Gmail design update for iOS is rolling out soon in the App Store

I abandon Gmail a few years ago but I’m sure many of you who read my blog are using it. That said, Google has announced that its mobile apps for iOS and Android are being updated to bring them in line with the design changes and new features that are now available on the web. My last experience with Gmail on mobile was disappointing at best so I’m sure this is welcome news for you Gmail folks.

Nikolus Ray
Product Manager – Gmail

This update is part of a larger effort to make G Suite look and act like a family of products, designed in the Google Material Theme with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve already updated the web experiences for Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and most recently Google Docs and Sites. In the coming weeks, you’ll see the new mobile design in Gmail on Android and iOS, with more G Suite mobile apps to follow later this year.

My 2019 Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad

This article is an annual tradition: towards the end of December I summarize My Must-Have iOS Apps for iPhone and iPad that I will be using for the next year. This is always among my most popular posts. I’m sharing my 2019 must have apps in hopes you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

During 2018 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to, others I tried and didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. Having the right app for the right task on the right device is key to my productivity.

You can find My 2019 Must-Have Mac Apps here.

My iPhone and iPad setup:

My iPhone is a 32 GB Silver 7 Plus. My iPad is a 2017 9.7” with Retina display with 128 GB of storage.

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
Safari is my browser on iOS.

Mail.app
Fastmail IMAP works flawlessly with the stock mail.app.

Messages
Messages is for messaging with my friends and family.

Things 3
Things 3 is for task management and reminders. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote an article about it here.

Fantastical 2
Fantastical is my calendar app. It’s where I keep all my appointments and some reminders.

Bear
Bear is my notes and lists app. I’ve been a pro user since the inception of the app. It’s beautiful to work in, search is excellent and I’ve never had a sync issue.

Drafts
Drafts is my multi-purpose writing and note taking app. I use it as the first stop for most everything I write and use its extensibility to send it anywhere. It has a customizable keyboard, which allows me to add one button actions. Then there are an array of export actions once I finish creating. I’ve written about how I use Drafts here.

Ulysses
Ulysses is the app I use to write my stories. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it since it went subscription. During the year I tried other writing apps but none compares with Ulysses. I do most all my writing on my Mac so it’s rarely used on my iPhone and iPad other than for a quick add to one of my stores or for the share sheet.

Copied
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Day One Journal
Day one is for keeping a life log of things that go on in my life.

Reeder
Reeder is my newsreader for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Tweetbot
Tweetbot is for reading my Twitter feed.

Instapaper
Instapaper is my read it later service. I wrote an article about my Instapaper workflow here.

Overcast
Overcast is where I listen to podcasts.

1Password
1Password is my password manager.

Launch Center Pro
Launch Center Pro is for launching actions in a single tap.

PCalc
PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Scanner Pro
Scanner Pro allows me to scan paper documents into PDFs that look clean and professional.

TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

Garmin Connect
Connect is for recording and tracking my cycling and running activities.

My 2019 Must-Have Mac Apps

This article is an annual tradition: towards the end of December I summarize My Must-Have Mac Apps that I will be using for the next year. This is always among my most popular posts. I’m sharing my 2019 must have apps in hopes you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

During 2018 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to, others I tried and didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. Having the right app for the right task on the right device is key to my productivity.

You can find My 2019 Must-Have iOS apps for iPhone and iPad here.

My Mac setup:

I have two Macs. A late-2013 21.5” iMac and an early-2015 13” Retina MacBook Pro.

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
Safari is my browser of choice. It just works best on macOS. I use Firefox Quantum browser when a site doesn’t play nice with Safari.

Fastmail
I’ve been using Fastmail as my email service for over 4 years. It’s been a great Gmail replacement. I’ve written about Fastmail here.

Things 3
Things 3 is for task management and reminders. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote about it here.

Fantastical 2
Fantastical is my calendar app. It’s where I keep my appointments and some reminders. I love that I can use natural language to quickly create events and reminders.

Bear
Bear is my notes and lists app. I’ve been a pro user since the inception of the app. It’s beautiful to work in, search is excellent and I’ve never had a sync issue.

Ulysses
Ulysses is the app I use to write my stories. I’ve had a love-hate relationship with it since it went subscription. During the year I tried other writing apps but none compares with Ulysses.

Marked 2
Marked is the markdown previewer app I use side by side with Ulysses.

Grammarly
Grammarly is for proofreading my stories for grammar and punctuation.

Copied
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Reeder
Reeder is my newsreader for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Tweetbot
Tweetbot is for reading my Twitter feed.

Instapaper
Instapaper is my read it later service. I wrote an article about my Instapaper workflow here.

Alfred
Alfred is Spotlight on steroids. I’d be lost without it. Alfred is my launcher, search interface, TextExpander replacement and much more.

Keyboard Maestro
Keyboard Maestro is another productivity app that I couldn’t live without. I use Keyboard Maestro keyboard shortcuts to launch apps, open files and folders and for automating actions. It has a learning curve but once you start to get the hang of it you can do some amazing things. Check out Keyboard Maestro’s homepage for a list of all the things you can do.

BetterTouchTool
BetterTouchTool allows me to configure gestures or keyboard shortcuts for my Magic Mouse, MacBook Trackpad, and Magic Trackpad to trigger actions like moving and resizing windows, switching tabs in Safari and more. BTT has a 45-day free trial. Give it a try.

Dropbox
Dropbox is where I keep files that I want to have available on all my devices. It’s also where syncing happens for apps like Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, and BetterTouchTool.

PDFpen and Hazel are key apps for my paperless workflow. I’ve written about my paperless workflow here.

App Cleaner
AppCleaner is my app uninstaller. I use it because it deletes all the junk that gets left behind when you just drag the app icon to the trash.

PopClip
I use PopClip to manage what I do with selected text. I’ve written about PopClip here.

Yoink
Yoink speeds and up my workflow by simplifying drag and drop. I’ve written about Yoink here.

Bartender 3
Bartender is the app I use to organize my menu bar. I’ve written about it here.

ScreenFloat
ScreenFloat is my app for taking floating screenshots and storing them.

TunnelBear VPN
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

f.lux
f.lux is for protecting my eyes and sleeping better at night.

Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 privacy-first DNS service is now available as an iOS app

I’ve been using Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 DNS service on my Mac since reading a post by Kirk McElhearn on the Intego Mac Security Blog about the service. The service was introduced April 1st of this year and is designed to be faster than traditional DNS services and more private which is what got my attention.

There are a number of things to explain here. First, DNS, or domain name system, is the system that acts like a sort of phone book on the Internet. Instead of having to remember a numerical IP address, such as 96.126.119.191, you can type intego.com to go to the Intego website. There is a huge directory that records the correspondence between these numerical addresses and domain names to facilitate Internet usage, and to make it easy to move a domain from one server to another.

Most people rely on the DNS server provided by their ISP or phone company. By default, your Macs and iOS devices look for this DNS server, which is either specified in your router, or in the server your iPhone connects to, in order to perform this address translation. But you don’t need to use this DNS server; you can use any one you want. In many cases, ISP’s DNS servers may not be the fastest ones, and this can have a big effect on your Internet usage. For example, if a web page is made up of multiple elements, that are not all hosted on the same server, your browser has to request these elements at a number of servers, and each different domain name requires a new request.

In addition, some ISPs may record the metadata of your Internet activity, or the requests you make: the websites you visit, the servers you connect to, and more.

Now, months after announcing its privacy-focused DNS service, Cloudflare is introducing an iOS app. Having had a good experience using 1.1.1.1 on my Macs I didn’t hesitate to install the iOS app on my iPhone and iPad. I’ve been running the app now for several days and it has been working great and definitely seems to be faster.

For instructions on setting up 1.1.1.1 on your Mac visit this page using your Mac and scroll down to Setup on Mac. For iOS, you can download the app from the App Store, or to set it up manually visit this page using your iOS device and scroll down to Setup on iOS.

Web Finds for October 17, 2018

Web Finds are from my web surfing travels. You’ll find some unique and informative news, apps and websites that you may have never known existed. Enjoy!

So You’ve Frozen Your Credit Files. Here Are Tips on Unfreezing Them.
People who had already established security freezes, and now want to thaw them to apply for a loan or credit card, will see a difference. With the new law taking effect, two bureaus — Equifax and TransUnion — this month abandoned the use of personal identification numbers, or PINs, to manage freezes online. (PINs are still needed, though, if you want to lift a freeze by calling on the phone.)
Via New York Times

Sneaky subscriptions are plaguing the App Store – TechCrunch
Subscriptions have turned into a booming business for app developers, accounting for $10.6 billion in consumer spend on the App Store in 2017, and poised to grow to $75.7 billion by 2022. But alongside this healthy growth, a number of scammers are now taking advantage of subscriptions in order to trick users into signing up for expensive and recurring plans. They do this by intentionally confusing users with their app’s design and flow, by making promises of “free trials” that convert after only a matter of days, and other misleading tactics.
Via TechCrunch

How To Set Up An Appointment At An Apple Store – AppleToolBox
Is your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other Apple Product not working or behaving as expected and you need to make an appointment at your local Apple Store? But can’t figure out how to do that? If so, we got you covered with these easy steps to help you set up an appointment at an Apple Store with those Apple Geniuses!
Via AppleToolBox

Wi-Fi now has version numbers, and Wi-Fi 6 comes out next year – The Verge
If you’ve ever bought a Wi-Fi router, you may have had to sort through specs that read like complete gibberish — like “802.11ac” or “a/b/g/n.” But going forward, Wi-Fi is adopting version numbers so that it’ll be easier to tell whether the router or device you’re buying is on the latest version.
Via The Verge

Previous Web Finds are here.

Ulysses Share Extension now on Mac

A feature that has been missing in Ulysses on the Mac has been a share extension. Since I do my research, information gathering and writing on a Mac this involved a lot of copy and paste. This would always be a sore spot for me and I would think to myself why can’t Ulysses have a Mac share extension like Bear. Well, no more complaining because Ulysses version 14.2 for Mac included a share extension. Thanks to the share extension I can now send text, links, and images directly to Ulysses.

If your not familiar with the share extension here’s a Ulysses share extension tutorial.

iOS Safari content blockers

Ben Brooks has published his test results for Safari content blockers. Since I’ve been thinking about a different blocker I found his testing to be helpful. Up until today, I’ve been using the original 1Blocker which is now called Legacy since 1Blocker X was introduced several months ago. By the way, 1Blocker X is Ben’s overall number one pick.

My concern has been whether the developer will continue to update the Legacy app?

So after reading Ben’s evaluation I’m switching over to BlockBear his second choice overall but his first choice for those who don’t want to tinker with the settings and that’s me. As a side note, I also use TunnelBear VPN by the same developer.

Safari Content Blocker Evaluations – 9/26/18 Edition

I ran another round of content blocker testing for Mobile Safari in order to take a look at which ones are the ‘best’ right now. To be fair: it’s really hard to find these content blockers on the App Store now, so I grabbed the ones which looked the most popular to me (top lists, and top search results) and then did the testing to see which was the best.

BLOCKBEAR

My overall rating on this was: quick, not perfect. If I needed to tell a non-technical friend or family member which content blocker to use, this would be the content blocker I would tell them to use. The setup is “cute” and dead simple. The entire app is dead simple actually, and it worked pretty well overall. No customization, but it does have whitelisting if that family member keeps having trouble with a site.

And it is fast, as it is tied for the fastest of the group. It’s not what I recommend for most people who regularly read this site, as I suspect you’ll want the features of 1Blocker X. That said, I can understand why you would use this. It’s simple and easy. And that you can whitelist from the share sheet in Safari, only makes it an even better pick for those who want ease of use.