MacStories Team

193 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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Unite 4: Turn Websites into Apps on Your Mac [Sponsor]

Unite 4 for macOS can turn any website into an app for your Mac. The app uses a lightweight, WebKit-powered browser as a backend, allowing you to easily create isolated, customizable apps from any site. It’s a terrific way to get those sites you visit every day out of a tab and into a dedicated, standalone app.

Unite 4 has dozens of features and customization options that make it a terrific alternative to resource-hogging Electron apps or uninspired Mac Catalyst implementations. The apps you create are easy to set up, fast, and only limited by your imagination:

  • Create dedicated apps for your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Disney+
  • Save your laptop’s battery by using Unite for Slack, Discord, and WhatsApp with full notification support
  • Listen to music services like Apple Music or Spotify
  • Enjoy podcasts with Overcast
  • Organize your notes in a dedicated Roam Research app
  • Never again lose your Figma design work among a sea of Safari tabs
  • Limit the ability of apps like Facebook to track you across sites
  • Check your Instagram feed
  • Track your finances with Robinhood

No matter which sites you use, Unite can turn them into apps for your Mac with customizable colors, an icon that fits the version of macOS you use, dark mode, support for the macOS Keychain, floating windows, and even menu bar-based apps that appear with a single click.

This week only, MacStories readers can get 20% off when you purchase Unite 4 at bzgapps.com/macstories or by using the promo code ‘MacStories’ at checkout.

Unite is free to try for 14 days and is available as part of a Setapp subscription too.

Download Unite 4 today and turn your favorite websites into you favorite apps too.

Our thanks to Unite 4 for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Organize Your Inbox (and Never Waste Time on Email Again) With SaneBox [Sponsor]

SaneBox is your personal email assistant that automatically organizes your inbox, saving you valuable time. SaneBox works with your existing email service, making sure that only the most important messages reach your inbox. The rest of your messages are neatly tucked away in designated folders like SaneLater and SaneNews for reviewing later. You can snooze emails, too, setting them aside to deal with when you have time.

Better yet, if there’s something you never want to see again, drag in into the SaneBlackHole folder. It’s far easier than the hit or miss process of unsubscribing from email lists.

SaneBox has a built-in reminders system too. SaneReminders are a terrific way to stay on task. Send yourself a reminder to do something later, or get a reminder when someone hasn’t responded to one of your messages. For example, bcc: 3days@sanebox.com and the message will show up back in your inbox only if the recipient doesn’t reply within three days. SaneReminders is perfect for making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Also, because SaneBox works with your existing email setup, there’s no app to download or new email account to set up. You can use any email service and client you want.

Sign up today for a free 14-day SaneBox trial to take back control of your email. You’ll see big benefits immediately as the message count in your inbox drops, and you’ll be able to maintain control going forward with SaneBox’s help. MacStories readers can receive a special $25 credit automatically by using this link to sign up.

Our thanks to SaneBox for sponsoring MacStories this week.


WinterFest 2020: The Winter Festival Of Artisanal Software [Sponsor]

The 2020 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 18 apps and book 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
  • Scrivener for macOS – Your complete writing studio
  • Panorama X – Collect, organize, and understand your data
  • Mellel – A real word processor
  • DEVONthink 3 – Manage documents the smart way
  • BBEdit 13 – Power tool for text
  • TextExpander – Recall your best words. Instantly, repeatedly
  • Bookends – The reference manager you’ve been looking for
  • PDFpen – Powerful PDF editing
  • HoudahGeo – Photo geotagging
  • Nisus Writer Pro – The powerful word processor for the Mac
  • Tembo – Friendly file search assistant
  • DEVONagent Pro – Your smart (re)search assistant
  • Aeon Timeline 2 – The timeline tool for creative thinking
  • ImageFramer – Add creative borders and frame to photos
  • Trickster – Your recently used files, at your fingertips
  • Yojimbo – Your effortless, reliable information organizer for macOS
  • The Tinderbox Way – Definitive eBook on artisanal software

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 or use the coupon code WINTERFEST2020 at checkout.

Our thanks to WinterFest 2020 for its support of MacStories this week.


HealthView: Your Go-To Apple Health Dashboard App [Sponsor]

HealthView is a beautifully-designed iPhone and Apple Watch app that brings the health data those devices collect together in a highly-customizable, unified dashboard.

The iPhone and Apple Watch are capable of collecting lots of health data but making sense of it all and accessing it can be frustrating. Instead of poking around in the many sections of the Health app, give HealthView a try. The app provides a clean, concise view into your health data on both the iPhone and Apple Watch.

As good as HealthView looks, though, the app’s utility runs much deeper. HealthView is highly customizable, allowing you to tailor its dashboard to your specific needs and interests. You can set goals and track your progress, making it easier than ever to reach those goals. You can also view daily, weekly, monthly, and annual totals for metrics like steps, hydration, workout minutes, distance, mindful minutes, weight, heart rate, and a lot more.

If you want more detail, just tap into a category to focus on a single metric that reports all your stats alongside graphs that display the data over time. HealthView also offers a wealth of beautiful widgets, so you can get your most important stats from a quick glance at your iPhone’s Home Screen. No matter the your goals, HealthView can be customized to suit your needs.

So, download HealthView today to see why so many users rely on it for tracking their health and fitness.

Our thanks to HealthView for supporting MacStories this week.


MacStories Selects 2020: Recognizing the Best Apps of the Year

John: The MacStories Selects Awards are our annual love letter to apps and the people who make them. Apps have become ubiquitous, seeping into every corner of our lives. They help us find a job and home, get work done, blow off steam, order a meal, and everything in between. With so many apps available in the App Store, though, it’s easy to take them and their creators for granted, which is why as the year comes to a close, we step back and pause to celebrate the MacStories Team’s favorite apps and the people who make them.

To say that bringing an app to life from idea to a fully-formed 1.0 is tough is a vast understatement, and 2020 hasn’t made the process any easier. However, as we survey the past year, the depth of innovative apps makes it clear that many developers poured themselves into their apps in 2020. The result was a list of MacStories Selects candidates that was longer than in any prior year of the awards.

We had a wealth of excellent apps to choose from this year for the seven categories the MacStories Team chose:

  • Best New App
  • Best App Update
  • Best New Feature
  • Best Watch App
  • Best Mac App
  • Best Design
  • App of the Year

Along with the Readers’ Choice Award, which was chosen by Club MacStories members, that makes a total of eight award winners plus twelve runners-up. These are the third annual MacStories Selects Awards, which we debuted in 2018. As we did last year, we have also created beautiful physical awards commemorating the winners, which we will be sending out to each in a couple of weeks.

We also recorded a special episode of our podcast AppStories all about the MacStories Selects winners and runners-up. It’s a terrific way to learn more about this year’s apps.

You can listen to the episode below.

So, it’s with great admiration and respect for the developers who have persevered through a tough year to produce some of the best apps we’ve ever used that we present to our readers the 2020 MacStories Selects Awards:

Read more


Agenda: Date-Focused Note Taking [Sponsor]

Agenda has had a great year. In May, Agenda 10 added note templates, a powerful sharing extension, and translations in 11 new languages. Just a few months later, Agenda 11 introduced Widgets and Scribble (handwriting recognition), as well as support for the new Apple Silicon Macs.

And the team at Agenda is not resting yet. They are currently working on one of the most requested features in the Agenda Community: Tables. Agenda 12 will allow you to embed tables directly into your notes, and take them with you on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Tables are already being beta tested by the Agenda faithful and will be available in January 2021. Best of all, you will be able to use Agenda’s new tables for free.

If you aren’t familiar with Agenda, it’s a note-taking app with a twist — it focuses heavily on dates. You organize your notes into projects, sorted into a timeline. You can link notes to calendar events and reminders in Apple’s apps.

The tight integration of notes and dates is what makes it a unique note-taking experience. For example, by tying notes you’ve been taking in advance of a meeting to the event in your calendar, the notes are right there when you need them.

It sounds like a great idea, but we all know a great app is more than an idea. Agenda won an Apple Design Award in 2018 and was named MacStories’ Best New App the same year. It’s been featured countless times in Apple’s App Stores and is an Editors’ Choice. It’s not just a great idea — it’s a very polished app.

Agenda is free to download from the Mac App Store and iOS App Store.

Our thanks to Agenda for its support of MacStories this week.


Halide Mark II: The Best Pro Camera For iPhone [Sponsor]

Halide Mark II is the brand new camera app from the makers of Spectre, Apple’s iPhone App of the Year for 2019.

Halide is the sort of elegant, intuitive app casual photographers appreciate that also offers the sophisticated, advanced features that expert photographers demand. The app was created by three friends who share a passion for photography and believe that apps should be exceptionally well built and designed, simple to use, and free of any nonsense.

The makers of Halide understand that advanced features don’t have to come at the expense of usability. Halide’s beautiful interface relies on gestures that make using the app fast and efficient. All of the manual controls that pro users expect are available when you want them but are neatly tucked away out of sight when you don’t. It’s a carefully-crafted balance that sets Halide apart from other camera apps.

Halide supports the latest iPhone technologies like Apple’s new ProRAW format on the iPhone 12 Pro and live XDR (Extended Dynamic Range) exposure tools, ensuring that you’re always on the forefront of what’s new with iPhone photography. The Halide team also provides what you need to take advantage of those features by offering an easy 10-day set of photography lessons right inside the app to help you get the most out of it.

There are no ads, tracking, or anything else you don’t want in Halide – just an obsessive focus on helping you take the best possible photos every time. Halide offers a 7-day free trial for subscribers, or, if you prefer, you can take advantage of its one-time purchase option.

Either way, download Halide Mark II today to get ready for ProRAW and make the most of your iPhone’s camera.

Our thanks to Halide Mark II for its support of MacStories this week.


pCloud: How Does 2TB Lifetime Cloud Storage Sound? [Sponsor]

Most cloud storage solutions require you to pay every month but pCloud doesn’t, and for a limited time you can enjoy 75% off with Black Friday savings. Say goodbye to paying over and over for the same storage with pCloud, which offers secure cloud storage plans for a one-time payment – no monthly or annual bills.

Buying cloud storage shouldn’t be any different from buying a new external drive for your Mac. However, most cloud storage providers charge monthly and annual subscription fees. The cost of cloud storage subscriptions piles up quickly, eclipsing the cost of comparable external storage. Instead of paying for the same storage many times over, check out pCloud, the simple, paid-up-front cloud storage solution that offers premium features at a remarkable price.

pCloud’s industry-first lifetime plan provides effective, premium cloud storage for your photos, videos, music, documents, and more. Request files from others with a link, or share your files with a link that can be password protected, eliminating large file attachments to email messages. pCloud supports file versioning, and you can automatically upload the photos you take on your iPhone for safekeeping too. It’s a comprehensive, user-focused solution that sets itself apart from competitors with its simple pricing structure and rich feature set.

pCloud offers apps on the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, so your files are always available no matter what device you have with you. Check out why users at some of the biggest companies around the world are using pCloud to share files and collaborate securely by visiting their website today, and sign up for a lifetime of storage. Plus, for a limited time (48h), you can enjoy 75% OFF Black Friday savings.

Our thanks to pCloud for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Permute: Quick Image, Audio, and Video Conversion [Sponsor]

When you want to convert a photo, video, or audio file from one format to another, it’s far too easy to get bogged down in settings, unable to make heads or tails of technical jargon. Permute saves you from that trouble by taking care of the details and converting files incredibly fast.

To start a file conversion, drag a file into Permute’s main window or onto its dock icon, click Start, and you’re all set. Permute is faster than ever too. The app supports an incredibly long list of file formats and has hardware acceleration for MP4 and HEVC files. The app also has presets for a long list of Apple hardware so you can match your results to the devices you use. You can even modify images and videos, adjusting their size and rotating and flipping them.

But that’s not all. Permute 3 can also:

  • Convert individual files or groups of files
  • Stitch multiple images, videos, or audio files together 
  • Create DVDs
  • Convert uncommon file formats like WebP and SVG
  • Schedule conversions for later
  • Add converted files to iTunes

Permute has a special limited-time deal just for MacStories readers. If you use this link, you can purchase Permute for 20% off. There’s a free trial available too if you want to try the app first.

Visit Permute’s website today to learn more and take advantage of the special 20%-off deal before it expires.

Our thanks to Permute for sponsoring MacStories this week.