to buy it when you wrote that it can only store one single note. That’s just annoying.

    If it allowed multiple notes and cloud syncing it would be among the best text editors in the store if not *the* best (IMO).

  • snazzy_kiki

    PlainText is best minimalist writing app I have come across after looking at many. Highly recommend it.

  • mrgeof

    The one feature Pop has is the fold at the bottom: flip it up and it copies all the text. You’re likely to be disappointed by your desire to find another feature in a future update, since their philosophy is no updates and no features.

    I use Pop and I like it.

    PlanText is okay, but the formatting (like line breaks) rarely translates correctly to other platforms. None of the document apps I’ve tried are free of frustrating troubles except Pop, because it avoids the complications entirely, and in doing so succeeds entirely.

    I use Pop to compose, then Copy All (by flipping the bottom corner) and paste it somewhere else, like an email to myself. When I’m at a desktop, I can use a real application to format it the way I like.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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