It’s November, which means it’s time to break out the apple cider, Wes Anderson films, and corny Jack Johnson records. Also, it’s time for the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps!
As always, I’ve tried to bring together a collection of apps that power users and casual users alike will enjoy. I’ve also tried to source indie apps as much as possible. That way, you know you’re getting app recommendations you won’t find anywhere else. Plus, you get the added benefit of knowing you’re supporting smaller developers.
And for those that don’t know, I am not sponsored by any of these apps or developers! These are my unbiased feelings over these apps. I really think you’ll like them.
Alright, let’s get into it!
- The best iOS apps of November 2021
- The best macOS apps of November 2021
- Become a power user with the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps of November 2021
The best iOS apps of November 2021
First up on our list of the best iOS apps is Mapper For Safari. This is one of those apps that solves a problem you’ve always had, you just might not have ever realized it.
Mapper For Safari allows you to open Google Maps links in Apple Maps instantly. If you use Apple Maps and Google Search, then you’ll know why this is so handy. Google uses Google Maps in its search results, of course. And that means that when you’re trying to find a location in Google Search, all of the links will try to get you to open or download Google Maps.
If you prefer using Apple Maps (like myself) then you’re forced to tap away a bunch of popups, then select the address with your finger, then copy and paste it into Apple Maps.
It might not sound like a big deal (and ok, it’s not really a big deal), but it is one of those small annoyances, like Google’s AMP links, that makes Google Search more annoying than it should be.
For $0.99, Mapper For Safari will eliminate this problem. Just tap Google Maps links in Google Search results and from now on, you’ll be redirected to the Apple Maps app.
Alternatively, you could just start using DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search. It opens directions in Apple Maps by default – something to consider!
2. Waiyü: Start learning Chinese as you browse with Safari using one of the best iOS apps
Next up on the November list of the best iOS apps is Waiyü! Waiyü is an app for those trying to learn Chinese in a natural way. I remember back when I was taking Spanish in high school, and the teacher said that he learned fluent English rapidly by moving to America. I’ve heard similar stories from people who moved to other countries and were able to quickly pick up languages.
The key here is immersion. It’s a well-known fact that immersion is one of the best ways to learn a new language. And this just so happens to be the strategy that Waiyü uses.
Waiyü is a Safari extension for iOS that translates Chinese writing in-app. That means you don’t have to leave Safari for a translation app to understand Chinese characters in your browser. You can translate them right there in real-time.
There are also features that will help you understand stroke order, pronunciation, word segmentation, and more.
In short, Waiyü is a great way to strengthen your Chinese fluency. You can browse Chinese websites, read Chinese stories and news, and all the while enhance your understanding of the language. And best of all, it’s free!
If you’re already learning Chinese or are looking to get started, check out Waiyü!
3. Jinx Music Recommendations: Start expanding your Apple Music library
I think most of us who are fans of Apple Music can agree that it’s not the best for discovering new music. I love all of the features for building up and enjoying your music collection. But when you want to hear something new, Apple Music can oftentimes fall short.
If you have found yourself feeling this way, then Jinx, our next suggestion for the best iOS apps, might be the app for you. It connects to your Apple Music library, so all of your songs, albums, playlists, and artists will follow you in Jinx. Likewise, any new music you add to your library in Jinx will appear in your Apple Music library.
What Jinx does that Apple Music doesn’t is dramatically increase the amount of suggested music you see. Every song you play, album you tap, playlist your revisit will have recommended songs attached to it.
Everywhere you go in this app, music suggestions are going to follow you. And when you tap on a suggested song, you’ll get several more suggestions based on that song, and on and on.
In other words, Jinx is music recommendations on overload. It’s a great app for someone who loves finding new music to listen to all the time.
While I enjoyed testing Jinx, I will say that there are a few place where I think this app has room to improve. Namely, the UI. It feels a bit sluggish, and certain elements are unintuitive. For example, I had a hard time figuring out how to set my decade preference for music.
That said, there was nothing that I couldn’t figure out within ten minutes of tapping around. And once I got the hang of it the app felt very straightforward.
Overall I think this is a super solid app for music fans! The developers are updating it regularly and adding neat features, so I have no doubt it’ll only continue to get better as it gains more support. Give it a shot!
4. un:safe: Crack safes right from your wrist
Last up on our list of the the best iOS apps is un:safe (which I will be referring to as “Unsafe” for simplicities sake). It’s technically an Apple Watch app, but you install it from your iPhone, plus this is my article, so I’m going to let it slide.
This one’s a game! Unsafe allows you to “crack safes” or “locks” from your Apple Watch by twisting the Digital Crown. You get haptic feedback as you solve these puzzles, making them incredibly satisfying to work through.
I’ve played a handful of games on my Apple Watch, and honestly, most of them aren’t that good. The screen is small, and more often than not the games on Apple Watch are clearly not meant for it. They’re traditional games that have been forced to conform to the Apple Watch’s limited interface.
Unsafe does not have this problem. It looks and feels like every aspect of it was built around the Apple Watch. So much so that I don’t think this game could work on any other device.
In my opinion, this is the perfect fidget game. If you want something to play with casually on your wrist when riding the bus or taking a break from work, then drop $1.99 and start working your way through this game.
The best macOS apps of November 2021
1. GrandTotal Invoicing: Excellent invoicing right from your Mac
Kicking off the best macOS apps of November is one that’s certainly not going to be for everyone. If you’re a freelancer or just someone who works with invoices often, then you’ll like what GrandTotal Invoicing has to offer.
When I first started freelancing, I was using QuickBooks to manage my invoices. And while it did get the job done pretty well, it was also a web app, the monthly subscription isn’t cheap, and you really don’t get that many features considering the price. Not to mention that the price increased just in the short time that I was using it.
Needless to say, I ditched it. I ended up using Keyboard Maestro and a plain text template doc to automate my invoices, and it’s been mostly great. But in the back of my mind, I’ve been hoping for an invoicing app that can meet my needs in a simple, all-in-one application without breaking the bank.
That’s where GrandTotal Invoicing comes in! It’s exactly that: An all-in-one invoicing app with features out the wazoo and a reasonable one-time fee of $179. That may sound like a lot, until you remember that’s the lowest price for QuickBooks for one year. Most likely, you’re going to be spending $300+/year.
Not only is GrandTotal Invoicing far more affordable, it also includes a ton of features that QuickBooks doesn’t. For starters, it’s a downloadable app. So you can use it without needing to connect to the internet.
Additionally, GrandTotal Invoicing integrates with a variety of apps, allows you to schedule recurring invoices, has various templates that you can customize, tax settings, analytics for your income, and much more.
This app honestly does far more than I can cover in this short section. Check out the link and see everything that it has to offer. It comes with a free trial, so you can explore it to see if it’s right for you before you make a purchase.
2. CheatSheet: Instantly see a list of keyboard shortcuts for whichever app you’re using
Next on our list of the best macOS apps is one that, admittedly, looks a bit like one we recommended last month. There is a difference, though!
Shortcut Keeper, which we covered in the October 2021 post of this series, allows you to add and recall shortcuts for each of your apps. That way, you don’t have to remember all of the shortcuts you use in a particular app. You just remember one shortcut that brings up Shortcut Keeper, and then you can see all of the shortcuts that you’ve saved.
The drawback (or perk, depending on how you look at it) of Shortcut Keeper is that it doesn’t come with pre-programmed shortcut suggestions. It’ll only store the keyboard shortcuts you tell it to. Handy if you use custom shortcuts (like with Shortcuts or Keyboard Maestro) but not so handy if you just want to know what shortcuts are available in Safari at any given time.
If you haven’t guessed it already, that’s exactly what CheatSheet does. It comes pre-loaded with keyboard shortcuts for a wide array of apps on Mac. It also looks like it’s pulling shortcuts from the menus in each app, which is really useful.
All you have to do to bring CheatSheet up is hold the command button down for a few seconds. So you don’t really need to remember any shortcuts with this app except for holding the command button. It’ll remember everything else for you.
Surprisingly, CheatSheet is totally free! It is still Intel-only, but thanks to Rosetta I can still use it with my M1 Mac. The developer will need to upgrade it soon, however, or it’ll stop working with Apple Silicon Macs.
I really can’t think of any reason not to get this app – check it out!
3. Collections: Personal Database: Keep track of all of your digital odds and ends
The third item on our list of the best macOS apps for November is Collections. Collections is at the opposite end of the spectrum from CheatSheet in that it’s a pretty niche app. Still, I think there are a lot of AppleToolBox readers that will get a kick out of it.
As the name implies, Collections is a personal database. You know how we all keep things stored in the Notes and Reminders apps? Games we want to play, books we want to read, passwords, phone numbers, and subscriptions we need to cancel?
Well, Collections is an app that allows you to store all of these things with far greater organizational features.
It’s actually a lot like Numbers or Excel, which are spreadsheet databases. Collections just has a far cleaner interface and makes it way easier to keep your digital “things” accounted for. It’s hard to describe, but you can think of it as a more feature-rich, organized Notes app without becoming as complex or corporate-oriented as Numbers.
You can use this app for free or pay for a Pro version, which will unlock a few extra features. It’s available on Mac, iPad, and iPhone, and gets frequent updates. Definitely worth experimenting with if you’re someone who has endless disorganized tidbits of info scattered throughout your Mac apps!
4. ToothFairy: Manage your Bluetooth devices greater ease
There are two Bluetooth features I’ve been waiting for from Apple since I’ve owned a Mac:
- The ability to connect to a Bluetooth device with a keyboard shortcut
- The ability to switch between Noise Cancellation and Transparency Mode on AirPods with a keyboard shortcut
Right now, neither of these is possible with the default macOS settings. One of the the best macOS apps in this list, however, can accomplish the first one for you.
I am of course talking about ToothFairy, the last app in this month’s list. ToothFairy, as its clever title implies, allows you to map any and all of your Bluetooth devices to a Mac keyboard shortcut. You can also pin icons for each of your Bluetooth devices to the Menu Bar with their battery level, which is a nice touch. Clicking this icon will instantly connect or disconnect your devices.
Overall, I really like this app! The only complaint I have is that I wish it did even more. But I think the simplicity of this app is more so a reflection on how limited Apple’s Bluetooth API is and less so the developer’s investment in this app. macOS Monterey even broke the battery-display feature of this app for a while, which lends credence to the idea that Apple’s Bluetooth API is not very well developed.
ToothFairy is $5.99, which I admit is a bit high for how simple this app is. Still, if this is a feature you want, ToothFairy seems to be the only way to get it.
Become a power user with the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps of November 2021
And that’s it! Those are, in my opinion, eight more of the best iOS apps and the best macOS apps currently available. This month’s list definitely has more niche apps than usual. I can see each reader being really into one or two of these apps but having little use for the rest.
Wherever you fall on that spectrum, I hope you give some of these a try! I’ve really enjoyed testing them and am going to be using some of these daily going forward (looking at you, ToothFairy, Mapper, and CheatSheet).
See you next time!