Today we are going through 10 of my favorite productivity apps for the iPhone here in 2021. Though, I’m actually going to start this list out with a productivity feature of the iPhone that isn’t actually an app but is useful nonetheless.
It’s this little magnetic wallet thing that you can get from apple that just snaps onto the back of your phone but the cool thing is it’s got this little thumb sliding thing where if you have a credit card that you frequently use or in my case an office access key.
It’s very easy to slide it up scan it wherever you need to scan it and put it right back on your phone. just like that so I figured I’d mention that because I’ve been enjoying this and it’s definitely a purchase that I don’t regret let’s get into the list of apps.
The first app we’re going to talk about is called otter which is an amazingly good AI voice transcription App. Otter is freaking amazing at doing that I’ve tried a ton of other apps. Some that have apple watch integrations which I really would like for otter but they use this built-in Siri dictation which is just not that great at translating your voice into readable text.
Meanwhile otter does not as far as i can tell have a real human shoved into your phone who’s literally you know acting as a court stenographer and typing out your text but it might as well. The transcription is nearly as good as the human transcription which means that when i speak something while i’m driving or i’m out on the bike, i can basically guarantee that when i come and read the text later on it’s going to look pretty much like i said it.
It also keeps the audio file not quite as high quality of an audio file as you get with regular voice memos but it does keep the audio file which is nice because it allows you to export both the audio file and the text into drum roll.
It is basically an all-in-one workspace app which allows you to take notes it allows you to manage tasks it allows you to do pretty much anything you want. The other nice thing though is there’s another widget which i keep over here on this quick access area which shows you your recent pages. So instead of relying just on your manually created favorites bar you have all of your recent pages right here
There is our third app which I’m going to now smoothly transition into so authy is a manager for two-factor authentication codes that functions a lot like google authenticator. Hopefully you are using two-factor authentication on any account that offers it in addition to your passwords if you care about your online security.
Now one thing you might not know about two-factor authentication is there’s two different types SMS based or text message based and app-based like google authenticator or in this case authy SMS-based authentication is actually a lot less secure because identity thieves and you know hackers and people like that have been known to spoof your sim card essentially calling up your phone company convincing them that they are you and convincing them to set up a new device with the exact same sim information. So they get the text messages that you’re supposed to get including to factor off messages which is why whenever i have the choice i use app-based authentication instead of text message authentication.
But there’s a problem with app-based two-factor auth especially with google authenticator at least last time i used it. It didn’t sync between different devices which means if you accidentally drop your phone down an elevator shaft you’re out of luck and you have to spend a ton of time doing password resets or hopefully pulling you know backup codes that you had for your two-factor authentication.
It’s a whole big mess so that’s why i like authy because you can log into your account and get your two-factor auth codes back and as long as you’re using a secure password for that account i think it’s still pretty secure
Now the next step that we’re going to talk about is the only one on my list that doesn’t have an android equivalent, this is an app called command which is actually a web browser and it has a killer feature that you probably know about if you saw my iPad video earlier this year that feature is that you can highlight text within any web page and then once you highlight it not only is it going to stay highlighted or highlit.
I’m not sure how you’re supposed to say that when you refresh the page but you can also tap your highlights and you can add journal entries which allow you to essentially take notes on the highlights you make. I have written entire articles inside commands journal feature because I’ll take a highlight from something. I’m reading on the web get inspired and then I’ll just you know think I’m going to take a little bit of a note and then it balloons into a huge article.
The other thing that i love about command is it actually can send the highlights that you take to your read wise account
Read wise is basically a highlight manager for the knowledge that you intake from various sources books, kindle books, podcasts using an app called air. Even tweets and content from your web browser now there is a way to sync highlights from mobile safari to read wise but it’s kind of a friction full process and command makes it much much easier.
Read wise is essentially a highlight manager that can resurface and help you recall the knowledge that you gathered over time. It’s got this daily review area which will actually give you a collection of different highlights so you can remember them more usefully. I don’t use that too much what i actually do is I kind of use this as a database for a lot of the highlights that I take in books and other pieces of media.
The thing that i really love about read wise is that not only does it store all of my highlights here like these highlights from the book askiwata that I’ve been reading really recently, but there is a native integration with both notion and with Rome research and also with rem note.
I believe so whenever you take a highlight from kindle or from the command browser or from even the safari extension or tweeting read wise to roll up a tweet thread, it’ll send it to read wise and then read wise will dutifully kick that highlight over to your integration platform in my case. it’s notion so i have a beautiful readwise database on notion where I’ve got all of my highlights from books and articles and all kinds of media sources and then when i’m doing research for an article I can pull in my highlights into my research areas and actually now with notions synced blocks feature I don’t even have to copy and paste I can just create a synced block and port content over from my highlights area into whatever article that I’m writing which is pretty sweet next up on our list is one called tide which is my favorite pomodoro timer for the iphone.
Now it’s got a ton of different features it can track your stats it’s got all these nature sounds so you can create these soundscapes to help you focus personally i just like the way that it looks i like the fact that it’s free and i like the fact that i can open up i can hit the focus button i can choose 25 minutes and i can start a pomodoro session and like i’ve said before the pomodoro technique is one of the most powerful short-term productivity techniques there is because it externalizes the self-discipline that you need to keep working but it also reframes your task from output based to input based as in i have to write a paper which is really daunting and scary too i just need to work on this paper for 25 minutes and then i’m allowed to take a break.
The next step on my list is actually a built-in app in the phone. So if you have an iPhone you already have this. It’s the fitness app and is absolutely a productivity app because when i’m active when i’m moving, when i am exercising every day, i also feel more energetic and i get more done and i work with more focus exercise is absolutely associated with cognitive performance.
If you want to learn more about that there’s a great book by dr john ratey called spark highly recommend that especially if you like books full of scientific studies but having this app and specifically its integration with the apple watch. My favorite things about the fitness app is the sharing aspect of it. So if we go over to the sharing tab, you’re going to see that i actually have shared my fitness data and vice versa with some of my friends.
Using the sharing feature, we all get notified when we work out we send each other fun emojis to encourage each other. We’ll sometimes check in and be like hey how come you haven’t gotten your workout done today it adds some nice accountability into your daily exercise routine even if your friends are far flung across the globe.
The next on the list is audible which is an app that I’ve been using for a very long time but I’ve actually been using a lot more heavily recently, because i am now riding an e-bike to my downtown co-working office on any day where i don’t have to sit in this chair and film videos in my studio and i absolutely love riding my bike getting out of the house going somewhere else to work and that whole process of writing actually about 40 miles on the e-bike gives me a ton of time to listen to things that i can use to educate myself.
So audible is probably my number one resource for that since i love listening to audiobooks and one thing that i did want to point out on the iPhone now that the home screen widgets feature is live is that audible has a widget which allows you to scroll down and basically resume the last book that you were listening to or pick one of the four that you listened to most recently other than that one so it’s a nice way to just launch into a book that you were listening to recently without having to open up the app and wait for it to load.
The next app called adobe scan which is probably the best free document scanner app on the iphone. This is going to look really weird because you’re going to see a camera and i’m moving it around. This is a great app for scanning paper documents and then exporting them as pdfs or as picture files and porting them into your knowledge management syst. In my case it’s going to be notion, it might be rom research or Evernote for you but it’s really nice to have a document scanner app on the phone.
Next we have Spotify for podcasts. I have finally switched over to just using Spotify as my default podcast player. I resisted it for a very long time i was a pocket casts fan but it’s good enough now in Spotify. They’ve got the speed controls, they’ve got the sleep timer function and it’s fast that’s really nice thing.
Now i really wanted to recommend an app called air. Air is a really cool podcast player that has a killer feature. One of my friend actually turned me on to this app. Air is not just a podcast player.
It’s also an app that integrates with read wise and it has this really cool feature where if you’re listening to something in a podcast episode and you want to make a highlight of it. You want to save it or you want to add a note to it. You can do that by hitting this little quote button here and it’s going to save either last 30 seconds or last minute.
You can change the duration if you want and you can add a little note and it’s going to send that to readvise which again would send to notion or roam research or rem note.
If you have that integration created it is super cool but the performance of this app is just it’s just not great right now it’s slow if i want to like rewind 15 seconds it takes like five seconds just to do it and start playing again. So I’m really hoping that they’re going to improve the performance of this app and once they do that I’m going to be probably switching over to using it because i really do want to use that read wise feature I just need it to be faster