Among my many bad habits is forgetting to keep frequently-needed information in a convenient place. Whether it's a phone number or the address of one of my favorite restaurants, I can't seem to develop a method for storing data I need.
Placeboard is an app that could change that. It's a storage system for your favorite locations and, with a few smart features, is a great one, too.
Pick Your Places
Placeboard's effectiveness revolves around how much time you put into it – as such, it may feel at first as more trouble than it's worth. But when thought of as similar to an address book, it makes sense: the things you put in will eventually aid you in the future.
By tapping "+", you can search a map for a location based on a range of miles that you select. From the map listed on the search page, you'll be able to choose from a list of possible spots with their distance and street/city. The visual is helpful, as it may not be quite as easy to find a certain location if you live in a big city with many of the same stores.
Once you've picked your place, it'll dump automatically into two sections: All and Unclassified. All is your list of every item you've saved in Placeboard, where Unclassified is a lost-and-found for places that are untagged (I'll get to tagging here in a bit).
Arguably, the best feature of Placeboard is not the placing of the locations, but rather what the app does after it saves them. Without prompting the user for any information, Placeboard automatically saves relevant data, including the address, city, country, phone number, and website. Users can also add a note, change the name, and rate the location 0-5 stars.
Placeboard offers shortcuts to certain functions based on the data it has. For example, you can jump into directions through Apple Maps by tapping the arrow next to the address section. Additionally, tapping on the phone and globe will take you to Phone and Safari, respectively. The map icon at the bottom right will bring up an in-app view of where the location sits in reference to other nearby places.
In any list, searching can be done through text or location range. As you slide your finger on the mileage meter, you'll see that the list changes based on how small or large your range is. This is immensely useful when traveling, as you can see places you love and their relation to you.
Viewing and Tagging
With dozens of locations, it'd be difficult to parse through the data and find the right place. However, Placeboard not only allows for searching but also categorization from both the user and app itself.
The most obvious way to assign data to collections is tagging, which Placeboard has handled superbly. Through the same "+" mentioned earlier, you can add a tag with a specific name and color. Then, simply view a location, tap tags and select whichever are applicable. If you forget the first step, it's also possible to add a tag from tapping the plus sign that shares space with the tags.
Sometimes, however, it may be that you just want to view what a certain city has to offer. In the main screen, selecting Cities will display the cities where you've marked places. I found this especially useful when I was in a specific city and wanted to remember places I loved.
When in a list (whether that is a city or group of tags), tapping on the familiar map icon will display the locations' relevant spots on a map.
A somewhat unnecessary feature is the ability to add photographs to an entry. With the map view off, tapping the location marker at the top of an entry will let you view and add photos of the place. While it would seem that this could be used for memories or reference, it seems like a feature that will go unused by the majority of users.
Sharing and Miscellaneous
If you're on a trip with friends or family and want to share a list of possible places to visit, you can do so in a couple of quick ways. The first is through the iOS share sheet. By tapping the share icon at the top of the screen, you can select multiple locations to pass along. The receiving party will see plain text with some relevant information, as pictured above.
Another way to share is by using a Share List, created through the "+" mentioned earlier. With a Share List, you can invite contacts via their email address. Once this is done, everyone in the group will have the ability to add locations for the others to see.
If necessary, Placeboard's settings include a few options that can be changed to your liking. For example, you can change the distance unit from miles to kilometers, change the syncing time between share lists, and import or export a backup.
One last feature worth mentioning is undoing and restoring information in the event of a mistake. The clock icon at the bottom doubles as both a glance into list and app history; from here, you can choose to revert back to a time where you performed an action. If you'd like to undo a change, swiping left on a specific action will let you do this.
Although I don't have many complaints about Placeboard, there are a few issues that stand out.
Noticeably absent are iPad and Apple Watch apps, two platforms where Placeboard should make an appearance. While an iPad app wouldn't be of the utmost importance, it would still nice to have the chance to sit down on a bigger screen and plan. The Apple Watch app could be able to read your location and point out places you've marked and how close they are to you.
There's also no 3D Touch or action extension integration, a missed opportunity for shortcuts to add a location, peeking into a category, or viewing photos.
Finally, my biggest frustration of all: adding people to a Share List. Understandably, Placeboard requests an email address so it can send an invitation email to others using the app. However, Placeboard doesn't allow you to actually enter an email, so if you don't have one for a contact you want to invite, you're out of luck until you jump into Contacts and add it.
Placeboard is a solid app that is built on convenience. As a collection of your favorite places, it'll be an app that you'll frequent if you do any amount of traveling. But even those who find themselves staying in one place will find use in how Placeboard has a location's information ready in only a few taps.
Placeboard can be found on the App Store for $4.99 (iPhone only).