GoodNotes – a perfect note taking app with Apple Pencil

GoodNotes has been around for a while now and in the beginning I was not as convinced about the app. Recently I gave GoodNotes a try and it convinced me so much, that I dropped OneNote.

First of all GoodNotes is perfect in organizing your notes which are stored in a notebook. These notebooks belong to a specific category which gives you a really clean overview. After creating a new notebook you can choose from a variety of cover sheets which gives every topic its own style.
Afterwards you add pages and start writing like on paper.

Additionally, there is one really useful button in the top bar which enables object/shape recognition which works amazingly good. So when you draw a circle or a rectangle and many more it recognizes it and draws it with straight lines which leads to a very clean look as there is no rough line. Furthermore, GoodNotes has the ability to import images, create textfields and make bookmarks.

Next, there is also a search feature which works stunningly well for handwriting. My handwriting is really not the most beautiful and it detects almost every word I searched for. One other beneficial aspect is the wide variety of sync services you can choose from like iCloud, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive & OneDrive. I have only tried the iCloud sync which never made any problems.

Goodnotes is available for iOS (iPad & iPhone) and for macOS for $7,99. Click here if you want to see some examples using GoodNotes. These pencils work best.

Get GoodNotes for iOS
Get GoodNotes for macOS
Their blog

Stay secure with 1Password – the best password manager

Forgot your password? Well, with 1Password you solve this issue. 1Password saves all logins, bank accounts, secure notes inside its application which gets unlocked by entering the master password. This is the one and only password you need to remember!

Overview.

1Password is available for over 10 years and the most popular password manager on all platforms. Yeah, it is available on iOS, watchOS, macOS, Android, web and Windows which syncs all your password across these devices. Additionally, the design and the structure of 1Password makes it very easy to copy and paste your login credentials. There is even an extension on iOS which lets you open the app in the extension view without leaving your current opened app. 1Password also supports one-time passwords, even on Apple Watch!

1P iOS v6 Apple Watch Details View_framed
1Password on Apple Watch app with one-time password.
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Favorites tab with quick copy.

Security.

1Password has never encountered security issues in the past. That is a good sign of quality work which has been well-conceived to stay secure. The app uses AES-256 Bit encryption and three key security features: the master password, a secret key (a locally generated 128 Bit key) and a secure remote password which is responsible for secure networking. To sum it up, 1Password is super secure! (You can read more on their website!)

Pricing.

The service is based on a subscription fee which costs 2.99$ each month (billed annually) for a personal account. Additionally, there is also a family offer which is 4.99$ each month (billed annually) for 5 people.

Summary.

1Password is my personal choice because I have never heard about a security security breach since the early days. Furthermore, the app is built to improve your workflow with features like the app extension or the quick copy in the favorites tab. Personally, I can recommend 1Password to everyone who has many passwords!

Get 1Password for iOS
Get 1Password for macOS
1Password website

Curated Collection #1: Productivity apps for students

This is the first article of the “Curated Collection” series. In Curated Collections we are going to introduce a collection of apps for a specific topic, as productivity apps for iOS.

Let us start with to-do apps.

As I am a student I have tried many apps within the past years and my favorite app is Things which is made by Cultured Code, a company which is known for quality software. It has a gorgeous design and an easy to use interface which is perfectly integrated with the latest features, such as drag and drop, on iOS 11.

Things Hero 3 - iOS
Things 3 on iPad & iPhone

Things supports literally everything you would expect from a to-do list application like creating tasks with a deadline, reminders as push notifications, create projects with tasks and subheadings for more structure and many more. One feature which is really useful is the “Upcoming” view which also displays calendar entries directly from all set-up calendars on iOS. In summary, Things is fast to use due to its drag and drop features while giving you a good-looking overview of your tasks with no disturbing user interface.

Lastly, Things is available on iOS – iPad and iPhone are separate purchases – and macOS with a heavy price tag. Nevertheless, I can recommend Things to every student.

Get Things for iPhone
Get Things for iPad
Get Things for macOS


Next, note taking apps.

There are many apps for writing during a lecture. Though, there is one which stands out and that is OneNote. Due to its support on almost every platform, note taking is very easy and in addition with OneDrive it is very powerful. OneNote lets you create multiple notebooks with topics, like the class name, and pages which lets you organize your notes very good. Furthermore, it supports inline PDF viewing, where you can add handwritten notes by using Apple Pencil.

OneNote
One of my class notes.

Personally, OneNote is my preferred choice due to it’s structure and availability on any other platform.

Get OneNote


 

Annotate & edit PDFs.

When it comes to annotating or editing PDF files, PDF Expert is my recommendation. It lets you open any PDF from the built-in files browser which also includes support for the Files app. So, you can open a PDF which is stored in OneDrive without copying it to the application.

Annotate with Apple Pencil - iPad

One of the major key-features of PDF Expert is its capability to edit the text inside PDF files which makes it very handy if you want to add some notes to it. Additionally, you can add images, draw with Apple Pencil and highlight important sections.

Get PDF Expert


Anti-procrastination.

(1) Green Timer Running_preview
Time 2 – Dashboard with a task running.

In order to prevent me from procrastinating I use Time 2 which we covered recently. To sum it up, the app lets you create Tasks with a duration and if you get closer to the end the app turns red, which gives you motivation to finish the task more efficiently. One new beneficial feature is its notifications if you exit the app which saves you from procrastinating by using other apps.

Get Time 2


That’s it.

That is the end of our first app collection! Personally, I hope you like(d) it and if you have any suggestions or feedback send it to us through our contact page.

Improve your productivity with Time 2

Holidays are almost over – it’s time to start to focus on school, study or work.

There are many apps which are trying to improve your productivity and Time 2 is one of them but with a slightly different approach.

The idea behind Time 2 is to be faster than the time you set when you created a task. This technique works very well as you force yourself to concentrate in order to beat the countdown. In addition, as soon as you start a task a green wave is displayed on the screen which changes its colors from green to red. So, you can see that you should be done really soon. Additionally, Time 2 also helps you to prevent procrastinating tasks by this technique as it reduces some stress with the timer function.

(1) Green Timer Running_preview
Time 2 with a task running

With its simple interface, you just need to type in three details for a task: “what you want to do”, “for how long” and “when”. That’s it. Furthermore, you can plan tasks in the future or set them to repeating (daily & weekly) and you can even set a reminder at a specific time.

To sum up, Time 2 shows good improvements when you use it more often, as you will get used to it and you force yourself to finish the task before the countdown ends. Time 2 is definitely worth 1,99$!

Get Time 2

Images from Press Kit

Pacific – get instant information about your movement & location

Pacific is location information application. It simply shows all details like the speed, altitude, coordinates and much more in its dashboard. Additionally, Pacific includes widgets which are displaying this information in realtime as well.

First, let’s start with the Dashboard right inside the app.
Once you have passed the introduction scenes the Dashboard shows the first so called Dashboard items which are displaying the altitude, speed, heading, pressure and coordinates of the device by using GPS.
Furthermore, the Dashboard is completely customizable by using drag & drop.

Next, the widgets. Pacific includes four widgets: Address, Barometer, GPS Strength and Movement.
The Address widget displays the Country, Locality, Sub Locality, ZIP Code and the Street. Furthermore, the Movement widget gives information about Speed, Altitude, Heading, Latitude and Longitude. Additionally, all this information is just a swipe away and it is displayed in realtime by using the built in GPS.

The downside of the app is that the usage decreases the battery life dramatically as the GPS is always on in order to provide realtime information.

To sum up, Pacific is a great tool which might not be useful for everyone. Nevertheless, Pacific is available for free and has one in-app purchase which unlocks all Dashboard items as well as design customizations.

Get Pacific – Location Dashboard

Pacific Website

Holidays are around the corner! Get Bring! to organize your food shopping!

There are just a few days until Christmas and there is a chance for getting stressed when you have to prepare everything for the dinner on Christmas evening. And that is where Bring! comes in.

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Bring! is here for you and saves time by assisting you with your groceries shopping list directly on your phone. Simply add all items by entering them in the search bar and they are on the list. Additionally, as soon as you added a new item on the list everyone who has joined your list, like family members, gets a notification that the list has changed. Furthermore, Bring! Is available on iOS, Android and on the web which is really helpful when you have different operating systems as it works almost everywhere. Another big benefit is the implementation with Amazon Alexa and Google Home where you can add lists without touching your phone.

And the major benefit: Bring! is available for free without any ads!

Get Bring! (iOS)

Get Bring! (Android)

Bring Web

Images from Media Kit

Spark – a fast and reliable mail client

It is hard to find the perfect mail client nowadays, as it needs to be fast, reliable and should look nice as well. Spark from Readdle fits all of these requirements and that is why we chose it for a review.

Overview

First of all, Spark supports almost any mail provider out of the box (Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, IMAP,…) and there is also a desktop version for macOS available.

Spark has a much wider feature palette than the built-in mail app like the Smart Inbox feature which groups mails in different categories, for example in Newsletter, personal messages and so on. This makes it much easier to filter out important messages and messages that are just newsletters or not that important. Furthermore, you can also pin messages which are shown in a extra category as well.

Spark iPad + iPhone
View of the inbox when Smart Inbox is enabled.

Next, the search function. Spark gives instant results (yes, searching is really fast) to your query which could be natural language or specified commands like pdf, which just looks for emails with pdf attachments or images and other document types. Another benefit is the Spotlight integration which enables searching for emails natively through the Spotlight.

Another noticeable benefit is Snooze. With Snooze you can reschedule emails to any other date and time which is very handy as you don’t forget to read or answer them as you get a notification at that specific time. A good example is following up on emails from Friday on Monday (this is very practical for work).
A quite similar feature is send later which gives you the opportunity to schedule when a mail is sent to the recipient.

Spark_2
Snooze view.

Additionally, Spark is ready for iOS 11 as you can attach every file which is available in the Files app to your mail. Especially, drag & drop makes attaching files very fast and simple. And they got you covered with direct integrations like Google Drive, OneDrive and many more.

Why you should use Spark?

Spark is a really fast mail client for iOS and macOS with a very clean design. Furthermore, the rich notifications on iOS are really useful, as you can view almost every styled email directly from the notification by using 3D Touch (for example a whole mail newsletter from Amazon). This also works on Apple Watch!

Next, privacy and security. Readdle takes privacy and security seriously as they are transmitting everything through a secure network connection. Additionally, the account credentials are stored on their servers by using asymmetric encryption. (Read more about asymmetric encryption; read more about Sparks privacy)

To sum up, Spark is a better alternative to the default mail app with a wider feature palette!

Get Spark (iOS)

Get Spark (macOS)

Spark Website

Images from PressKit