Apps, Tools & Services
This is a list of all the tools, apps, and services I use on my iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and Mac. I’ll update this list from time to time.
Things 📱 🖥
Things is my favorite productivity tool, my task manager. I use it on all devices, and it synchronizes instantly via Things Cloud. It’s available for Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad.
It has won multiple prices, is easy to use, but powerful, and has one of the best user experiences on the market.
It follows the GTD approach (Inbox, Today, Someday) and has areas, projects, tasks, and subtasks. Everything can have tags, due dates, start dates, and notes. Projects can be structured with headlines. You can send tasks via email, capture your ideas with a quick entry dialogue, and integrate Apple Calendar. You can use the Things URL Scheme to send commands to Things.
DEVONthink 📱 🖥
DEVONthink is my complementary tool for Things. Things stores everything I have to do, DEVONthink everything I want to remember. I’ve used Evernote for many years and Notion for a year, but both Tools had too many things I didn’t like.
The company DEVONtechnologies that creates DEVONthink (and a handful of other software products) is 6 people but provides powerful tools for over a decade. Their tools are used by Attorneys, Journalists, Researchers, or Writers.
DEVONthink fulfills all my wishes. Your data is your data, it’s stored on your local hard drive (encrypted or unencrypted). You can store anything in it: Text in various formats, including Markdown. Images, PDF, Videos. You can create folders and use tags and have multiple databases for different topics. It’s possible to sync your data with Cloud solutions (Dropbox, iCloud, CloudMe, and WebDAV) or sync between devices via Bonjour. Your data is always encrypted on cloud storage containers. They have an iOS app: DEVONthink To Go.
DEVONthink has data science algorithms that analyze your content and suggest a location to sort your file into. It has advanced features to analyze, link, sort, and find your content. It has a powerful clipper that allows you to quickly grab the content of any website (converted and cleaned in numerous formats), and add text, video, audio, and screenshots.
I store everything in DEVONthink. Notes, PDF documents (scanned with OCR), images, videos, quotes, and use over 17000 different tags in 5 databases.
Obsidian 📱 🖥
I use Obsidian to write notes and connect ideas. It’s the best tool I know for note-taking. In less than 6 months, I created over 800 notes in Obsidian. It’s Markdown-based and the files are plain text files on your hard drive. I’m currently using the Minimal theme.
I use Scanner Pro on my iPhone and iPad. Nearly every document I get in a paper format I scan with this app. The documents get converted with OCR to PDF with searchable text and can be automatically saved to cloud storage like Dropbox or iCloud. From there, I move the documents directly into DEVONthink.
Apple Calendar 📱 🖥
Apple Calendar is the only calendar I use. It looks beautiful and can be integrated with Exchange servers, Google Calendar, and other calendar providers. My calendars are currently stored in iCloud, but I’m excited to move them to ProtonMail, as soon as the Bridge supports (hopefully) their new encrypted calendar.
Itsycal is a tiny menu bar calendar that integrates with Apple Calendar. I use it to quickly add or look at events without opening the full calendar.
Alfred is an award-winning app that boosts my productivity immensely. You can integrate the tools with an unbelievable huge amount of other tools and search, filter, move, control ALL THE THINGS™.
I use it to move files to folders on my hard drive, expand snippets, open apps, search on 20+ websites, calculate numbers, look up words in the dictionary, look up contacts, play music, convert colors and units, search DEVONthink, lookup my DNS and IP, emoji codes, generate test data, navigate to GitHub repositories, translate words and sentences, search for software packages, look up movies and TV shows, control my lights, or work with Things. To name a few.
Hundreds of workflows are available.
Hammerspoon is my window manager for many years. It’s an open-source tool that allows you to interact with applications, windows, mouse pointers, file systems, audio devices, batteries, screens, keyboard/mouse events, clipboards, Wi-Fi, and more. I use it to launch apps, move them to my preferred screen, and navigate between apps.
Apple Numbers 📱 🖥
I use Apple Numbers for everything I need to do with spreadsheets. Calculating and tracking my income, my stocks, yearly expenses, and salary increases. I store all spreadsheets in DEVONthink and open them from there in Numbers. This way it’s encrypted and synchronized.
JustFocus is a nice, free tool to make sure you work focused and do regular breaks. It uses the Pomodoro Technique to switch between work and break time. You can adjust the length of work, short, or long break periods. During break time, the tool will block your screen and show a nice wallpaper and a quote to make sure you spend your break away from the screen.
Bartender allows organizing the menu bar icons on Mac. You can rearrange icons, hide them, or show them for a short time when they update. It’s helpful to see what’s relevant at any given time on the menu bar.
Time Sink 🖥
Time Sink is a Mac app that allows tracking of how much time you spend on which app. You can see which apps are active and how long and at what times.
I use Habit Tracker to track my habits. You can decide which habit you want to perform, the count per day or week, and then check off what you did during the day. You can see your streaks for each habit and stay motivated.
IFTTT (Pro) 📱 🌐
I use IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate several tasks across multiple services and tools on the internet or at home. There are hundreds of services and home appliances that can be connected.
You can create powerful workflows to handover of data between two of these services without programming: Automatically publish a new blog post to Twitter, save a new Instagram photo to Dropbox, save liked videos or tweets to Raindrop.io, record your weight into a spreadsheet, send out an email when you enter or leave a specific geographical area, to name a few.
I use around 20 services on that long list.