apps for your iPhone & Mac

Okay, this is a personal list and represents only my own way of doing things. If you find this useful or not, it is entirely your choice. I have no financial interest in any of these recommendations. In no particular order, these are the apps that I would not want to live without. I have used most of them for years and the developers have continued to improve and update the programs.

1. SaiSuke – (iPhone) – This unheard of app lets me organize and more importantly, see my calendar in a beautiful full-color view. I am a month-at-a-time person. I like to see the overview. The standard Apple app only shows grey dots. SaiSuke lets me assign a color for each of my calendars or projects or events. Everything is customizable. It can take some time to get the colors and other visual elements just right for your taste, but I found it worth the effort.  You can see from the screenshots the dramatic difference. The calendar sync’s with iCloud, so everything is up to date. For some people, not having a desktop version is a problem. Syncing is automatic through the cloud. They have a free version to try it out before buying. I have tried more than a dozen other apps over the years and never found one that was better than SaiSuke. Update: There is a SaiSuke 2 that works great with the larger screen phones. Enjoying the many improvements.

Option: A close second is Calendar 5. In many respects a very good app but one flaw for the way I use it. In the month view, when there is more than one entry on a day, the process of selecting one event is difficult. SaiSuke brings up all events for the day in a larger window to select the one you want. One special feature from Calendar 5 is the sliding selector for choosing a future or past date. But the swiping through the months with SaiSuke works fast and easy.

2. BusyCal – (Mac) – My desktop calendar that works like the old Mac versions, but better. I find it much better at organizing and viewing my events and appointments in a month view. Many things can be customized but not all. I find the interface clean, and with a few tweaks, easy to read and work with. The syncing is almost instantaneous with iCloud and therefore also with SaiSuke. Since Apple includes a calendar free with its software, you may hesitate at the price. I found it to be a great investment.

3. AnyList – (iPhone + Mac) – A simple list program. My partner and I share a grocery list. We can each add or delete items. Everything sync’s through iCloud instantly. You can add comments, photos or like URLs or other files. It just works. Annual costs worth the convenience.  One could use the Apple Reminders app, but this is much easier to use. Apple promotes its own Notes app to be able to keep and share lists. I have not used it so cannot comment on how good it works. Anylist I have come to trust and rely on so is my default list program.

4. Clips – (iPhone) – This is confusing since Apple came out with an app called, Clips. These are 2 different apps. I am writing about the non-Apple one. It is a way to manage multiple things you want to copy and paste. With the handy widget, I can easily save pastes for later use. I never found the limitation of just one copied item at a time to be useful.

5. CopyPaste Pro (Mac) – This program has been around a long time and makes my work much easier. I often need to copy many different items and then paste them into another document. This program allows me to do that. Clips sets can be saved and there are endless ways to customize the app. There are keyboard shortcuts and desktop widgets. For me, the title bar icon is enough to access the items needed to paste. Update: This program no longer works with the 64-bit OS on the Mac. After much searching, reading about, and trying out different programs I now use CopyClip. I use the multiple copy function every day and do not see how other people can manage with just one copy and paste at a time. CopyClip is not an exact replacement but comes the closest. It does the job I need.

6. Insight Timer (iPhone) – Probably the best timer for people who meditate, do yoga and like to listen to guided meditations. Beautiful bells can be added with many ways to adjust the settings for your needs. The community aspect is a nice bonus. 

7. WeatherPro (iPhone) – It gives me more information and easier to customize. I do miss only one feature of the Apple app, in the list view, they show the weather for each location you have saved in cool realistic moving images. But this is not enough to want to use it daily. WeatherPro has optional features for anything extra you may want, like the temperature of the water or snow conditions.

8. Navigon (iPhone) – They make maps for different areas of the world. For this review, I am only talking about the GPS app for Europe. It is great. Over 40 countries can be added for one price. Speed cameras both fixed and temporary can be viewed. Night options, 3D options, and all the features one would need in a navigation app. The visuals are so clear, I normally mute the turn by turn as I find it too repetitive. Regular updates help to find new addresses. Sometimes it gets confused, but I believe all GPS systems have this occasional problem. In general, I get where I want easily and quickly. There is even a way to include others in a shared service. Update: They have announced the app will stop development next year. I hope they keep it going.

9. Travel Apps for the iPhone are a whole blog post by themselves. My most used are TripAdvisor, Booking, DB Navigator, and American Airlines.

10. Games (iPhone) – Solebon Solitaire, Ski Safari, Angry Birds 2, Trism, Bubble Cloud, and Wood Puzzle. I have used many others over the years but lost interest. These currently are keeping my interest. I have no interest in games where the goal is to kill someone. Unless you include the Pigs in Angry Birds.

11. Cloud storage – (Mac) I am most happy with the new Files app from Apple. A lot like the old version from years ago. I use Dropbox for storing and sharing all the stuff needed in my training programs and will continue. I also use Evernote. I know the new Apple Notes app is the best yet, but for now, I also upload all my iPhone photos to my Dropbox account. I keep the full resolution images in folders and can access, view or send links to anyone. Evernote lets me organize things in a way that works for me. To be clear, Evernote can be a pain to use. Some of the advances came with a more complicated interface. Not as easy to use as in the past. But it does allow me to keep what is needed and to be able to find it when needed.

12. Organization (Mac) – DragThing – this app is like getting 2 extra docks, or as many as you like. I put one dock on each side of the screen. It sits off-screen until I move my cursor to that side and then the dock appears. On one side I keep applications that I use regularly but don’t want to keep in my Apple dock. That way my Apple dock does not get too cluttered. I keep a second dock on the right side for Folders that I use regularly. This easy assess saves me much time. Once in an apple store, the ‘genius’ wanted to know how I got a second dock on my Mac. He did not know it was another program.  Update: This app has stopped working with the new OS. I did not find a suitable replacement. I developed a workaround using aliases, the dock, and some tweaks to make it easy to manage.

13. Video/Media (Mac) – VLC is the best for viewing any video, HandBrake works with video files, RipIt for getting DVD’s into digital form, Audiobook Builder is what the name suggests, Waltr for getting movies & audiobooks from my computer to my iPhone. Great for loading up my phone for travel.

The list is current as of November 14, 2019.

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