How We Pick Apps
Our Approach to finding the best apps
Our goal is to help you find the best apps for your Mac, iPad, and iPhone.
We review, research, test, try, and then recommend only the best apps (not the newest) so you can find what they’re looking for. We want to be a well-respected and trusted resource for people to look to when they need to know which app is the right app for them and/or their friends.
Writing about an app is a very subjective task.
Take weather apps for example. They are all about the same price ($3—$5) and do pretty much the same thing (tell you the current and upcoming forecast). In many ways, they are each just a different take on UI design. Without too much time investment, someone could easily pick out the top 5 or 10 weather apps because they’re the ones that have the right balance of features, sport a clean and quick design, and are developed by respected companies.
But how then do you pick out the best from that list?
In some cases, picking the best app might just boil down to personal taste. In which case, we like to say “this is our favorite app” instead of “this is the best app.”
In some cases, we’ll break our recommendations down into more finite categories, such as: our favorite general purpose weather app, the best weather radar app, and our favorite free weather app.
All of our recommendations include logical reasoning for why the app/product we recommend is the best amongst the competition. We avoid jumping to preconceived conclusions about an app recommendation and take the time to do our due diligence, research, testing, and comparisons.
Here are some things we take into account when looking for and deciding upon the best app:
- Is the app awesome? (Does it look great? Is it free from bugs and UI quirks? Is it snappy and easy to use? Does it delight?)
- Is the app priced reasonably considering the target audience? (Example: OmniFocus is very expensive for casual folks who just want a to-do list app that syncs.)
- Does the app’s developer have a good reputation?
- Does the app itself have a future of being continually updated and developed over time?
- Do other people who know about this category of apps recommend this app? (Please reference other data points and opinions that support your conclusion.)
- Would we / do we use it?
- Would we recommend it to our spouses/parents/bosses/coworkers?
- What are the one or two obvious competitors and why are they not the ones being recommended?
- Does the app have a clear business model, and is it likely to be actively maintained for years to come?
We all use our iPhones, iPads, and Macs every day. WE use them to communicate with friends and family, take pictures and videos of special events and moments, we use them to help us find a nearby coffee shop or to manage our grocery list; we use them to write, to edit photos, to record music, to collaborate, and to communicate.
And there are so many fantastic apps and other tools to help us.
That’s why we built this site. Because we want to use the best tools for whatever the task is, and we want you to use the best tools for whatever job you have to do.
We take our work very seriously, and we hinge our reputation on every article we write. But we’re also here to have fun, and so we try not to take ourselves too seriously.
Thank you so much for trusting us and for listening to what we have to say.
— Shawn Blanc