1Password 5.2 for iOS & 5.1 for Mac

Speaking of app updates, today we at AgileBits released a couple awesome updates for iOS and Mac today.

1Password 5.2 for iOS brought home the awesomesauce by adding a nifty Login Creator to help build Login items properly. It also added a Time-based One-Time Password (TOTP) feature for Pro owners helping strengthen up security for sites that offer. Two-step verification is a great thing and 1Password is aiming to make it easy to use and understand.

1Password 5.1 for Mac focuses on sync — both behind the scenes and on stage. A lot of code was optimized to make sync the best it has ever been (iOS benefitted from this in shared code, as well) and the Sync interface in Preferences has been completely re-done to make setting up sync as easy as selecting a vault and choosing a service from a drop down list.

Both updates are free to existing owners of 1Password 5 on the respective platforms. Everyone on the team poured a lot of effort into these releases, so if you see any of us on Twitter, be sure to send an emoji high-five.

Deliveries for Mac

Junecloud's Deliveries is a fantastic little app to aid in tracking shipments that you are expecting or sending. It got its start on OS X's Dashboard feature ages ago, a feature which is being phased out in OS X Yosemite.

When the App Store came out for iOS devices, Deliveries was there. I've been using Deliveries in Dashboard on my Mac and on my iPhone and iPad for years. It is simply an indispensible and delightful little tool.

With OS X Yosemite eschewing Dashboard by default in favor of adding widgets to Notification Center's Today view, I was hoping to see Deliveries make the transition. Thankfully, I was not disappointed. Deliveries is now a full-fledged Mac app with Notification Center integration, and it also allows me to say farewell to Dashboard, which has been stagnant for years on the Mac.

If you happen to receive shipments frequently and want to keep tabs on them, you need Deliveries.

Deliveries for Mac is available on the Mac App Store for $4.99.

Should You Upgrade to iCloud Drive?

The short answer is probably not.

When you install iOS 8 tomorrow, part of the setup will ask if you want to upgrade to iCloud Drive. That same screen will also list devices attached to your iCloud account that will not yet work with iCloud Drive. Namely, your Mac running OS X Mavericks will not be able to sync with iCloud Drive. iCloud Drive is simply not backwards compatible with the Documents & Data portion of iCloud sync that we've been using for years.

In about a month's time we should have OS X Yosemite, which will work just dandy. That is the time to embrace iCloud Drive. If you use OS X Mavericks (or an even earlier version) iCloud sync will permanently break on that Mac once iCloud Drive is enabled on an iOS 8 device.

Don't get me wrong here. iOS 8 should be a fantastic upgrade. iCloud Drive will be fantastic, too — when all your devices are ready for it. It's just that tomorrow is probably not that time, unless you only use iOS 8 capable devices.

Last year, with iOS 7, Apple held off with iCloud Keychain until OS X Mavericks' release. I wish they had done the same with iCloud Drive, as the ability to sync between your devices seems like something pretty important.

¶ Anticipation

In a few short hours Apple's giant countdown clock will reach zero and Tim Cook and his pals will show us what they have been working on for a while. The buzz around this particular event is palpable. I mean, not only is there the aforementioned countdown clock, but Apple has built a significantly sized building at their event venue. And that venue is the Flint Center, where the original Macintosh was revealed 30 years ago.

Everything about this event is exciting so far. iOS 8 is bringing app extensions and TouchID everywhere. OS X Yosemite is bringing a new look and Continuity with iOS.

New, larger iPhones (yes, plural) are a shoe in at this point. I have a 3D print that a friend of a friend made for me of the 4.7-inch model. While it is still pocketable for me, it does seem a bit too large. My thumb does not travel across the screen area well. I'm reserving judgment until I can use an actual device, though.

Those are the knowns, and they are exciting enough in their own right.

It's the unknowns that are really driving the hype. What is in that structure they are building? Some have suggested it is a mock home to showcase HomeKit enabled devices. The wearable (I refuse to call it an iWatch right now) has enough smoke that there has to be a fire. What will the wearable do? Is it simply a Fitbit replacement, or is it going to tie our other devices a bit closer to our lives?

Whatever is going to happen tomorrow is going to be big. Between the rumors, the venue, and that mysterious building, I'd say whatever happens tomorrow is going to set the stage for Apple for at least the next half decade — or maybe even the next 30 years.

¶ Hopes & Dreams for WWDC 2014

I've been meaning to write up my usual WWDC predictions but have thus far been uninspired to do so. I mean, any self-respecting Apple nerd with a website is supposed to write up their prediction list, right? It's written right there on the membership card.

I've just been distracted lately. My free time has been taken up by kiddo activities, church stuff, homeownership stuff, husband stuff, daddy stuff, stuff stuff, and more stuff.

And let's not forget that I have had a terrible track record for previous prediction lists. So call me a little jaded.

So here I am on eve before the keynote not wanting to write about predictions that will likely be regurgitation of all the rumor blogs, or dead wrong. Or both.

Instead, I am just going to share the hopes of what I'd like to see announced. After all, S stands for hope. So let's go pick some low-hanging fruit from the Apple tree.

iOS 8

Everyone's favorite mobile operating system is due for its annual upgrade. Last year was a big change, at least visually, for iOS. This year I hope to see a lot of refinement to the design and existing feature set.

  • Bake the code before shipping. Let's not repeat the fiasco of constant crashing between 7.0 and 7.1.
  • While I love the overall design direction in iOS 7, there are some areas it could stand to be dialed back a bit.
    • Making navigation buttons just text was a mistake. In iOS 7.1, the Accessibility part of settings added Button Shapes. Unfortunately they are hideous. Apple should take a cue from the the blue outline of the price/open/update button in the App Store. Use that thin blue outline for the button shapes.
    • Flatten that silly, glossy Game Center icon. Or better yet, get rid of the standalone Game Center app. Who actually opens that thing?
    • The "missed" tab in Notification Center makes zero sense. Get rid of that.
  • I really want Apple to bring its A-Game for modernizing its already-existing features.

    • Maps needs an adrenaline shot to the heart. The data is just terrible. A few things (very few) that I have reported issues on have been fixed in my city, but there are entire city blocks and neighborhoods that are mislabeled or even missing. And for some reason, if Apple isn't sure what a street name is, they just label it as O Ave. Now, there is a main road named O St, but there sure seem to be a lot of residential streets in Apple Maps named O Ave.
    • I'd also love to see Siri gets a lot smarter and useful. Google is downright shaming Apple with Google Now inside their iOS apps (and even more on Android phones). I shouldn't need to hold down a button to activate Siri in 2014. I should be able to use a phrase like "Hey Siri" to her it to listen up. Much like "Okay Google" for Google Now or "Xbox" for the Xbox One.

      A friend was telling me today how his Moto X knows he is driving and puts everything into a handsfree mode automatically. When he received a text message, it automatically piped up and told him a new text had come in, and asked if he wanted to listen to it. He didn't have to prompt his phone first.

      Siri has constantly felt like the failed promise of the almost conversational Star Trek computer. Google is getting this right on making the assistant part actually, you know, assist you.

    • Hail Mary Hope: A Siri voice store. I'd gladly pay to have Siri sound like Jarvis from the Iron Man movies.

    • An end to the multitude of modal dialogs asking for permission for everything on the first launch of a new app. I like what iMore came up with in their Privacy Sheet mockup.
    • I'd like Calendar on iOS to get the Travel Time integration that the Mac has. It is incredibly useful information, but not so much on my Mac. This is needed on my iPhone more than anything.


If the rumor mill is to be believed, OS X is now up for the major interface overhaul like iOS received last year. While I really like OS X as is right now, I am entirely open to change. No matter what happens visually, there are a couple things I want OS X to get this year.

  • I adore AirDrop on iOS. It is simple and fantastic and just plain works. OS X's AirDrop has always been…complicated. And the fact that it is not compatible with iOS' AirDrop in any sense is maddening. I'd like to see OS X's AirDrop mimic the simplicity of iOS, and become compatibly with its mobile sibling.
  • Since I went on about Siri ad nauseum earlier, I won't do so again, other than to say why do we not have Siri on OS X yet?
  • Kill Dashboard. It's a relic and hasn't changed much since OS X 10.4 Tiger.
  • But keep things like weather integration, but just toss it in Notification Center for easy access.
  • Break iTunes into smaller apps. Have a Music app that does handles music playback and purchasing. Merge the iOS App Store into the Mac App Store (especially since the MAS is already named App Store). Bring back the iSync name for an app for iOS device management. Make a Videos app to purchase and play your iTunes videos.


Ah, iCloud. So much promise, so many headaches. This list could easily get carried away, but I'm going to keep it to just a few points.

  • More free storage. In 2014, 5GB is paltry. The competition gives a lot more away for free. At the very least give us 5GB per device on our account, instead of 5GB for all of them to share. And give us more bang for the buck on the extra storage options.
  • Fix Photo Stream. I don't know how to do it, but do it. It is one of the most confusing aspects of iCloud as a service today.
  • Help me to trust iCloud sync by making it easier for developers to support it. Right now it is a black box to developers that they are supposed to trust. That's fine and dandy until it breaks and my data ends up hosed, and developers don't know what happened. Transparency is key here.

Whew, that really did feel like an airing of grievances, but it isn't without merit. Apple's hardware has remained top notch, but there are many aspects of their software and services where things have languished. I think a lot of this is the rigidity of the once-a-year updates. That is an incredibly long time for software, but even longer for services like iCloud.

In a dozen hours we'll see what Apple's engineers have been laboring over. I'm super excited, and can't wait to see if some of the above items come true.


My favorite recipe app for the iPhone and iPad, Paprika, got a huge update the other day, bringing an iOS 7 design, autocomplete for when you are adding recipes, AirDrop support, and much more.

Best thing is Paprika is on sale for the rest of November. I have it for iPhone, iPad, & Mac, and their custom sync engine is top notch. If you have any interest in having a digital recipe box, Paprika is hands-down the app to get.

Knock. To Unlock.

Knock knock.

Who's there? Your iPhone, that's who. Why? To unlock your Mac.

We all hate having to deal with security because security and convenience just don't always seem to play well together. Thankfully there are many things out there to help them get along. Things like 1Password (which has a smashing new version out for Mac, and is also a major contributor to my lack of writing here last month). Then there is the new kid on the block, Touch ID.

I've used the demo of Touch ID on an iPhone 5s at the Apple Store. It's pretty rad. I can't wait to have it next Fall (I skip the 's' generations), and I was hoping it would come to the new iPads announced a couple weeks ago. And someday I hope it comes to a portable Mac so I can stop typing in a password to login.

But until then we'll have to use creativity, and that is where Knock comes in. Knock is a pair of apps, one for your Mac, one for your iPhone. Together, they create a super duper secure link over Bluetooth 4 Low Energy.

When you wake up your Mac, it checks to see if the iPhone is close by. If it is, a green circle pusles around your avatar on the standard OS X login screen. Then, your just give your iPhone a quick knock-knock, like you're knocking on someone's door. Magically, your Mac unlocks.

The Mac app runs as a menubar utility, easily tucked away by my good friend Bartender. The iOS app just needs to hang out on your iPhone, and doesn't even need to be running. During setup you give it special permission to monitor Bluetooth and CoreLocation so it can detect the Mac and its proximity.

The best part is your iPhone doesn't even need to be unlocked. You can leave it in your pocket and give it a gentle double-tap to unlock the Mac.

I'm really impressed by Knock, and it will be indispensible not only at coffee shops, but around the house, too, as my Mac tends to fall lock down while I step away to AeroPress some coffee.

Knock is a $3.99 iOS app and the Mac app is free on their website.

1Password 4 for Mac Teaser

Dan Moren at Macworld has a little overview of a little something that my colleagues and I have been working on for a while.

I'm really proud of how 1Password 4 for Mac is turning out, and I can't wait until we get it into the hands of the people.

As they say, Fall is Coming.

Addendum: 9to5Mac has more pictures.

Disclosure: I work for AgileBits and 1Password's success pays my bills.


The fine folks over at Realmac software put a little announcement out about LittleSnapper today. LittleSnapper is an app that helps you capture full web pages and other screenshots, organize them (for example, as reference for a certain project), and even mark them up. Over the past few years, LittleSnapper has been a great tool for me for various things.

Back in the day, LittleSnapper had a web service with it, too, called QuickSnapper, which was eventually rebranded as Ember. That service did go by the wayside, unfortunately.

But now the Ember brand is being rekindled (pardon the pun). LittleSnapper 2 will be coming out in July, but it will be called Ember. Honestly, I think it is a better name for the app, and it has one of the most adorable icons you could imagine for an app.

I've been privileged to be testing Ember for the past few months, and while I can't really say anything about it, I will say that you'll want to invest in this app.

Byword 2 | Review

I've been beta testing Byword 2 for OS X & iOS for a while, and I am really glad it's finally here. It has many little improvements I've been thirsting after for some time, and a great big feature I wish my host/CMS — Squarespace 6 — had an API to use with.

If you're not in-the-know already, Byword is a fantastic app focused on writing. It simply gets out of your way gives you a page to write on, with minimal fluff to deal with. The best part is that it is designed for web publishing as it is one of the best — no, wait, I'll just say the best — Markdown-centric apps I've used.

The grand marquee feature of Byword 2 is blog publishing. You can now publish your text directly to Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram, or Evernote. I've been dabbling a bit more into Evernote use, so maybe I will find a home for this feature via the big green elephant. I haven't used the publishing feature, to be completely honest, so I can say very little about it.

Byword 2 also sports improved conflict resolution, showing you each conflicting version in their entirety, so you can make an informed decision on which is the keeper. The update also includes better handing of new, edited, renamed, and deleted documents in Airplane Mode.

The remaining features are the removal of friction points that I have run into with previous versions. When viewing the Markdown preview, Byword 2 now keeps the scroll position intact. This is one of those things you subconsciously knew was annoying that is now fixed.

On iOS specifically, you can now move and duplicate documents. This is handy if you decide you'd rather have a document on Dropbox instead of iCloud, or vice-versa. Fonts on iOS are also much better. Rather than some obscure fonts you've never heard of, Byword 2 now uses Avenir Next (yay!), Helvetica Neue, Courier, and Georgia. I, for one, am in love with the Avenir font family, so I am really glad the developers added it (they were extremely gracious when I was being super-annoying about it during the beta).

If you regularly write for the web there are two things that will help make your life so much easier: learn Markdown, and use Byword.

Byword 2 is a free update for existing users and $10 (OS X)/$3(iOS) for new users. The publishing feature is an in-app purchase for $5 on each platform.