I have recently been working on a personal web project that involves a lot of testing on my iPhone. While I would usually just have my iPhone to the side on my desk to test my changes in real-time and take screenshots, I was looking for a solution to mirror my iPhone’s screen directly on my Mac’s desktop. This is where I stumbled upon Bezel.
Bezel is a fantastic utility from Nonstrict that allows you to start capturing your iPhone immediately after connecting it to your Mac. The app is both simple and extremely convenient.
To start using Bezel, all you need to do is allow the app to start at login. Then, plug in your iPhone when you want to start mirroring your screen. That’s it. Bezel will automatically display your iPhone on your desktop. Similar to Federico’s Apple Frames shortcut, the app will frame your iPhone’s display with a bezel that matches your iPhone model.
As part of my ongoing experiment with third-party web browsers for the iPhone, I recently stumbled upon a new indie browser for iOS, which I was instantly drawn to thanks to its adorable name. Quiche Browser is a beautiful browser developed by Greg de J that focuses on UI modularity and small quality-of-life enhancements. The app has surprised me with its great design, and one unexpected use case.
In Quiche Browser, every button can be moved and customized. If you are not the kind of person who likes to tweak the placement of every interface element, this may sound overwhelming. Fortunately, Quiche Browser lets you pick from the ‘Toolbar Gallery’, a collection of toolbar presets that you can customize and adjust. This is an excellent way to quickly get started with your preferred preset, and also to learn how you can customize Quiche’s look, whether you want a fully-featured toolbar or a minimalistic look.
I have always been a huge fan of city-building games. The first video game I ever played was SimCity 3000, on my uncle’s bulky PC running Windows 2000. I then went on to play SimCity 4 throughout middle and high school. Sadly, EA’s reboot of the franchise in 2013 was a sizable disappointment, and has lead fans to love Cities: Skylines instead, a newcomer to the genre.
Cities: Skylines was released in 2015 simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I have fond memories of playing the game on my newly purchased 13-inch MacBook Pro. It was my companion during numerous train trips I took across France and Germany that winter. Although the MacBook Pro’s battery would probably have been depleted in 20 minutes if it were not for the presence of power plugs in most trains, the fact that it launched and ran on my Mac without compromise was impressive.
I was eagerly looking forward to the release of Cities: Skylines 2 this year. After reading a number of positive reviews, I knew I would want to play the game as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Paradox Interactive threw a wrench in my plans: Cities: Skylines 2 is currently exclusive to Windows, and the company has not yet announced any plans to release the game on macOS.
This year at WWDC, Apple released the Game Porting Toolkit, a software translation layer that can help game developers easily port their Windows games to the Mac. It seemed the toolkit was allowing users to launch their favorite Windows games on their Mac with surprising ease. Intrigued, I wanted to test it out to see if I could play Cities: Skylines 2 on my M2 MacBook Air.
I have always enjoyed having the current temperature in the menu bar on my Mac. Even though macOS Sonoma now supports adding a Weather widget of your choice directly to the desktop, I still prefer how a menu bar item is always glanceable and visible regardless of how crowded the desktop is.
For the past few months, I have tried many weather apps to achieve this, including the great Mercury Weather. While most of them worked great, I wanted to take advantage of the fact that we now own an outdoor HomeKit sensor — the Eve Weather — and display the data coming directly from that weather station in the menu bar. I ended up with a neat little solution, using a combination of Shortcuts, SF Symbols, and a couple of useful utilities.
Third-party web browsers on iOS and iPadOS have been in a peculiar state for some time. While it has been possible since iOS 14 to set a third-party browser as the default for opening web links, Apple still doesn’t permit the use of third-party browser engines — at least for now. This means third-party web browsers on iOS are essentially limited to serving as custom user interfaces built on top of the Safari engine.
However, some web browsers thrive in this space. Vivaldi, like many other web browsers on the desktop, is built on top of the Chromium engine and has become a staple of highly-customizable desktop web browsers. With its recent expansion to iOS, I thought I would try using it for a week to see how much of its desktop promise survived the port to Apple’s platform.
Apple first introduced the Translate app in iOS 14. Although it was a welcomed addition to the language translation space, I stopped using it a couple of months after its release. Many languages were still missing, its interface was lackluster at best, and I found that its French translations were not great. I would also still often rely on Google Translate to translate text in the real world using the iPhone camera — a feature that was initially missing from Apple’s app. This year, however, the Translate app received a substantial makeover and a handful of new features in iOS 17.
Let’s see how Translate fares in 2023.
The last time Bartender received a major update was back in 2021. Bartender 4 brought many new powerful features to help declutter the menu bar, particularly on the new MacBook models with a notch, which made menu bar real estate become even more valuable. Bartender 5 was officially released last month, and not only is it a fantastic maintenance update that brings support for macOS Sonoma – it’s also a release full of fun additions for all Mac users.
BetterTouchTool is an essential tool that can help anyone streamline their workflows, but I think it really shines when it helps me solve some of my everyday frustrations.
I mainly use a Magic Trackpad at my desk. It’s a great way to navigate a Mac: smooth scrolling, great haptic feedback, and gestures for multitasking with Mission Control. However, Apple has not gone far enough to make the trackpad as useful and easy to use as it could be when it comes to managing windows. So, to fix three tiny window management annoyances, I use BetterTouchTool.
The age of wildly personalizing the look of macOS might be over, but customizing app icons is still fun, and the phenomenon is more popular than ever since the advent of Home Screen widgets and custom Shortcuts launchers that have allowed millions to personalize the look of their iPhones.
Just like on iOS, I believe there is still room for custom icons on the Mac. Whether you’re looking to completely change the look of your Dock or simply tweak a couple of app icons, here’s how you can do it.