MacStories Team

167 posts on MacStories since July 2011

Articles by the MacStories team.

Founded by Federico Viticci in April 2009, MacStories attracts millions of readers every month thanks to in-depth, personal, and informed coverage that offers a balanced mix of Apple news, app reviews, and opinion.

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THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

OffScreen

Leave Your Phone, and Focus on Real Life


OffScreen: Leave Your Phone, and Focus on Real Life [Sponsor]

It’s far too easy to get sidetracked and waste time on your iPhone. With Offscreen, you’ll understand exactly how you are spending time, regain control of it, and learn how to focus on what’s most important to you.

OffScreen is a beautifully-designed app for the iPhone and iPad that humanizes the way it reports statistics of your device usage. Not only does the app track screen time, but you can set goals, track your progress, and gain insights into your use patterns with built-in, understandable details like Pickups, Checking Every, Walking Life, Stationary Life, Last Pickup, First Pickup, Best Break and Sleep Time. It’s a holistic overview of your time that gives you the tools you need to form better habits.

OffScreen also helps you focus on your work. The app supports Pomodoro timers, countdowns, and cumulative time counters. Once you start a timer and put your phone down, OffScreen will remind you to get back to work with a notification, if you pick it up. Of course, if there are apps you need for your work, you can whitelist just those apps. OffScreen has terrific white noise options to help you concentrate on your tasks too.

To keep you on track and assist you with spotting long-term trends, OffScreen provides reports too. You’ll find detailed historical information beautifully displayed using charts generated for certain days, weeks, months, or years. You can also navigate your data from a calendar view to quickly jump to a particular day, and statistics are sharable.

Download OffScreen today on the App Store to take control of your iPhone use and focus on real life.

Our thanks to OffScreen for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Streaks Workout: Work Out in Your Home with No Equipment [Sponsor]

Streaks Workout is the app that will help you get in shape, even when you’re stuck at home.

It creates randomized workouts you can do at home with no equipment, or you can create your own custom workouts and custom exercises!

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, Streaks Workout will automatically play upbeat workout tunes during your iPhone/iPad workouts.

You can also work out on your Apple Watch or Apple TV, and there are no subscription fees.

The coolest part: if you start a workout on your TV, iPad, or iPhone, the app will automatically start the heart tracker on your Apple Watch!

Don’t let being stuck at home stop you from working out. Learn more, and download Streaks Workout today.

Our thanks to Streaks Workout for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Readdle: Creating Essential Apps for Your iPhone, iPad, and Mac [Sponsor]

Since the first day that the App Store threw open its virtual doors, Readdle has been there, providing customers with category-defining productivity apps.

Those apps, including Readdle’s current lineup of Spark (iOS and Mac), PDF Expert, Calendars, Scanner Pro, and Documents, are beloved by users worldwide, having been downloaded over 140 million times. Readdle’s apps have garnered multiple awards and recognition from Apple and been covered by every major tech news outlet. It’s a storied history of an independent company of 190 people dedicated to helping customers be more productive and efficient by unlocking the power of technology.

Based in Ukraine and with an office in Berlin, Readdle is continually innovating and exploring new ways to solve its users’ problems. For example, the company was at the forefront of implementing drag and drop functionality between its suite of apps on the iPad before it was a system feature. The company has also pioneered collaborative, team-based email with Spark and cutting-edge PDF editing tools with PDF Expert across all of Apple’s platforms.

Just as critical as its transformative technology, though, is Readdle’s commitment to user trust. Unlike many of its competitors, Readdle doesn’t rely on ads in its apps, which are notoriously privacy-hostile.

With over a decade of experience on the App Store, Readdle isn’t sitting still. Its five flagship apps continue to evolve and improve. New powerful features and design changes are on the horizon for each of its products.

Whether you’re new to Readdle’s apps or simply haven’t tried them recently, now is a great time to download them on any of Apple’s platforms. This week, you’ll hear more about Spark, which brings the power of collaboration to bear on the age-old problem of managing email messages, and PDF Expert, a unique way to read, annotate, and edit PDFs. However, be sure to also try Calendars, which was recently updated with video conferencing integration, Scanner Pro, which The New York Times described as the best mobile scanner app, and Documents, an all-in-one file manager, media player, and downloader.

With Readdle, your essential productivity needs are fulfilled with innovative apps you can trust. Download Spark (iOS and Mac), PDF Expert, Calendars, Scanner Pro, and Documents today on the App Store.

Our thanks to Readdle for sponsoring all of our WWDC coverage here and on AppStories this week.


HomeDash: HomeKit Dashboards [Sponsor]

HomeDash is the ultimate HomeKit app for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. With it, you can create custom dashboards to monitor all of your HomeKit-connected devices and take your home automation setup to the next level.

The app is beautifully designed, making navigation of even large collections of devices easy. What’s more, its flexible and highly-customizable UI allows you to set up your dashboards to fit your particular needs and home. It’s a combination that makes HomeDash a superior solution for managing your HomeKit devices.

With HomeDash you can control multiple devices, build widgets for devices, rooms, groups, or even your entire home. Of course, the app also supports all of HomeKit’s features like scenes and automations. Scenes can be arranged in folders, too, providing an added layer of organization. However, it’s the multi-device support that really sets HomeDash apart because with just a single tap it lets you control multiple devices, groups, rooms, and more instead of controlling them one at a time.

HomeDash’s Watch app can store your ten favorite scenes, allowing you to access them on the go easily. You can even shut down all of your devices at once by force touching HomeDash’s Watch app UI. It’s a terrific one-tap shortcut for shutting down your home at the end of the day.

This week only, MacStories readers can purchase HomeDash for just $9.99. This is a rare opportunity to get this incredibly powerful app at a significant discount. So don’t wait, use this link to download HomeDash today and take control of your HomeKit devices with powerful, customized dashboards.

Our thanks to HomeDash for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Yes Plz: Great Coffee, Delivered to Your Door [Sponsor]

With Yes Plz you can enjoy coffee bar-caliber quality in your own kitchen — and it’s easy when you start with great beans. The best cup of coffee you ever drink should be one you brewed yourself.

Every week Yes Plz releases a new fresh batch from the top coffee farms, expertly roasted, and delivered to your door. Set up a subscription to get coffee weekly, fortnightly, or just when you need it — pause or cancel anytime. No commitments, no fuss.

Delicious beans with no corners cut from longtime leaders of coffee’s “third wave” movement. Try a bag and you’ll be convinced. MacStories readers can take $5 off their first order by signing up here today or using promo code MACSTORIES at check out.

Our thanks to Yes Plz Coffee for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Backblaze: Unlimited Backup [Sponsor]

Backblaze offers unlimited computer backup for Macs and PCs for just $6 a month with no gimmicks, add-ons, or gotchas included. For this simple, low monthly price Backblaze will backup your movies, music, photos, videos, projects, and all the other data you have! You can restore files from anywhere in the world and directly download them from the web or their mobile apps. You can also have your backup sent to you at home on a hard drive overnight! Never worry about finding lost versions or deleted files. With Backblaze, you can extend your file retention period for one year or forever!

Backblaze has over an exabyte of customer data backed up and counting – that’s 1,000,000,000 gigabytes! They have restored well over 50 billion files for customers and they come recommended by major publications like The New York Times, Inc., Macworld, Tom’s Guide, 9to5Mac, and others too.

Get peace of mind knowing your files are backed up securely in the cloud. Start a free 15-day trial with Backblaze today by going to backblaze.com/macstories.

Our thanks to Backblaze for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Agenda: Date-Focused Note Taking [Sponsor]

Agenda is the award-winning note-taking app for iOS, iPadOS, and the Mac with a focus on dates. Our lives are full of notes and dates, and it only makes sense to bring order to it all by integrating them. Agenda, the winner of an Apple Design Award and the MacStories Selects Award for Best New App of 2018, does precisely that, ensuring that your notes are always at your fingertips when and where you need them most.

By tightly integrating your calendar and notes, Agenda becomes something more than either can offer on their own. For example, by tying notes you’ve been taking in advance of a meeting to the event on your calendar, the notes are right there when you need them. You can use Agenda to track your team’s progress as you work on hitting milestones for a big project too. The app is also fantastic for keeping a daily journal or simply expanding your to-do list with relevant reference material and notes to help keep you on track.

You can create and edit events without ever leaving Agenda too. Rather than competing with your calendar, Agenda complements it, working perfectly together, supporting Apple’s Calendar app and Reminders.

Agenda 10 was just released, adding support for note templates, sharing from other apps, and localization in a bunch of languages. The update includes a templating system so you can save notes with pre-filled information to use over and over, saving you valuable time. There’s also a powerful new share sheet for accessing notes from other apps in Agenda and support for French, Spanish, German, and Chinese.

Agenda is free to download and use forever. Premium features are available with an In-App Purchase that unlocks all current premium features and new ones introduced over the following 12 months.

To learn more, visit Agenda’s website, or just download Agenda now for free on the Mac App Store and on iOS and iPadOS App Store.

Our thanks to Agenda for sponsoring MacStories this week.


MacStadium: Mac Private Clouds Built on Genuine Apple Hardware [Sponsor]

Mac and iOS apps can only be compiled and tested on macOS running on genuine Apple Mac hardware. That means developers need access to a large pool of Macs to run their CI-driven development pipelines. MacStadium’s solution is Orka, a virtualization platform specifically designed for Apple hardware but based on standard cloud orchestration tools like Docker and Kubernetes. With Orka, developers can harness the power of MacStadium’s Mac infrastructure in a high-performance, scalable, secure, and reliable way.

MacStadium developed Orka to provide Mac and iOS developers with the ability to use container technology features the same way they can on other platforms. On Orka, though, clouds can be built on Mac Pros or on the latest T2 Mac minis and take advantage of plugins for your favorite CI tools including Jenkins, GitHub, GitLab, Buildkite, and TeamCity.

Since Orka launched last year, package manager Homebrew is just one of many Orka success stories. With Orka, Homebrew has allocated resources across nodes allowing for highly CPU-intensive builds, which is critical to the sort of intensive demand that Homebrew faces. “Everyone who has to deal with macOS automation would love a Google Cloud or AWS for macOS,” says Homebrew’s Mike McQuaid. “I feel like Orka is the closest thing that you can get to that. You’re able to, spin up, spin down VMs using an easy-to-use CLI or API.”

Try Orka today with a free two-hour demo playground environment at tryorka.com. It’s a fantastic way to see what Orka can do to streamline your development pipeline.

Of course, MacStadium is also the premier Mac hosting company that provides dedicated Mac hardware and private cloud services, and it has a special deal just for MacStories users. Just use the coupon code MACSTORIES at checkout to get two months for the price of one on a new Mac mini subscription.

Our thanks to MacStadium for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Concepts: Where Ideas Take Shape [Sponsor]

Concepts is a powerful creative ally to help you think, explore, and sketch your ideas. Stretch your mind past the limits on an infinite canvas, using fluid pens and brushes in designer COPIC colors. Used by creative professionals for note-taking, mind mapping, drawing, storyboarding, graphic design, product iteration, and architectural planning, Concepts lets you sketch, communicate and present your ideas with a flexible, customizable workflow.

Built from the ground up for iPad’s touch interface, Concepts combines vector drawing with natural touch gestures to maximize your creativity. Everything you draw can be edited, moved, and reorganized, allowing you to interact with your ideas at a deeper level. Drag and drop images and objects for fast ideating and mood boards, use layers, and grid layouts to organize your work and apply shape guides, measurement, and scale features for more precision drawing.

Concepts comes with a free, built-in presentation mode that lets you connect via AirPlay or cable to a large display for graphic discussion and sharing during events. It works with apps like Zoom or Reflector for instant virtual whiteboarding too. Once final, export and share multiple file types (JPG, PNG, SVG, PDF, DXF, PSD) for flexible work between teams and apps.

The app comes free as a basic sketching tool, with the ability to unlock 200+ libraries of brushes, objects, and services via subscription or one-time purchase. Sketch, explore, and share your ideas infinitely with Concepts.

Download Concepts today for free and give it a try. To learn more about how Concepts can help you explore your ideas, visit concepts.app.

Our thanks to Concepts for sponsoring MacStories this week.