Hello again, and welcome this month’s Best iOS and macOS apps for March 2021. If you missed last month’s entry, or if this is your first time here, this is a pretty straightforward post.
I’m going to share eight awesome iOS and macOS apps with you that you’ve probably never heard of before. Some of these will be pretty popular, while others will be very indie. They’ll range in price, function, and style so that each month you can walk away with at least one app that you love.
I’m super excited about this month’s iOS and macOS apps and hope you get a lot of enjoyment and use out of them.
Alright, enough preamble – let’s get into it!
First up on our list of great iOS apps is Yummly. Yummly is an app I downloaded after subscribing to the Imperfect Foods service.
Imperfect Foods is an awesome platform that sends you weekly groceries from the store that would normally be thrown away. Instead, they collect these “imperfect” groceries, sell them to you for a discount, and send them to your doorstep. You save money and the environment – what’s not to love?
So why am I talking about Imperfect Foods when this is supposed to be about Yummly? Because one of the challenges I ran into while using this service is that I was getting groceries that I would normally never buy.
For example, I kept getting carrots each week. And as odd as it may sound, I had no idea what to do with them. I couldn’t think of any meals to add them to, I didn’t know how to cook them, and they sat in my fridge waiting for me to figure out what they were for.
Enter Yummly. This app allows you to search for and save recipes from all over the web using ingredients you already have. For instance, if I have carrots and chicken, I can put those ingredients into the search bar and get hundreds of recipes that use those ingredients.
If you enjoy cooking on any level, you don’t need me to tell you how great this is. Just go to the store, grab some new vegetables, seasonings, sauces, meats, or cheeses, search them with this app, and make something great that you’ve never made before.
StitchPics is an app I use so often that I can’t believe it hasn’t been included on my Best Of series yet. As someone who loves to hoard data and collect bits and bobs from the internet, this is an app I use constantly to make the photos I save more compact and legible.
It’s a simple app. Say you want to save screenshots from a website you’re reading. It’s instructions on how to fix your car, a new recipe, or photos of your parent’s Facebook account. To capture the full picture, however, you have to take multiple screenshots as you scroll.
Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t have a built-in feature that allows you to take a scrolling screenshot (yet). That’s where StitchPics comes in.
You take your screenshots, then open StitchPics and select those screenshots from your photos. StitchPics then automatically merges them into a single image. It does this by connecting overlapping regions from each screenshot to one another. You then save the new “long” screenshot to your photos, and that’s it! Simple, easy, and something you’ll use every day.
The camera on the iPhone has always filled kind of a strange niche by not filling any niche at all. It has all of the power needed to be an awesome camera for pro photographers. But even with all of the newest features and modes, the iPhone camera still functions as a basic point-and-shoot camera. This makes it overpowered for the average user and underpowered for professionals.
Seeing this problem, Halide Mark II was created to harness the full power of the iPhone camera. It combines features from Spectre, an app that won Apple’s App of the Year award in 2019, as well as the original Halide app.
The result is a camera app packed with features like manual focus, more ways to use RAW photos, advanced exposure tools, a built-in level, Siri Shortcuts support, and much more. Not to mention all kinds of features unique to this app, such as Focus Loupe, Technical Readout, and Coverage.
You do have to pay for this app, either by subscription or all at once. Given that this is for pros and passionate hobbyists, though, and the 50+ included features, it’s warranted.
I have one complaint with this app, and that’s the name. As cute as it is, it makes it hard to find this app on the App Store. Even after knowing what I was looking for, I had to dig through tons of crummy bubble-shooting mobile games before finding Bubb buried in the mess.
That’s it though. I love everything else about this app. It’s one of those ideas that’s so simple and flexible, that it ends up being something really special for everyone.
Bubb allows you to create what it calls “spontaneous reminders”, which are exactly as they sound. You create a reminder, and then Bubb will randomly send it to you during a period of your choosing.
The app was created to help the developer improve their posture with random daily reminders to sit up straight. You can create your own reminders, however, for things like checking in with your feelings, remembering to relax, drink water, go for a walk, and so on.
Give this a look, I have a feeling most of us could use this sort of tool.
Parallels Toolbox is an app I found recently while writing a separate AppleToolBox post. Since finding it, I’ve concluded that it is a must-have for everyone on Mac (and even on PC).
Parallels Toolbox is an app that costs $20/year and provides you with all of the tools, features, and settings for your Mac that you’ve ever wanted. This includes things you’ve wished Apple would add (like the ability to create alarms, save storage space, and archive files) to feature you never knew you wanted (like muting your microphone, presentation mode, and downloading videos).
Put simply, it’s an app that fills in the gaps for everything that macOS doesn’t yet offer. And for features that your Mac does currently offer, it makes those features simpler and more convenient.
If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of Scrivener. There’s a good chance you haven’t dropped the $50 for it, however. I don’t blame you! I avoided Scrivener for a long time, trying to keep track of my novels and short stories using text files like Pages and markdown.
Near the beginning of last year, though, I decided to give Scrivener a try. I can not imagine going back.
At first glance, Scrivener might seem a bit complicated. Especially if you compare it to something like Microsoft Word or Google Docs. But in reality, it’s not much more complicated than these other apps.
Scrivener’s main advantage is organization. It allows you to break up the pages of your novel by scene, then group these scenes into chapters. By breaking your novel up in this way, you can easily rearrange things, replace parts you don’t like, organize your drafts, and so on.
It also offers a section for keeping notes, templates for character dossiers, tools for compiling your finished novel, and much more. It is the only creative writing app you’ll ever need, and once you pay the $50, you’ll have it forever. Worth every penny!
I spent the weekend looking for a great mind-mapping alternative to Scapple for my iPad, and couldn’t. I just kept wishing Scapple was available on iPadOS and iOS.
Scapple is another app from the Scrivener developer Literature and Latte. Like Scrivener, it’s something you can use for your writing, though it’s also great for organizing your thoughts on anything.
What makes Scapple so great is how flexible it is. It focuses on giving you all of the tools you need to mind-map effectively, and then puts little to no restriction on how you use those tools. You can add points and notes just by clicking, include links and images, easily draw arrows, drag and drop, and a whole lot more.
My biggest complaint is the price. I think $10 would be a bit fairer than $18. That, and I wish it was on iPad. Otherwise, it’s a great companion to Scrivener.
Dropover is an excellent free app for Mac. It allows you to drag and drop objects between apps with greater ease and flexibility.
If you drag-and-drop files around all the time (like me) you know that holding a file with the mouse while swiping between apps on Mac is a bit difficult. It doesn’t always work as expected and can be a bit frustrating whenever dragging multiple files at once.
Dropover simplifies this by introducing a “shelf”. Whenever you start to drag a file, link, or piece of text around, you can shake your mouse to activate Dropover. A little shelf will appear where you can set the dragged object. You can then add more objects to this shelf if you like.
Whenever you swipe over to the app you want to drop the files in, the shelf will follow you. This way, you don’t have to hold down on your mouse the entire time. You can also share items directly from your Dropover shelf, which is super handy.
My one complaint is that the “Pro” version of the app doesn’t offer any additional features. It just stops the app from asking you to upgrade to “Pro”. It’s only a one-time fee of $4, though, so not a problem at all. Developers deserve support, after all!
I love all of the iOS and macOS apps in this month’s Best Of post. As always, these are apps that I use all the time and find make my Mac and iPhone experience infinitely better.
If you have any favorite apps you’d like to share, be sure to do so in the comments below. Until then, check out some of the other posts here at AppleToolBox and tune in next month for more of the best iOS and macOS apps.