MacStories Team

205 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

Ever Had a Geistesblitz?


BetterTouchTool: Customize Your Input Devices [Sponsor]

BetterTouchTool is an indispensable Mac app that has stood the test of time. The app was one of the first covered by MacStories back in November 2009. In those early days, BetterTouchTool was a simple app for adding customizable gestures to MacBook trackpads and the Magic Mouse.

Today, many things have changed in BetterTouchTool. Of course, it still allows you to configure all sorts of gestures for the Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse. However, nowadays, the app also supports many more input devices. BTT enables full Touch Bar customization, allows users to define keyboard shortcuts, including a powerful Hyper Key, bind the buttons of mice, create custom mouse gestures, customize the Siri Remote, connect and configure MIDI devices, and more.

BetterTouchTool offers a long list of predefined actions to automate tasks on your Mac that can be assigned to any input-device trigger you choose. The app also contains some handy features like window snapping, a clipboard manager, a screenshot editor, and much more. There is even a free iOS app to remotely control your Mac and trigger actions.

The breadth of what can be accomplished with BetterTouchTool is only limited by your imagination. A great place to get started and be inspired by other BTT users is the BetterTouchTool Community at community.folivora.ai. Users have shared some fantastic BTT presets there, including some very advanced custom Touch Bar setups that you should definitely check out.

BetterTouchTool comes with a 45-day trial, after which you can choose between a license that includes all updates for 2 years and a lifetime license.

For a limited time, MacStories readers can purchase BetterTouchTool for 20% off by using the coupon code MACSTORIESBTT at checkout. So, don’t delay. Go to folivora.ai to learn more about this fantastic Mac app and take advantage of the special limited-time, 20% discount on BetterTouchTool.

Our thanks to BetterTouchTool 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 on top of your existing email service, making sure that only the most important messages reach your inbox. The rest of your messages are carefully tucked away in designated folders like SaneLater and SaneNews for reviewing later. You can snooze emails, too, setting them aside to deal with later.

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 great way to keep on top of tasks. Send yourself a reminder to do something later or get a reminder that someone hasn’t responded to a message. 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. With SaneReminders, nothing falls through the cracks.

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

Sign up today for a free 14-day SaneBox trial to take back control of your email. You’ll see substantial 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.


Re:Schedule: Meetings Made Easy [Sponsor]

Re:Schedule is an iPad and Mac app that eliminates the frustration of organizing meetings. The trouble with meetings is that the information you need is spread across several apps:

  • Meeting logistics are in your calendar
  • Your agenda is probably in your email or a folder somewhere
  • Action items are in your task manager
  • Communications with your team are in your email client or Slack
  • Your notes are probably in yet another app.

As a result, you probably find yourself hunting for what you need in several apps before every meeting.

Re:Schedule solves all of these problems with a calendar that can sync with Google Calendar and makes it easy to plan and run productive meetings. Meetings are shared workspaces on Re:Schedule. A meeting workspace is your one-stop destination to plan your agenda, review recurring meetings’ history, take organized notes, assign tasks, and so much more.

The app is a more natural, fluid way of organizing and running meetings because everything is automatically shared with the meeting’s participants. The overhead of managing folders, projects, teams, and permissions is eliminated. Even your team members who don’t use Re:Schedule can benefit from it thanks to email notifications.

The app accomplishes all of this in a unique and elegant agenda view that shows you details of your day’s events and open tasks. Never go to a meeting unprepared again. Follow along with the agenda, take notes to share with the other participants, assign tasks, and when the meeting is over, block out time using Re:Schedule to ensure you don’t fall behind.

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

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


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.