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Posts tagged with "macOS"

Binarynights Releases Forklift 4, a Major Update Its File Management and Transfer Utility for Mac

Today, Binarynights released Forklift 4, its Mac file management and transfer app. Version 4 is a complete rewrite of the app, which adds a lot of new features, a modern design, and a new business model. I’ve only spent a little while with the update, but so far, I like what I’ve seen a lot.

The new design is excellent, with a modern sidebar and preview pane, along with columns for your files and folders that snap to optimized widths for your content but can be adjusted however you like. Of course, there are multiple view options for files and folders, and the toolbar is fully customizable, too. Plus, Forklift 4 adds eight different themes that look great.

Forklift 4 includes a long list of ways to connect to your files, such as FTP and SFTP, but the update also adds cloud services, including Dropbox, Google Team Drives, and Microsoft OneDrive. Other new features include syncing favorites between Macs using iCloud and saving views on a per-folder basis. Binarynights says file syncing and other actions are significantly faster, too.

Forklift 4's default theme.

Forklift 4’s default theme.

Today’s update also introduces a new business model. Forklift 4 offers a free trial, and when you purchase a license, you’ll get the current version plus one or two years of updates, depending on which license you buy. After that, you can continue using the app as-is indefinitely or renew your license to continue getting updates. Also, to celebrate Forklift 4’s launch, Binarynights is adding an extra 100 days of updates for a limited time.

I like this business model a lot for utilities like Forklift. Light users who don’t need the latest and greatest features can pay once and wait to upgrade until there’s a new feature they need, but heavy users can pay more regularly to stay on top of the latest enhancements to the app.

There’s a lot more that Forklift 4 can do than I’ve mentioned above, so it’s worth checking out the app’s product page and the blog post covering the updates. Although I haven’t spent a lot of time with Forklift 4 yet, it makes a great first impression with its native, modern design, extensive customization options, and deep feature set. If you’re looking for a new file management and transfer app, Forklift 4 is worth checking out.

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.

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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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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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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Mona: A Unique Mix of Customization Options and Features You Won’t Find in Any Other Mastodon App

Mona is a brand new, highly customizable Mastodon client from Junyu Kuang, the developer of Spring, which is one of the few remaining third-party Twitter clients that still works and pioneered many of the features found in Mona. Mona, which is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, is a power-user app through and through. The app has a dizzying array of settings for customizing the entire Mastodon experience. If, like me, you enjoy the sort of tinkering that Mona enables, you’ll absolutely love this app.

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Automation April: Hyperduck Leverages the Power of URL Schemes to Control Your Mac from an iPhone or iPad

Hyperduck is a recent utility from Sindre Sorhus for sending URLs from an iPhone or iPad to your Mac that has some very interesting applications. Hyperduck hasn’t replaced my use of AirDrop, Handoff, and other Apple technologies that move data between devices, but it has extended those features in meaningful ways and has quickly worked its way into my everyday computing life.

Hyperduck does just one thing very well. It sends URLs from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac using iCloud. That’s different than how AirDrop works, which has some advantages.

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Dark Noise 3.0 Has a New Business Model and A Few Other Updates

Today, Charlie Chapman released Dark Noise 3.0, his iOS, iPadOS, and macOS ambient noise app, with a new business model, some remastered sounds, and other updates.

The biggest change to Dark Noise 3.0 is its new business model. Historically, Dark Noise has been a paid-up-front app, but with 3.0, the app is now free with an optional subscription that unlocks certain features.

The free version of Dark Noise includes eight sounds, continuous sound looping, Shortcuts support, Siri integration, and a timer. The Pro subscription increases the number of sounds to over 50 and adds custom sound mixes, alternate app icons, themes, and Family Sharing. The Pro features are also available as a one-time purchase.

Alternative icons and sound mixing are two of the features available to Dark Noise Pro subscribers.

Alternative icons and sound mixing are two of the features available to Dark Noise Pro subscribers.

If you previously purchased Dark Noise, which included many of the features that are now part of a Pro subscription, you’re covered. Anyone who bought Dark Noise prior to the release of version 3.0 gets all of the features included in the Pro subscription. Pro subscribers may get new features in the future, but as of the release of version 3.0, existing users and subscribers have access to the same features, which I think is a fair way to transition to a subscription model.

I’m also glad to see that the core features of Dark Noise will be available for free for the first time. There are a lot of ambient sound apps on the App Store, but a lot aren’t very good. Dark Noise is excellent, and I expect having a free tier to show off what the app can do to new users will result in more paid users in the long run. I’m also a fan of the one-time payment option, which is a nice option for fans of the app who just don’t like paying subscriptions.

Dark Noise has a new green theme called Aurora.

Dark Noise has a new green theme called Aurora.

Version 3.0 also introduces remastered Rain, Beach, Airplane Interior, and Thunderstorm sounds that sound better when used with stereo speakers. The app’s icons have been tweaked a little, and there’s a new theme that uses shades of green called Aurora.

For more on everything Dark Noise can do, be sure to check out our reviews of version 1.0 and 2.0.

Dark Noise 3.0 is available as a free download on the App Store. The Pro subscription unlocks the features described above, for $2.99/month or $19.99/year with a three-day trial. Dark Noise 3.0 is also available as a one-time purchase for $49.99.

CleanMyMac X Adds Device Charging and Storage Monitoring and Management

CleanMyMac X has been updated, expanding its utility beyond the borders of your Mac by tracking the battery status of connected devices and adding management of outboard storage.

The new features, collectively called Connected Devices, are part of CleanMyMac X’s menu bar app. Click the app’s icon in the menu bar, and you’ll find a new summary tile that includes information about the charging status of Bluetooth devices, as well as information about connected drives, memory cards, and flash drives. Click on the tile, and it expands to the side of the menu bar app’s main window to display additional details.

Devices like iPhones and iPads don’t need to be connected to your Mac with a wire to show up in CleanMyMac X’s menu bar app. As long as they’ve been connected once and confirmed as trusted devices, they’ll show up in the app and display the remaining charge (but not whether they are currently charging) and available storage. It can sometimes take a while for a device to show up in CleanMyMac X’s menu bar app, but if you’re impatient, you can always grab a cable, plug your device into your Mac, and it will show up immediately. Beneath the storage information for each device, there’s also a ‘Reclaim Space’ link that opens a ‘How to free up iPhone storage’ page on MacPaw’s website.

CleanMyMac X works with wireless headphones like the AirPods Pro and some wireless game controllers.

CleanMyMac X works with wireless headphones like the AirPods Pro and some wireless game controllers.

CleanMyMac X supports other Bluetooth devices like the Magic Trackpad, Magic Keyboard, and at least some game controllers. I tried the app with 8BitDo’s Bluetooth Ultimate Controller and an Xbox controller, but only the 8BitDo model showed up in the app. CleanMyMacX’s menu bar app displayed my left and right AirPods Pro buds but not their case. Also, it’s worth noting that the app doesn’t seem to support Apple Watches.

For anyone who’s using CleanMyMac’s menu bar app, its new ability to monitor the charge status of devices is a nice addition. It has some limitations, but for my core devices, I’ve found that it gets the job done, just not quite as well as a dedicated Bluetooth device utility like AirBuddy.

CleanMyMac X's menu bar app works with external drives like this 500GB Samsung T3 drive too.

CleanMyMac X’s menu bar app works with external drives like this 500GB Samsung T3 drive too.

The other feature of Connected Devices is external storage monitoring and management. CleanMyMac X displays any external drives, memory cards, and flash drives and their storage capacity. The app also shows how much space is available, and if it determines after a scan that some of the data is junk, the app will list the amount of junk too. There’s an Organize button beneath each drive that opens the full CleanMyMac X app to the app’s Space Lens tab, which lets you drill through the drive’s folder structure, eliminating any junk or other unnecessary files. Drives can be ejected individually or all at once with the app too.

CleanMyMac X has come a long way from the days when it was primarily a tool for freeing up space on your Mac’s built-in drive. It’s still that and does an excellent job, but with tools like its menu bar app, CleanMyMac X is a far more robust way to monitor your Mac’s performance and fine-tune it for maximum speed and efficiency. With its new suite of Connected Devices functionality, CleanMyMac X has taken an important step towards extending beyond your Mac to the other devices and peripherals that you use with it.

CleanMyMac X is available directly from MacPaw as a $39.95 annual subscription or a $89.95 one-time payment. The app is also included as part of a Setapp subscription.