Desktop vs Mobile vs Tablet

Are you ditching the third device?

I often wonder how many people actually own an iPad and if they do how often they actually use it. I know there are iPad enthusiasts like Federico Viticci and Christopher Lawley. But what about you and me?

According to my blog’s Google Search Console visitor statistics the distribution of device type used to visit my blog puts the tablet (which includes iPad) far behind the desktop (which includes laptop), and the smartphone.

  • Desktop 63%
  • Smartphone 34%
  • Tablet 3%

These percentages are fairly consistent month after month.

I have an iPad, but I haven’t used it for a few months. A few weeks ago I figured I should be using it so the other day I turned it into a read-only device. You know what? I still don’t use it because I would rather read on my iPhone.

With a laptop and today’s larger screen phones is a tablet necessary?

New from Bitwarden: Send

Secure one-to-one information sharing

Bitwarden has been my password manager since 1Password went subscription a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong I love 1Password but by comparison, it’s pricey. Bitwarden is free to use with Premium features for $10 a year. The free version will do everything most people need from a password manager.

This week Bitwarden introduced a cool new feature. Send for secure one-to-one information sharing. “Bitwarden Send is a lightweight utility used to share information with another person for a limited period of time. Bitwarden users can easily transmit a file or text, and rest easy knowing the sent information is protected with end-to-end encryption, and will not live forever. Users choose an expiration date for the Send link, after which it no longer works to access the information.”

“This new feature is available on all Bitwarden clients: Web Vault, mobile, browser extensions, and CLI, meaning users will always have a secure way to share sensitive information temporarily.”

About Send | Bitwarden Help & Support

Create a Send | Bitwarden Help & Support

This isn’t something that I will use all that often but it sure is good to know that Send is there for that rare occasion that I need it.

iMessage BlastDoor security

Over the past three years, security researchers and real-world attackers have found iMessage remote code execution (RCE) bugs and abused them to develop exploits that allowed them to take control over an iPhone just by sending a simple text, photo, or video to someone’s device.

As reported January 28, 2021 by ZDNet “With the release of iOS 14 last fall, Apple has added a new security system to iPhones and iPads to protect users against attacks carried out via the iMessage instant messaging client.”

“Named BlastDoor, this new iOS security feature was discovered by Samuel Groß, a security researcher with Project Zero, a Google security team tasked with finding vulnerabilities in commonly-used software.”

“Groß said the new BlastDoor service is a basic sandbox, a type of security service that executes code separately from the rest of the operating system.”

“While iOS ships with multiple sandbox mechanisms, BlastDoor is a new addition that operates only at the level of the iMessage app.”

“Its role is to take incoming messages and unpack and process their content inside a secure and isolated environment, where any malicious code hidden inside a message can’t interact or harm the underlying operating system or retrieve with user data.”

My 2021 Essential iOS Apps

Every year towards the end of December I evaluate the apps that I’ve been using and what I will use for the next year. I find that writing this out helps me better evaluate the apps that best fit my workflows. Once I complete my evaluation, I summarize it in a post on this blog.

Another reason for this post is that visitors are always asking me which apps I use for specific tasks. To keep from repeating myself over and over, here’s the list of apps that I use.

My setup:

  • MacBook Pro early–2015 13” (soon to be replaced with a MacBook Air M1/8gb)
  • iPhone 11
  • iPad 5th Generation (which I rarely use these days)
  • Apple Watch 44 mm Series 4

Table of Contents

Web

Safari – Safari is my browser of choice. I use Wipr with Safari to block ads, trackers, cryptocurrency miners, and other annoyances.

Communication

Fastmail – I’ve been using Fastmail for email ever since I left Gmail over 6 years. I also use it for calendar, and contacts.

Fastmail has an iOS app, that I use.

Messages – Messages is how I communicate with family and friends.

Calendar and Tasks

Fantastical 3 – Fantastical is my calendar and task app. It integrates perfectly with my Fastmail calendar appointments and events and Apple Reminders tasks.

Due – Due is where I keep all my reminders. What I love about Due is that it repeatedly notifies you of overdue reminders until I mark them complete or reschedule them.

Reading

Reeder – Reeder is what I use for my Feedly RSS feeds. Anything that I want to read I save to Instapaper for reading later.

Twitter – Twitter is for news and the feeds for apps that I use.

Writing

Drafts 5 – I’ve been using Drafts for several years. Drafts is a launching-off point for text – use the actions to copy it, share it, or deep link into other apps and services.

1Writer – I don’t write on iOS but I do some proofreading and editing and for that I use 1Writer.

Apple Notes – Notes that I want to keep long-term go in the Notes app.

Day One Journal – I keep a lifelog in Day One.

Utilities / Productivity

Bitwarden – Gotta have a password manager.

Scanner Pro – Scanner Pro is also part of my paperless workflow. I use it to scan paper documents into PDFs with OCR that look clean and professional.

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

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

Health and Fitness

Apple Fitness – I use the Workout and Fitness apps with my Apple Watch to track my daily activities.

To keep my mind occupied during workouts I listen to podcasts in Overcast.

My 2021 Essential Mac Apps

Thoughts on Reeder 5 and iCloud feed sync

With Reeder 5, the option to sync your RSS feed via iCloud instead of using a third-party sync service such as Feedly or Feedbin was added.

iCloud Feeds

Sync all your feeds and articles with iCloud. Reeder 5 comes with a built-in RSS/Feeds service which will keep everything in sync on all your devices. Of course, this is optional. You can still just use one of the many third-party services supported by Reeder

I wanted to try iCloud feed sync thinking I could cancel my free Feedly account. I’ll share a couple of issues that I experienced and ultimately sent me back to using the free version of Feedly. First off I found iCloud feed sync to be much slower than Feedly. In addition to being much slower often times feeds timed out and didn’t sync.

Reeder 5 supported third-party services

Feedbin, Feedly, Feed Wrangler, FeedHQ, NewsBlur, The Old Reader, Inoreader, BazQux Reader, and FreshRSS.

Back to a MacBook

I wrote a while back about going iPad first when iPadOS 13 was released with keyboard and trackpad support. I had turned my 2015 MacBook Pro (MBP) off and put in a drawer to never be turned on again hoping this would work out.

Well, it lasted about 60 days and then I got my MBP out of the drawer it had been sitting in, turned it back on and slowly started transitioning back to my it.

The trouble with iPad was that I spent more time fighting it than loving. It was just too hard to get things done as fast and efficiently as I can on my MBP. I have so many automations with Alfred, PopClip, Keyboard Maestro, and Hazel that make doing things on the Mac so fast and easy that just can’t be duplicated on the iPad. So, I gave it up.

In fact, I’m not sure that I even need or want an iPad. A couple of weeks ago I put it in the same drawer that I had put my MBP in and didn’t even miss it. I found that between my MBP and iPhone 11 I can do all that I need or want to do.

All that said, I just finished watching Apple’s One More Thing event where they introduced the new Apple Silicon 13” MacBook Air, 13” MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini with the new M1 chip. These devices are incredible and what I’ve been waiting for. I’ll be ordering a new MacBook Air as soon as I decided whether to get 8 or 16 GB of unified memory.

Copied clipboard manager app is back

After more than 2 years without updates, what was my favorite clipboard manager app Copied is back. I used it on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. The great thing about it was that it synced across all my devices using iCloud. Not many clipboard managers do that.

With this update, it will become my main clipboard manager again. The new version 4.0 now has link previews, dark mode, Siri shortcuts, and improved compatibility across devices.

As a side note:

After I updated the app on my iPad and iPhone the Mac app version 2.0.7 stopped syncing. Frustrated, I uninstalled the Mac app and reinstalled it. To my surprise, the reinstalled app is version 4.0.0 which is compatible with the iOS and iPadOS apps. Remember to enable iCloud sync.

iOS and iPadOS 13.6 silently opted me into Automatic OS Updates

Michael Tasi in a blog post today pointed out a change in the toggle for iOS and iPadOS Automatic Updates that I was unaware of. Before 13.6, there was a single toggle to turn Automatic Updates on or off. I always have it turned off.

In 13.6 there are new toggles for Customizing Automatic Updates

Julie Clover

You can now decide whether or not your iPhone or iPad can automatically download iOS updates when connected to WiFi, and when those updates are installed. There’s a Download iOS Updates toggle for turning on automatic downloads over WiFi and an Install iOS Updates toggle for installing software updates overnight as an ‌iPhone‌ charges.

As I mentioned, above I always have automatic OS updates off on all my devices. I like to wait for a few days to make sure there are no issues with the update before I install it. And yes, we all know issues do happen.

Unfortunately for me, I ran into the same problem as Jeff Johnson:

PSA: If you previously had iOS and iPadOS Automatic Updates turned off you’ll want to take a minute and review your Automatic Update setting and adjust it accordingly.

I shattered my iPhone screen

I go for a 2-mile walk with my dog Charlotte every morning. I always record my walks with my Apple Watch and listen to a podcast in Overcast. A few days ago I was walking up the driveway with my phone in my hand queueing up a podcast to listen to and while doing that Charlotte decided to lunge after a rabbit and knocked my phone out of my hand. Our driveway is gravel and the phone landed screen down. Shattered!

I love my iPhone 7 Plus but it’s getting old and I was looking forward to getting a new iPhone 12 when they’re out this fall. I initially thought about a screen repair but decided against it. Instead, I purchased and new Product Red iPhone 11 with 64gb memory. I also got the Apple 11 Clear Case and Belkin InvisiGlass Ultra Screen Protector. I’m happy with my purchase but was really hoping to hold out for the iPhone 12. I’ll get over it.

I like most everything about the iPhone 11. Face ID is wonderful and swipe in place of a Home button is the coolest. The keyboard on the 11 is a bit smaller than I’m used to on the 7 Plus but I wasn’t going to spend another $300 to get the iPhone 11 Pro ($699 vs $999) to have a minimally bigger keyboard.

GoodLinks for read-it-later

I have been trying a new read-it-later and bookmark manager app GoodLinks by Ngoc Luu the developer of 1Writer.

In my opinion, GoodLinks is one of the best read-it-later apps out there. The reading experience is excellent. Articles and reading position sync between devices via iCloud. And best of all it’s a one time purchase for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Since it’s a relatively new app it’s missing a few features. One big one for me is that there is no way to import saved bookmarks from other apps. I would like to use GoodLinks as my bookmark manager as well as read-it-later but until import is available that will have to wait. I have too many bookmarks in Raindrop.io to move individually. I’m sure this feature will be added soon.

As a side note, GoodLinks for the Mac requires Catalina.

If you would like to learn more about GoodLinks check out this MacStories review by John Voorhees: GoodLinks Review: A Flexible Read-it-Later Link Manager Packed with Automation Options – MacStories