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App Recommendations from Mike Schmitz

YouVersion

The Best Bible App for iPhone and iPad

YouVersion

YouVersion's Bible is the best overall experience because it's easy to use, supports many versions, and provides a great reading experience.
Fantastical

The Best Calendar App for Mac

Fantastical

Fantastical is the best calendar app for macOS because it's easy to use, powerful, and well-designed.
Headspace

The Best Meditation App

Headspace

Headspace is the best meditation app for most people. It offers clean user interface that is easy to navigate and highlights a new daily meditation each day, gives you a large library of guided meditations to choose from, and feels at home on Apple devices by integrating with Apple Health and Shortcuts.
Spark

The Best iPad Email App

Spark

Spark is a beautifully-designed mail app for iOS that makes email a quick task on your iPad with plenty of service integrations, the ability to send emails to other apps, and more.
Be Focused Pro

The Best Pomodoro App for Mac, iPhone, and iPad

Be Focused Pro

Be Focused Pro is the perfect blend of powerful timeboxing tools and a clean, beautiful user interface to help support you when getting your work done.
Streaks

The Best Habit Tracking App for iOS

Streaks

Streaks is the best habit tracking app because of its delightful design, a solid set of features, and strong Shortcuts support.
PDFpen

The best PDF app for Mac

PDFpen

PDFpen is the best PDF app for Mac because it's easy to use, powerful enough for most users, and also does OCR.
Ulysses

The Best Pro Writing App for Mac (and iOS)

Ulysses

Ulysses is the best pro writing app because it's easy to use, not distracting, and extremely powerful.
Overcast

Our Favorite Podcast Client for iOS

Overcast

Overcast is a simple podcast app that makes it easy to recommend, discover, and enjoy your favorite shows.
Alfred

The Best Keyboard App Launcher for Mac

Alfred

Alfred is easy to use OS X launcher that has a free entry point, custom workflows, and a great iOS companion app.
Spark

The Best Third-Party Email App for Mac

Spark

Spark is a beautifully-designed mail app for macOS that makes email a quick task with plenty of service integrations, the ability to send emails to other apps, and more.
1Password

The Best Password Manager for Mac & iOS: 1Password

1Password

1Password is the the best password manager out there because it not only handles passwords better than anyone, it handles so much more.


Blog Posts & Articles by Mike Schmitz

Setapp Now Includes iOS Apps

ig news today from the team at MacPaw, who just launched support for iOS apps inside of their popular Mac software subscription service, SetApp. »

Email Lessons from Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was a famous military commander with some interesting information management habits. But he died about 200 years ago (1821), long before computers, the internet, and electronic communication. So what could we possibly hope to learn from his life about handling email in our digital age? »

App’s We’re Trying: Food Noms

I've resisted calorie tracking for years, mostly because the apps that were available for this sort of thing seemed way too complex for me. Every couple of years I'll get inspired to pay attention to what I'm putting in my body and try all the apps again, but none of them have come even remotely close to working for me. I need something simple. I don't want to weigh my food in grams before I eat it; I just want to be a little bit more intentional about my eating habits. »

The iPadification of macOS: What Does it Mean for Developers of Productivity Software?

Last week, Apple announced a ton of stuff during their Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). And even though they used a slide at the beginning that showed the major platforms (iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS), many of the announcements felt app-specific instead of platform-specific. For example, new features in Maps (i.e. cycling directions) are available everywhere. I lost count of the number of times I heard some version of the statement "this is also available on the (fill in the platform blank)." As a causal observer (I'm not a developer), it seems like there's a lot of focus on features being brought first into the Apple ecosystem, then extended to all the available platforms. »

What’s Great (and Not So Great) in watchOS 7 Sleep Tracking

One of the things that was announced during this week's WWDC Keynote presentation was sleep tracking for the Apple Watch. The feature has long been rumored, and is finally making its way to the watch in watchOS 7. Let's take a look at how it works and why it's important. »

A Comparison of the New Apple Pencil Features in Apple Notes & GoodNotes

There was a ton that was announced in the WWDC keynote presentation on Monday. iOS 14, iPadOS, watchOS 7, macOS Big Sur, a bunch of privacy and Home updates, and even a big upgrade for AirPods. But one of the sections that really caught my attention was the announced improvements to the iPad with Apple Pencil. »

How to Watch Today’s WWDC 2020 Keynote Presentation

For the first time, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) will be completely virtual. Like other years though, the conference kicks off with the much-anticipated keynote presentation on the first day of the conference. Traditionally, the keynote offers a look at some of the new products that will be coming in the near future and gives […] »

An Update to Our Pick for the Best Bible App on iOS

We just updated our app pick for the best Bible app on iOS. While the overall winner is still the Bible App by YouVersion, we took a deep look at the new features and some of the new contenders that have popped up in the last couple of years. »

Building My Bullet-Journal-Based Hybrid Productivity System

It's fun for me to find new and better ways to do things - especially if it involves Apple-branded technology. I love trying new apps and making my devices dance. But with everything going on in the world the last couple of months, I've also found it to be especially difficult to navigate emotionally, which is a big reason why I’ve started doing a lot more with pen and paper. »

Apps We’re Trying: Roam Research

There’s a lot of buzz recently around a new app called Roam Research. Roam brands itself as “a note-taking tool for networked thought,” which naturally raises the question: Do we really need another note-taking app? »

The Importance of Routine: A Habits Interview with Mike Schmitz

This interview is one of the many bonus interviews included in our new course, Simple Habits. The course is 25% off until Friday, May 29th. Your name and a short bio / info about you I’m Mike Schmitz, Executive Editor here at The Sweet Setup. I live in Wisconsin with my wife and have five […] »

How to Sustain Long-Term Habits

This Mindfulness Monday post is a video from Shawn Blanc, founder and editor-in-chief of The Sweet Setup In this short video, Shawn talks about: Maintaining momentum and motivation after the “honeymoon” period is over The role of automation in creating sustainable habits The balance of goals and habits in creating positive outcomes If you want […] »

Deckset Update Allows You to Present to a Window, Perfect for Online Presentations

As much I love Keynote, I've used Deckset for a long time because it's a simple solution for throwing together quick presentations using Markdown. With Deckset, you actually edit your presentation in plain text in an app like Ulysses and Deckset applies all the styling automatically based on the styling in the currently selected theme. »

How Dave Caolo Makes Apps Earn Their Way onto His Home Screen

In this Mindfulness Monday post, podcast and D&D enthusiast Dave Caolo joins us to talk about resisting the pull of social apps, his unique approach to apps earning their way onto his Home screen, and what baking cookies from scratch can teach us about focus and intentionality with our tech. »

How to Use Your iPad as a Second Monitor with Sidecar

Using a second monitor can make computer-based tasks much easier and be a big boost to your productivity. But, if you find yourself having to work from home, that doesn’t mean you have to drop hundreds of dollars on new hardware. Here’s a short guide on how to set up your iPad as a second […] »

MindNode gets an update with new export Shortcut, new node options

MindNode (our pick for the best mind mapping app) just received an update to version 7.1. It’s a small update that adds a couple of new node customization options and one important Shortcuts action for exporting tasks into your task manager. New Node Shapes If you like to customize the look and feel of your […] »

Why Matt Ragland Starts Every Project by Planning on Paper

In this Mindfulness Monday post, YouTuber Matt Ragland shares about the boundaries he's established to maintain intentionality with his tech, his bullet journaling practice, and why he starts every project using analog tools. »

Working From Home Linked List: Some of Our Favorite Things Right Now

If you're struggling to figure out how to effectively work from home, you're not alone. It can be difficult enough under normal circumstances when you've had time to prepare, but millions of people are having to figure this out on the fly. Fortunately, there's a lot of great advice out there that can help ease the transition. We've put together a collection of resources from around the web that can help you get off to a good start if you find yourself suddenly needing to figure out how to work from home. »

How Rosemary Orchard Uses Automation to Stay Focused

Rosemary is a tech lover and frequent contributer here at The Sweet Setup who lives in Vienna, Austria. During the day, she works as a web developer, but she can also be found at RosemaryOrchard.com and hosting Automators, a podcast about automation, and Nested Folders, a podcast about productivity. She loves to experiment with new apps and workflows, and the more automation included, the better! »

iThoughts vs. MindNode: A Comparison of the Two Best Mind Mapping Apps

When it comes to mind mapping on Apple hardware, there are lots of great options available. But two apps rise above the others as the true cream of the crop: MindNode, with a stunningly beautiful user interface, and iThoughts, with powerful features and impressive flexibility. Both of these apps are great, but they take very […] »

How Mike Schmitz Changes the Email Rules by Removing it From His Phone

In this Mindfulness Monday post, Executive Editor Mike Schmitz shares his moment of clarity with intentional technology use and how he continues the fight to shift expectations around email. I’m Mike Schmitz, Executive Editor here at The Sweet Setup and co-host of the Focused and Bookworm podcasts. I’ve asked quite a few people to share […] »

Free Mind Mapping Webinar: March 10, 2020

Update: The Idea Magic webinar is over, but we have posted a public replay here. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback around our new course, Mastering Mind Maps. It’s been really cool for us to see how many of our readers have embraced mind mapping for themselves and the clarity and confidence they’ve gotten as […] »

Apps We’re Trying: Tot

Tot is a simple text scratchpad app from Iconfactory that does one thing: capture and edit small bits of text. »

How to use mind maps when running a business and personal life

Recently, I shared with a couple of friends about the new mind mapping course we just released, and one of them (Brandon Wentland, who previously shared his sweet setup here started telling me about some of the cool ways he uses mind maps to run his digital marketing agency. »

How and Why to Make the Time to Think

If you've been following along, we've covered quite a bit when it comes to capturing and developing your ideas. In this post, we'll delve into why it's important to schedule thinking time for your work. »

Sharpening Your Mental Saw

In this Mindfulness Monday post, Mike shares part 3 in his series on capturing and developing ideas using mind maps. »

A Few of our Favorite New Fantastical Features

One of the things that makes the new Fantastical app so great is that you now have features like Calendar Sets available on all your devices. There's a big emphasis on parity and bringing all the formerly Mac-only features to all platforms, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing new for Mac users. »

Mindfulness Monday: We Updated Our Best Mind Mapping App Review

I've been sharing recently about the system I use for capturing and developing ideas, and at the heart of this system is a mind mapping habit. Mind Mapping helps me develop my ideas so that I don't deal with writer's block and saves me a ton of time by making it super easy to get started whenever I sit down to write. »

Why Mind Mapping Works

How a mind map can save you time, energy, and anxiety when it comes to writing, creating, planning, and more. »

How Isaac Smith Fights the Urge to Stay Connected

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we talk to Blanc Media Production Manager Isaac Smith about his intentional limitations, fighting the urge to stay connected, and his 6-month "dumb-phone" experiment. »

Behind the Scenes with Our Upcoming Course on Mind Mapping

A while back we posted a survey about capturing, developing, and organizing ideas using mind mapping. Since then we’ve been hard at work on a new course designed to help you capture inspiration when it strikes, and also to help you create a system for developing those ideas so you can be more creative and […] »

Creating Intentional Technology Habits in 2020

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we consider how to leverage our technology to create intentional habits. Last week, we published an interview with bestselling author James Clear about starting and building better habits. There’s some great insights in the interview about how habits work, and James shares some great tips about how to create them. […] »

Essential iOS Apps for Musicians

It's a fine time to be an iOS musician. There are a ton of great apps out there that can help you refine your craft and even perform live music in new and interesting ways. »

Take Control of Shortcuts for iOS with Rosemary Orchard’s New Book

There is a new Take Control book available today on Shortcuts, and it’s written by our own Rosemary Orchard! If you’re looking to take your iOS automation game to the next level, Rosemary is definitely qualified to help you. She’s written several automation posts here at The Sweet Setup on automation, like how to start […] »

Turning Ideas Into Action

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we talk about how to use your technology to develop your ideas and turn them into action. »

Technology, Margin, & the Lost Art of Authentic Connection

As the pace of our everyday lives continues to increase, it's only natural to look for an escape. As information and commitments are thrown at us without discretion at breakneck speed, we covet every opportunity to hit "pause" and disconnect. »

The TSS Awards: Announcing the Best Apps and Hardware of 2019

Our goal here at The Sweet Setup is to help you find the best apps and hardware for your Apple devices. We spend an inordinate amount of time using and recommending the best apps and workflows for Apple users like you. This year, the whole TSS staff got together to vote for our very first […] »

Create, Not Consume: A Mindfulness Manifesto

Creativity is not based on your artistic ability. It has nothing to do with your natural talent. It depends entirely on your perspective, and is vital to embracing an intentional approach to technology. We must all learn to flip the switch from mindless consumption to conscious creation if we want to reach our full potential. »

Comparing Apple TV+ and Disney+

Which streaming service is right for you? We break down the pros and cons between the latest two steaming services. »

Do You Mind Map? We’d Love to Hear From You!

To tip our hat, we have something brand new in the works for 2020. But, as usual, we would love to hear your feedback and input before we get started. (As you’ll soon discover, it is related to idea management and mind mapping.) Would you mind taking a few moments to provide your feedback on […] »

Apps We Love: Sleep Cycle

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we share how using Sleep Cycle can help you wake up well-rested. When I was 18, I had a seizure while standing in line at a McDonald’s. Fortunately, there was a nurse nearby and she kept me safe until the ambulance arrived and I was rushed to the hospital. When […] »

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we share some tips on how to set yourself up for NaNoWriMo success. »

Apps We Love: Brain.fm

Brain.fm is a special kind of music service designed for the brain to enhance focus and relaxation within only 10 to 15 minutes of use. »

Automating Habit Tracking with Streaks & Shortcuts

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we look at how to reinforce positive technology habits through automation using Streaks and Shortcuts. There is no shortage of high-quality habit trackers for iOS. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it. There are options for tracking your habits across multiple platforms, options for ramifying your habit tracking, and […] »

GoodNotes 5.3 for iPadOS Adds Multiple Window Support, OCR Scanning, and Dark Mode

GoodNotes (our pick for The Best App for Taking Handwritten Notes) was recently updated to version 5.3. This is a pretty major update, adding support for multiple windows, OCR scanning, and Dark Mode. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new. Multiple Windows There are lots of ways you can open multiple windows in GoodNotes: With GoodNotes […] »

Apps We Love: Forest

Forest is an interesting iPhone app that actually encourages you to use your phone less. »

We Updated Our Guide to the Best Password Manager for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

It's only been a couple of years, but (thankfully) internet security has come a long way since we published our pick for the best password manager. While 1Password is still our favorite because it gives you a great design, powerful security features, and the ability to store just about anything private inside it, there are a lot of other options available for keeping your passwords safe. »

How Shahid Ahmad Stays Focused on His Phone

In this Mindfulness Monday post, we talk to video game developer and podcaster Shahid Kamal Ahmad about the steps he takes to stay out of the Infinity Pools and stay focused on what's important. »

Changing Defaults

It’s 6:34 am. The sound of your smartphone alarm startles you awake. (Actually, it’s the sound of the fifth alarm you’ve set because you’ve gotten so used to snoozing them that it now takes several to finally get you out of bed.) You instinctively reach to grab your phone from the nightstand and perform your […] »

A Guide to Sketchnoting on iPad (using GoodNotes)

Sketchnoting is a powerful and visual way to take notes that helps you retain more of the information you hear. It’s an excellent way to capture ideas during meetings, workshops, conferences, and more. »

Apps We Love: Moodnotes

Moodnotes is a simple iOS app that helps you track and understand your emotional state. »

Keyboard Maestro Releases Version 9, with Dark Mode, JSON, OCR, and More

Keyboard Maestro by Stairways Software is a powerful automation program which allows you to create your own macros that automate certain actions on your Mac. With Keyboard Maestro (and a little bit of practice), you can use your Mac to automate virtually anything. Keyboard Maestro has been an essential Mac app for me for years. […] »

Some of Our Favorite Tech Podcasts

We've been listening to (and making) podcasts for a long time, and there have never been so many incredible options available to podcast listeners as there are currently today — no matter your interests — which means there are a ton of great tech podcasts out there for Apple enthusiasts like us. »

Jour: A Guided Journaling App for the iPhone

Journaling is one of the best habits you can create. It allows you to distance yourself from the emotion and business of the day by reflecting on the events that happened so you can achieve clarity on the situation and see things from the proper perspective. »

Bumpr 1.2 adds Custom Browser Rules, Browser Plugins, and More

Bumpr is a Mac App Store utility that allows you to select a browser in which to open links when clicking them. It’s a handy little app that is great for anyone who occasionally has a need to open links in various browsers, and it recently received an upgrade to version 1.2 that adds several […] »

Macstock is This Weekend

If you’re going to be coming to Macstock this weekend (July 27-28) in Woodstock, IL, be sure to stop by and say hi! Myself and Rosemary Orchard will be speaking from The Sweet Setup team, along with David Sparks, Brett Terpstra, Chuck Joiner, and a lot of other really smart people eager to teach you […] »

Day One 4.0 Brings Video Support, Apple Health Integration, and More

Day One (our favorite journaling app) just received a major update to version 4.0. There’s a couple big features in this release, but the big one is support for videos in your Day One entries. The ability to add video to Day One is a game changer for parents like myself who record small video […] »

Airmail Switches to Subscription-Based Pricing

This week, the popular email app Airmail made the switch from a standard paid app to a subscription-based app, angering many of its users. Before the change, Airmail was priced at $4.99 in the iOS App Store. Now, Airmail Premium (which allows you to use multiple accounts and enable push notifications) is $2.99/month or $9.99/year. […] »

We’ve Updated our Review of Our Favorite iOS Podcast Client

We love the new innovations Overcast has pioneered like the Clip Sharing feature that allows you to create and share your favorite moments from your podcast episodes, and Castro has also made several large advances, making the decision even more difficult. »

Creating a Custom Alfred Theme

While there are a ton of features that factor into us selecting Alfred as our favorite app launcher for the Mac, one of our more whimsical favorites is the ability to change the appearance by creating a custom theme. This is a paid feature that is part of the Alfred Powerpack, a worthwhile upgrade that […] »

A Closer Look at the Updated Reminders App: Who is it For?

This week, Apple unveiled a bunch of new features alongside their major operating system updates at WWDC. The keynote this year was jam-packed, and many major software updates only got a few moments of stage time. With so many things to cover, there were a couple that kind of flew under the radar that we […] »

How to automate Day One entries using IFTTT

Day One makes logging important conversations, milestones, and special moments incredibly easy by allowing you to automatically create journal entries by connecting various services via IFTTT. »

Creating custom Perspectives in OmniFocus

One of the most powerful features a task manager like OmniFocus offers is the ability to filter your tasks and projects to show you only what you want to see at any given moment. »

Working with email URLs on macOS

Mail and Airmail both offer methods of copying individual message URLs so you can easily create references in action items, notes, and more. »