Daryl Tan’s Mac and iPhone setup

Every week, we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

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Who are you and what do you do?

Hi, I’m Daryl. During the day, I work in corporate finance for an investment holding company in Singapore. I use a Lenovo Thinkpad at work with the standard Microsoft suite of applications (Outlook, Excel, Powerpoint and Word). At night and on weekends, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and writing on my blog.

What is your current setup?

Daryl Tan's desk

At home, I have an all Apple setup. My computer is a 2015 13-inch MacBook Pro on top of a Nexstand laptop stand, paired with a Magic Mouse and Keyboard.

Where can we find your macOS wallpaper?

I like having a clean, sparse desktop, so my wallpaper is all black. I keep the dock hidden, so Spotlight is my best friend.

What software do you use and for what do you use it?

I use my MacBook for administrative things like paying my bills, checking my bank account and doing online shopping. That’s where 1Password comes in. 1Password is my password manager of choice. I keep all my passwords secured on it for bank accounts, online shopping, other miscellaneous accounts, credit cards etc. I can’t count the number of hours it has saved me in filling out my password and credit card information every time I go web browsing. It’s simple, easy to use, and worth every penny.

My go-to app for writing is iA Writer. I love its clean interface and simple, distraction-free UI. It also has an export to WordPress function which is great. (My article for The Sweet Setup and all my blog posts are written with it).

Besides these two apps, I also use Safari and Google Chrome for web browsing.

Most of the other applications are the standard ones that come shipped with all MacBooks. Calendar is simple to use and synchronises with my iPhones (will come to that later). Photos when paired together with my iCloud subscription helps organize and store all my family photos. Its album and memories features are fantastic for browsing whenever I feel like the old gray matter fading.

I use Google Sheets for keeping track of my personal investment portfolio. I don’t really like it all that much compared to Microsoft Excel, but I use it to keep my documents stored on the cloud and also because I don’t like having Excel lagging my MacBook’s performance.

How would your ideal setup look and function?

I would really like an upgrade on the chair I’m using. Aside from that, I’m pretty happy with my setup so far.


What iPhone do you have?

Daryl Tan's personal iPhone

My personal phone is a 128GB iPhone 7 (Jet Black). I love the way it fits in my palm, and I don’t use a phone cover (patina, patina, patina).

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

It’s a photo of my wife and 11-month old daughter.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

The Preinstalled iOS apps are really underrated. Apple got the basics right. I’m trying to keep my screen time to a minimum so the apps I used are focused on getting the important things done (i.e. phone calls, messaging, managing my time, note-taking and setting reminders).

Calendar: I haven’t tried out any other calendar app because I find that the one that comes shipped with the iPhone is good enough for me. Plus, being on the apple ecosystem means that I don’t need to have multiple Calendars.

Camera: I have a Fujifilm X100f, but more often than not, I find myself usually reaching for my iPhone 7 camera because it is so portable. The trifecta of the camera, photos, app and iCloud is just great.

Reminders: I’ve experimented with tons of to-do apps but find Reminders the easiest to use. My memory tends to be very sketchy so I rely on it a lot to keep me from forgetting errands.

iA Writer: While I write mainly on my MacBook, if I have any ideas or stray thoughts, I do a brain dump on the iaWriter app that I have on my phone.

WhatsApp: Everyone in my country uses WhatsApp, so there really isn’t much of a choice for me.


What iPhone do you have?

Daryl Tan's work iPhone

My work-issued phone is a 128GB iPhone 7 Plus in Rose Gold. Again, I don’t use a phone cover.

Where can we find your wallpaper online?

Like my desktop, this one is all black.

What apps do you use the most, and why?

I only use my work phone for replying to work emails and keeping track of meetings I have to attend. I drive to work, so the Podcast app keeps me sane as I battle my way through the daily drudge of traffic. Right now I’m listening to the Tim Ferriss Show — he always manages to book great guests on his show, so I find it really entertaining and useful to be like a fly on the wall as I listen to experts and learn from their insights.


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