ios  mac

The Apps Keeping me on macOS (2018 update)

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

Just under a year ago, I wrote this piece about the apps that were keeping me on a Mac over a Windows or Linux PC. Now that’s a year later and I’m more than a little smitten with the iPad Pro, I thought it would be interesting to see how these apps stand up to iOS 11 on an iPad Pro and if these apps are even a reason to keep using a Mac at all.

Here’s the list:

Alfred: I still use this daily on my Mac, and it provides functionality that is simply not possible on iOS. That said, a year later this feels less essential to my workflow than before. If Spotlight would let me run Workflows, I’d actually be most of the way to replacing what Alfred offers. Thank you to Ryan Daigle for letting me know this is actually possible!

Audio Hijack: I honestly don’t find myself using this app all that much anymore. I use it for the rare occasion I am on someone else’s podcast and want to do some complicated audio recording/routing.

Automator: Workflow has completely replaced this for me.

BetterTouchTool: I have not even installed this on my Mac after formatting the disk earlier in the year. It provides some useful functionality, but I don’t miss it on iOS.

Deliveries: This is on iOS as well.

Due: Also on iOS.

Fantastical: Also on iOS.

Final Cut Pro X: There are some options for video editing on iOS, but none of them even come close to the ease of use and power that FCPX provides on the Mac. With the latest 10.4 update, Final Cut is ever further ahead of the pack.

iStatMenus: I don’t worry about my CPU, network traffic, or RAM usage on iOS, so I don’t need this.

Logic Pro X: Ferite has completely replaced Logic for my podcasting workflow. Logic does far more, but I no longer fee like I need it.

Pastebot: I do miss this on iOS. Not having access to my clipboard history is a major limitation of iOS and I hope Apple either builds out a solution for this, or they enable third parties to do this.

Pixelmator: I’m using Affinity Photo for the iPad, and it’s pretty good, but I don’t love the interface. Pixelmator’s own app is decent on iOS, but I’d really love them to put out Pixelmator Pro for the iPad.

Reeder: Also on iOS.

Rocket: Ah, system-wide Slack-style emoji entry, how I wish this worked on iOS. Apple’s autocorrect keyboard often guesses what emoji I want, but it’s not 100%, and Rocket on the Mac is perfect.

Transmit: Well, sadly Panic discontinued Transmit for iOS in the last few weeks, but I still use it for all my FTP needs and it works great. Here’s hoping this keeps working for a few iOS updates into the future.

Tweetbot: Also on iOS.

Ulysses: Also on iOS.

1Password: Also on iOS.

Listing it out like that really make it stand out to me how well iOS is doing at replicating my Mac workflows. There was tons I didn’t mention on here (like email, web browsing, photo management, etc.) but that’s because their solutions are totally cross-platform, and I find most of them better on iOS.

Also for what it’s worth, nothing has come out on Windows or Linux in the past year that competes with any of these apps, so yeah, don’t expect my PC needs to be replaced by anything without an Apple logo on it anytime soon.