Ulysses Disappointment

I have been a Ulysses subscriber. Earlier this morning I wrote this about where I am in settling on a writing application (Ulysses, Scrivener, or Obsidian).

I’m canceling my Ulysses subscription, which leaves me with a dilemma because this feature is also not available on the mobile version of Scrivener. Obsidian also lacks this feature on all platforms. I see no reason to pay for a subscription for an app that lacks the same feature as the one time pay Scrivener or free version of Obsidian.

For context it is important to note that I do most of my focused writing on the iPad. I love writing on the iPad and find I get more words on the page faster with better concentration than when using my MBP.

With that in mind, earlier this month I wrote Ulysses support and noted that it was not possible to use the Ulysses glue feature on the iPad. The glue feature enables one to temporarily “glue” multiple sheets together to create a longer sheet so that one can bet a better feel for the overall flow of the text and transitions.

I thought this was a bug in the mobile version of Ulysses so I wrote to support. I received this reply:

Hi Barrett,

Thank you for reaching out. We are sorry it took us longer to reply.

Currently, it is not possible to show all glued sheets in the editor on iPhone/iPad. I’ve +1’d the feature request in your name, so please consider your vote counted. Changing this requires major rework of the editor engine both on Mac and iOS/iPadOS. Therefore, I can’t make any promises when or whether we will implement this feature, but your feedback is highly appreciated.

I’m sorry I couldn’t be of a help for now. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reply.

All the best,

In other words, “we are not making the change.”

I’m not willing to pay $50/year for a program that does not have greater feature parity between the desktop and mobile versions. So, I’m cancelling my Ulysses subscription.

Disappointed but I’m moving on …

This leaves me with a decision between Scrivener and Obsidian. With Scrivener I at least have the option of using the scrivenings (glue) feature on the MBP. Obsidian lacks this feature on all platforms. But, I prefer the backlinking in Obsidian and using local plain text files.

Bottom line, I’ll have to choose where I’m going to compromise. At the moment, I’m leaning toward Scrivener for writing but keeping my research notes in Obsidian. I may well end up where I started:

  • Craft for work notes.
  • Obsidian for research and PKM
  • Scrivener for long form writing.

I’m beginning to think that having so many choices is not always helpful.


Scrivener was the reason I bought my first Mac in 2010.


The world is full of compromises! And yes, having a large number of choices does slow things down. Pick one and run with it. I, for one, have tired of looking at new alternative apps. I don’t see that many productive years in front of me and don’t want to waste my time looking for something “better” when what I use is “good enough”.

And FYI, I’ve used Scrivener for years but don’t use a tablet (iPad).


Bravo. Here. Here. Three Cheers. Yes!


Yes, I think I’m there too!


Ulysses is perfect for articles and short pieces. It’s very pleasant to write in and it works well for drafting whole books.
I have found, however, that it has not been thought out to handle serious revision workflows and that’s a complete dealbreaker for any complex work. As we say, writing is rewriting, and I can’t use an app that has only taken into account half of what the job really entails.


Yes, and I can use something like iA Writer for articles and short pieces like blog articles. And there is no subscription. :slight_smile:


I’ve also written in Craft for that purpose. The block editor makes the experience sort of weird at times, but it works (and I’ve sold stuff written in it: if it can feed you, then it works! :grin:)

1 Like

I appreciate why people try to hone their workflows. I’ve certainly done this too. At some point I realized that I was just switching bicycles when what I really needed was a car.


Also do not forget ByWord. (macOS/iOS Full TextExpander Support for Fill in Snippets)

Indeed. I have used ByWord in the past and I still have it on my computer. However, iA Writer has a few features that I like so that tends to be my default.

1 Like

I’ve also switched to iA as I want to avoid the cost of Ulysses and I want an app that can be used directly with my folder of md files, and I’ve no regrets. I open iA from Obsidian typically, and I find it is just as pleasant to use as Ulysses.

1 Like

This doesn’t sound like the developers are closing the door on this missing iPad feature. I remembered being envious when a lot of Ulysses features were introduced on the Mac first and it would take a few months for it to appear. The last feature I remembered was the grammar checker. It was a Mac only feature for a while. I would write on the iPad but then go to my Mac to use the grammar checker. Thankfully, that changed.

I can understand when app developers are hesitant to say when/if a feature will be coming. We’d be blasting them (like we are right ow) for not bringing a feature to our favored platform. NO app developer is willing to promise delivery of a feature request until they’re ready.


The larger point here concerns the value of subscriptions. Feature-parity should be a bottom line, but the rather minimal additions to Ulysses, mostly concerning blogging, have me questioning my subscription. We need to see compelling additions to apps in order to justify our continuing buy-in.


Understood. But the blogging additions have bigger impact for bloggers. They were probably rejoicing when these features were released. Meanwhile, the rest of us can send an email to the Ulysses team with feature requests that will benefit us.

I was grateful for the grammar checker coming to my iPad. That saved me from a grammarly subscription. That addition alone was worth it personally for me.

I’ve looked on Twitter and that reply where the Ulysses developers can’t promise if and when a feature request will come is a standard canned reply (probably a TextExpander shortcut) to any feature request on Twitter. I think it’s called standard CYA (cover your @$$). No developer in their right mind would promise delivering a feature request without figuring out what’s needed to start addressing the issue.


@Wilson_Ng I was not intending to “blast” the developers or Ulysses at all. I chose my wording, “disappointed.” I am disappoint as Ulysses is a great app. If the iPad version had feature parity with the Mac I’d still subscribe but for $50/year, I can’t justify an iPad application that lacks, for my workflow needs, essential features. Hence, my disappointment. Scrivener also lacks this ‘glue’ feature on the iPad but I’m not paying a subscription. :slight_smile:

1 Like

As a blogger, I concur and Ulysses is great for that, but there are other excellent non-subscription editors that are fine to great for blogging. For my money, the thing that sets Ulysses apart from other editors is the ability to do long-form writing (I have in mind book length projects). It has that ability on the Mac, which probably covers the vast majority of users.

I don’t blame the developers for prioritizing Mac users. I’m merely making the observation that given my writing /preference, which is heavily iPad centric, I can’t justify the subscription. I’ll happily reconsider if they add iPad features but from what they wrote (and I appreciate their candor), doing so would require not just a major rewrite of the iPad version, but also of the Mac version. That may be a cost they are understandably unwilling to undertake.

But I’m still not giving them my money until they do. :wink: