When I put together an article for MacStories on my Mac, Yoink by Eternal Storms Software is what brings order to the messy process of creating screenshots. You see, I like to use Spaces on my MacBook Pro to separate my writing environment from other apps I’m using to produce screenshots. But between Spaces, apps, and the Finder, things get cluttered fast. By being available wherever I am on my Mac, Yoink gives me an easily accessible spot to park images as I create them, so that when I’m finished, I can incorporate them into an article all at once, which saves me time.
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I audibly gasped when I spotted Colordot on Product Hunt, but not because it is a revolutionary app that should be shouted about from the mountain tops. Rather, I had the reaction because I saw an app with a concept I had never seen before and a tool that was unique.
Developer Hailpixel describes Colordot as an app for "anyone who loves color" – which is justified by the fact that the app's only purpose is to fiddle around with color. Essentially, Colordot is a color selection tool for the rest of us; through some simple gestures, you'll create one or more colors, get its hex triplet, and assign it to a palette.
Emoji can be hard to find from the iOS system keyboard. Although they have official names, emoji aren't accessible by those names from Apple's keyboard. Instead, if an emoji isn't in your frequently used, you are left with the task of remembering or guessing which category it falls into to find it. The trouble is, the groupings aren't that intuitive. Here's a test: Which category is sunglasses in? Objects or People?1Emojinn is a useful little utility that makes it easier to find the emoji you want without memorizing where they are.
Gifstory makes capturing your own GIFs easy by imposing constraints. One of the difficulties with GIFs is that there are lots of variables that impact how big they are and how good they look. I like GIF Brewery on the Mac, but it is easy to get caught up in tweaking those variables endlessly, trying to get a GIF that looks perfect. Gifstory, which is iPhone-only, eliminates the fiddling by imposing limits that work. Point your camera at something, press and hold the capture button, and you can capture a 320 × 426 or 320 x 320 GIF up to sixty frames long.
When Apple Music debuted last summer I switched to it from Spotify. I wasn’t on Spotify all that long, but I did have a few playlists I wanted to take with me, including a big one with all the songs I had favorited. At the time, I found a script that logged into both services, tried to match the songs, and replicate the playlists on Apple Music. It worked reasonably well, but not great. SongShift automates that process. In my tests, SongShift did a solid job matching songs between Spotify and Apple Music, but because it is an import utility and not a sync service, it is a little cumbersome to use as a way to keep up with playlists you follow on Spotify that are frequently updated.
There's not a lot of good that can be said of the Apple Watch app experience. Although the platform looked promising after the release of watchOS 2, Watch apps haven't caught on in the way Apple Watch wearers may have liked. While some have tried to attack the problem through unique games or productivity apps, the majority of the offerings have been slow to load and difficult to use.
But, for just a second, throw all of that out and consider Break this Safe – it's only for the Apple Watch, using the Digital Crown and haptic feedback for its gameplay. It offers a unique gameplay experience and, despite the Apple Watch's slow loading times, is engaging enough to keep you playing.
Screens for iOS is a great example of an iOS app that has been at the top of its category for years and stayed there by not standing still. Longtime readers of MacStories will know that Screens has been a favorite from the earliest days of the site when Federico declared that:
Screens by Edovia has become the best VNC app I've ever run on my iPhone and iPad.
That’s as true today as it was in 2010, but with today’s release of Screens 4, connecting remotely to Macs, Windows PCs, and Linux PCs from an iOS device has never been more convenient and fast.
Imprint for iOS is designed to make shopping easy and enjoyable, which is a good thing because I can't stand shopping, especially for clothes. I'd much rather order clothes online and have them show up on my doorstep than go to the mall. The trouble is, clothes shopping on the web is usually a mixed bag. Many sites do a poor job of describing and photographing what they sell, making it hard to know what you're ordering, which leads to returns. Other sites have overly complex and tedious checkout processes, requiring what sometimes feels like page after page data entry that fails if you don't enter information exactly as the site expects.
Need, which offers hand-picked collections of clothing, accessories, and other items like coffee and books, is different. I've been a customer of Need since Matt Alexander launched it in late 2013. Through a combination of excellent photography, quality writing, and attention to customer service, Need has provided a superior shopping experience on the web from the beginning.
Today, Need relaunched and rebranded its website as Imprint and released a companion iOS app by the same name. Imprint for iOS is a delight to use. Imprint's browsing and shopping experience is faster, easier, and more fluid than other iOS shopping apps, exhibiting the same degree of care and attention to detail that has made me a happy customer of its predecessor, Need, from the beginning.
On many occasions, I've searched throughout the App Store to find the right app for annotating photos with simple labels. Although I trudged through pages and pages of information, I just couldn't find an app that did exactly what I needed – until today.
This is an absurdly easy way to add information to photos and send them away. Featured as one of the Best New Apps in the App Store, it caught my eye because of its slick design; after playing with its intuitive features, its gorgeous design is of the least importance.
This's functionality comes in three steps: 1) Select the photo 2) Add labels 3) Share. Eventually, this simplicity becomes second-nature, but the subtasks in those steps deserve an explanation. If any of this becomes confusing or you need to see more examples, head into the tutorial for a guide.
Selecting the Photo
By tapping on the camera icon in the lower left, This will provide options for images to work with. Here is where you'll find the tutorial and examples of pre-existing images and their labels. All of these are editable, so feel free to tinker around to get the hang of the app's capabilities.
Photos can be pulled from either the device's photo library, camera, or clipboard. Unfortunately, there's only the option of choosing from the Photos app – I'm hoping to see other document providers be integrated in future versions.
Once selected, the image will be displayed for labeling.
For the part of the photo that you'd like to label, tap on or close to the section and This will automatically provide a label and custom line length. By selecting the (This) label, you can insert the applicable information within the text box. If the text is more than a couple of words, This will push the information down a line.
The default arrowhead is a filled-in circle, but This offers the option to alternate between six other choices: arrow, open circle, X, heart, and none. All of these can be used to say different things in context, so they are all great inclusions. In addition to the solid line, there is also a dotted line for referring to a location.
To keep your labels readable, This will auto-adjust the color of text between white and black. It's also possible to change the color and size manually by selecting the light green semicircle at the bottom of the screen; you can choose between black and white for the color and extra small, small, medium, and large for the size.
If a mistake is made in the placing of a label, dragging either the text or arrowhead will move the respective piece around the photo. To delete a label, hold the text until a red X appears and then release.
When you've completed your work, tapping the share icon will bring up options to send to Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr, as well to save to Photos, copy, Open In..., Mail, and print.
Sharing within This is the biggest sign that the app is in version 1.0; saving to a document provider takes more taps than necessary. The most frustrating part, however, is that there is no saving in-app, meaning that if you don't finish labeling before starting a new project, it will immediately wipe out your work. Along these lines, a lack of native saving also forces the user to save to Photos and reopen within This to continue work on a photo – albeit without the ability to change the labels created in the previous version.
When I saw This in the App Store, I was excited to see a supposed solution to my labeling problem. After using it, it has exceeded all my expectations and has given me a quick way to mark a photo and send it off.
Remember, though, that This is a 1.0 product and may have bugs or lack desired features. Even so, developer Tinrocket has built a specialized tool that you'll want to have in a pinch. With its continued development, I'm excited to see This be refined and crafted into an all-star app.
This can be purchased as a Universal app for $1.99.