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Posts tagged with "iOS"

TV Remote: Control Your TV From Your Lock Screen, Home Screen, and Live Activities

Developers have come up with endlessly clever uses for interactive widgets. I love testing them all, but one type is beginning to stick more than others. It’s the widgets for apps that require quick interactions when you’re in the middle of something else. Turning off the lights in my home office when I’m finished working for the day, toggling work timers as I switch from task to task, and then checking off those tasks as I complete them are all perfect interactions for widgets that require minimal switching away from whatever I’m doing. Hopefully, that means fewer distractions and, in turn, a more productive day.

But not everything is about peak efficiency and checklists. Sometimes, you just want to relax, which widgets can help with, too. One of my favorite apps to help with that, which recently added interactive widget support, is TV Remote by Adam Foot. Foot’s app is one I already used with my LG C2 TV, but it’s the app’s new widgets that have graduated it to a regular part of my TV routine.

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Introducing MultiButton: Assign Two Shortcuts to the Same Action Button Press on iPhone 15 Pro

MultiButton for iPhone 15

MultiButton for iPhone 15

I got my iPhone 15 Pro Max last week, and I’m loving the possibilities opened by the Action button combined with the Shortcuts app. But as I was playing around with different ideas for the Action button, I had a thought:

Wouldn’t it be great if instead of just one shortcut, I could toggle between two shortcuts with the same Action button press? That’s exactly what my new MultiButton shortcut does.

With MultiButton, you’ll be able to assign two separate shortcuts to the Action button. Unlike other solutions you may have seen that always make you pick shortcuts from a menu, MultiButton automatically cycles between two shortcuts if you press the Action button multiple times in rapid succession. You don’t need to pick shortcuts from a list; just press the Action button and MultiButton will take care of everything.

Toggling between two shortcuts with MultiButton.Replay

Allow me to explain how MultiButton works and how you can configure it for your Action button. In the process, I’ll also share some new shortcut ideas that you can start using today on your iPhone 15 Pro.

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Longplay 2.0: An Album-Oriented Apple Music Player with Loads of New Features

Longplay 2.0 by Adrian Schoenig is out, and it’s a massive update of the iOS and iPadOS album-oriented music app.

If you’ve tried Longplay before, the update will be familiar. The first time it launches, it quickly checks your Apple Music library (about six seconds for over 1200 albums in my case), finds all the nearly complete and complete albums, and displays them in a grid of album art. I’ve always loved this interface because it does such a great job of emphasizing album art. However, what’s different is a long list of new features, but since we’ve only covered the app for Club MacStories members and AppStories listeners, I’m going to cover everything and call out the updated features as I go.

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Obscura 4 Features A Refreshed Design, New Features, and A Different Business Model

Ben McCarthy’s career as a developer coincides almost exactly with mine as a writer. As a result, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Obscura evolve from little more than an idea to one of the best camera apps on the App Store. As with so many apps, what sets Obscura apart from others is Ben’s attention to detail, impeccable design taste, and deep knowledge of the app’s subject matter – photography.

Today, Obscura 4 is out, less than two years since I reviewed version 3 with a refreshed design and a handful of new features. The update includes a change in Obscura’s business model, too. In the past, the app was paid up front, with each major release being a new purchase. Going forward, Obscura is free to download, with certain advanced features, known as Obscura Ultra, requiring a subscription.

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Mercury Weather 2.0 Adds Trip Forecasts

If you’ve ever found yourself repeatedly checking the weather of a trip destination in the days leading up to your travels, you’ll appreciate Mercury Weather 2.0, which was released today for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch. The update’s marquee feature is Trip Forecast, which lets you set up a trip once and keep tabs on your destination’s weather as your travel dates approach. I reviewed Mercury Weather a couple of weeks ago, so for more on the app’s other features, be sure to check out that review.

From Mercury Weather’s Locations view, there’s now an option to add upcoming trips. Just add your destination and the dates of your trip, and it will appear in a separate, collapsable ‘Upcoming Trips’ section, along with the current conditions and dates of the trip. You can also name your trip and add a custom icon.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

You can switch between home and upcoming trips in the Daily Forecast section of Mercury Weather.

As your departure date approaches, your destinations will appear along the top of the Daily Forecast graph. Tap a trip’s name to see that location’s weather forecast or the ‘Home’ button to return to your home location’s weather. Once your trip dates pass, the forecast for your destination just disappears from the app unlike destinations you might otherwise save in a weather app’s list of locations.

Trip Forecasts have been incorporated in Mercury Weather’s small and medium-sized ‘Daily Forecast (Customizable)’ widgets too. The widget includes a summary forecast for the next eight days, and if any of those days are part of your upcoming trip, it will show the forecast for that location instead of your current location.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Mercury Weather on the Mac.

Trip Forecast is an excellent addition to Mercury Weather. I love that I can set up a trip once and forget about it, letting the app show me the upcoming forecast as my travel day approaches and staying out of the way until then. One thing I still miss from other weather apps is radar data, but aside from that, I’ve loved using Mercury Weather this summer.

Mercury Weather is free to download on the App Store, with Home and Lock Screen widgets, the Apple Watch app, historical data, and more than one saved location available to subscribers for $1.99/month or $9.99/year, with a $34.99 lifetime purchase option. A Family Sharing subscription is $3.49/month, $16.99/year, or $59.99 for a lifetime purchase.

TimeWave: Stacked Timers Delivered with a Clean, Spare Interface

Timers are a staple of productivity systems, which is why there are so many of them on the App Store. My favorite timer apps are the ones that are the most flexible. A little structure goes a long way if you’re casting about for a system that works for you, but I prefer timer apps that can be adapted to multiple scenarios. That’s why I’ve enjoyed playing around with TimeWave so much.

The app, which works on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, plus Apple Silicon Macs in compatibility mode, isn’t new, but in a sea of timer apps, its focused black-and-white design and regular updates caught my eye. TimeWave is pitched as a focus timer that can be used with the Pomodoro time management system, which is a good use of it. However, what’s best is that TimeWave can also be used as a habit tracker, cooking timer, exercise routine timer, and more.

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Mercury Weather: A Crystal Clear Design for Every Apple Device

There’s something for everyone in the weather app category. There are incredibly technical, complex apps, apps with a narrow focus, ones junked up with ads that don’t respect your privacy, and everything in between.

One of my favorite newer entrants in the category that I’ve been keeping an eye on for a while is Mercury Weather, a weather app that’s available as a universal purchase on all of Apple’s platforms. The app, by Triple Glazed Studios, is a pleasure to use, combining a clear, simple design with coverage on of all of Apple’s platforms.

In some ways, Mercury Weather is a spiritual successor to Weather Line, a graph-centric weather app that was sold to an unnamed purchaser a couple of years ago, which some suspect was Fox Weather based on the app’s 2023 redesign. The comparison is apt but sells Mercury Weather short because its design is superior to what Weather Line’s ever was. The app uses beautiful gradient backgrounds to convey the temperature and conditions, along with a modern layout and clear typography to make it fast and easy to check current conditions and the forecast.

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Zenitizer: An Simple, Elegant Way to Practice and Track Meditation Sessions

Zenitizer 1.2, an iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS meditation app by Manuel Kehl, was released yesterday, adding iCloud sync support. The update means that progress toward your meditation goals and routines you create on any version of the app will sync across all devices for the first time. I recommended Zenitizer to Club MacStories readers not long ago when version 1.0 was released, but it’s such a well-designed and thought-out app, I wanted to go a little deeper today on everything it has to offer.

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