Reverting to Apples stock apps

I have been through many different apps over the years, particularly in the productivity space. However after some reflection upon retiring recently I don’t need these complicated apps and have reverted mainly to apples stock apps and I am quite happy.

Calendar - In iOS 18 the calendar is more than sufficient.
Notes - Notes is brilliant. I have just moved across from Obsidian.
Reminders - Is quite feature rich now.
Password - I am going to ditch 1Password after over 10 years. The passwords app is sufficient for me (1Password is excellent but it is more than I need).
Mail - I have always used just mail
Journal - Have ditched DayOne now they have search in iOS18
Numbers/Pages/Keynote- I have always used.
Freeform. A bit basic but it is cross devices. I have ditched Curio because it was too complex for me.

The only holdout I have now is Devonthink which has years entries in the database…

Have others done the same.


I’m with you 100%.

Just a guess on my part but I believe Apple wants to provide average, not too demanding users, good apps that will work for them. Apple probably doesn’t want to spend too much effort making “the best premium” software. Revenue can be generated in other ways. That’s fine by me.

As I’ve described elsewhere, your post summarizes my app stack, and I’m nowhere near retired. :slightly_smiling_face:

Are Apple’s apps best in class? No. But, for my workflow needs and given my willingness to deal with moderate friction to 1) gain the advantages of deep ecosystem integration and 2) avoid subscriptions, they are good enough.


Please share a bit more info about your transition from Obsidian to Apple Notes.

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I’m heading in this direction. Stopped my Airmail subscription and then deleted the app. The ‘dream’ of the magical email client is gone. The next mail client should be sufficient for me. I’ve got access to Smallcubed extension suite and thus Mail Maven when it comes but I’m probably going to use it until my subscription ends and then go to Apple Mail.

I’m going to give Craft another year as they claim the next major version is the Craft they have always idealized. I need it to be a part of a workflow and that has not really materialized.

Love the stuff that Fantastical has created but I generally abhor calendars and so 60 bucks a year is not something I’m interested in.

I plan to lean more into iWork. Microsoft Office to me is just a mess. At work I click on a office document it tries to open the Office 365 suite and then prompts me that our business license only covers the web versions of the suite. How in the world do you screw up something as basic as an office suite? Teams is garbage.

1Password - Gets another year. Most of their work has been in making it more sound for businesses. It’s still a best of breed application but the Apple Passwords app looks like it covers about 70% of what I use 1P for. We’ll see how Apple mitigates the need to have a plethora of browser extensions and in a year or so I’ll see if it’s worth saving 60 bucks a year.

Reminders - I really like the guys and gals behind Cultured Code. I can see myself supporting Things 4 even if Reminders is truly sufficient for my needs.

Was holding out for a new version of Moom but I may just stick with the native Sequoia window management.


I might add that they are very spouse friendly. Anything more complicated will not be used by mine. Information management is more fun as a multiplayer game :sweat_smile:

Also, I enjoy using stock apps more than most third party apps because of the often simpler UI.


One of the best online sources for mastering iWork is Macmost. I highly recommend his content.


Well I know Obsidian is very good. It maybe just a bit too fiddly for me.I am actually quite happy not using markdown.You can do forward links in notes by using >> (but you cant do backlinks) Moving the notes is really easy. On the Mac → File → Import to Notes → Select the obsidian vault. They import easily because as you know they are text files.

For me, Obsidian has almost become an operating system in itself. I use it for recording tasks, journaling, note-taking, meeting minutes, CRM, longer-form writing/export and more.

The beauty is in the linking which I’m just starting to fully embrace. It is helpful for me to know that a book suggestion came from a particular person, is relevant to a particular project and should be brought up at a future meeting. I am sure that’s possible in Apple apps, but i can see how with the same ease of use.

Admittedly I’m a former software developer, so perhaps tinkering is part of the pleasure. It’s the only app I’ve found that allows me to write in one font on my MacBook and present from my iPad in a much larger font without export.


I’ve transitioned to some stock apps rather than buy a new version of an app or subscribing. I’ve done this with:

Omnifocus to Reminders - not as feature rich, but good enough for me.
1Password to the built in Passwords - same as above.
Spark Mail to Apple Mail - same as above.

I have stuck with Obsidian, Day One and Fantastical, all without subscribing, because the versions I have purchased (Obsidian is free) all have better features than the stock apps, and I see no need to switch until they are no longer supported.

Same here.

I’ll probably stay with 1Password though.

I really like having a pure web interface option that is full-featured.

Also having a password manager that is completely divorced from Apple, Google, Microsoft gives me peace of mind that if I have a problem with my AppleID (or equiv) I am not in customer support hell trying to talk to a human and get it fixed.

I also use 1Password for Windows, Servers, and a lot of SaaS logins plus some crucial data as encrypted documents or notes. IDK if I can throw everything into Apple’s basket.

They are trustworthy, but not perfect.


I like 1Password’s travel mode that lets me carry only those passwords that I may need on my trip.

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Dropped my MS Office subscription for Notes/Numbers/Keynote. Moving from Excel to Numbers was the hardest. Mac Mail meets my limited needs as does
Notes. Sticking with 1Password until I see what the Apple app does.

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I want to comment on a few of these:

Calendar - In iOS 18 the calendar is more than sufficient.

BusyCal on Mac & iOS is so much better than the stock calendar.

Notes - Notes is brilliant. I have just moved across from Obsidian.

Agree, notes is a great app. I store my confidential stuff in 1PW and the non-confidential stuff in UpNote. I really wish Apple would improve the UI/UX a little in Notes. You have to sacrifice chickens to change the color of a text.

Reminders - Is quite feature rich now.

Agree. I use Things 3 which is so much better but if Things ever went sub, I’d go with Apple reminders.

Password - I am going to ditch 1Password after over 10 years. The passwords app is sufficient for me (1Password is excellent but it is more than I need).

Strongly disagree. This is the only software subscription (aside from iCloud+) that I pay for. I got the 50% off for 3 years and a $125 gift card for $100, so I’m set for 4 years. I hope 4 years from now Apple will improve its password app, though I doubt it. Agilebits will continue to innovate hard to make themselves relevant. I love 1Password family because I can manage my wife & parents passwords.

Mail - I have always used just mail

100% agree. Mail is the best and sufficient.

Journal - Have ditched DayOne now they have search in iOS18

I need to try Journal in iOS 18 but strongly disagree. I don’t pay for DayOne since I only use on my iPhone but it’s still light years ahead of Journal.

Numbers/Pages/Keynote- I have always used.

Microsoft Office LTSC 2021 is so much better

Freeform. A bit basic but it is cross devices. I have ditched Curio because it was too complex for me.

I have no opinion about this.

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Apple’s tendency to lock its users in leads me to avoid any of its apps for long-term data like passwords, writing, and PKM.

Apple’s office suite is a no-go because I need absolute, 100% compatibility with MS Office files.

I reluctantly share notes and shopping and other checklists with my family in Apple Notes, but (I know this won’t be a popular opinion here) I loath it.


You’re not alone. It’s a fine enough basic app, but lacks things that I feel are table stakes like version history and a decent export. For the sake of a dollar or two per month it seems there are much better options for something that is core to most information workers.

But horses for courses!


I know the question is about apple stock apps, but the responses refer to subscriptions.

Doesn’t anyone pay for VPNs or antivirus software? Or reference managers like Zotero, Papers, Mendeley? Weather apps? Reading apps like Readwise Reader? Mapping or walking software? Writing apps like Drafts ….

I’m keen to keep ongoing costs down, but I don’t know how to replace these apps. Apple do a pretty good job at making good-enough apps, and I use a lot of them, but it’s a pretty limited range of apps.

I think our option is absolutely valid. Here are my thoughts on it: for ephemeral information I do not think it is a problem. For long-term data your point is valid. But thanks to the Obsidian Importer I am relaxed on Apple Notes. Passwords can be also exported with some fiddling. So I do not mind either. Writing I would not store in Notes.

Generally, I feel that Apple or third-parties provide reasonable exporting functionalities. So I decided to take the lock-in risk for my private data and worry about export when I migrate instead of going through the extra troubles now. I would see it much differently for business related data or if I was self-employed.

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I am always the one switching to and from stock apps to other apps because apple apps are so useful but it still has costs: not totally free.

  • You have to upgrade/buy hardwares to enjoy the products. If one of them doesn’t have an opportunity to upgrade (mine has MacBook Air 2018 which can’t enjoy highlighters on Notes) your workflow can be interrupted or you need to order a new one spending time to transfer/download your data.

  • You need to subscribe a bigger iCloud. (Which involves higher costs)

  • No export as said before.

So if the related subscription is not that expensive and if it is a native app providing good Mac/iOS experience, maybe it is still worth using or saving your hardware/iCloud costs (You can use your machines longer because third party apps usually support older os versions). Apps like Bear, iA Writer, Ulysses should be good options.


Yes. IMO a Mac is like an upscale automobile, base model. It is very well built and has everything you need to get from point A to point B, but not a lot more.

I subscribe to 1Password, Arq, Backblaze B2, Drafts, Google Workspace, YouTube Premium, ExpressVPN, Windy (weather), and a credit monitoring service.