Looking back on our top apps of 2022 | Cult of Mac

Looking back on our top apps of 2022

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Text reading “Best Apps 2022” in front of image of app icons
After careful consideration and a lengthy review of all the apps we use on a regular basis, these are some of our favorites from the year.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

With 2022 officially and fully in the rear-view, we’re all looking at how 2023 will be different. But some things don’t need to change. With that, it seemed only fair that we look back at some of the apps that made the biggest difference this past year. With so many apps to choose from, knowing the ones we (the Cult of Mac team) actually used and loved this last year may even help you nail that New Year’s resolution.

Best apps of 2022

Our top picks for the year consist of a nice mix of productivity, communication and entertainment apps.

Craft Docs

Craft Doc Share Menu
Craft is one of the most beautiful ways to capture your ideas on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
Photo: Craft Docs

One of my most-used apps of 2022 was the text editor and personal knowledge management app Craft Docs. It wasn’t new in 2022 (I highlighted it as an awesome app back in 2021), but in 2022 it continued to be critical to my daily work. That’s something I expect to continue in 2023.

One thing that has been great about Craft Docs is that, while the app continues to receive tons of updates and new features, it hasn’t strayed from its core functionality — a quick and easy-to-use writing app. In 2022, the app introduced an AI writing assistant, tables support and tons more. It’s my go-to app for writing almost anything (including the draft of this post), taking notes in meetings, organizing lists of work-in-progress, and saving bits of text, images and links from around the web. Best of all, the ability to link documents, paragraphs, dates and more in a wiki-style system makes it great for keeping all your text organized and connected.

Whether you’re looking for a new place to do all your writing, or simply want a solution for organizing a specific kind of text, Craft Docs is easily one of the best options on the App Store. Nearly two years in, I’m hooked. I can’t imagine being productive without it.

Price: Free

Download from: App Store

Pixelmator

Pixelmator edit options on iPad and iPhone X
Pixelmator works across iOS devices, as well as on the Mac, allowing you to tweak images where ever you are.
Screenshots: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Once upon a time, I learned the ins and outs of Photoshop. That was before the iPad’s touch-first experience. Pixelmator for iPad takes the best features of a graphic design app and puts them a touch (or tap of an Apple Pencil) away.

When it comes to creating graphics for YouTube thumbnails, blog posts and even more elaborate images, I turn to Pixelmator far more often than any other graphic software. With iCloud, Photos and Files app integration, Pixelmator allows me to edit images from nearly any source, including RAW images from my DSLR or iPhone’s camera.

Whether I simply need to add a filter or text to an image, want to create an elaborate collage, or fully replace the background of an image, Pixelmator is up to the task. If you do any kind of graphic work and haven’t tried Pixelmator, the new year is the perfect time to give it a shot.

Price: $9.99

Download from: App Store

BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds app screenshots from app store
Whether you want news, podcasts, music or just something to have on in the background, BBC Sounds offers it all — free of charge!
Photo: BBC Sounds/App Store

I’m not one for listening to radio shows most of the time. I prefer to listen to my recommended playlists on Apple Music or Spotify, or listen to a new episode of one of my favorite podcasts. Our fearless leader, Leander, on the other hand, is a huge fan of the BBC Sounds app.

With the BBC Sounds app, you can listen to live streams of any of the BBC’s radio stations, as well as a number of the British broadcaster’s on-demand segments and in-house podcasts — all for free. The BBC also offers curated music playlists and access to the live broadcast of U.K. football games (soccer for the American crowd).

Whether you want a podcast or radio show to listen to intently, or just want some enjoyable background noise, the BBC Sounds app is a great (and free) way to stimulate your auditory senses. It’s a great, simple app … and did we mention that it’s free? What is there to not like?

Price: Free (seriously)

Download from: App Store

Trainiac

Trainiac fitness app on an iPhone X with Beats headphones.
Trainiac connects you with a real personal trainer to maximize your fitness.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Back in 2019, I wrote about a relatively new fitness app called Trainiac. It offered personal training from a real-life human, but on your own time. To this day, I’m still using the app and service.

Trainiac has been one of the most consistent things in my fitness journey. I’ve lost weight, gained muscle, improved endurance, and seen significant improvements in my overall physical fitness. Much of this is thanks to my selected trainer, Geoff, who supported me and offered personalized workouts, motivation and wellness tips on staying fit through family vacations and holidays, injuries, a pandemic that shut down gyms, a job change to work from home, a relocation two states away, and many more life changes. It’s the type of personal training you don’t get at your local LA Fitness or Lifetime.

Getting started on a new weight-loss goal, or taking your current endeavors to the next level, can be a challenge. With Trainiac, you’re in the driver’s seat with an expert co-pilot, ready to hit the road on your fitness journey.

Price: Free (requires a paid membership starting at $49.99/month)

Download from: App Store

Actions (by Moleskine)

App Store screenshots of the Actions by Moleskine interface
Capturing, organizing and staying on top of my to-do list is dead simple with Actions.
Screenshot: Moleskine/App Store

There are literally thousands of to-do and reminders apps on the App Store. Heck — there’s one built into every iPhone and iPad (and it’s actually pretty good). But, if what you’re looking for goes beyond the preinstalled Reminders app, I suggest Actions by the fine folks at Moleskine.

With Actions, you get two distinct list views to differentiate the types of reminders or tasks at hand. The schedule view shows items (either from lists, or in the generic “no list” category) that have a specific due date attached to them. This is great for upcoming tasks or recurring reminders. Since starting to use Actions, this has become my go-to place for keeping myself on task and feeling accomplished.

The second view is the list view, which is (at least in my usage) just a fancy way to categorize reminders, to-do items, ideas, etc., without committing them to a specific date or time. For me, this was the place I’d throw possible ideas for posts or videos, tasks to complete around the house, and things to do in my downtime to keep me busy at work.

While I’ve long been a fan of Apple’s own Reminders app, I’ve been trying to embrace the two-task-app life to separate personal and professional/work-related things. Actions allows me a place to put those work things so I can keep my life a little more organized.

Price: Free (with in-app subscription)

Download from: App Store

Apollo for Reddit

If you're brave, random subreddits could could send you down a Reddit rabbit hole.
If you’re brave, random subreddits could send you down a Reddit rabbit hole.
Screenshot: Joe White/Cult of Mac

As Twitter has slowly gone up in flames for the last few months of 2022, I’ve started finding myself looking elsewhere for news, conversation and entertainment. One place that I’ve started to settle into is Reddit. As I searched for a good Reddit app, I found that Apollo offers a great, modern experience and an intuitive design.

One of the best things about Apollo is the whimsy that the developer includes in the experience. While the app is primarily a way to browse and experience Reddit, there is plenty of fun to be had at the same time. Little features like Pixel Pals, which adds a “pet” along the top of the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island, add an old-school Apple “surprise and delight” element to the app. On top of that, Apollo gives you access to seemingly limitless customizations and personalization.

Regardless of how you prefer to use Reddit, Apollo can fit your needs. If you’re looking for a more fun way to experience Reddit (or just want an app to distract you from the trash fire that is Twitter or Facebook), Apollo is a great option. There’s lots of fun to be had.

Price: Free

Download from: App Store

NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire is a free and simple RSS reader.
NetNewsWire is a free and simple RSS reader.
Screenshot: D. Griffin Jones/Cult of Mac

NetNewsWire is an RSS reader that’s very easy to use — an app that aggregates all the news, blogs and YouTube channels you follow in one place. I use it every day to find the top stories in the Apple world.

I also use NetNewsWire to get my YouTube videos. From Safari, you can open a YouTube channel and add them as an RSS feed. It’s a direct way to see everything from my subscriptions, skipping all the promoted content on the YouTube homepage.

NetNewsWire is cross-platform on the Mac and iPhone. It syncs your read articles over iCloud, so you don’t need any other account or service to use it. And, unlike other apps that use iCloud, I’ve found it to be dead reliable. I don’t know what I would do without NetNewsWire. — D. Griffin Jones

Price: Free

Download from: App Store

Mona for Mastodon

Mona is a Mastodon client from Junyu Kuang, developer of the popular Spring for Twitter app. Dressing up Mastodon in the same clothes as the Twitter app you know and love is a great way to make switching over feel seamless.

Currently in beta, Mona offers a Mac app that supports Intel, which I unfortunately still need. It syncs your timeline position between your phone and computer lightning-fast. Like “scrolling on your phone and you see the Mac app catching up in the corner of your eye” fast. I like to read everything in my timeline, so I love how easy it is to pick up where I left off.

It feels like the Mastodon client Apple would have designed itself. Not everyone I follow has moved to Mastodon yet, but I love the community there. (You can follow me @dgriffinjones@tech.lgbt.) — D. Griffin Jones

Download for iPhone: Join the Mona TestFlight

Download for Mac: Download on GitHub

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