16 posts on MacStories since October 2023

Niléane is a French-Réunionnese podcaster and activist, working and advocating for trans rights. She is passionate about technology and always likes to experiment with Apple products and software to improve her workflows and everyday life.

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Looks Like Rain: Visualizing the Weather on a Color-Coded Timeline

I’m always excited when a new weather app is released, especially when it’s a weather app that looks different from most of its counterparts. Looks Like Rain by Thinkbits is beautifully designed, and it certainly looks different, to say the least. The layout of the app is clean, the elements are well-spaced, and the color palette has clearly been composed with care. Most importantly, though, I’m absolutely loving its unique approach to visualizing the weather forecast on a color-coded timeline.

I’ve been using this brand-new weather app for the past few weeks on the iPhone, the iPad, and the Mac, and it has already earned a permanent place in the rotation of my favorite weather apps.

Let’s check it out.

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Wallpaper Frenzy: A Roundup of My Favorite Wallpaper Apps, Tools, and Artists in 2024

Wallpapers have always been a reflection of my often chaotic energy. I can sometimes spend months, or even years, without ever changing my wallpaper, and I can spend that same amount of time just frenetically changing it every day until I’m completely satisfied. A lot of that decision process is completely irrational, but I do know what I’m looking for when choosing a new wallpaper. It must be high-resolution, vibrant, colorful, and it mustn’t look too busy.

Early this year, I once again started going through a frenetic wallpaper-hunting phase. It turns out, high-quality wallpaper apps in the App Store are not that easy to find. I have frequently come across wallpaper apps that are filled with scammy ads, and sometimes even seem to contain stolen artwork. So I am seizing this opportunity to round up and highlight some of my favorite high-quality wallpaper apps, tools, and artists on Apple’s platforms in 2024.

Let’s check them out.

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feeeed: Embracing Feed Diversity and Personal News Curation

With The Iconfactory launching Project Tapestry this week, I was reminded of an indie app that I first started testing a few months ago. feeeed – that’s with four ‘e’s – by Nate Parrott is a feed reader app unlike any other I’ve seen on iOS.

Today, with our favorite content scattered across social media platforms, apps, blogs, and newsletters, it’s honestly really hard to keep up, and there is clearly a demand for an app that could juggle with all of them. feeeed is an attempt at embracing that diversity, and letting you build your own feed, merging all those sources into one continuous and beautifully designed stream.

I was excited about this app when it originally came out, and for the past week, I have once again given it a prime spot on my iPhone Home Screen to properly try it out as my main reading app.

Let’s jump in.

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 17.3 with Collaborative Playlists, Stolen Device Protection, New Black Unity Wallpaper, and More

Update: This story previously listed paying with Apple Pay as one of the actions protected with Stolen Device Protection on. Apple has since clarified in a Support document that paying with Apple Pay can still be performed using the iPhone passcode.

Today, Apple released iOS and iPadOS 17.3, the third major updates to the operating systems that launched in September and Federico reviewed on MacStories.

iOS and iPadOS 17.3 bring only a couple of major new features, including one that was previously expected to be released in iOS and iPadOS 17.2 (but was then delayed), a welcome new layer of protection and security for your Apple ID, and a set of new dynamic wallpapers.

Let’s jump in.

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The Continuity Camera and ‘Unlock With Apple Watch’ Conspiracy

Continuity Camera is amazing. Since it was introduced in macOS Ventura, I’ve been using the feature almost daily. Continuity Camera is a native feature on macOS that lets you use an iPhone as your webcam. For it to work, you can either connect the iPhone to your Mac using a cable, or use it wirelessly if both devices are signed in with the same Apple ID. It’s quite impressive that, despite having to rely so often on video calls for work, I still don’t own a webcam today. Instead, the camera I use at my desk is an old iPhone SE (2nd generation), which was my partner’s main iPhone until they upgraded last year.

Over the past few months, however, the number of video calls I have needed to take on a daily basis has become critical. As an activist, part of my work now also involves conducting online training sessions with sometimes up to a hundred participants at a time. I just couldn’t afford to join one of those sessions and not have my camera working. Continuity Camera became a feature that I need to work reliably. Sadly, it doesn’t. Half of the time, apps like Zoom and Discord on macOS could not see the iPhone SE in the list of available cameras. This meant I had to fetch a Lightning cable to manually connect the iPhone. If I was unlucky that day, and that didn’t work, I would have to completely reboot the Mac. If I was really unlucky that day, and even that didn’t work, I would end up joining the call without a camera. Despite meeting all the requirements listed by Apple Support, this problem just kept happening on random occasions.

I had to find a fix for this bug, or at least a way to work around it.

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Globetrotter: Your Photos and Memories on a World Map

Every time I open the Memories tab in Apple’s Photos app, I feel disappointed. The memories it surfaces always seem to rehash the same events in my life, and they never really achieve to put my photos back in context. This is a big reason why, for so many years, I’ve been keeping a personal journal in Day One, which lets me revisit my journal entries by looking at a map of everywhere I’ve recorded a memory. Likewise, the ‘Places’ section in Apple Photos is my favorite way to browse through my older photos.

Globetrotter is a delightful new app created by indie developer Shihab Mehboob that embraces this idea of revisiting your photo memories by looking at them on top of a world map. The app does so in a beautifully-designed interface, with a focus on your travel memories. Let’s take a look.

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Apple’s Journal App: Journaling for All?

I’ve been keeping a journal in Day One since at least 2015, and I’ve got to say, the practice has become very engrained in my otherwise chaotic daily routine. Whenever I get asked about journaling, I always say that it’s a habit that can take any form you like. It can take place in a paper journal, in an app as written entries, as voice notes, or even as captioned photos in a photo diary. The reason I stuck with Day One over the years is because the app is incredibly flexible. It kept up with me during periods of my life when it was harder to write down my daily thoughts, and easier to type a couple of bullet points every day instead. I believe the best journaling tools are those that can adapt to you, not the other way around. But still, when Apple announced they were building their own Journal app, built right into iOS 17, I was excited by the prospect of switching things up in this little habit of mine.

This week, Apple released the Journal app as part of iOS 17.2. As expected, the app is unfortunately only available on the iPhone. Nevertheless, Apple’s first entry in this category is very interesting, to say the least, as it revolves almost entirely around a system of smart journaling suggestions and prompts. I’ve been using it alongside Day One for a couple of weeks now, to both get an idea of what Apple’s approach to journaling is like, and to see how it intends to bring journaling to a wider audience.

Let’s jump in.

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Bezel: The Best Way to Screen Capture Your iPhone From a Mac

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.

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Quiche Browser Is a Beautiful and Modular Web Browser for iOS

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.

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