Mac Power Users 438: Workflows with Matt Gemmell


So after listening to yet another person talking about going iOS only, I’m compelled to look more into this as an option for myself. My one big hold up has always been not having a physical backup of files, especially photos. Are the people who are living an iOS only lifestyle just trusting iCloud photos and/or other online backups (Google Photos, Prime Photos, etc.) to be there only source of photo backup? And then only using cloud storage (iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc.) and trusting that as the only storage location for files?


I have both iOS and Dropbox. I have a rule setup in IFTT that copies all photos to Dropbox. Works great. I’ve had no issues on apple photos but had a pretty big issue with my files on iCloud. I switched back to Dropbox and have had no issues.

One idea for show notes would be to post screenshots of iPad, iPhone, MBP screens showing the setup and apps used. Based on the popularity of the #homescreens section, I’m sure that many of us would enjoy also viewing those details as well. Just a suggestion! Loved hearing from another person who has successfully transitioned to an iOS-only workflow and made it work. Each one of those episodes tempts me more and more…


I waited about a year after Documents in iCloud was introduced before making backups, crossing my fingers, and pulling the trigger on switching over. [I think I did it about a month before David Sparks.] It has worked flawlessly. No problems at all. I love it, and never have I had a problem.

However, I do a lot of coaching via Skype, and rely on Call Recorder to record my sessions for my clients. And I cannot do that on my iPad. If there was a way, maybe I’d be more comfortable. I also like to use my iPad in landscape mode (I love the Smart Keyboard), and the iSight camera looks ridiculous when in that orientation: you really have to have it in portrait. So I would need to get a better portrait stand, and a Bluetooth keyboard. But not having an easy way to record the audio from the Skype session is a real deal-breaker for me.

My major holdup in going iOS only (or at least, iOS predominately) is ergonomics - I’ve yet to find a comfortable set up for working hunched over an iPad for an extended period.


Gemmell got many affirmative nods. Of course he’s right in most of his app choices — Mindnode, Ulysses, Things 3 … I use them and know the truth.

With all Matt’s references to Drafts I was suprised to see no listing in the program notes. Things 3 got two links in the show notes. Pickey… pickey.

I hope an audio version of Changer, his novel, is produced.

iPad only? Not till my iMac dies. I could do all my tasks on a 10.5 iPad. One concern is the lack of depth for some iOS apps. Often good enough apps exist but from one company. That’s fine as long as companies stay heathy and maintain their apps.

I’m in favor of exploratory not forced app changes.

Matt Gammell’s interview :carrot::carrot::carrot::carrot::carrot:

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I believe Zoom can record video conferences.

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When Matt Gemmell said he had given up on the Apple Watch and went to the FitBit I realized that battery life was extremely important to me too. I use a Mi Band 2 made by Xiaomi which lasts a month on a charge. They are around $27 on Ali Express and there is a newer model out - the Mi Band 3 which is about the same and says it lasts 20 days on a charge. My Band 2 does heart rate, steps and sleep tracking. And it vibrates when I get a call or text which I really like because I keep my iPhone 7 on silent almost all the time.It has an app for iPhone and Android. It is supposedly waterproof and i have left it on in the shower by mistake with no problems.I found the the rubber wristbands it comes with can drop off unnoticed and I spent about $8 for a Mijobs metal band that has kept my second one safe. Xaiomi makes attractive gadgets so it just doesn’t feel cheap - particularly with the metal band. For me it does all I need and because of the long charging interval does not force me to choose between tracking daytime activities and sleep tracking which distinguishes between deep and light sleep.

Thanks Omar, I’ll look into that, as I use Zoom all the time! @omarruvalcaba.

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I know what you mean about the lack of physical storage. It’s a real issue if you want to deliever photos to someone via physical storage. I know there are some options like network attached storage or some of these sort of cloud external storage but nothing which has made me take the plung yet. I (was) about 95% iPad only and used iCloud Photo Library, Google Photos (just to have a second backup) and Dropbox when I had to deliever higher res photos and import scans of film photos. IOS 12 makes photo management better but external storage is still a sticky point (And why can’t you add keywords in Photos on iOS!)

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I really enjoyed this episode, the information was great and Matt’s voice doesn’t harm things either.

Being really picky, Matt said his list was empty for things he needed a Mac for…but he needed his Mac to record this epsiode (did I remember that correctly?) I guess he could do it via two iOS devices so perhaps that’s what he meant. Even still it’s relevant when someone can do something on an iOS device but chooses to use a Mac for whatever reason. It shows where iOS/the device design is still lacking IMO.

If I were going to do that, I would also set up the automatic dropbox or Google back up so you at least half your photos in two places. Good luck!


Turns out that my institution (which pays for my Zoom account) does not pay for the iCloud recording version, so that’s out for now. :cry:

I also enjoyed the episode. Anyone here using Canopy – Studio Neat? I have been using Apple Smart keyboard exclusively but I’m intrigued by Canopy. Those of you using it, what is your assessment?

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I think there’s a cloud recording option for Zoom, but that’s on Zoom’s servers, not iCloud. If recording is really important to you, you can get a Zoom account independently of your institution for 14 euro (the pricing is localized to my location – not sure what it is in $).

Sorry, that was just a typo. I meant on “the cloud” on iCloud. Yes, if I decide to go all in on the iPad lifestyle…

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This. It amazes me how infrequently this is mentioned. Don’t get me wrong - you’d have to pry my 12.9 iPad Pro out of my cold, dead, hands, and there are times I work on it for a few hours at a stretch because I enjoy it. But I can’t help but think there are many people who will regret their iPad-only choice when they’re older and have some neck problems or other issues (now I sound like my 4th grade teacher, who chasisted us for slouching). That assumes they’re not taking other steps to alleviate the posture issues, of course.

It’s similar to working on a laptop, yes? If you can raise the iPad on a stand and have the keyboard at an appropriate lower level, that should help a lot. Unfortunately you are still liability to be reaching up to the screen to tap on things.

I agree with Evan & Meredith. I like using my iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard so that I can keep the two separated. I wish iOS apps had better keyboard shortcuts, à la Things 3. Even Ulysses, which has pretty good shortcuts in general, cannot be navigated purely by the keyboard. And don’t get me started about browsers :roll_eyes:

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