MacStories Team

330 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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An In-Depth Look at StandBy and the StandBy Chargers We Recommend

John: Part of the widget story for all of Apple’s OSes this fall is StandBy, an iPhone-only mode that displays widgets, a clock, or photos when your device is stationary and charging in landscape orientation. When StandBy was first rumored before WWDC, I was skeptical. It didn’t sound like something I needed or would find useful. Boy, was I wrong. I’ve been using StandBy daily since just after WWDC at my desk and on my nightstand, and I’ve enjoyed it so much that I’ve begun using it elsewhere, too. So, today, I thought I’d hit the highlights of what StandBy can do because it’s a lot and not immediately obvious and, along with Federico, recommend several chargers that we’ve been using to enable it.

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WaterMinder: Stay Hydrated All Day, Every Day [Sponsor]

It’s summertime, and with high temperatures comes the need to stay hydrated. The trouble is, you’re busy and have a lot going on every day, which can make it hard to remember to grab a glass of water, let alone keep track of how much you’ve had during the course of a day.

That’s where Funn Media’s WaterMinder app comes in. It’s the easiest way to remember to stay hydrated throughout the year and keep track of the liquids you consume.

WaterMinder makes tracking hydration incredibly simple. The app features an elegant interface and myriad ways to input the water and other drinks you consume throughout the day. The app is available on all of Apple’s platforms, is highly customizable, and includes support for Shortcuts, widgets, and Apple Watch complications. With WaterMinder’s rich charts for tracking, hydration reminders, and integration with Apple Health, you’ll have your hydration on track in no time flat.

The latest update to WaterMinder was version 6.2, which added the ability to create multi-ingredient cups and a simplified mode that hides some of the app’s more advanced features to create a focused, streamlined experience. The app is always being updated with new and innovative features. In fact, the team at Funn Media is currently working on interactive widgets for iOS 17 and a visionOS version of WaterMinder for the VisionPro’s release in 2024.

Get started on the road to proper hydration with WaterMinder by visiting the app’s website today to learn more about this fantastic app.

Our thanks to WaterMinder by Funn Media for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Stupid Companies Make AI Promises. Smart Companies Have AI Policies. [Sponsor]

It seems like every company is scrambling to stake their claim in the AI goldrush–check out the CEO of Kroger promising to bring LLMs into the dairy aisle. And front line workers are following suit–experimenting with AI so they can work faster and do more.

In the few short months since ChatGPT debuted, hundreds of AI-powered tools have come on the market. But while AI-based tools have genuinely helpful applications, they also pose profound security risks. Unfortunately, most companies still haven’t come up with policies to manage those risks. In the absence of clear guidance around responsible AI use, employees are blithely handing over sensitive data to untrustworthy tools. 

AI-based browser extensions offer the clearest illustration of this phenomenon. The Chrome store is overflowing with extensions that (claim to) harness ChatGPT to do all manner of tasks: punching up emails, designing graphics, transcribing meetings, and writing code. But these tools are prone to at least three types of risk.

  1. Malware: Security researchers keep uncovering AI-based extensions that steal user data. These extensions play on users’ trust of the big tech platforms (“it can’t be dangerous if Google lets it on the Chrome store!”) and they often appear to work, by hooking up to ChatGPT et al’s APIs. 
  2. Data Governance: Companies including Apple and Verizon have banned their employees from using LLMs because these products rarely offer a guarantee that a user’s inputs won’t be used as training data.
  3. Prompt Injection Attacks: In this little known but potentially unsolvable attack, hidden text on a webpage directs an AI tool to perform malicious actions–such as exfiltrate data and then delete the records. 

Up until now, most companies have been caught flat-footed by AI, but these risks are too serious to ignore. 

At Kolide, we’re taking a two-part approach to governing AI use.

  1. Draft AI policies as a team. We don’t want to totally ban our team from using AI, we just want to use it safely. So our first step is meeting with representatives from multiple teams to figure out what they’re getting out of AI-based tools, and how we can provide them with secure options that don’t expose critical data or infrastructure.
  2. Use Kolide to block malicious tools. Kolide lets IT and security teams write Checks that detect device compliance issues, and we’ve already started creating Checks for malicious (or dubious) AI-based tools. Now if an employee accidentally downloads malware, they’ll be prevented from logging into our cloud apps until they’ve removed it.

Every company will have to craft policies based on their unique needs and concerns, but the important thing is to start now. There’s still time to seize the reins of AI, before it gallops away with your company’s data.

To learn more about how Kolide enforces device compliance for companies with Okta, click here to watch an on-demand demo.

Our thank to Kolide for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Concepts: An Infinite Sketching App for iPad [Sponsor]

Sketch, explore and share endless ideas with Concepts’ infinite canvas for iPad. Used by creators for visual thinking, note taking, team communication and design, Concepts goes beyond a digital sketchbook.

Since everything you draw is a flexible vector-raster hybrid, you can move your ideas around like a visual playground to help you see the bigger picture. Organize notes, images and PDFs into visual moodboards and sketch your ideas on top. Use precision grids and guides to help you lay out designs, and apply real-world scale and measurements for professional projects.

With Concepts, you can whiteboard virtually with teams and clients using apps like Zoom. A built-in Presentation Mode helps you connect with others for live sharing and graphic discussion.

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. To learn more about Concepts, visit their website.

MacStories readers – Enjoy a special 3 month extended free trial when you sign up for an annual subscription. Get three months of infinite creativity before you are billed.

Our thanks to Concepts for sponsoring MacStories this week.

UI Designer Weekly: Love design. Read design. [Sponsor]

UI Designer Weekly is a free weekly newsletter by designer Sahand Nayebaziz all about Apple user interface design.

As the number of Apple platforms multiplies, staying on top of the latest design trends and principles has never been more important and hard. Whether you’re a designer or developer, UI Designer Weekly will get you up to speed on the latest in UI design and help you stay there with its extensive, expert coverage.

Each issue of UI Designer Weekly is packed with thought-provoking articles that will inspire your design work. The ‘New Standards’ section looks at interface design through the lens of Apple’s OSes and apps. For example, the newsletter is currently in the midst of extensive WWDC coverage, breaking down the design language of visionOS, plus upcoming changes to Contacts, Messages, StandBy, and more.

The newsletter’s ‘Spotted’ section zooms out, analyzing UI design throughout the Apple ecosystem, whether it’s Apple’s marketing materials or keynote presentations like WWDC’s. No matter what corner of the Apple world UI Designer Weekly covers, each issue is packed with excellent examples and inspiration that will help you with your design work.

With each new issue of UI Designer Weekly, you’ll gain deep insight into where Apple’s designers are heading, how those trends impact your apps, and ideas about how to implement them yourself. And with WWDC just concluded, now is the perfect time to sign up and join the hundreds of subscribers receiving a new issue of UI Designer Weekly free every Friday and without ads.

Visit to sign up for UI Designer Weekly today.

Our thanks to UI Design Weekly for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Fin: Beautiful Budget Tracker for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch [Sponsor]

Fin is a simple and elegant way to track your finances on your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The app takes the hassle out of keeping tabs on your income and expenses with a straightforward, modern interface that supports multiple accounts, including cash tracking.

Fin privacy-focused approach to budgeting doesn’t require you to sign up for an account, so there’s no login process, and the app works offline, so it’s always available. To get started, just set up a budget, and track your income and expenses across customizable categories. Fin also supports data import and recurring transactions and offers attachments like photos and PDFs, searching with powerful filtering, customizable notifications, and weekly reports.

Fin, which has been featured multiple times on the App Store, makes sharing easy too. You can share your accounts using iCloud Sharing. Plus, the app supports the latest OS technologies like Home and Lock Screen widgets, Focus filters, Live Text, and Shortcuts and is continuously updated. Everything in Fin syncs via iCloud for easy access, and if you need to use your data elsewhere, Fin can export it too.

However, tracking your finances is just half of the equation. Fin also features beautiful charts and graphs to help you gain insights into your finances. Armed with the data, you’ll be able to meet your budget and gain control of your finances like never before.

Download Fin from the App Store and start saving money and reaching your financial goals today.

Our thanks to Fin for sponsoring MacStories this week.

iMazing: The Powerful Local Tool for iPhone and iPad Management [Sponsor]

iMazing is the must-have multi-tool for everyone who prefers or needs to manage iPhone or iPad devices locally from their Mac or PC.

Whether you’re an individual, family, small business, or enterprise, iMazing delivers powerful and easy-to-use solutions for working with your Apple mobile devices and their contents.

These features include:

  • backup iPhone or iPad to external storage or NAS volumes, with snapshot support (like TimeMachine for iOS devices)
  • browse the contents of old device backups; export any data from them
  • export or print SMS, MMS, iMessage, and WhatsApp messages, including attachments and metadata (great for memories or business purposes)
  • easily place a device in kiosk mode (use old iPads as photo frames or dedicated FaceTime devices)
  • create blueprints and bulk configure devices locally with iMazing Configurator
  • migrate your business from one MDM solution to another without losing any device data

iMazing also packs powerful media transfer capabilities, enabling you to browse and export photos and videos from your devices faster and with more options than Apple’s own Image Capture. iMazing can also export music and playlists from any Apple mobile device to your computer, so that special recording that only survives on your old iPod can be enjoyed elsewhere.

Many iMazing features are also available free of charge, including Spyware Analyzer and QuickTransfer, the faster way to transfer files from your computer to a device with just a single drag-and-drop.

iMazing provides the power and flexibility that pro users demand with the ease of use and flexible export features that all users will love. Try iMazing today for free by visiting their website and taking it for a spin.

Our thanks to iMazing for sponsoring MacStories this week.

Collections: A Powerful Database with iCloud Sync [Sponsor]

Collections Database is the premier personal database app for organizing anything and everything on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The app features more than 20 field types, linkable sub-databases, reusable lists, and a robust customization system. It’s a powerful and flexible solution that makes Collections easy to get started with for beginners, while meeting the needs of advanced users too.

Collections provides essential templates to get started, including Expenses, Contacts, Subscriptions, Books and more. However, you’re always free to start from scratch by building your own custom templates.

A long, complete list of field types is available for your databases too. The set includes everything you’d expect from a modern database app, including Text, Number, Date, Picture - even Barcode fields. Collections can also import spreadsheets from other apps, using its powerful CSV import functionality. Collections also offers quick filters, sorting, password protection, smart text-based search, and more.

The app has recently added extensive support for Shortcuts, which expands its capabilities even more.

Collections is free to try, but by upgrading to the Pro version via In-App Purchase, you’ll gain access to an unlimited number of database entries and files, plus advanced filters. The Pro version also includes a unique visual formula editor the makes building complex formulas intuitive and easy.

The app is a universal purchase, so your purchase will be available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. At the same time, though, Collections has been carefully optimized to each Apple platform for the best experience on every platform.

Collections is regularly updated to take advantage of the latest Apple technologies and is privacy-minded. Your data isn’t collected or sent anywhere else.

To learn more, and download Collections Database visit the App Store today.

Our thanks to Collections Database for sponsoring MacStores this week.

SaneBox: Clean up Your Inbox Today and Keep It That Way Forever [Sponsor]

SaneBox is the all-in-one solution to email clutter and overload, so you can spend less time managing email and more time on what matters. It works with any email client or service, and any device - literally anywhere you check your email. Oh, and there’s nothing to download or install. It just works.

SaneBox is like having a personal email assistant that automatically organizes your inbox, so you don’t have to, saving valuable time. SaneBox works in the background, so your most important messages always reach your inbox. The rest of your messages are carefully organized into designated folders like SaneLater and SaneNews for later. You can snooze emails, too, setting them aside to deal with when you have the 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.

Recently, SaneBox added Deep Clean, the perfect tool for cleaning out old emails from your inbox, which will keep you more organized than ever before. The feature will clean out the old messages automatically, so you won’t need to pay your email provider for more stoarage and can enjoy a completely unclutterred inbox. Just run Deep Clean and review messages, which are organized by sender, making it easy to decide which to delete and which to keep.

Sign up today and save $25 on any subscription. 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.

Our thanks to SaneBox for sponsoring MacStories this week.