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Posts tagged with "iPadOS"

Callsheet Provides Movie and TV Details with an Uncluttered Native Interface

Today, Casey Liss released a brand new app called Callsheet for looking up cast and crew information about movies and TV shows. The app, which works on the iPhone and iPad, has a lot in common with movie and TV show tracking apps that I’ve covered, except for one very big difference. Callsheet isn’t a tracking app. Instead, it’s an app front end for The Movie DB, a website that offers a crowd-sourced movie and TV show database and an API for developers.

That’s an important distinction to understand. Callsheet is designed for those times that you want to know more about the people behind a movie or TV show but find the ads in apps and on websites, like IMDb, frustrating. If that resonates with you, and you’re not interested in tracking what you’ve watched, Callsheet offers a better experience for finding cast and crew information.

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More on iPadOS 17’s Stage Manager

As I always do every summer, I read other journalists’ opinions about the new versions of iOS and iPadOS after I’ve published my preview story. This week, as I’m catching up on my reading queue (yes, I’m still using the Reading List/Notes setup I described here), I was pleased to see I’m not the only one who’s liking the new Stage Manager for iPadOS 17. Similarly, I’m not alone in thinking Apple should continue refining the iPad’s multitasking system and catching up with macOS.

Here’s Jason Snell, writing last week at Six Colors:

Unfortunately, one of my most hoped-for features for Stage Manager didn’t make it into iPadOS 17: you can’t run the iPad on an external display with its internal screen shut off, as you can when a MacBook runs in lid-closed mode. Not only can the second screen be distracting, but there’s stuff Apple insists on displaying on the iPad screen, and sometimes apps get thrown over to the iPad screen when you don’t want them there.

I’ve been working with the fake clamshell mode I detailed on MacStories for the past few weeks. It’s doable, but some of the inherent limitations of this workaround are incredibly annoying. For instance: there’s no way to show Control Center on an external display (seriously). I want to believe Apple is working on a real clamshell mode for iPadOS 18.

David Pierce, writing at The Verge, has also some ideas for features still missing from Stage Manager:

But now Apple needs to make Stage Manager an actual iPad feature. It needs to integrate it with the other iPadOS navigational tools and windowing systems in a way that makes sense. Let me have widgets and apps together in a space! And please, please let me save a collection of apps with a name and then bring it up with a Spotlight search, please. It needs to take advantage of the tablet’s outrageous processing power and actually let you use more than four apps at a time. It needs, in short, to make Stage Manager feel like part of the iPad instead of a wholly separate device that just happens to live inside the same screen.

The more I look at macOS Sonoma, the more I wish I could see widgets from my iPad’s Home Screen underneath Stage Manager’s windows. That’s the kind of feature that would make a lot of sense on a bigger iPad Pro.


Chronicling: A Flexible Event Tracker with Modern Features and A Top-Notch Design

Chronicling is a brand-new event tracking app for iOS and iPadOS by Rebecca Owen. The App Store is full of apps for tracking everything from the very specific, like caffeine consumption, to apps like Chronicling that can be used to track nearly anything. What makes Owen’s app unique, though, is it’s one of the best examples of modern SwiftUI design that I’ve seen that incorporates the still relatively new Swift Charts and other recent Apple technologies to deliver a great user experience.

Trackers like Chronicling are the perfect fit for the iPhone. Most people have the device with them all the time, which makes it perfect for collecting data frequently, but it’s what you do with that data that matters the most. Maybe you’re trying to learn a new language and want to track how often you practice to hold yourself accountable. Or maybe your knee has been bothering you, and you want to keep track of when it flares up to see if it corresponds to an activity in your life. The point is, whether you’re trying to form a new habit or find patterns in things that happen throughout your day, part of the process is gathering the data. The other half of the equation is breaking the data down in a meaningful way. Chronicling does both well.

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TV Forecast 2.0 Adds Movie Tracking

The App Store is full of apps for tracking the media you enjoy, and at least for TV shows and movies, many use as a data source and tracking service and Just Watch to list where you can watch something. That results in a degree of sameness in the category. What’s harder to find on the App Store is a well-designed TV show and movie tracker. There’s a lot of data available about what we watch, and as a result, too many apps wind up with cluttered, confusing interfaces. TV Forecast 2.0 by Matt Comi isn’t like that, which is why it’s been one of my favorite TV trackers for a long time, and with an update today, it’s one of my favorite movie trackers too.

I reviewed TV Forecast in 2020, and what I said about the app is just as true today as it was then:

When I stopped to consider what it is about TV Forecast that has made it stick for me in a way that no other TV tracking app has, I keep coming back to its balanced design. It has a simple elegance that makes tracking shows feel effortless and natural. For supporting an activity that I use as a relaxing escape, that’s exactly the type of app I value. When all I want to do is quickly check off a few episodes or add a show that a friend recommends, I can. Just as easily, though, I can wander from one linked show to another discovering new ones along the way. It’s that balance between utility and exploration that makes TV Forecast my favorite TV tracker.

For more on TV Forecast’s overall design and functionality for TV shows, be sure to check out my 2020 review.

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Faking ‘Clamshell Mode’ with External Displays in iPadOS 17

A simple setting can be used as a workaround for clamshell mode in iPadOS 17.

A simple setting can be used as a workaround for clamshell mode in iPadOS 17.

Fernando Silva of 9to5Mac came up with a clever workaround to have ‘clamshell mode’ in iPadOS 17 when an iPad is connected to an external display. The catch: it doesn’t really turn off the iPad’s built-in display.

Now before readers start spamming the comments, this is not true clamshell mode. True clamshell mode kills the screen of the host computer and moves everything from that display to the external monitor. This will not do that. But this workaround will allow you to close your iPad Pro, connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, and still be able to use Stage Manager on an external display.

Essentially, the method involves disabling the ‘Lock / Unlock’ toggle in Settings ⇾ Display & Brightness that controls whether the iPad’s screen should lock when a cover is closed on top of it. This has been the iPad’s default behavior since the iPad 2 and the debut of the Smart Cover, and it still applies to the latest iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard: when the cover is closed, the iPad gets automatically locked. However, this setting can be disabled, and if you do, then sure: you could close an iPad Pro and continue using iPadOS on the external display without seeing the iPad’s built-in display. Except the iPad’s display is always on behind the scenes, which is not ideal.1

Still: if we’re supposed to accept this workaround as the only way to fake ‘clamshell mode’ in iPadOS 17, I would suggest some additions to improve the experience.

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WWDC 2023: Notes and Reminders to Gain Significant Productivity Features This Fall

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Every WWDC, I look forward to what Apple’s Notes and Reminders teams have in store for the next version of the company’s OSes. Notes debuted with the iPhone itself, and Reminders wasn’t too far behind. All these years later, both apps remain actively developed, and in recent years have significantly extended their capabilities, adding new features that remain approachable for all users but also extend further to meet the needs of people who want something more.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of what both apps have in store for users in the fall.


Notes will add several new features this fall, including PDF tools, linking, new formatting, and Pages integration.

Probably the most extensive set of new features coming to Notes is related to PDF documents. With the update, you’ll be able to read and annotate PDFs and collaborate on documents with others. When you drop a PDF into Notes, it can be navigated by swiping from page to page or by displaying a strip of thumbnails above the current page. All of the markup tools available in Notes can be used to draw and type on a PDF, add shapes to it, or sign it. Notes will be able to detect fields in a PDF, so you can fill out forms with an enhanced version of AutoFill using data from the Contacts app too.

Users will also be able to collaborate in real-time when editing PDFs by sharing a note with others. As you draw, annotate, type on, or add stickers to a shared PDF, Apple says the changes will appear immediately on your collaborator’s device.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Also coming to Notes are a couple of new ways to add links. You can select text and add a hyperlink to a website, but you can also link to existing notes. I love this feature. It doesn’t automatically add backlinks to the source note the way an app like Obsidian does, but you can do that manually if you’d like, and I expect one-way linking is plenty for most users. With the new internal linking, users will be able to create tables of contents for related notes and split what might otherwise be a long note into linked sections, making the content easier to navigate and read.

Finally, Notes will add Pages compatibility in the fall. If you begin a document in Notes, you’ll be able to open it in Pages to take advantage of Pages’ more extensive set of styling tools. That will allow you to do things like use more fonts, resize graphics incorporate video, and more.

I’m excited about the updates coming to Notes. PDFs are at the heart of a lot of workflows. I don’t use them as frequently as I used to, but students, teachers, lawyers, and many others who depend on PDFs as a core part of their work, should get a much more robust solution for adding them to their note-taking setup with Notes this fall.

I’m also impressed by Notes’ addition of internal linking to other notes. The update should allow for vastly better organization of information in Notes. I’m envisioning it as a solution for our internal documentation needs at MacStories, along with project management and a lot more. I’ve used Notes for that sort of thing before, but once a note reached a certain length, it became hard to manage, especially on smaller devices. With internal linking, I expect that will be a thing of the past.

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With iPadOS 17, Stage Manager Is (Finally) Moving in the Right Direction

Stage Manager on iPadOS 17 beta 1.

Stage Manager on iPadOS 17 beta 1.

I’m in Cupertino for WWDC this week, and after yesterday’s whirlwind of announcements and surprises, I had some time to sit down with my 12.9” iPad Pro, install iPadOS 17 beta 1 on it, and try the improved version of Stage Manager. As you know, I have a…complicated history with the iPad’s latest multitasking system. Before coming here, I was worried Stage Manager would be left untouched without any updates for at least another year.

I’ll cut to the chase: Apple listened to feedback about Stage Manager and – at least so far – implemented the key improvements I wanted to see. I’ve been using Stage Manager on my iPad Pro since yesterday afternoon, and I even tested it on a portable external display that I brought with me for this trip. If this early, limited experience is of any indication, I think I’m going to be happy with Apple’s revised version of Stage Manager for iPad by the end of the summer. But then again, caution is necessary given how last year’s beta evolved over time.

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Apple Marks Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Features Coming to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS Later This Year

Thursday is Global Accessibility Awareness Day, and as in years past, Apple has previewed several new accessibility features coming later this year. This year, Apple is focusing on a wide range of accessibility features covering cognitive, vision, hearing, mobility, and speech, which were designed with feedback from disability communities. The company hasn’t said when these features will debut in its operating systems, but if past years are any indication, most should be released in the fall as part of the annual OS release cycle.

Assistive Access

Assistive Access. Source: Apple.

Assistive Access. Source: Apple.

Assistive Access is a new customizable iPhone and iPad mode created for users with cognitive disabilities to lighten the cognitive load of using their favorite apps. Apple worked with users as well as their trusted supports to focus on the activities they use most, like communicating with friends and family, taking and viewing photos, and listening to music. The result is a distillation of the experiences of the related apps. For instance, Phone and FaceTime have been combined into a single Calls app that handles both audio and video calls.

Calls, Messages, Camera in Assistive Access mode. Source: Apple.

Calls, Messages, Camera in Assistive Access mode. Source: Apple.

The UI for Assistive Access is highly customizable, allowing users and their trusted supporters to adapt it to their individual needs. For example, an iPhone’s Home Screen can be streamlined to show just a handful of apps with large, high-contrast buttons with big text labels. Alternatively, Assistive Access can be set up with a row-based UI for people who prefer text.

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FitnessView Teams: A Team-Based Fitness Tracker for Coaches and Trainers

Today, Funn Media released FitnessView Teams, a fitness-tracking app that allows coaches or personal trainers to track multiple team members or clients at once. I’m not a coach or a trainer, but I’ve been trying the app with demo data and like what I’ve seen a lot.

FitnessView Teams provides a home base for tracking the performance of multiple athletes.

FitnessView Teams provides a home base for tracking the performance of multiple athletes.

FitnessView Teams, which builds on Funn Media’s FitnessView app for individuals, works on the iPhone and iPad, but it’s best on the iPad where you can see more data at once. From the main view, you can switch among multiple teams, browse data by team member, invite new team members, and invite other coaches to your team. Coaches and team members can both be added via a QR code or an invitation link that allows FitnessView Teams to access the data collected by a team member’s Apple Watch. You can also browse team member data by date using a calendar strip along the top of the iPad’s screen.

Tapping any of the home view's tiles drills deeper into the details of each.

Tapping any of the home view’s tiles drills deeper into the details of each.

Most of the app’s main view is dedicated to health metric tiles that are fully customizable in the app’s settings. Tapping on any health metric brings up additional details, including a graph for that data over time, as well as daily averages and monthly progress. Reports for each athlete can be exported as a customizable PDF-formatted report too.

The app includes calendar and metric-based views of team data too.

The app includes calendar and metric-based views of team data too.

Other data visualizations include a tab dedicated to a full month overview per athlete. There’s also a tab that breaks down a team’s progress by fitness metric, which allows coaches to easily compare the stats of one athlete compared to another on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. All of the same data is available on the iPhone, too, but the limited screen space requires more navigating between views and scrolling of data.

I’ve always been a fan of FitnessView for individuals. The app’s simple, clean design provides an excellent overview of core health metrics, with the ability to dive into each for more detail. FitnessView Teams takes the same approach and succeeds in organizing an even bigger set of health data for multiple people at once, which is an impressive accomplishment. If you’re a coach or trainer, FitnessView Teams is worth checking out.

FitnessView Teams is available to download for free. However, a subscription is required to add multiple team members or clients to the app, which starts at $59.99/month to track ten users.