MacStories Team

66 posts on MacStories since July 2011

The MacStories team.


This week's sponsor

Turn Touch

Beautiful Control

Turn Touch: Beautiful Control [Sponsor]

Simplify your smart home with a gorgeous wooden remote control. The Turn Touch combines natural mahogany and rosewood, a simple, elegant design, and sophisticated control of your smart home devices that is as good-looking in your home as it is useful.

The Turn Touch features just four buttons, but with taps, double taps, and tap-and-hold, the device puts an astonishing range of control at your fingertips. The Turn Touch is tough too. It’s constructed from dense, durable woods that stand up to shocks, drops, and dirt. What’s more, the Turn Touch is always on, ready to make the most of your smart home devices.

The Turn Touch works with a long list of smart devices. Control your Mac or iOS devices, Hue lights, Sonos speakers, WeMo devices, smart thermostats, and much more. Configuring the Turn Touch is simple from an iOS device or Mac, and once it’s set up, the Touch Touch’s battery lasts about a year ensuring that it’s there when you need it.

The Turn Touch Pedestal, which is sold separately, makes a perfect home base for the Turn Touch too. Rest it on a table or mount it on the wall to use it as a smart wall switch. The Turn Touch is held in place with cleverly-hidden magnets.

For a limited time, MacStories readers can purchase the Turn Touch Pedestal for 25% off at checkout by using the coupon code PEDESTAL25.

Smart devices don’t have to be made of cheap, ugly plastic. Check out Turn Touch today to learn more, and bring beautiful control to your smart home.

Our thanks to Turn Touch for sponsoring MacStories this week.

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

PowerPhotos is a powerful utility for the Mac that lets you merge or split Photos libraries and eliminate duplicate photos. People use multiple Photos libraries for all sorts of reasons, but one of the most common is to break an enormous library of tens of thousands of photos into smaller more manageable sub-libraries.

PowerPhotos is just the tool you need to manage all of your photos across libraries. From the creator of iPhoto Library Manager, PowerPhotos provides the same sophisticated toolset and more for Apple’s Photos app.

You can store photo libraries on external or networked drives and copy photos while maintaining and preserving albums and related metadata like keywords, titles, dates, locations, and descriptions. Not only can PowerPhotos help by splitting up your Photos library into multiple libraries, it can merge them too. The app also makes it easy to find and eliminate duplicate photos.

One of the most powerful features is the ability to search across multiple libraries at one time. It’s a great feature that allows you to search as though all you photos were in one library even when they aren’t. Finally, PowerPhotos can ease the transition to Photos helping you migrate multiple iPhoto or Aperture libraries to Photos.

We have a special limited-time deal just for MacStories readers. Receive 20% off at checkout by using the coupon code MACSTORIES18. Even if you haven’t had time to set up multiple Photos libraries yet, grab this deal now so you have PowerPhotos’ tools at your disposal when you’re ready take the plunge.

Our thanks to PowerPhotos for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Soulver: A Notepad Calculator for Doing Calculations and Figuring Stuff Out [Sponsor]

If you’ve ever sat down with a pen and piece of paper to work out calculations, you’ll understand the power of Soulver immediately. The Mac and the iOS apps are part text editor, part calculator and work the way you think by letting you combine text and numbers on the same page.

For anyone who spends more time in a text editor than a spreadsheet app, Soulver is perfect. By mixing text and figures, a Soulver document becomes a roadmap making it easy to retrace your steps when you revisit your work later. Instead of guessing what all the numbers on a page mean, you can give each a descriptive label and add other text providing context. Writing calculations in plain English is faster than using a spreadsheet too because you don’t have to stop to consider what formulas to apply to which cells.

Best of all, Soulver approximates how you’d solve the same problems with a pen and paper, making it intuitive, but also better because the calculator is built right into the page. As you type on the left side of a document, Soulver keeps track of the math on the right-hand side with syntax highlighting that makes the calculations simple to follow.

Soulver is smart too. It keeps a running total of all lines in a document, and it can look up currency conversion rates, stock prices, and commodity values for things like gold and oil. The app handles all sorts of conversion rates too from weights to cooking units and much more. Students and programmers will appreciate features like the built-in trigonometry functions as well as the ability to calculate values in binary and hex.

To learn more, check out Soulver’s website or download both versions today from the Mac App Store and iOS App Store.

Our thanks to Soulver for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Airmail: An Elegant, Customizable Email Client for Mac and iOS [Sponsor]

Airmail is the 2017 Apple Design Award-winning email client from Bloop for the Mac and iOS that marries elegant design with rich, customizable features that tame your inbox.

Everyone approaches email a little differently. For some people, their inbox is a sort of task manager. For others, keeping their inbox empty and messages neatly organized into folders is paramount. No matter how you manage your email accounts, Airmail has you covered.

Airmail is highly customizable while maintaining a clean, intuitive interface that makes it a pleasure to use. The app supports all major email technologies, including Gmail, iCloud, Exchange, IMAP, and POP3. On macOS, Airmail also incorporates the latest operating system features like the Touch Bar.

With Airmail, you can manage one or several email accounts. With multiple accounts, it’s just as easy to review messages from every account in a unified inbox as it is to dive into just one account. Airmail also features rich customization like the ability to send messages later, snooze messages, and create smart folders and rules. Actions let you send messages to other apps you use like task managers and your calendar or create a PDF from a message. On the Mac, Airmail supports the Touch Bar too. Best of all, you only need to set up Airmail once because your settings sync via iCloud to all your Macs and iOS devices.

Airmail is actively developed across all of Apple’s platforms. Most recently, Airmail has added a redesigned and improved search system, user templates that sync across all your devices, and Spotlight search, so you can find messages even when you’re not in Airmail. The app’s broad feature set and customization all add up to make Airmail the perfect choice for email power users.

Download Airmail for the Mac today from the Mac App Store and for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch from the App Store.

Our thanks to Airmail for sponsoring MacStories this week.

The App Store at 10: The Next Decade

The App Store has changed the world. Over the last decade society as we know it has been irrevocably shaped by the App Store and its products.

Just as no one 10 years ago could have predicted where the App Store would have brought us today, so is it impossible to guess what the next decade might bring. There's no stopping us from trying though.

As we close out our App Store anniversary week coverage, here are our hopes and expectations for the next 10 years.


Apple predictions often age badly because the company has a tendency to not directly follow the latest market trends; at the very least, they offer their unique twist on ideas others have been experimenting with for some time. However, based on how the App Store has evolved for the past 10 years, I see some interesting signs in its trajectory that are pointing to obvious changes coming down the road. So, even though I may turn out to be dramatically wrong in 10 years, here's my list of App Store changes I believe will occur over the course of the next decade.

Read more

Personal App Store Stories from the MacStories Team

Over the past week we've released articles and podcast episodes documenting the stories of Apple and third-party developers during the App Store's decade of life, but as our celebration week nears its end, we wanted to shift gears and share our own stories.

The story of the App Store doesn't just belong to Apple, nor is it limited to the developers who have made the App Store such a vibrant marketplace. Everyone who has ever downloaded an app on their iPhone, iPad, or even iPod Touch has their own story of the App Store's impact on their life. In that vein, here are the MacStories team's personal stories of what the Store and its products have meant to us.


I told the story of how MacStories came to be before. After dropping out of university (where I thought I was going to study Philosophy – it's funny to imagine another timeline where I ended up a Philosophy professor), I got a full-time job as a seller at a physical eBay store. Those stores, which were quite common before the smartphone era and the mobile-marketplace app boom, helped folks who didn't know how or didn't have the patience to sell old items on eBay. My job consisted of assisting customers who came into the store with boxes full of stuff, explaining to them how eBay and our fees worked, putting items up for sale, monitoring the auction, and taking care of shipments. It was a fun job, but it was also repetitive and somewhat boring after a while, yet it allowed me to save money toward the first computer I wanted to buy entirely with my own money. I wanted to buy a 15" MacBook Pro.

Read more

OmniFocus 3: Accomplish More Every Day [Sponsor]

OmniFocus 3 for iOS is a fresh, major update to the app that’s been the trusted gold-standard to-do app for 10 years – since the very first day of the App Store. It’s the best OmniFocus ever!

Download it for free. Put it through its paces with a 14-day free trial, and then buy the Standard or Pro edition. Users of earlier versions of OmniFocus for iOS get a 50% discount.

Tags – new in OmniFocus 3 – add a powerful organizing tool. Create tags for person, energy level, priority, location, and more.

The Forecast view now shows your tasks and calendar events in order, so you can better see what’s coming up in your day and adjust if needed. With the Pro version you can also set a special tag so that items always show up today.

Enhanced repeating tasks are easier than ever to set up – and they work with real-world examples such as the first weekday of the month.

Batch editing, a feature we brought over from the Mac, lets you set due dates, tags, and other data for multiple tasks all at once.

Flexible inspectors now allow you to show only the features you use, and reorder them so your favorites are where you want them.

Get the most out of OmniFocus by reading our ever-growing list of articles and customer stories on Inside OmniFocus. And if you ever need help, contact our world-class support team via email – or even just call. We’re here to help you.

Download OmniFocus 3 today and accomplish more every day.

Our thanks to OmniFocus 3 for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Think Clearly with Standard Notes [Sponsor]

Standard Notes is a simple, safe place to access your notes wherever you are.

The app is available on iOS, Mac, the web, Android, and even Windows and Linux, making it universally available whatever mix of hardware and OSes you use. But just as important as being everywhere is security. That’s why Standard Notes uses state-of-the-art AES 256-bit end-to-end encryption to secure your notes from prying eyes. The app syncs across the web, but its encryption lets you rest easy knowing that no one can read your data.

Standard Notes features on-device security too. You can set up a passcode so if you are logged into your computer or mobile device, even people with physical access to your devices will not be able to access your encrypted notes.

All of these features are entirely free as are tagging, pinning, archiving, and locking notes. Even encrypted and decrypted backups of your notes are free.

Additional features like editors, which provide options like advanced Markdown and code editing, are available as are themes, version histories for your notes, two-factor authentication, and sync with popular cloud services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, for a reasonably-priced monthly or annual subscription.

Learn more and protect your privacy today with Standard Notes.

Our thanks to Standard Notes for sponsoring MacStories this week.

FirstSeed Calendar: Manage Events and Reminders on iPhone, iPad, and Mac [Sponsor]

Whether you work on iOS, a Mac, or both, FirstSeed Calendar takes advantage of the unique features of each platform providing a seamless experience that anyone with a busy schedule will appreciate.

The app has a comprehensive month view that makes viewing, adding, editing, deleting, moving, and duplicating events a breeze and an innovative week view. Most calendar apps require scrolling to see a full day’s events in week view. FirstSeed provides a grid view of the core of your day and shows any other activities as a list view, making it possible to see everything at a glance. There’s a list view, day view, and reminder support too.

FirstSeed Calendar packed with clever features. There’s a clock interface for intuitive event editing, a dedicated button to quickly switch between views and a continuous month view that takes advantage of every pixel on your screen.

The app has natural language support for English and Japanese too. Just type events as you would typically describe them and FirstSeed populates your calendar like magic.

FirstSeed is designed with each platform’s hardware in mind. On iOS, the app’s emphasis on one-handed operation makes it the perfect choice for working on the go. The iOS versions of FirstSeed support keyboard shortcuts too. On the Mac, FirstSeed uses the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar and includes a menu bar app for quick access to your schedule.

Managing your calendar doesn’t have to be hard. Take control of your schedule today with FirstSeed Calendar.

Learn more here, or go straight to the App Stores and download FirstSeed Calendar for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac today.

Our thanks to FirstSeed Calendar for sponsoring MacStories this week.