Why I’ve switched to TickTick

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’m using a new to do app (again!) and this time it’s TickTick, an app I’ve seen in numerous screenshots but never really given a go.

It’s a free app that offers a subscription that gives additional features such as notifications and calendar functionality.

I’m not writing a full review but I wanted to highlight some of the things I really like about using it.

Habit tracking

It’s not normal for a to do app to offer habit tracking but having it integrated into my to do and calendar makes a lot of sense. I don’t track a lot, just a few things like getting out for a walk.

The way to add them is intuitive and you simply tick them off as you get through them. If you don’t achieve it that day you simply leave the habit undone that day.

Customisable tab bar

I like that you can customise some of the way your app looks. I have quick access to the to do, calendar, habits and search.

Widget

The app offers two widgets, I use them both. You get a calendar view that you can tap on to see the whole week, something that I used to use a separate app for. The second is a traditional list of what you have due today.

Projects and sub tasks

The app is clean and various smart views such as tomorrow are easy to get to. Projects are easy to create and can be organised into folders. Tasks can be further broken down into sub tasks. This is something that I’ve started to use a lot more for when a task is a few steps and it’s overkill to create a project for it.

Options for repeating tasks

Having lots of options for repeating tasks is a big win for me, I like how I can separate weekday tasks vs ones I want to do every day.

The watch app

It’s one of the more reliable when it comes to sync and it’s complication and UI are simple to use.

Privacy

TickTick are using AWS as their backend and restrict access to a small number of staff so I’m comfortable with using it to store my tasks.

Initial thoughts

I’m only a few days in so I’m paying my subscription monthly if I move to Reminders in iOS 13, something that I’ve tried to use but iCloud is so unreliable at the moment I gave up. Based on my usage of both the new Reminders and TickTick though I may not be tempted as this app is fitting well with how I’m working these days. Let’s see how the coming weeks go 😀

Using an iPhone 7 in 2019

Tech

I’m doing a little experiment with my devices at the moment. I’ve swapped my iPhone XS for a 7 and a Sony RX100 compact camera. I wanted to see if I preferred a smaller phone to carry and if having a pocketable camera alongside would help me to be more intentional about using my device. I was also experiencing some eye fatigue that I wanted to check was due to FaceID and/or the OLED.

First up the size and weight of the 7 is comfortable and I’m enjoying having a device that’s easy to pocket and forget.

TouchID has always been reliable for me and it unlocks quicker than FaceID. I’m also not blasting eyes with infrared.

The camera isn’t up to the XS but gets closer than you’d think. In low light it’s not great but outside I’d have trouble telling the difference. But on day trips the Sony will be coming along.

Surprisingly the performance holds up. Now its setup and indexed I don’t see a huge difference in performance between my XS and 7. Maybe in editing images in Photos but day to day stuff I’m not bothered.

App switching with the home button or hard pressing the edge of the screen feels old but I’m back used to it.

The major downsides so far are screen size and battery. I’m struggling to type on the smaller 4.7″ screen and reading articles is much less enjoyable. But I can now reach everything with one hand.

On the battery, even after a couple of days I’m noticing I can’t get through a day whereas I can go two on my XS with my current reduced usage.

So will I stick to it? Yes, within my return window on the iPhone 7. I need to do a few day trips first but I’m confident I’ll know the best setup for my in a week or so.

Some initial thoughts on iPadOS

ipad, Tech

I managed to avoid spoilers this year before the keynote and was pleasantly surprised by Apple creating a fork of iOS just for the iPad. It’s long overdue and I’m hoping it means each year now we’ll see improvements to the iPad. As someone that lives on the iPad I was really excited to give the beta of iPadOS a try. In the 48 hours I’ve had to play with it here are some of my favourite things about using it.

New home screen

Not a huge change but significant enough to make a difference to how I use it.

I have my most used apps on the right, now it’s more compressed they fit nicely. On the left I have Calendar and Reminders widgets reminding me about my day. This is a positive improvement and although I’d like to see the option to remove app names I’m pleased with the implementation.

Reminders

Reminders has had a big overhaul and in my time using it I loved it. Very buggy at the moment as to be expected but fitted the way my brain thinks about tasks. I enjoyed being able to create a Today list free from having to pick a specific time. I’ve raised over 15 radars with Apple on issues and suggestions so I’m hopeful it’ll become my only to do list manager come September.

Quick path typing and small keyboard

I was surprised at how much I loved using this little one handed keyboard on my 10.5″ Pro. I’ve also come to love (and miss now I’m off the beta) the swipe keyboard.

Sidecar

I installed Catalina on my MacBook and was very impressed with being able to use my iPad as a second screen. I didn’t use the pencil but simply as a second screen for info.

Photos

Big update for Photos and it looks particularly great with dark mode. Took me a while to get used to the new default view when you launch the app but definitely missing the beta. Looking forward to using it again when the public beta launches.

Dark Mode

Again took a while to get used to but found it easier on my eyes. I enjoyed using the default apps in dark mode, particularly Reminders. It’ll be a mode a lot of people will enable and then go back to white I imagine but for those of us that prefer a darker look it’s been implemented well.

Performance

I’m running on my 10.5″ iPad Pro and even though its beta 1 I had no performance issues. That said I can’t recommend running the beta at the moment. It’s so buggy right now and I’ve experienced several iCloud issues.

Overall thoughts

There are a tonne more improvements including files and multitasking but to be honest I don’t use those apps or features much. I’ve tried to highlight the ones that made a difference for me using iPadOS. I’m planning on a full review as we get through the beta cycle. I’m so pleased that Apple have recognised that the iPad is its own thing and needs a dedicated development path away from the iPhone. Now iPadOS is a thing we can expect to see improvements year on year and fingers crossed will push the iPad forwards at an increased pace.

When will Apple drop Google as the default search engine?

Tech

I’ve been reinstalling iOS a lot this week and one thing hit me, why is Google still the default search engine? Yes, I know Google pay them billions a year for this privilege but why with their privacy stance are they still doing it?

I was hoping iOS 13 changed this but nope it’s still the same. Maybe DuckDuckGo becomes the default or maybe it just asks you I’m not sure but it must be something Apple are looking at internally.

How to use a mouse with the iPad on iOS 13 (iPadOS)

ipad, Tech

I was very surprised when I saw mouse support being rumoured and it also wasn’t the keynote so I forgot about it. Then I saw a few things on Twitter including this amazing tweet from Andy.

I’m amazed that already I’m loving it and so will my RSI hopefully. I ended up getting a cheap wired mouse that I plugged into the camera connection kit. I wrote this post up with my Smart Keyboard and mouse attached.

Now I had it connected I needed to head into SETTINGS,ACCESSIBILITY, TOUCH and then turn on ASSISTIVE TOUCH.

Once enabled you see a round cursor (that fades when not in use) that you can move around and click on touch targets.

Within the ASSISTIVE TOUCH above you can tweak the settings to your liking including reducing the tracking speed and what each mouse button press does. I use left to click and then middle to go home. Oh and if you have a scroll wheel then you also use it in settings and some apps.

I’ll write up more but just wanted to share some initial thoughts.