Mason Weis

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3 More of My Favorite macOS Apps (Also As a Designer)

Hey everyone! I’m back once again with some more apps to cover. These are apps that I consider to be helpful in some way, shape or form, to me as a designer. Last week, I went over three of my all-time favorite apps (nvALT, Todoist and Automator). And this week, I’m here to talk about three more gems that you may or may not have heard of. Without further ado, let’s talk.

Airmail ($10, macOS)

This is the only paid app I’m going to talk about, I promise. Airmail is an email client for macOS and iOS that’s got a lot of great features and a really nice design to boot. While Apple’s email client has definitely come a long long way over the years, Airmail is still pretty far ahead, in my opinion.

Airmail has a lot of things going for it and these things most definitely help me in my day to day design work. Like most email clients, you can use Airmail for multiple email accounts. Also like most clients, Airmail has support for a unified inbox. However, the unified inbox in Airmail isn’t a total nightmare like Apple Mail. Airmail color codes your accounts allowing you to use the unified inbox and know exactly which email account you’re dealing with. Because I use both a personal email and a work email, this feature eliminates the guessing game that often comes with a unified inbox for me and makes things much more organized and visual (which is something I value). I can check both of my emails at once, and I’ll instantly be able to see and prioritize any work-related emails that I might need to respond to. 

Notice the color coding. I'm very into that...

Notice the color coding. I'm very into that...

Another thing I really like about Airmail is the integration it has. Airmail supports 21 different apps to help make your life better. Personally, I’m most fond of the Todoist integration. With this feature I can send any email to my Todoist. I can even specify which project I want to send it to. If I get an email from a client about things they might need, all I have to do is send that email to Todoist, and it’s taken care of. Examples of other apps that are supported include Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, Trello and Fantastical if you’re into any of those. 

The final feature I’ll talk about is Snoozing. This feature is fantastic. I’m sure everyone’s had a time where they’ve received an email that they can’t get to right away. What makes this worse is that sometimes, you’ll forget to mark that email as unread or you’ll just forget to respond altogether. Airmail has a nifty little feature called Snooze that allows you to mark an email to pop up in your inbox some other time. You can set an email to appear later in the day, the next day, over the weekend, the next week or even at a date and time of your choosing. This feature has made me much better at getting back to people because I don’t forget to respond to emails I’ve set aside. 

You can even customize your snooze times!

You can even customize your snooze times!

There’s a ton of different things in Airmail. From VIPs and Smart Folders (like Apple Mail) to labeling, to custom actions, Airmail lets you customize your email experience like crazy. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, it’s available for iOS and allows for iCloud syncing. Airmail is a phenomenal program and it’s well worth the $10, in my opinion. From what I can tell, Airmail isn’t available on Windows or Linux. While I could definitely recommend other email clients, I’m not sure how many have the features Airmail does so I’m sorry to say that for this one, I don’t have any alternatives.  

Hours (Free, Web (macOS app coming soon))

As someone who often charges by the hour, keeping track of the time I spend working on something is very important for me. For that, I turn to Hours. As I’m sure you can imagine from my little prelude of sorts, Hours is a timer that helps you keep track of the amount of time you spend on a project. 

Hours is incredibly simple to use. On the home page, you'll see a list of your projects and an option to make a new project. Setting up a new project is as simple as writing a name and a client, and selecting a color to represent the project for organization’s sake. After that, all you need to do is click the big “clock” button to the right and a timer will start. From there, you can begin working, knowing that the time you spend working on your project will be accurately noted. 

Simplistic and sleek, but so so useful.

Simplistic and sleek, but so so useful.

While my use of Hours is pretty simple, there are certainly some features other people will appreciate. For example, Hours fully supports teams. Not only that, but Hours also offers reports and a “dashboard” to help you keep track of your (or your team’s) time management. 

Hours is simple, but effective. There’s not a whole lot I can write about it, but that’s certainly not a negative at all. If you need to keep track of the time you spend on things, definitely look into Hours. It’s free and does what it needs to. 

As a side note, I know this one’s not really an app on macOS, but it will be soon! Right now, Hours is on the web, and because of that, you can access it via any operating system, so go for it Windows and Linux users!

Silicio (Free, macOS)

The last app I’ll mention is a little less focused on productivity, and a little more based on user preference. That app is Silicio. 

As a designer, one thing I can’t do without when I work is music. When I’m working, music can make the experience much more laid back, and can help me focus by blocking out potential distractions. 

Now personally, I’m a Spotify kind of guy. With Spotify, I can listen to pretty much anything I want whenever I want so I love it. I tried the whole Apple Music thing, but the social aspects of Spotify are what made me stick around. While the two services are pretty similar, there was one thing I really missed about Apple Music when I went back to Spotify and that was the iTunes miniplayer. Fortunately, I found Silicio. A miniplayer that, honestly, fixes most of the gripes I had with Spotify and has basically eliminated any desire I had of returning to Apple Music.

The app as it is.

The app as it is.

The app when you hover over it -- very nice.

The app when you hover over it -- very nice.

The reason I loved the iTunes miniplayer so much was because I liked how unobtrusive it was. The iTunes window itself takes up real estate on the screen and I really don't like that. With the miniplayer, I was able to check the song that was playing and pause it, skip it etc. quickly with a cool little window on my desktop. Spotify, unfortunately, doesn’t have any sort of miniplayer built in. 

As I mentioned earlier, Silicio is a miniplayer app for Spotify, Deezer, Vox and iTunes. Simple as that. But its got a number of cool little features that make using Spotify so much nicer. For example, it sends a little notification every time the song changes so you know the title of the song, the artist and the album it’s from, which is perfect for when you’re listening to your Discover Weekly. I've always wanted this feature to come with Spotify. In the past, I'd have to open the window itself and look, which is just kind of annoying. Silicio also has custom shortcuts for things like showing the song title, or the miniplayer itself. Finally, it has the option to do things like float above every other app you have open, stay on every desktop (if you use many different desktops like I do this can be a godsend) and to lock the position it's currently in. 

Like Hours, Silicio is simple but incredibly handy. If you use Spotify, Deezer or Vox and have been wishing for a miniplayer, check Silicio out, it’s free and well worth it. If you’re on Windows, Winfy might be your best bet. Unfortunately, my search for a Linux alternative was a bit inconclusive so… sorry about that!

Hopefully these apps are of some interest to you all! They’re all certainly a part of my workflow so maybe they can be a part of yours as well.

Until next time!  

Mason Weis