My App Defaults for 2024
It’s time for a new year and so, inspired by an initiative spawned by the Hemipsheric Views podcast and further expanded by Robb Knight for folks to share their default apps, I thought I’d share a default app list of my own! This is primarily focused on stuff I use outside of my actual job, which also means my list is extremely iPhone and iPad focused. I have a personal Mac, but I use it shockingly little as of late.
📨 Mail Client
- Gmail and Fastmail for iOS. I don’t particularly love them, but they do the job.
- RIP Mailbox, the only good mobile email app
📮 Mail Server
- Gmail for personal. Because of course it is. I certainly don’t use Yahoo! mail.
- Fastmail for domain mail. Particularly good is you have a bunch of domains you want to manage on one account.
- Apple Notes. I find the system app to be sufficient for the vast majority of my quick note-taking needs.
- Day One for journaling. I highly recommend everyone try journaling, at least for a bit. It may not be for you, but I find that getting whatever thoughts I have out of my head to be immensely valuable.
- Reminders. I have no formal task management system. It mostly boils down to “Siri, remind me to do laundry tomorrow at 11 AM”
📷 iPhone Photo Shooting
- Camera. I’ve tried third party camera apps and, while they’re great, they never end up sticking for me.
🟦 Photo Management
- iCloud Photos. I live in the ecosystem, and so iCloud is all I really need for photo management.
🎞️ Image and Vector Editors
- Pixelmator Pro. Truly one of my favorite apps and developers of all time. They make a stellar image editor and have been continually improving it for over a decade.
- Pixelmator for iOS. You’d think it would be hard to do complex image edits on a phone, but I’ve done this time and time again. If I have an idea for some silly meme, I can make it on my phone right then and there.
- Affinity Designer 2. I’m not great at making vector graphics, but the Affinity suite is still a really great tool whenever I need to make some.
🎬 Video Editor
- Final Cut Pro for Mac. I’m far from a professional, but I always find a great deal of joy whenever I open Final Cut. It makes editing fun for me.
- LumaFusion for iPad and iPhone. This serves a similar purpose to Pixelmator for iOS. Good for making quick meme videos. I’m not at all competent at using it well, but it’s a good tool to have if I need it.
🎧 Audio Editor
- Logic Pro for Mac. Logic is super powerful, and I barely know how to use it. But it’s got everything I need if I want to play around with music, edit podcast-style stuff, or just clip something out. Not as fun as Final Cut though.
- Ferrite for iPad. It’s incredible what you can do with this app. It makes it easy to work on podcast-style audio with the same speed I might in Logic, but on a much more comfortable device.
📁 Cloud File Storage
- iCloud Drive. I don’t rely that much on cloud storage beyond basic documents, where iCloud Drive is sufficient
- Google Drive for sharing files, because iCloud is still not quite sufficient in that area..
- Not a frequent user, but NetNewsWire when doing so.
- iCloud Contacts. Why are these in iCloud but my calendar is in Google? I don’t really know.
- Arc on Mac. I love love love some of its UI innovations. The sidebar and Mini Arc are truly great features.
- Safari on iPhone and iPad. Safari is the only browser on iOS that supports extensions, so I wouldn’t even consider switching.
I will basically use whatever app I need to to reach folks
🗣️ Social apps
- Ivory for Mastodon, connecting to the very nice snailedit.social
- Threads, for the people who aren’t on Mastodon
- Safari. But tbh I basically never make bookmarks.
📑 Read It Later
- GoodLinks. A really nice app with a really easy to use extension that I don’t use nearly enough. I add a bunch of stuff there, sure. But I don’t often go to actually read it.
📜 Word Processing
Equal opportunity word processing!
- Google Sheets. Numbers confuses me and Excel sheets are harder to live collaborate on, so Google Sheets it is.
- Keynote. There really is no comparison here. Keynote is ahead of the other presentation apps by a mile. It’s another one of those apps that feels fun to use.
- Apple Music. I like the library-focused approach Apple takes, as I’d built up my iTunes library for years before Apple Music launched, and still add in a bunch of stuff that isn’t on Apple Music to my library regularly. I also find their playlists and some of their radio shows to be quite good.
- Sonos Radio. It may have ads, but I find their mixes to be quite solid, and wish they offered more than radio.
- Rarely YouTube Music if I’m looking for something not on Apple Music
- Overcast. Which gets a lot of use.
🔐 Password Management
- 1Password. I don’t despise 1Password 8 like many do, but it can be frustrating at times. In general, though, I still find it to be the tool that fits my needs the best. Except…
- iCloud Keychain for Passkeys. I find the system integration for passkeys to be smoother, at least for now. Maybe this will change in the future, but I’m split at present.
📋 Clipboard Manager
- Pastebot. Everybody should use a clipboard manager. They;re truly invaluable tools that can change how you work, I find that Pastebot’s simple overlay and features like sequential paste work well for me.
🧑💻 Code Editor
- iTerm 2. The built-in macOS terminal is fine, but I appreciate the extra customization options that iTerm provides.
And that’s my list! I hope you found something interesting in the list. And be sure to check out Robb’s web page which links to everyone else’s app defaults.