Posted on Thu 12 December 2013

Apps I like: Dec 2013

I currently have an iPhone 5S. I really miss some things about Android, but after a year away from Apple's walled garden I had to come back. The sub-par app experience of Android was too frustrating for me. A lot of the most exciting apps are released on iOS first (or only), and almost always look and feel more at home on an Apple device.

Since I'm such an app fanatic, I thought it would be fun to share some of my favourite apps as I add to my collection. To start off with, here are five of the apps on my phone that I use all the time right now.

Several of these are data-tracking apps, since I'm super excited about quantifying my life and collecting data to use with Exist. They're also mostly apps that I've started using in the last couple of months, and don't include some of my staples like Mailbox, Fantastical, Due and Reeder 2. But there's plenty of time to talk about those later.

1. Cost

Cost

The last time I reported a bug to the developer of Cost, I got back an email asking me to follow the app's Twitter and Facebook accounts, with no recognition of the bug whatsoever. Having said that, it was only around a week later that an update was released which fixed said bug.

So if you're after warm-fuzzies from the developer, don't get this app (try DailyCost instead—that's what I used previously and it's very similar).

But if all you want is a simple way to track your expenses and see your available spending money (you have to enter this manually, it doesn't hook up to your bank account), this is a great choice.

2. Checkie

Checkie

I've started checking-in to most of the places I visit nowadays, simply because I'm excited about the insights Exist will be able to extrapolate from that data. Which means I'm not interested in Foursquare as an experience, I simply want to have a record of the places I visit (Hunter Walk wrote a really interesting piece about why people do this).

Checkie is perfect for this. It puts a simple, minimalistic skin on Foursquare so you can check-in with just a swipe and you don't have to wade through check-in suggestions, updates on your friends or interstitials about who the mayor is at your current location.

3. Datalove

Datalove

I just stumbled upon Datalove a few days ago, so it might be premature to suggest you give it a go already, but you can try it for free before upgrading, and it turned out to be exactly the app I was looking for after four hours of fruitless searching (app discovery could really use a shake-up).

Datalove essentially lets you track anything you like. You can track items with numbers, time or distance. I'm using it to track the number of coffees I have each day and my weight every week or so, to see if there's any obvious correlation between the two.

You could track mood based on a numeric scale, exercise distance or time, or any kind of habit you're trying to build like playing music or writing every day. You can also export the data, and if you turn your phone sideways you can look at graphs of each data type you're tracking.

4. Clever Routines

Clever Routines

I used to use Lift to track my goals. If you've heard of Lift, you can imagine Clever Routines as an alternative app with no social features and more flexible scheduling. Essentially, it's Lift but better (for me, that is. Lots of people love Lift's social features and daily streak-building strategy).

You can set up flexible habits in the app and choose how often you want to do them and how often you want a reminder. Checking off a habit takes a simple swipe.

A couple of things I do miss in this app (and I worry I'll never see, since the developers seem very quiet since launch and their support email address bounces) are some kind of calendar or graph to view my progress over time, and a way to check-off previous days. Right now the app resets at midnight so if I did a habit yesterday and forgot to check it off, too bad.

5. Byword

Byword

On my iPad I'm set on Editorial. It's awesome. On my iPhone, where Editorial isn't an option, Byword still takes the cake. Particularly with the iOS 7 update that added gold accents. It seems silly, but that small change really improved the design, I think.

For working on a short blog post on the train, Byword is definitely my go-to.

As any text/markdown editor should, it syncs with Dropbox so I can switch between my Mac (using Byword, also), my iPad and my iPhone while working on the same file (I actually do this sometimes. Dropbox makes it so easy).

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