Productivity Course: All the Things  →  Learn More!

App Recommendations from Shawn Blanc

Backblaze

The best cloud backup service

Backblaze

Everyone should have an off-site backup. Backblaze is the easiest to set up, the least expensive to use, and extremely reliable.
Day One

The Best Journaling App for iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Day One

For a classy journaling app that works on all your devices, you can't do better than Day One.
Printopia

Our favorite AirPrint enabler

Printopia

Printopia is our favorite utility for turning any printer on your network into an AirPrint printer.


Gadget Recommendations from Shawn Blanc

These are the computer speakers I use

For the money, these Audyssey Bluetooth computer speakers are the best sounding, best looking, speakers you can buy. The little brother to this pair of white, bluetooth speakers, is the Audyssey Lower East Side Media Speaker. However, the white, bluetooth model has the same speaker components but they include (obviously) Bluetooth connectivity (in addition to […] »



Blog Posts & Articles by Shawn Blanc

Making Better Portraits: Adjustable Background Blur and Editing

This iPhone photography tutorial by Erin Brooks shows how to use adjustable background blur (a.k.a. bokeh) on iPhone. This video is another sneak peek video from our brand-new course on Mobile Photography. In this tutorial, Erin is uses an app called Focos along with Lightroom Mobile. Focos has long provided the same adjustable background blur […] »

Now Open: Mobile Photography Course

Our most ambitious training course yet. Mobile Photography teaches you everything you need to know to transform your photos from average to awesome! »

Our Mobile Photography Course

Our brand-new course is out, just in time for the new iPhones and iOS 12. Here are all the details and a full list of the table of contents. »

On the Apple Watch Series 4

After 3.5 years of using an Apple Watch every day, the new Apple Watch Series 4 is, without a doubt, the best Apple Watch yet. »

Thoughts and details on the just-announced iPhone Xs (Max)

A screen and a camera. That’s the gist of an iPhone. On the front, you’ve got a screen. And on the back you’ve got a camera lens or two. And today, at Apple’s “Gather Round” event, they announced the new iPhones Xs which, of course, have better screens and better cameras than before. Yes, this […] »

Big Week

There are quite a bit of exciting things happening over the next week, and in this post we want to try and communicate everything with you. »

My iPad Photography Workflow

Here is an outline of the process I use to get images onto my iPad, how I edit them, and why there are a lot of best practices that I’m intentionally bypassing. »

Unlock 1Password (New Course Available Now)

The doors to our new course on 1Password are open. There are 14 video tutorials to help you discover all the amazing ways this app can save you time, energy, and keep your data safe. And, as with all our courses, you also get complete transcripts, downloadable HD files, and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Get […] »

How I Use 1Password

1Password is an essential, must-have app. Here’s a quick look at what all I store in 1Password and why it’s so helpful. »

New Time Management Course, Now Available

Over on our sister site, we have been hard at work on a huge update to our popular class on time management. And the time has come… The new class is available now. There is a complete table of contents below, but some of the main themes addressed within the class include: How to get […] »

The Calmest iPhone Yet

Each of the 3 new hallmark features — Screen Time, Notifications, Do Not Disturb — have multiple things you can do with them. Let’s go through each one to see what is going to be possible, and why it’s so awesome. »

Tomorrow: Day One in Depth Course

Big day tomorrow… Our brand-new course, Day One In Depth will be available. This new course is the most detailed and extensive guide to Day One there is. As I’ve said before, this app is one I’ve been using since it came out in 2011 and it has become one of the single most important […] »

Using the Day One Activity Feed for Easier, Faster Entries

As any long-time reader of this site will know, I am a huge fan of the app, Day One. A few years ago we had written a pretty great guide to Day One, and right now we’re wrapping up some HUGE updates to that guide. (More on that in a bit.) As part of our […] »

What’s In My Day One (2018 Edition)

When we launched this website in the fall of 2013, we had just a handful of app reviews written: weather, calculator, calendar, and a few others. Of those first reviews, there was one in particular that I wanted to write myself: the pick for best journaling app. The pick was — and still is, of […] »

The Wrong Way to Manage Your Time

If there is one thing I have learned about focus and time management over the years, it is that how we spend our time and energy is an ever moving target. »

The Focus Course: Now Available

In partnership with our sister site, we just opened up registration for The Focus Course, our flagship training on productivity and time management. »

Tomorrow: The Focus Course

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 9:00 am EST, the Focus Course will be available. Here are all the details about the course, pricing, and more. »

What an Un-Focused Life Looks Like

When you’re over toward the left on the “un-focused” side of things, you don't feel in control — it's stressful. You don't feel like there is any breathing room. And you're so frequently responding to the urgent issues of others, that you lack any clear plan forward. »

Get Back Hours Per Week (Part 3)

Continuing in our partnership with our sister site, The Focus Course, here is the third and final video in a short series we've been doing on the topic of focus and productivity. »

How to Get Your Life in Focus (Part 2)

As we continue this 3-part series, it's in this video that I reveal the “framework”I use to stay focused, organized, and on track with all the various areas of my life. It's what I call the 5 Components of a Focused Life. »

Accidental Digital Detox

In 2009, I went on an unexpected digital detox. My wife and I had booked a cabin for a week and when we arrived, I discovered there was no wifi or cell service… »

Take The Focus Quiz

We have a brand-new tool that is our first collaboration between our two sister sites: The Focus Course and The Sweet Setup. It's called The Focus Quiz, and it's a personal productivity assessment. »

Productivity Pitfalls

Let's discuss five of the most common pitfalls that will limit your results and cause immense friction and roadblocks to your workflows and systems. »

Threats to Your Time and Attention

Continuing in our series on focus and productivity, here we will dive in to see what’s holding you back from being efficient and intentional with your time, and the obstacles you face when trying to do focused, deep work. »

Third-Wave Productivity

Clarity about what matters also gives clarity about what does not. Clarity is vital if you want to do deep work on a regular basis over the long run. »

Productivity & Focus Workshop Replay

We hosted our first, live workshop for Sweet Setup readers. There were several hundred who joined us for live the workshop, and it was a blast! »

Questions Answered About Learn Ulysses

We can’t say thank you enough to everyone who has supported our work and helped to spread the word about Learn Ulysses. Here are some answers to a few common questions we’ve been getting over the past few days… »

Learn Ulysses: Here It Is

Our brand-new course, Learn Ulysses, is now available. It sells for just $29. But right now to celebrate the launch week, you can get it for $23. Find Out More… Or click here to buy it now. Here’s what a few folks are saying: “This is so good! There is tons of useful information in […] »

Behind The Scenes of Learn Ulysses

Learn Ulysses launches in a week. Here are some fun and nerdy details about the work we’re doing behind the scenes to get things ready for you… »

Ulysses vs. Day One

Recently, quite a few folks have asked me how Ulysses and Day One compare and if one could replace the other. I think it will be easiest to answer this question by explaining how and why I use each of these apps. »

Seven Ulysses Superpowers

The more you use Ulysses, the better it gets. Here are my seven favorite Ulysses superpowers. »

Shawn Blanc’s Ulysses Setup

Ulysses has become the central spot for where I store all my notes, research, and other tidbits of inspiration. It's also where I toss all my writing ideas, and it’s where I actually do all my writing. Here's what it looks like... »

Need More Time in the Day?

An online summit featuring candid and powerful video conversations with some of the world's best creative entrepreneurs. »

A Focus on Time

Things like diligence, focus, priorities, saying no, time management, and the like are important. But why? This quote by Benjamin Franklin pretty much sums it up for me: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of.” Focus, priorities, time management, etc… These are important because they’re […] »

Bushel (Sponsor)

Bushel is a cloud-based management solution for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices in your workplace. »

Bushel (Sponsor)

Bushel is a cloud-based management solution for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod devices in your workplace. »

Best of Two Dollar Tuesday (Sponsor)

Two Dollar Tuesday presents Mac App Store apps every week for just $1.99 each—at discounts up to 95%. Today is our Best Apps of 2015 promo, featuring our the most popular apps we’ve promoted in 2015. »

The New Uuni 2 (Sponsor)

The new Uuni 2 is a Wood-Fired Oven for pizza and beyond. Save $20 off your Uuni 2 with the code "thesweetsetup". »

Ride on the Marble Trend (Sponsor)

GMYLE’s marble pattern cases are built to protect your devices against the bangs and dings of everyday life in a chic manner. »

How To Filter Your Day One Entries on the Mac

With Day One, there are many ways to view and filter your timeline of entries. We're going to show you how they all work, as well as how you can also mix and match for advanced filtering of your timeline view. »

The Advantages of a Digital Journal in a Digital Age

There are many advantages to using a digital journal. Not only can it easily store photos, location data, timestamps, and more. It's also always with you (on your iPhone), your information is backed up and secure, and you can quickly search past entries. »

Available Now: ‘Day One In Depth’ eBook

Make the most out of your journaling with our comprehensive guide. *Day One In Depth* is the most detailed and extensive guide to Day One available today. Featuring in-depth reviews that cover every function and feature found within Day One, our handbook goes line by line showing you how to make the most of this award-winning journaling app. »

What’s In My Day One?

Because I’ve put so much time and so many words into my Day One over the years, I wanted to share a bit of how and why I use it… »

Word Vault (Sponsor)

Word Vault is a beautiful dictionary for iPhone with personalized vocabulary reviews. »

curbi (Sponsor)

curbi gives parents peace of mind; providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world. »

Mail Act-On (Sponsor)

Mail Act-On lets you file any message in any mailbox quickly using the keyboard (and without any advance setup or tedious memorization). »

Champion (Sponsor)

Easily show your friends who’s the Champ with the tournament management app you always wanted. For free! »

Advertise With Us

The best way to promote your product, service, or company directly to our readership and site visitors is through a sponsorship of the site. »

Artisanal Software Festival (Sponsor)

Hand-crafted, opinionated Macintosh software for writers and thinkers, at great prices, direct from the designers, for just a few days longer. »

Curbi (Sponsor)

curbi gives parents peace of mind; providing the best solution so the entire family can enjoy the online world as much as the real world. »

The Staff Favorites

Here is a running list of our personal favorite apps on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. The are the apps we, The Sweet Setup staff, use day in and day out for work and play. »

Byword (Sponsor)

A simple and efficient text editing app for Mac, iPhone and iPad. Write something great today. »

The Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide

On sale this week. Unleash your inner organization freak with these ebooks, and maximize your Dropbox potential. Dropbox is not just a folder -- it’s a tool to simplify your work and personal life. »

iBank 5 (Sponsor)

iBank delivers the most complete suite of money management apps for Mac and iOS. It offers all the power and all the tools you’d expect from desktop financial software -- including bill pay, bank downloads, budgets, reports, investment support and more. »

Thanksgiving Apps

Thanksgiving is here. We hope that for you this week will bring time with family, a lot of cooking, and (hopefully) some time to rest and relax. »

It’s Our 1-Year Birthday

Just one long year ago today we launched The Sweet Setup. Our aim was to be the place you go when you (or your friends) want the best app for a certain category. That is still our aim. »

Igloo: An intranet that actually works on your phone (Sponsor)

With Igloo’s responsive design, your intranet can be fully optimized for almost any device you’re using. Almost everything you can do on your desktop, you can do on your tablet or phone. It will even work on your new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Boom. »

Igloo: An intranet that actually works on your phone (Sponsor)

With Igloo’s responsive design, your intranet can be fully optimized for almost any device you’re using. Almost everything you can do on your desktop, you can do on your tablet or phone. It will even work on your new iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Boom. »

Uuni 2 (Sponsor)

Uuni 2: wood-fired perfection to your kitchen or garden this fall. »

GraphicConverter 9 (Sponsor)

The universal genius for photo editing, batch conversion, metadata editing, image browsing and much more »

Slim Your Wallet (Sponsor)

No one wants a brick wallet weighing down their back. Here are some easy tips from Bellroy to slim down. »

Daylite (Sponsor)

Improve the productivity of your small business with the app that organizes everything in one place. »

Backblaze (Sponsor)

Backblaze is unlimited, unthrottled, uncomplicated, and just $5/month. Try it free now! »

Lost Photos (Sponsor)

Lost Photos securely scans your email account for every photo you’ve ever sent or received, so you can save it back to your computer or share it on your favorite social network. »

Minimal Reader (Sponsor)

Minimal Reader is a lightweight and minimal RSS feed reading web service that you'll want to use everyday. »

Lost Photos (Sponsor)

Lost Photos securely scans your email account for every photo you’ve ever sent or received, so you can save it back to your computer or share it on your favorite social network. »

Advertising and Sponsorship Availability

Interested in promoting your awesome product, service, or company directly to our readership and site visitors? Great! We've recently changed our prices and options for advertising and sponsorships. »

Making Light (sponsor)

Become a Making Light member and each month you'll get everything you need to Make Light. Carefully selected fragrances chosen to help you craft your own focused hours each day. »

Day One’s new Publish feature

Today, there's a significant update to Day One, our favorite journaling and logging app. The update is a new feature called Publish, and it lets you selectively share your Day One entries to the Web. »

Direct Mail for OS X (Sponsor)

Create and send great looking email campaigns with Direct Mail, an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app for OS X. »

Introducing the new Glif (Sponsor)

The Glif is a smartphone accessory with two primary functions: mounting your phone onto a tripod, and propping your phone up at various angles. »

Doxie Go (Sponsor)

Doxie Go is the portable, rechargeable paper scanner that scans anywhere with no computer required, then syncs directly to your Mac. »

Doxie Go (Sponsor)

Doxie Go is the portable, rechargeable paper scanner that scans anywhere with no computer required, then syncs directly to your Mac. »

Introducing the new Glif (Sponsor)

The Glif is a smartphone accessory with two primary functions: mounting your phone onto a tripod, and propping your phone up at various angles. The design is simple, yet out of this simple design emerges countless uses. »

Doxie Go (Sponsor)

Doxie Go is the portable, rechargeable paper scanner that scans anywhere with no computer required, then syncs directly to your Mac. »

What we published this week

A list of our favorite games, the best iPad app for managing PDFs, a Sweet Setup interview with Matthew Panzarino, and more... »

The iPad Setup of Chris Gonzales

Chris Gonzales lives in Oklahoma City with his wife and son. He's known for his site, Unretrofied, and is a daily contributor to Tools & Toys, a sister site to The Sweet Setup. »

Introducing the new Glif (Sponsor)

The Glif is a smartphone accessory with two primary functions: mounting your phone onto a tripod, and propping your phone up at various angles. »

Matt Gemmell’s Sweet Mac Setup

Matt Gemmell is a consultant user experience designer and software engineer, mostly for iOS apps. He's also a speaker and writer. »

Casey Liss: Sweet iPhone Setup

Casey Liss is one-third of the Accidental Tech Podcast, with his friends Marco Arment and John Siracusa. During the day, he's a developer and corporate stooge, working at a small consultancy in Richmond, Virginia. Here's a look at his iPhone Home screen and his essential apps. »

The Dime Tour

Welcome! We're here because we enjoy spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to research, test, and find the very best apps. »

The iPad Setup of Ben Brooks

Ben spends his days listening to people complain, so he likes to complain on his weblog. He's also one of our contributing authors here at The Sweet Setup. »

A Beginner’s Guide to Pinboard

Pinboard is a great bookmarking service because it lives on the web, and so many of the apps and services I use every day can send bookmarks to my Pinboard. »