If you haven’t been using If This, Then That (IFTTT) on your iPhone or iPad, you really ought to be.
It’s a really amazing way to connect up all the things you do on your devices, putting them together in new ways for new uses.
Want to send all your iOS photos to OneNote or Evernote? There’s a recipe for that. How about making your Phillips Hue lightbulbs flash a specific color when you pull up into your driveway? There’s an IFTTT recipe for that, too.
Chances are, if you can think of it, you can make it happen, connecting different services and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, your iOS Photos app, location services, and the like in fantastically useful new ways.
There’s a new update for the iOS app, and it’s got some pretty spectacular new stuff to check out.
It’s the holiday season again, and iOS devices top the lists of many of us, adult and child alike. If you’ve gotten one this year (kudos!), here’s our handy guide to get you started: the 12 “must have” apps for your brand new iPhone and iPad. Because, seriously, there are way too many apps out there to figure this out all on your own. You’re welcome.
VLC – Universal – Free
If you want to play movies you’ve downloaded on your iPhone or iPad, but don’t want to limit yourself to officially sanctioned formats via iTunes and the Videos app on your iPhone, VLC is your app. It’s a free, open-source port of the computer-based media player and it will play all those different video formats, like WMV and OGG files, without the need for conversion. You can watch your movies you’ve downloaded to your iOS device, or you can sync directly with Dropbox or iTunes on your Mac, as well as an embedded web server. VLC in the App Store
Evernote – Universal – Free
This is, hands-down, the single most used app I have on my iPhone. You can create and edit text notes, reminders, and task lists and sync them across all your devices, including the web. You can record voice, audio and photo notes, search for text inside images, organize all your stuff into notebooks and tags and even share notes via email, Facebook, and Twitter.
Add to your Evernote shopping list on your Mac, for example and it will appear on your iPhone for use at the store. Share that note with your roommates or spouse, and you have the ideal solution for making sure everything gets purchased the next time one of you is at the store. Evernote in the App Store
Fantastical 2 – iPhone – $3.99
This, well, fantastic, calendar replacement app uses a natural language parsing engine to help you make appointments and reminders with text or dictation. Say, “Lunch next Tuesday with Amy,” and Fantastical 2 will figure out what you mean, and place in on the appropriate slot.
You’ll never want to swipe those fiddly date and time wheels again. While the original Fantastical is still just as great, the new version has been updated for iOS 7. If you’re sick of the way typical digital calendars work, this is the app for you. Fantastical 2 in the App Store
AroundMe – Universal – Free
AroundMe uses your location data to quickly let you find the nearest bank, bar, gas station, hospital, hotel, movie theater, restaurant, market, or taxi cab. You’ll get a complete list of nearby businesses in your chosen category, along with your distance from them, and you can quickly get the location up on a map. You can even send the info along to a buddy, or add the location to your Contacts. As if that wasn’t enough, you can even use AroundMe to fill you in on the details of the place using Wikipedia. AroundMe in the App Store
Pocket Casts – Universal – $3.99
Our very own Killian Bell says this is the best podcast app out there, and it’s got the ratings to prove it. Pocket Casts is a sraightforward, easy to use, powerful “podcatcher” app that lets you subscribe and play any podcast out there, sync and back them up, filter your episode lists, set up auto downloads, and a ton more.
The killer feature here? Refreshing up to 50 podcasts in the same time it can take other podcast apps, even Apple’s, to refresh one. Grab it now and see what you’ve been missing.
Twitter – Universal – Free
Power users may prefer apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot, but for the rest of us, the official Twitter app is really all we need. The latest update adds quite a bit of functionality, including a neat swipe between panels interface, easy conversation drilldowns, and more. If you need to access Twitter on your iPhone or iPad, but don’t want a cluttery interface or more features than you can shake a stick at, this is the one to start with. Twitter in the App Store
Boxie – iPhone – Free
The original (and best, in my opinion) cloud storage drive, Dropbox, has its own iOS app, but Boxie makes that app feel old and slow. This super-useful Dropbox client app features many more ways to manage, organize, and access all your Dropbox content, with a gorgeous interface to boot. Boxie turns your Dropbox storage into something truly useful, getting you access to all your stuff with a minimum of effort or slow loading times. Boxie in the App Store
Google Maps – Universal – Free
I hate to say it, but you really need to download Google’s navigation app. While Apple Maps is much improved these days, Google has been at it quite a bit longer, and while I much prefer Apple’s driving interface, Google Maps is just a more comprehensive experience.
Finding and getting to your destination is just much easier with Google Maps, and the voiced turn-by-turn navigation just seems to make a little more sense than Apple’s does. Don’t leave home without this on your iPhone or iPad. Google Maps in the App Store
Instagram – iPhone – Free
Instagram is not only a photo sharing service within an app, but an entire social network, itself connected to other services out there like Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. It launches quickly and lets you capture that moment in time so you can filter and contrast it into something visually interesting (usually!). Getting your photos out there is super fast, and now Instagram even does video sharing, with 15 second clips that use the same filtering system as the photos. Instagram in the App Store
Mailbox – Universal – Free
Email may have revolutionized the way we communicate in our business personal lives, but Mailbox has truly change the game for mobile email management. Using a few easily remembered swipe-based gestures, Mailbox lets you deal with your email quickly and efficiently, storing some in lists, scheduling others to look at later, or just deleting the crap out of the stuff you really aren’t gonna read anyway. Mailbox puts the productivity back into your email workflow, and you’ll thank the developers for the innovation. Mailbox in the App Store
Pocket – Universal – Free
Pocket, formerly Read It Later, may not be the first such service where you can send long web articles to your iPhone or iPad to read later, but it’s quickly become my “read this later” service of choice. There’s a Pocket extension for every web browser out there, and a click sends it along to the Pocket servers, which deliver your own mix of saved reading material for offline perusal at your own convenience, even offline. Pocket is simple to use, and I’d never be able to read those long articles without it. Pocket in the App Store
Bump – iPhone – Free
Incredibly simple, Bump lets you do just that: touch your iPhone to another one running Bump and you’re instantly sharing your contacts, files, and photos. Heck, you can even use Bump with your Mac, provided you’ve downloaded the Mac app to your computer. It seems like a silly thing, but getting files around from device to device has never been simpler. Bump in the App Store
Browsing the App Store can be a bit overwhelming. Which apps are new? Which ones are good? Are the paid ones worth paying for, or do they have a free, lite version that will work well enough?
Well, if you stop interrogating me for a second, hypothetical App Store shopper, I can tell you about this thing we do here.
Every week, we highlight some of the most interesting new apps and collect them here for your consideration. This time, our picks include an app for quick notes, food television, and an app to help you visually keep track of your life.
Sometimes, you have to write something really quickly on the go. Like, say, if you were supposed to find an app to write up for your daily post on a tech blog.
Actually, never mind that example. It’s crazy and would never happen. But if it did, Writedown might be a good fit. It’s a quick and easy document creation tool that cuts out all the distractions (other than ads, in this Lite version). You just type your thing in a clean interface, and then you can export it to a text, e-mail, social media, or share it with AirDrop.
It’s bare bones, quick, and easy to use. Not that I’m using it right now.
Now that we’ve gotten that pesky Halloween thing out of the way with all its gross movies and candy and fun, we can get down to the serious business of planning “The Holidays.” And if you’re need appropriate programming on your phone or iPad right now, EndlessTV’s “Seasons” app might be what you need. It features quick-loading, topical shows (mostly about food) that you can swipe through at your leisure.
I learned how to make a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin and I don’t even know what I’m going to do with that knowledge.
When you need to track stuff you need to do, it’s essential to have an app that can handle tasks and to-do items as well as a robust calendaring system. Time Planner does just that, and does it very well. It also adds a colorful palette, a nicely organized way of creating tasks and reminders, and a list of categories that really helps you focus in on what each task is about.
Choose to add a task to Home, Work, Rest, Lifestyle, and other categories to color the tasks with a visual cue. When you start looking at your schedule for the day, you’ll have a colorful reminder of the things you’ll need to focus on, perhaps noticing that you spend too much time at work, and not enough on restful activities.
You can have Time Planner remind you of stuff you need to do by day, time, or location, which is pretty much what all to-do apps should have these days.
Like live music? Got an iOS device full of music? Songkick Concerts looks like the app for you, then, as it trawls your music library to find concerts in your area. Be the first one to grab tickets to hot events, all based on your own music preferences. Sounds good, right?
If you’re traveling to a new city, never fear, as you can use Songkick Concerts to search your destination for upcoming concerts from those very same artists. Want to see Kanye West in Madison Square Garden? I mean, who wouldn’t? Use this app to find out when and where he’s playing, and tap through to buy tickets right within the app itself.
Of course, you’ll want to use Songkick Concerts to bargain shop as well, since it lets you compare venues and prices for all the artists you must obviously want to go see, since they’re in your music library.
The Mac has been aluded as a machine that can really help you get things done. As a convert from a Windows machine to a Mac, I can attest that I am definitely more efficient and effective with my work – and life. The Mac platform has a number of apps that are solid choices to help you get more productive, and Cult of Mac Deals has an offer that contains a few of them this time around. Now, you can get 16 mac apps for 90% off at Cult of Mac Deals.
For those whose income is based on billable time or on a per-project basis, some kind of time/project tracker app is a basic necessity. OfficeTime combines meat-and-potatoes time and project management with greatly customizable billing and reporting features, and is one of the few apps in this category available on all Apple devices—iPhone, iPad and Mac.
There are hundreds of apps on the App Store that claim they’ll help you boost your productivity, keep your thoughts organized, and help you finish all of those great side project ideas you have floating around. Some of those apps are genuinely helpful, but famed Apple-blogger John Gruber just released a new note-taking app that challenges them all.
Vesper is a sublime note-taking app for iPhone that just hit the App Store. Its price tag is a bit steeper than most apps, but even at $4.99 it’s a pretty good deal. Designed by John Gruber’s new company, Q Branch, Vesper is a hybrid of notes and list-making features that helps you keep your thoughts organized.
“What’s the difference between a thought, an idea, and something you want to do? I don’t know exactly. That’s why we made Vesper.” – John Gruber
If you hate remembering and entering passwords, then you’re probably intimately familiar with 1Password. If you’re not, then you really should give the app a try because it just got a meaty update in the App Store.
1Password 4.2 was just released on the Apple Store today and it comes with a ton of new features, including the ability to share items through Messages, search for vault items by URL, lots of bug fixes, and more. The app will set you back $17.99 but the peace of mind it will bring you is well worth it.
Readdle, the creator of some of the best productivity apps for iOS, has today replaced its awesome $6.99 Calendars app with a new version that won’t cost you a penny. It has all of the same great features it’s always had, only now you can enjoy them for free.
Going paperless is a goal of mine. I’d love to be able to keep all my important documents, like banking paperwork and medical records, all safely and cleanly tucked away into the digital ether. And, while productivity apps are fairly common in the Mac App store, when Apple made document-organizing app, doo, an Editor’s Choice app this week, well, it certainly piqued my interest.