Unsolicited App Recommendations 2019 Edition

It’s been about 8 months since I added this article to my “to-write” list, probably about time to write it.

To note this is an Apple focused one I don’t have any Androids knocking about.

Click the icon to go to the app store for the relevant app.

Good iOS Built-in Apps

Clock

The iOS clock icon is a black background with a white clock face. The hands on the image I've picked would indicate it's around 9:41 and 30 seconds.

Nice and simple. It’s a clock. Beats any other clock apps that may exist simply because the icon displays the current time and that’s all it really needs to do.

You can also use it to do stopwatches and timers. That is also useful sometimes.

Calendar

The iOS calendar app is a white background with the day in red and the day of month in black below it. The image I've picked indicates it's Wednesday the 9th. The month is not specified in the icon.

Likewise, the icon shows the date. Sorted. Gives you notifications when events happen and that.

It’s a calendar app, I haven’t really got anything else to say about it.

Productivity

Timery (Needs a Toggl account)

The Timery app's icon is like a standard power icon in white rotated counter-clockwise approximately 45 degrees o a solid red background. A standard power icon is an almost complete circle with the top cut out and in its place a vertical line down

A new one for me (and the rest of the world, it only just came out). Timery is a great interface to your Toggl timers. Set up repeating tasks and kick them off with the tap of a widget. Simple.

I don’t track every little thing, just things with a work basis - The day job, Side projects, I have one going right now while writing this blog post. That sort of thing.

Works well with Toggl’s free account if you were wondering.

Todoist

Todoist's icon looks almost like military rank indicators. Effectively three tail-less arrows pointing down, moved to the left of the icon. The arrows are white and the background is a solid pale red.

My fine grained task list. Anything in here needs doing, but I don’t use the due dates. For timing purposes I use..

Skedpal

Skedpal's icon could be described as a cross between a clock and a speedometer. The clock is white on a cyan background. The clock's hands indicate it's 10:15 and 35 seconds

My workhorse. If it needs doing, it needs to be in Skedpal. It figures out when it’s best for me to work on a task through a combination of due date, urgency, and time maps.

Time maps are blocks of time where you can work on something - You’d set up your 9-5 workday for work tasks to go into. Side hours outside of work for side projects. Weekends for.. weekend tasks. So on.

The way I work with Todoist and Skedpal, the general rule is a project in Todoist would be a task in Skedpal. Skedpal tells me what to do, Todoist tells me how to do it.

Due

Due's icon is vaguely a stopwatch with a tick. The background is a solid white, the stopwatch is a grey that fades to white on the right side. The tick is a solid grey

The third piece in my productivity triforce is Due. Due is the one that nags.

Set up a reminder or recurring task (e.g. take medication) and Due will remind you every n minutes until you say you’ve done it. For those tasks you either can’t, wont, or don’t want to remember to do.

Automation & Notification

Slack & Slack EMM

Slack's icon is a solid white background with blobs of 4 colours. To picture the blobs, imagine the southwest blob as a lowercase i with the top dot having fallen off to the left slightly - it's a light red. Now rotate that 90 degrees so the dot is at the top and place it in the northwest position, this one is a light blue. The northeast position is again rotated 90 degrees and is a light green. Once more for the southeast position, this one is yellow. This EMM version of the logo has a padlock in the very bottom left. The padlock is a white icon on a blacked out corner.
Regular Slack app icon. Unlike the EMM version it does not have the padlock in the bottom left corner

Now what on earth is going on here ‘eh? Two Slack apps. I don’t even want the one, I hear you say!

I have a personal Slack for things like alerts and automation notices - that one I’ve logged in to with the Slack EMM app. There’s nothing super special about the Enterprise version (at least the way I’m using it), it just means I can give my personal slack server different notification privileges than the others I’m logged in to.

IFTTT

IFTTT's icon is best pictured as a 3 by 3 grid. The top six sections of the grid are light blue. The bottom left and bottom middle is a light red. The bottom right is a dark grey.

I mainly use IFTTT for location-based or widget-based automations. Things like starting my work Toggl timer when I arrive at the office and stopping it when I leave.

I also have a Quick Note widget that dumps the content of a note widget into Evernote and a Quick Task widget which does the same but dumps the contents into Todoist’s inbox as a task.

Shortcuts

Shortcuts' icon is a solid royal blue background with two squares. The squares are skewed so that they look like a 3D cube without the sides. The top square is a salmon pink colour and the bottom is a turquoise. The bottom of the top square fades into the top of the bottom square which gives it a vague visual S look

Much to my own disappointment I’ve not done much with Shortcuts yet. So far all I’ve made is one that pre-fills a Ulysses document with my static site gen’s frontmatter for writing blog posts. It is a great app and is said to be getting more and more wired in to iOS’ internals in future for better automationing.

Sysadmin, Code, Website stuff.

HoneyBadger

Honeybadger's app icon is a dark blue green solid background. In front of this is an orange square rotated 45 degrees into a diamond. On top of this diamond is a lightning bolt, also orange.

I make apps and that. Sometimes something doesn’t quite go as planned. When that happens the app, in its last dying breath, pings off an error report to HoneyBadger. This is their iOS app so that I get bugged about it no matter where I am and that.

Jayson

Jayson's app icon is a light blue background with a vague to-white gradient at the top. On this is a white file icon and on top of that is a set of open close curly braces

Have you ever needed to view or edit JSON on your iDevice? Oh… you haven’t? Well then this app isn’t for you.

For anyone else this is the app for you, probably the best on iOS for tinkering with JSON.

Coggle

Coggle's app icon is a light green background. On top of this is a pale yellow, almost white wavy line going southwest to northeast. In the center the line is cut in a negative space tail-less arrow. This arrow looks like Coggle's UI when you add a link to another element

It’s a mind mapping app. I don’t often need mindmaps but when I do Coggle’s my man.

Canva

Canva's icon is a white C on a background. The background is a gradient from light blue to purple going northwest to southeast.

Need to quickly throw together a bit of artwork or a placeholder something or other? Canva honestly nails it. The app’s a bit more clunky than their web version but it’s workable.

Matomo

Matomo's icon is a stylized M on a white background. The leftmost leg of the M is a light blue dot, then a darker blue zigzags to follow the M until its final peak, which is an orange dot. The rightmost leg of the M is a light green

Don’t like Google Analytics? You’re probably using Matomo then. Their iOS app does what you’d expect, mobile access to your site stats.

Kodex

Kodex's logo is a white K on a primarily blood red background. The background is stylized in a way that extends the lines of the K to the edges of the icon. The reds either side of these lines are lighter or darker to give a textured effect.

Do I want to go as far as to say it’s Sublime Text for iOS? Maybe. It’s not quite 1:1 but it’s a damn good iOS text editor. Supports multiple cursors and can open files basically anywhere within iOS if they’re accessible.

Working Copy

Working Copy's logo is a solid dark blue background, on top of which is a cyan symbol that looks like a simplified fingerprint.

If you’ve got anything git, get Working Copy. It’s a git client for iOS. You can access files within Working Copy from other apps (e.g. open a file in-place with Kodex, save, git push with Working Copy).

The absolute bomb if you use a static site gen and use Netlify. Write a post from wherever, push, it’s live.

Blink's icon is a solid cyan background. On top of this is a black circle. Inside this circle is a white line which looks to be a forward slash character

You’ve got an editor, you’ve got a git client. What else do you need? An SSH client of course! There are others but I absolutely love Blink because it supports mosh - mosh is a way to connect to a server much like SSH except it connects using UDP and your connection persists even if your IP address changes (mobile networks). It even handles super high latency eventually if your connection doesn’t completely drop (e.g. on a train going through tunnels and that). I realise that’s more a point for the mosh protocol/service but as this was the only iOS client I could find at the time I needed it, it’s got my A++.

Just a tip though as it’s a bit bare bones UX wise - When you first open it and haven’t got a clue what you need to do next, type “config” and hit enter.

Misc Builtin Replacements

Firefox

Firefox's logo is a dark blue background. On top of this is a lighter blue sphere, the sphere is obscured around northwest to northeast with a simplified depiciton of a fox. The fox is a dark orange at the head which lightens to about where the tail would start. The tail is a gradient from orange to yellow.

It’s Firefox. It’s on iOS. Nuff said really.

I do realise it’s not a fully fledged Firefox due to Apple’s restrictions on browser engines but it does have some handy stuff like sending pages to other Firefoxes logged in to your sync account. That feature alone is why I use it, obviously if that’s not useful for you stick with Safari :)

Fastmail

Honestly all email apps are this description with varying colours. Fastmail's in particular is a light grey to grey gradient for the background and on top of that a white envelope. On the envelope is a thin wavy line (picture an S shape if you stretched it out a bit) going left to right. This line is yellow.

Replaced Gmail with Fastmail a while back because they murdered Inbox. Haven’t looked back. This is Fastmail’s iOS app. Even if you use another mail app (as I do) it’s useful to have this one installed so that you can tinker with settings and mail filters on the go.

1Password

1password's logo looks like a bank vault. The background is a light grey, a bordered off-white circle is on top of this making it look embossed. Inside this is a blue circle. Inside the blue circle is another off-white circle. Inside that is a dark grey symbol that looks like a simplified keyhole. The simplified keyhole can be described as a line that has a bit of a twist in the middle.

Password manager. Does what it says on the tin, does so with a nice UX - the nicest UX I’ve come across in terms of password managers infact.

Love that you can have multiple vaults.

1.1.1.1

This is a service from Cloudflare. The 1.1.1.1 logo is a white 1 with a superscript 4. The background is a hippie dippie tie-dye effect. From southeast to northwest the colours are yellow, orange, bluegreen, turquoise, royal blue, pink. The colours are separated in a wavy stripe fashion that pulls in to a center at the top

1.1.1.1 is a DNS service from Cloudflare. Not really sure what I’m getting out of this except secure and quick DNS lookups. Sometimes it breaks things like your mobile provider’s app’s ability to auto-log you in.

Should be infinitely more useful in future when they unleash their full VPN service rather than just the DNS.

Spark

Spark's icon is a blue background with a white paper airplane on top. The airplane would be the underside view of the plane, if seen as an arrow it is pointing to the top of the icon.

My mail app of choice right now. I’ve tried others, I’ve liked others. I’ve hated others. This one’s the one that’s got the nicest blend of usability and not notifying me every time someone somewhere in the world sends an email.

Will likely check out Superhuman instead of this if they ever give me an invite, but for now this is my guy.

Writing

Notability

Notability's icon is a solid light blue background. On top of this is what could be described as a very short pencil, where the eraser would be is a studio microphone to symbolize Notability's writing and audio recording abilities I would imagine.

If you like using the pencil to write, Notability is your go-to app.

I was also looking at getting a Paperlike for my iPad recently and discovered they have a nifty daily bullet journal thing that you can import into Notability, you can grab that here -> https://paper.me/journal

GoodNotes

Goodnotes is nice and simple. White background, on top of that are light blue lines. The bottom line is only half complete with an image of a pen writing the line. The other lines are to indicate text being written

I use this for more “live” writing, such as keeping track of inventories when recording Would You Like to Restart. Honestly mostly it’s to keep things separate from my Notability stuff, but it’s a good app and has a UI that works better with WYLTR related stuff.

Dealer’s choice between this and Notability if you’re handwriting honestly they’re both good options.

Ulysses

Ulysses' icon is an almost black dark grey background. On top of this is a top down view of a yellow butterfly. The head of the butterfly is a fountain pen nib

If you were ever planning on writing a novel on an iPad, Ulysses is probably the app you’d be best picking. It’s more than a text editor like Kodex from earlier, it’s more a long form writing tool.

I used it, and plan on using it in future, for podcast research and scripts. This is the big guns of the iOS writing tools.

Evernote

Evernote's icon is a white background, on top of this is a simplified version of an elephant's head in a light green. The elephant's head has its trunk to the right, its body would be on the left if it were included.

General note dump.

This is where my note widgets end up sending data. I pretty much just use it as you might post-its. Random notes I need to remember but can come back and sort through/action later.

Entertainment

Overcast

Overcast's icon has an orange background. On this is a white circle with a thick black border. Inside the circle is a simplified radio tower in the same black of the border. To the left and right of the tower's point are two orange semicircles giving a ripple effect - standard broadcast icon sort of way.

The best iOS podcast app. I used to use Pocketcasts which is decent enough but they changed too much on me in one go and I found Overcast. Smart playlists, listen to episodes without needing to subscribe, smart silence removal and smart speed.

It’s everything you could ask for in a podcast client.

Apollo

Apollo has a circular gradient effect background in light blues to light purples. On this is a robot version of reddit's snoo icon - Snoo is an alien and/or tellytubby head. The robot snoo is white with pink eyes. The eyes are stylized in a way to make the robot look cheerful.

Apollo is everything I said about Overcast except for reddit. Hands down the best iOS reddit app. The gold standard.

Reeder

Reeder's icon is a 4-step gradient from northeast to southwest. It starts as a light grey, then a slightly darker grey, then grey, then a darker grey. On top of this background is a white star.

I’m one of those nerds that still uses RSS readers. This is the RSS reader I use. It connects to a self hosted instance of FreshRSS (though you can use other services with Reeder) and shows me my Instapaper stuff in one app.

Kindle & Audible

Audible's icon is an orange background. On top is a downward-pointing tail-less arrow. The arrow's acute side has lines that indicate the arrow is actually a book being opened. The lines are wider on the right than the left
Kindle's icon is a side profile of a person reading a book. They are sitting on a simple black hill. The very background looks like a twilight night sky - a light moody blue gradient with points of white to indicate stars.

I don’t often use Audible, but if you ever need to switch between audiobooks and ebooks this is the tagteam you want on your side. Basically they sync your progress between them so you don’t have to faff about finding where you were when you come back to a book.

The Kindle app also goes a little neglected, I have one of those eInk badboys for my reading usually. Sometimes though for non-fiction I like to read using the iPad because it has more of a webpage scroll feel in the iOS app rather than “page turns”.

Spotify

Spotify's logo is a dark grey almost black background. On top of this is a green circle. Inside the green circle are three lines that have been pulled in the middle into bends. The whole circle has then been rotated approximately 10 degrees clockwise.

It’s music. Sometimes I get into the pop musics all the kids are listening to and have to listen to it on repeat for a few days before going back to podcasts.

Netflix (?)

Netflix's icon is a black background. On top of this is an N - the N's left and right lines are a blood red. The diagonal line that connects them is a slightly lighter red.

I rarely use the Netflix app as-is but it’s useful to have knocking about to cast to TVs

And the rest

Carrot

Carrot's icon has a nighttime background. By this I mean a dark to light purple gradient with white points indicating stars. In front of this is a white cloud with a yellow lightning bolt underneath. On the cloud is a black pill shape which has a white upward pointing arrow inside.

Weather app with a snark dial, what more could you ask for?

Namecheap

Namecheap's logo is a white background. On top of this is an orange slighly skewed to the right N. The left and right lines are skewed clockwise approximately 20 degrees, they are both orange. The line connecting them to form the N is a slightly lighter orange

You ever get a hankering to check if a domain name is available combined with a self-destructive must-buy-domains addiction? You need the Namecheap app. No matter where you are, day or night, on-site or on-bus you can buy your domain names without hassle.

Bonus feature: push notices for expiring domains if you want them.

Dropbox

Dropbox's logo is a royal blue background. On this is a simplified isometric box made up of 5 lighter blue squares that appears open at the top.

Everyone knows what Dropbox is. It’s a big file dump. I dump files there.

Just Press Record

An orangepink background. On top of this is a white circle. In the white circle is another circle which is the same orangepink colour. Sorry if orangepink makes no sense it's like a dark salmon colour. Actually I have no idea how visually impaired people percieve colours, these descriptions might be completely useless.

Nifty app that is basically just a giant record button. When you press it, it records your voice. When you stop recording, it transcribes what you said in addition to saving your audio file.

Buffer

Buffer's icon is a white background, on top of which are three squares laid out as squashed diamonds that make up a vague isometric cube. I'm not sure why this is their icon honestly I'm not sure how this relates to buffering things. Maybe it's a fancy way to do the usual database icon or something.

Want to spam Twitter without losing all your followers? Buffer your tweets so they come out one by one.

Dark blue background. On this is a lighter blue hexagon with the pointy bits top and bottom. Inside that is a white triangle pointing to the right in a standard play button style

This is a new one for me. Very new. Like, I discovered this actually this morning new.

Elgato’s made a tool that uses iOS’ screen recording to broadcast your iPad screen to a PC. From there you can bung it into OBS Studio and then stream your iPad or whatever you want to do with a tool like this.

It runs a little bit delayed but if you can live with the latency it’s a really nifty tool to stream your iDevice without having to faff with expensive cables and HDMI inputs.

Heya! I’m Cohan and I make PHP-based websites. I also administer Linux servers and do other nerdy stuff like that.
In my more creative moments I’m writing a comedy film. As ye do.
A picture of me.