The Mac and iOS Apps I Use: 2023 Edition・The Jolly Teapot – News Block

Every year I get these kinds of articles published. Looking back at the 2022 and 2021 editions, it seems like I’ve somehow struck a balance when it comes to the apps I install on my devices.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that in terms of the number of apps I have installed on my devices, I go through different states of minimalism: from extreme minimalism (less than 5 apps in total, iOS and MacOS combined) to a more consistent list (about a dozen). My first rush to uninstall apps tends to be too strong and so I reinstall a few more after a while. Then it turns out that some of the apps I re-added are redundant, and I delete a few more, until I put one or two back in, etc.

Over time, it goes a bit like this:graph that alternately goes from 20 to 5 applications and reduces to 10

Fewer apps means fewer updates to think about and fewer shortcuts and features to remember. Mac’s default apps are pretty good for most of my daily use. Mail is an excellent email client, iCloud Drive works well, and the Notes/Reminders duo is an attractive offering, considering it’s free and already installed on your devices.

But there are so many great apps out there, it’s a shame not to use them for the things they excel at, especially for someone like me who appreciates well-made software. And it’s not like installing an app is slowing down a computer like it used to in the 1990s.

Here’s the exhaustive list of third-party apps currently installed on my iPhone and MacBook Air, and the apps I choose to add to my work computer:

Wipr (Mac and iOS, content blocker)

I wish I didn’t have to use it, but the fact remains that it might be the only app on this list that I can’t function without. As far as content blockers go, Wipr has proven to be the best for me, hands down. The must-have app on the must-have list.

Teacher (Mac, Dropbox client)

As you may or may not know, this blog is powered by Blot. To post to Blot, a post’s text file must be synced to a specific folder on Dropbox. That’s all. Maestral is just that great, lightweight, native Dropbox client you’ve been looking for.

If you already use an RSS reader, you probably already know that NetNewsWire is the best there is. If you don’t use RSS yet, what are you doing? Then give NetNewsWire a try: it feels like, and should be, a default Mac application.

Affair (iOS, Read Later app/Mac, Safari extension)

Already listed last year as a new alternative to Instapaper and Pocket. Since Apple’s Reading List feature is stuck in 2012, I have to use a read-after app to save articles, highlight, and annotate citations. Matter is fantastic for this, and it looks great while doing it.

The file (Mac, writing app)

A few weeks ago I wrote a very long article reviewing my favorite text editors, which mentioned The Archive, along with CotEditor and others. For a while I used both (one for writing new posts, one for editing files), but two apps seemed overkill and redundant.

Image synchronization (iOS, camera sync utility)

As the iPhone 11 seems to be more powerful than my early 2020 Intel MacBook Air when it comes to photo editing, I try to have a phone-only photo workflow with my new camera, the Ricoh GRIIIx. This is the app to send photos from camera to phone.

Photo by Pixelmator (iOS, photo editor)

The other photography workflow app on the list. I have tried various photo editing apps and there are many excellent ones. I ended up with Pixelmator Photo because I was looking for an app that didn’t require an account, could edit RAW files, and would do a better job than the default iPhone Photos app.

WhatsApp (iOS, messaging app)

I could delete WhatsApp. People can text me via SMS and iMessage. But in France, WhatsApp is like email: if you don’t have it, you’re weird. As the guy already absent from Instagram, Facebook, and now LinkedIn, I have to push myself somewhere.

Things (Mac, task lists)

The day my employer replaced my Windows laptop with a new Mac, Things was the first app I installed and it’s been a joy to use ever since. The kind of apps you come across using the word “craft” a lot when describing them.

Baby (Mac, notes app)

If you didn’t use the same iCloud account for work and could have two separate sets of notes, Tot would be a serious contender for The Archive. It looks like a fancy sticky note app, but it’s so much more than that. A delight to use.

I have two other apps installed on my phone: the I robot app to remotely activate our vacuum cleaner, and my bank app, N26 (which is, as far as banking apps go, probably one of the best). I have also Shazam installed as an App Clip (remember them?).

And that is. All the other apps I use came with the devices. I’ve talked about that before, but the iPhone and Mac are pretty good when it comes to pre-installed apps. I wish Apple would care a little more about TextEdit, work a little more on the Sticky Notes feature in the Notes app, realize that Safari’s Reading List needs a total revamp, and that RSS needs to exist outside of the Podcast app.

Actually, an all-in-one Apple Reader app would make a lot of sense: a tab for your own reading list later, another tab that lists all “shared with you” links (from other apps), another tab for Sticky Notes links, and featured, and a last tab with an RSS subscription thing. Or they can just buy Matter and be done with it.

Curious to see what your favorite apps are: Submit suggestions and links to your own lists using the link below.

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