Welcome back to my monthly series on the best iOS apps and macOS apps. Today, we’re going to go over my favorite apps for August. This was a pretty packed month for me, so I made an effort to pick out fun, lightweight apps that will reduce your workload and stress (don’t skip out on PetBar!!)
For those new to this series, this is a monthly blog series here at AppleToolBox where I hunt down some of the best apps for Mac and iPhone/iPad that you’ve never heard of.
Unlike a lot of other “Best App Lists” you’ll find out there on the internet, I do my best to include apps you won’t know. So if you’re tired of getting recommendations on the same meditation, note-taking, and social media apps on hundreds of different sites, this is the article for you!
As always, I am not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the recommendations in this post. These are my unbiased opinions on each of these apps – as is always the case for my AppleToolBox reviews.
Alright, let’s go!
- The best iOS apps of August 2021
- The best macOS apps of August 2021
- Check-in next month for more of the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps
The best iOS apps of August 2021
1. nanonote: Take notes by chatting
When I first saw the concept behind nanonote, I thought it was a pretty cute idea. After I downloaded it and started using it, though, I realized how genius this simple idea is.
nanonote was created after the developer realized that they were always sending messages to their partner to remember things. “Ignore this text, I just want to remember this song”; “I’m texting you this so I don’t forget to buy it at the store”; stuff like that.
In other words, the developer realized that they were favoring texting notes rather than writing them down in the Notes app.
To better organize these notes (and to avoid bugging their partner) the developer built a note-taking app that looks like a messaging app. You just write a message, text it in the app, and add a hashtag to send it to a specific subset of messages (i.e., “Apple #groceries”; “Listen to that podcast #todo”; “Make butternut squash soup later #recipes”; “Monkey holding a STOP sign #ArtIdeas”).
There are some great features in this app, like automatically pasting your clipboard whenever you open the app.
I do think there is some room for improvement, though, as the app is pretty limited right now.
First, I think the app could respond to you via chat bubble for certain commands. I know that making a full-on chatbot might be beyond the developer’s capabilities, but some simple requests would be appreciated! For instance, you could say, “Delete my last message #nanonote” to delete the last message you sent in the app.
Also, it would be nice if you could edit the messages after you send them. And maybe an ability to clear a message (not delete it) after you’ve completed it. For instance, if you buy apples, it would be nice to swipe that message away while still being able to delete it later.
I recommend checking this app out, especially if you avoid using traditional note apps due to how boring and structured they are. It is one of the best iOS apps I’ve come across in a while.
2. Frizzle Fonts: Make your own scribble font
Second on our list of the best iOS apps is Frizzle Fonts. This one is another simple yet surprisingly addictive app. It lets you draw each letter of the alphabet with your finger on the screen. Then, Frizzle Fonts links your drawing of that letter to that letter on your keyboard.
Once you’ve completed the entire alphabet, you can then type in this app using your personalized font. You can use your font on photos, make stickers out of it, apply filters and effects that make your font look even cooler, and export your images in high resolution.
Best of all, Frizzle Fonts is ad and catch-free! There is no premium version, no ads, no need to create an account, and no data collected on you. The beauty of supporting an indie app!
If you have any kind of artistic skills, you can no doubt make a stylish font using this app. Most of us, though, are just going to create a font in our handwriting. But even that can turn out to look impressive and unique with the features this app has.
I think this is a really fun and creative way to add personality to your social media posts, so definitely give it a look!
3. Shortcuts: Automate your iPhone, Mac, and home
Ok, hear me out! I know that this suggestion breaks the conventions of this series a little bit. I’m sure that most of you have heard of the Shortcuts app since it’s a popular app that Apple produced. So it isn’t an indie app or an unknown app, making it an odd addition to this best iOS apps list.
However! I’ve been writing articles on how to get more out of this app for the last few months. Just a few days ago I published a super extensive article teaching how to use regex code with the Shortcuts app, which can quickly make you a Shortcuts power user.
Before writing these articles, I had kind of written the Shortcuts app off as being basic and underpowered. Sure, you can do cute things like automatically generate a weekly playlist. But I had a hard time finding or creating routines that would improve my life significantly. So I just never used it.
After writing these articles, though, I’ve become a total Shortcuts believer. There are so many things you can do with this app when you start to open up and put more time into it. I recommend looking at the Shortcuts guides we’ve written (and are continuing to write!) as well as the community for the Shortcuts app on Reddit.
4. IBS Logs: Easy tracking and exporting for those with IBS
If you’re a regular reader of my best iOS apps series, you’ll no doubt know that health-centric apps are a favorite of mine. That’s because I feel that far too many health apps on the App Store are just there to track your diet and mood.
Those things are important, of course, but there are far more uses for the iPhone when it comes to keeping your health in check. IBS Logs is an app that proves this point elegantly.
For those with IBS, it can be a daily struggle. That’s why a daily tracker like IBS Logs can be a big help. It gives you tons of features and tools to help you easily keep up diet, stool, and symptoms. And you can export your tracking history to a CSV file for easy reading by your physician.
I recommend checking this out if you have IBS! Tracking apps like this are really useful for doctors in understanding your unique symptoms and experience. Plus, it can help you detect warning signs that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The best macOS apps of August 2021
1. Almighty: Add a ton of new features to your Mac
Now that we’ve covered all of the best iOS apps for this month, it’s time to get into the best macOS apps. Starting with one that should have been on this list a long time ago!
As it claims, Almighty is a Mac app that provides powerful tweaks to your computer. When you download it, you’ll get access to more than 50 new features and modifications to your Mac.
That includes features like being able to lock your keyboard to prevent input, clearing the contents of your clipboard, converting copied text into plain text, and hiding Menu Bar items.
In other words, it’s a bunch of the features that you’ve always wished Apple would add to macOS available in one app.
You can map all of these features to keyboard shortcuts, making them even more seamless. And you can automate these features to run in sequence with each other. So one keyboard shortcut could run multiple of the features and utilities in Almighty at once.
It’ll cost you $12, but I think it’s one of the best one-time purchases you can make for your Mac.
2. Automator: Automate your Mac with a sophisticated built-in app
Speaking of automation, I wanted to include Automator in this month’s list of the best macOS apps.
Like Shortcuts on iOS, Automator is a built-in app on your Mac that you can use to automate virtually anything on your device. In my experience, it’s more powerful than Shortcuts. It has more system-level features that let you take full control of your Mac.
I only started using Automator a few months ago and have completely put it to work. There are so many folders, shortcuts, quick actions, and routines running on my Mac that I sometimes forget I created a lot of them.
Automator helps me send out invoices, organize my folders, save storage on my computer, save time when writing articles, and more.
If you’ve never used Automator before, be sure to check out the recent guides I’ve been writing for it on AppleToolBox.
It’s important to mention that Automator is in the process of being phased out by Apple on macOS. However! It is being replaced by a desktop version of Shortcuts, and that version of Shortcuts will be able to take over your Automator routines. So there’s no harm in continuing to use Automator until macOS Monterey is here!
3. PetBar: Boost your productivity in the cutest way possible
Do you ever come across something at the store or online that you instantly know you’re going to love? Maybe it’s a tiramisu at the bakery or a pair of socks with dinosaurs on them.
Sometimes, something just clicks with you. That’s what PetBar did for me. I purchased it around five seconds after learning what it was. Allow me to share with you an app that easily makes it on this list of the best macOS apps.
PetBar is a Menu Bar app that puts an animated sleeping pet in your Menu Bar. Like so:
You can choose between 16 common pets right now, including cats, dogs, hamsters, rats, birds, chickens, turtles, and hedgehogs. The developer will also do their best to add a pet of yours if you own a pet that isn’t on this list – they’ve already added 4 to the original 12 that this app launched with.
Not only is this a super cute idea, but the pet in your Menu Bar can also remind you to take breaks while you work! You can set a custom timer and pair it with a custom quote. When the timer ends, it’ll read out the quote you’ve chosen and start a short break for you to relax for a few minutes.
My one issue with this app is that some of the pet icons seem to be pulled from an icon library rather than being created for this app. For instance, the cat in the above screenshot is clearly done in a cute, sleepy art style, as is the dog, pig, and T-Rex. The rat, hamster, bird, and fish, though, look kind of generic and crummy.
It’s an indie app, and I’m sure that the developer probably just doesn’t have the time or ability to draw cute icons for all of the pets. I don’t have the drawing ability for it! But it would be relatively inexpensive to hire a freelance graphic designer to draw all of the icons for this app.
Hopefully, if this app gets more attention, the developer will be able to spruce up some of the pet icons a bit! None are terrible, some are just less adorable than others.
4. AirBuddy: Make AirPods and other Bluetooth devices easier to manage
Last up in this list of the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps is AirBuddy. AirBuddy is an app that has been popular among Mac power users for a while now, though I only recently came across it.
AirBuddy is a Bluetooth manager for Mac that specializes in making your AirPods feel more magical. The big feature that got it its name is that it allows you to open your AirPods near your Mac to instantly connect them – just like you would with an iPhone.
That’s a nice touch for AirPods owners who don’t want to be left out. To me, though, it’s the additional features that AirBuddy comes with that make it one of the best macOS apps.
AirBuddy will keep track of any of your Bluetooth devices (including iPhone and Apple Watch) that are within range of your Mac. It’ll provide battery data, sending you customized alerts whenever your devices need to be charged or have finished charging. This can be used with Bluetooth keyboards and mouses as well, including Apple’s Magic Mouse and Keyboard.
This app will cost you $9.99, but I think that’s pretty fair considering it’s something you’ll be using on a day-to-day basis. Give it a look!
Check-in next month for more of the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps
And that’s it! That’s my list of the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps for August 2021. My favorites are nanonote, Automator, and PetBar – don’t skip those!
This is one of my favorite projects to work on here at ATB, so thanks for making it possible by coming back for more each month!
See you in September!