Something I’ve seen come up a bit on the internets is the suggestion that Apple’s stock apps are usually enough for most people and I have to say that I agree. My tendency over the past year is to refrain from purchase of apps that duplicate a built in Apple app. And in the same line of thought, in terms I’ve already purchased that duplicate stock app function, I’m finding I use them less.
The basis of my thinking here is financial and also just simplicity. I don’t want to buy every new app that comes along nor do I want to spend the time trying every app or cluttering up my iPad with them. I’ll explore a few examples.
A few days ago a poster over at the fantastic newish Mac Power Users forum started this thread about Yoink. My reply:
I’ve tried Yoink as well as Gladys and Copied and others. As is often the case what I’m finding in actual use is that Apple’s native apps are likely the best option for me. I can drag and drop into Files app for storing temporary images or other documents or, just as easily for text, images, pdfs, I can drag into and out of Notes. And of course both of those apps have action extensions. They both sync up very quickly to iCloud should I need to hop to another device.
And that pretty much covers that particular example. Yes, at first these shelf apps are a neat idea. But in my usage they very nearly copy Apple’s Notes app and the Files app. As a result, I just don’t find that I use any of them. It’s easier to just use Notes or Files. Bonus, pdfs added to Files can also have tags added to them. PDFs added to Notes are properly indexed and searchable in Notes. They’re also easy to annotate within Notes and easy to share back out if needed.
Another example is email. I’ve tried Airmail and Spark both of which are great email clients. But I always come back to Apple Mail and the other two sit unused. Apple Mail isn’t perfect but it’s pretty great and it works very well for me in how I use and process email.
Podcast apps are another area where I’ve found Apple’s stock app is all I need. I’ve tried several others but generally find them duplicates that don’t offer enough in additional features to bother with. This is in part because Apple’s app has the added benefit that it syncs with all devices from HomePod to AppleTV and all the others, remembers playback position on any of those devices, and is fully integrated with Siri. Third party apps can’t do all this.
When it comes to web browsing I use Safari for everything. It’s a great browser and again, all my data is synced between devices. I only ever use iCab for a few odd needs here and there. I have zero interest in trying another browser.
For most of my pdf viewing I now use the Files app or the built in preview within apps. I still have PDF Expert and occasionally use it for more advanced editing of pdfs but the Files app is great for viewing and basic markup.
And while they’re not quite “stock apps” the iWorks apps are my go-to. For word processing, spreadsheets and presentations I always choose Pages, Numbers or Keynote. I have the Microsoft and Google apps but almost never use them and only do so when I must. I’ve been using the iWork apps since they were first made available and I really love them.
Exceptions to this trend would include the Calendar app which I rarely use. Mostly I use Fantastical or TimePage for viewing. I use Siri or data detectors for creating new events. For those that may not know, a data detector is what underlines a date or time in a Message or email. Tap and you get a suggestion to create a new event.
I still use a dedicated RSS reader, specifically Reeder though I’m using Apple News more and more. I doubt it will replace Reeder anytime soon because I like to be able to group feeds into folders which Apple News does not yet do. Also, with Reeder I can share an article which sends out a standard url whereas sharing from Apple News sends an Apple News link which does not work for non-Apple users.
When it comes to books I’ve used Kindle a bit more than iBooks but going forward I’ll prioritize Apple Books. I like the app better so, assuming a book is available from Apple at the same price as Amazon I’ll purchase from Apple first.
I’ve never been one to spend lots of time on the App Store. Perhaps my app minimalism reflects my real-world life in that I tend not to keep a lot of stuff around. Why clutter up my environment if what I have works for me?