What’s on my phone?

iOS Geek Out Warning!

Where would I be without my iPhone? Lost. Not literally, my sense of direction isn’t that bad, but given that I use it every day to keep on top of personal email and to do list, I use it to order coffee, listen to podcasts while commuting, it holds my bus pass, and more recently I’ve been using it to pay for items (£30 or under) … it’s pretty much indispensable.

It’s not been immune for my desire to slim down as much of the clutter of life as possible and I’ve been slowly slimming down the number of apps I keep on my phone – although I still seem to have several Photo apps regardless of how little I use them – but with a few considerations I’ve even managed to have a homescreen that has a blank row (which is a little false given the folder I have on there too but hey, little victories and all that).


Shuffling apps around, and switching solutions is something I’ve done throughout my time with a smartphone (including my first Windows SPV). I’m always looking for small improvements to my personal working habits and try and keep an eye on app updates and new launches to see if they are better than what I currently have. As such, there have been a few notable omissions/changes (notable to me at least) over the last few weeks which includes removing the Facebook app (for personal reasons) and making the switch from Evernote to Apple Notes.

Take Note

It took me a long time to ‘get’ Evernote, but for me the penny drop when I started using their browser extension that lets you capture information from webpages and emails into Evernote. I’ve used it a lot to keep a running list of ‘things to buy’ (for me and others) and I store useful information there too.

However over the past couple of years Evernote feature development has veered towards business use, not something I can nor want to take advantage of, and the basic feature set has gotten a little bloated. Ultimately, for what I use it for, it’s just feels a bit ‘heavy’.

When Apple announced their revamped Notes app I was intrigued, I tried it out and whilst it is missing a couple of features I’d like to see added – for the love of all things good, let me have parent/child folders! – it does everything I was doing with Evernote.

However, the thought of manually moving 400+ notes over was not an appealing one and whilst I did find a clever script a few months back that looked like it would to help, it didn’t work for me at the time.

Fast forward to late December and I spotted that that script has now been updated. A small download, a double-click and – et voila – it worked first time. If you try it, just let it run even though it looks like it has hung, it is doing something and took about 4 minutes before it threw an error which turned out to be erroneous.

Unfortunately it does leave a little extra text at the foot of each note – metadata from Evernote which is handy as it means you can still search on Evernote tags, it just looks a little unsightly – but it’s nothing I can’t live with and has also prompted me to start going through all of my notes to tidy them up (and delete a lot of stuff I no longer need).

You can get the script here.

Listen to the Music

I’m currently stuck in a bit of quandary.

I tried Apple Music when it first came out but it doesn’t seem massively intuitive and my love of my own playlists just became a frustration so I cancelled my subscription before the end of the free months. However, my new office has limited internet access so I’ve found myself using it with local music (uploaded to my phone via iTunes, which is a clusterfuck I’ll post about another day).

For that usage it’s pretty nice, slick UI for playing albums or tracks, or selecting an Artist. I can make playlists of the MP3s I own (and which are stored on an external hard drive), but that means it’s limited to albums I’ve ripped or downloaded which, as I’ve been using Spotify heavily for the past year, isn’t something I’ve done much of.

I’m not sure where the tipping point will be, and maybe this dual use will continue. Spotify has some wonderful curated playlists, and I can share and collaborate on playlists with others easily too (notably the ‘Glasto 2016’ playlist which we will need to start soon).

So, for now, I’m stuck between two apps which – and I’m very very aware of just how much this is a first world problem – is royally pissing me off. I don’t want two Music apps that do much the same thing!

Aside from that, I’m using iOS more and more, to do more and more things, to the point I’m now pondering why I have a MacBook, and OSX, at all but that too is for another post and another day (to be honest I’m surprised anyone is still reading this post!).


  1. Ian Dick said:

    Nice, I always like these kind of posts. I’m sticking with Evernote despite agreeing with what you say as I have a year of premium left and I’m not fully sold on Notes. I have bookmarked the script though and will give it a whirl.

    Enjoying Spark? I’ve been using CloudMagic but Spark does look very nice.

    January 17, 2016
  2. Gordon said:

    Notes is proving ‘good enough’ (and as of 9.3 BETA is within the iOS Security blanket, with Touch ID). I’ve found my usage is largely store and search, so having my Notes pulled into Spotlight is helping a lot (and it seems to work better than Evernote).

    Spark is working for me, I found CloudMagic a little clunky after a while for ‘managing’ emails… the cards are a bit slow? Spark allows for a quick snooze (which is very configurable) and it ‘feels’ like I can triage my emails a lot quicker that way.

    January 17, 2016

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