MacStories Team

143 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:

MindNode

Delightful Mind Mapping


MindNode: Delightful Mind Mapping [Sponsor]

Every great idea or project starts with a single thought. And another. And then a million more. MindNode is the most delightful mind mapping app for macOS, iPadOS, and iOS. It helps you capture your thoughts and create a clear picture of your idea.

When you’re in the middle of brainstorming, the last thing you want to worry about is how to use your tool of choice. MindNode excels at getting out of your way, letting you focus on what’s on your mind and exploring where your ideas take you.

Once your idea has formed, MindNode is ready to take it to its next phase. Feel free to rearrange your mind map and easily hide branches by folding them. Attach files, notes, images, links, and stickers to your thoughts and style them just as you wish, or take advantage of the built-in themes. Explore your idea as an outline or capture new thoughts instantly with Quick Entry.

MindNode’s discreetly powerful features let you fully take advantage of the mind mapping process. Add more context to your thoughts and make new connections with Visual Tags - a great way to prioritize ideas and discover groups of ideas that are otherwise not connected. When your thoughts are too distracting, put a spotlight on a single idea with Focus Mode and fade out all the rest.

Try mind mapping with MindNode by downloading it today and experience all of its features with a free 14-day trial.

Our thanks to MindNode for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Re:Schedule: A Calendar that Will Change the Way You Work [Sponsor]

Re:Schedule is a new kind of calendar for busy professionals and team leaders that fuses time management, team collaboration, and meetings into a comprehensive package that will help you work more efficiently than ever before.

The power of Re:Schedule starts with its Day View, a unique take on managing the two competing demands on your time: meetings and tasks. By combining them side-by-side, you can allocate your time better than ever before. For example, you can drag tasks to your calendar to block off time to ensure they get finished or review a meeting’s agenda and its open action items all at once.

Organizing collaboration with Re:Schedule is a more natural way to work with others too. Information is organized by time, eliminating the overhead of managing folders, projects, teams, and permissions. The week and month views are perfect for managing tasks and understanding what needs your attention now.

Meeting workspaces bring every aspect of a meeting together in an easy-to-use interface that keeps your meetings on track and productive. Just tap on a meeting, and its workspace opens, allowing you to organize notes by agenda item and assign tasks to meeting participants who can follow along with the agenda during the meeting. When your meeting is finished, Re:Schedule automatically shares your notes with each participant. Even your team members who don’t use Re:Schedule can benefit from it thanks to email notifications.

Re:Schedule is fantastic for recurring meetings too. The app tracks a meeting’s history, organizing notes chronologically to help track past decisions and progress. Re:Schedule also enables you to see open tasks from past meetings and syncs with your Google Calendar account.

Transform the way you work in 2020 by signing up for Re:Schedule’s 30-day free trial today.

Our thanks to Re:Schedule for sponsoring MacStories this week.



Toggl: Simple Time Tracking Combined with Powerful Reporting [Sponsor]

Toggl brings together simple time tracking with powerful reporting. It’s a combination that allows you to account for your time effortlessly and gain valuable insights, and now is a terrific time to sign up for a paid annual plan. That’s because to celebrate the new year, Toggl is offering 20% off its annual plans if you sign up before January 17th!

With iOS, Mac, and web apps, it’s easy to start and stop timers whenever and wherever you’re working. All it takes is a single click or tap and you’re up and running with your time entries syncing seamlessly in the background. Each app is free and designed for the hardware on which it runs. For example, on iOS, Toggl works with Siri and Shortcuts. There’s an Apple Watch app too.

On the Mac, Toggl has been redesigned to more closely resemble the company’s web app. The update added dark mode, simplified adding of clients and projects, streamlined time tracking visualizations, and improved offline support.

There’s also a fantastic new timeline view on the Mac for quickly pinpointing the gaps in your day. Toggl can also privately monitor the apps you use on your Mac to help remind you of how you spent your time. The app can even set Pomodoro timers to remind you to take breaks, and for Macs with a Touch Bar, there’s a handy Global Toggl Button for starting timers that’s always visible when Toggl is running.

Tracking only gets you so far though. That’s why Toggl generates powerful, professional reports that provide valuable insights and make bookkeeping a breeze.

Simplify your time tracking. Download Toggl today for the Mac and iOS and be sure to take advantage of the 20% discount on paid annual plans by signing up before January 17th.

Our thanks to Toggl for sponsoring MacStories this week.


2019 Winter Festival of Artisanal Software [Sponsor]

The 2019 Artisanal Software Festival is a fantastic collection of carefully-crafted apps for writing, research, thinking, and more at terrific prices. As in past years, software artisans from around the globe come together to offer fair discounts direct to you from the workshop door.

The 17 apps span a wide spectrum that will assist you with everyday knowledge work. There are apps to plan your next big project, conduct research, organize your research, edit images, manage email, write, and more:

  • Tinderbox – Visualize and organize ideas and plans.
  • Panorama X – Collect, organize, and understand your data.
  • Nisus Writer Pro – The powerful word processor for the Mac.
  • DEVONthink 3 - Your paperless Mac office.
  • Aeon Timeline 2 – The timeline tool for creative thinking.
  • TextExpander – Recall your best words. Instantly, repeatedly.
  • Spam Sieve – powerful email spam filtering
  • Storyspace – Serious hypertext narrative.
  • Bookends – The reference manager you’ve been looking for.
  • Trickster – Your recently used files, at your fingertips.
  • PDFpen – Powerful PDF editing.
  • HoudahSpot – Powerful file search for Mac.
  • HoudahGeo – Photo geotagging.
  • DEVONagent Pro – Your smart (re)search assistant.
  • BBEdit – Power tool for text.
  • ImageFramer Pro – Your art. Showcased.
  • Hook – Work smarter.

Tools with attitude: no gimmicks, no bundles, no gotchas – just saving of hundreds of dollars on these fine tools for a limited time. Visit the WinterFest website now for links to amazing deals each of these fantastic apps and to learn more.

Our thanks to the 2019 Artisanal Software Festival for sponsoring MacStories this week.


MacStories Selects 2019: Recognizing the Best Apps of the Year

John: The process of picking the MacStories Selects awards is simple. During the past year as we used and reviewed hundreds of apps, Federico, Ryan, and I kept a shared note in Apple Notes with a list of the apps that struck us as potential candidates for one of our 2019 awards. Not long ago, each of us revisited that list and refined it. Then, we convened in the MacStories Slack and hashed out the winners and runners up.

Today, we are pleased to announce the winners of the second annual MacStories Selects awards. As we explained when we introduced the inaugural Selects awards, we expected that we would expand and evolve them in 2019, which is precisely what we’ve done.

This year, the Selects Awards feature four new awards:

  • Best New Feature
  • Best Watch App
  • Best Mac App
  • Readers’ Choice Award

Best New Feature recognizes a new app feature that stands out for its impact. We also added an award for the Best New Watch app; in a year that saw Watch apps gain independence from the iPhone, this is an award that felt like an obvious and natural addition to Selects. With Apple’s renewed focus on Mac hardware and apps, we also wanted to recognize the 2019 Mac app that we feel represents the best that macOS has to offer.

Finally, for 2019 we are debuting a Readers’ Choice award selected by members of Club MacStories. All of our readers care about the apps they use, or they wouldn’t be reading MacStories in the first place. However, Club members’ interest and dedication to discovering and using the very best apps available rises to an entirely different level, so we felt it would be fitting to tap into their refined tastes with this special award.

When we looked back on our 2018 Selects picks, we couldn’t help but feel that something was missing. The awards were well-received by readers and developers alike, but they lacked a sense of permanence and concreteness found in other awards ceremonies. So, we’re very pleased and excited to announce that this year, we have commissioned custom, hand-made awards that we will be sending to each Selects award recipient later this week. From New Zealand to Texas and many points in between, each of the eight MacStories Selects awards will be in the hands of winners soon.

Congratulations from the entire MacStories team to the winners and runners up this year. Every one of these apps represents the best the App Stores have to offer. Thanks too to the developers of all the apps we use and love; your hard work doesn’t go unseen. 2019 has been a fantastic year for apps, and we can’t wait to see what you come up with in 2020. Also, thanks to the Club MacStories members who participated in the Readers’ Choice award voting. The Club is an important part of MacStories, so it was great to find a way to involve its members.

With that, let’s get on with the 2019 MacStories Selects awards.

Read more


PowerPhotos: The Ultimate Toolbox for Photos on the Mac [Sponsor]

PowerPhotos is the perfect Mac utility to help you manage multiple photo libraries. As technology marches forward, digital cameras produce larger and larger image files, which makes it easy to create huge, unmanageable Photos libraries of tens of thousands of images that quickly fill valuable storage space on your Mac.

PowerPhotos allows you to create and manage multiple libraries, so you can break up your massive library into multiple manageable libraries. You can store photo libraries on external or networked drives and copy photos while maintaining and preserving albums, edits, and related metadata like keywords, titles, dates, locations, and descriptions. PowerPhotos also makes it easy to track down duplicate images and can even merge libraries together.

One of the app’s most powerful features is the ability to search across multiple libraries simultaneously. It’s a great feature that allows you to search as though all you photos were in one library. PowerPhotos can help with migrating multiple iPhoto or Aperture libraries to Photos too.

The holiday season is a great time to rethink the way your photos are organized, especially because for a limited time Fat Cat Software is offering a special discount on PowerPhotos just for MacStories readers. Use the coupon code MACSTORIES19 at checkout for 20% off. This is a limited-time deal, so don’t delay, download the free trial of PowerPhotos today and then take advantage of this special 20% discount to make wrangling the thousands of photos on your Mac a breeze.

Our thanks to PowerPhotos for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Prizmo 5: The Pro Scanner with Powerful Editing Tools for the iPhone and iPad [Sponsor]

Prizmo 5 is the premier solution for fast, streamlined scanning and powerful, accurate OCR on the iPhone and iPad. The app’s hallmark is the efficiency of its capture workflow, which is driven by an elegant and intuitive UI coupled with the latest iOS and iPadOS features.

Creaceed, the maker of Prizmo 5, has been refining the capture process for years, and with the latest update, they introduced auto-shoot, which detects pages as they are come into view of your iPhone or iPad’s camera and captures them automatically. Once scanned, the images, which use highly-efficient compression formats, can be quickly cleaned up with Prizmo’s suite of built-in tools to rotate, crop, and flatten a scan and adjust its brightness, color, and edges.

Prizmo offers both cloud-based and on-device OCR, turning the text of scanned documents into editable text that can be exported as a text-searchable PDF or even an editable Microsoft Word file. The app also supports business card scanning and processing, so you’ll never lose track of those new contacts you meet again.

Of course, Prizmo supports all the latest iOS and iPadOS technologies, too, including Shortcuts, iCloud, and iPad multitasking, plus exhaustive VoiceOver support with spoken guidance while scanning. There’s even a text reader that can read your scan aloud and batch editing support.

Prizmo 5 is free to download and try and is available through Apple’s Volume Purchasing Program for schools and enterprises. Best of all, for this week only, Prizmo 5’s Premium Pack is 20% off, making now a great time to get started with building a paper-free workflow.

Our thanks to Prizmo 5 for sponsoring MacStories this week.


UpHabit: The Personal CRM That Helps Make Building and Maintaining Strong Relationships Part of Your Daily Routine [Sponsor]

UpHabit makes building and maintaining strong relationships with the people who matter to you the most part of your daily routine.

We all lead busy, active lives. Pulled in several directions at once and with an ever-growing list of personal and business contacts, it’s easy to fall out of touch with people. UpHabit solves the problem with a powerful set of tools that help you maintain strong, healthy relationships.

With UpHabit, you can take control of creating stronger personal or business relationships with features like:

  • The ability to set reminders to keep in touch with people
  • A place to take notes so you can pick up where you left off the next time you talk to someone
  • Reminder snoozing, so getting in touch with contacts doesn’t fall through the cracks when you’re busy 
  • Tagging to help organize your contacts

It’s incredibly easy to get started and begin enjoying the benefits of stronger relationships immediately with UpHabit.

UpHabit is continually updated with new functionality drawn from feedback from its growing community of users with features like message templates, two-way contact syncing, and more coming soon.

Of course, privacy is of paramount importance to UpHabit too. The app doesn’t have ads, and your contact data isn’t shared with third parties.

Make connecting with your most important contacts part of your daily routine. Download UpHabit now to try it for free, and for a limited time, you can get 25% off when you sign up for UpHabit.

Our thanks to UpHabit for sponsoring MacStories this week.