As Apple continues to provide users with more ways to extend the functionality of the underlying device operating system, I thought that maybe it is time to explore what it can do without resorting to writing your own third-party application or purchasing/subscribing to another.
I know that it might be crazy, but if it means saving money from purchasing or subscribing to another software because it has more features beyond the basic functionality that is needed and offered by the stock operating system (and bundled software), then it is worth the exercise.
Let’s start with calendar. I have been a Fantastical user for quite some time. It has features that the built-in calendar application, let’s call it Calendar.app (on both iOS and MacOS), does not have. When Fantastical became a subscription-model (there is nothing wrong with this as it is a viable way to continue supporting the development of the software and services), I figured that I’d stick to Calendar.app since I am not a Fantastical power-user anyway. There is a limited, free Fantastical tier, which I was using before, but one less application to depend on it still a good deal. Frankly, the consistent Microsoft Office 365 nagging was the final nail on the coffin (I know it isn’t Fantastical’s fault, but for some reason without Fantastical, I get pestered less).
One feature that Fantastical has now is the way it handles video conferencing schedules. I know that I can add Zoom to my work Office 365 account, but being a stickler for privacy, I’d rather keep things separate (yeah, there is a one-way link because of the email containing Zoom meeting details, but that is as far as it goes). That being said, I wrote a shortcut that parses the Zoom meeting information and creates the event on Calendar.app. So, now I have the Fantastical functionality! :)
Another is 1Password. I have written about experimenting on using only the iCloud Keychain Password, and with the latest OS upgrades, it now has support for notes. I am still using 1Password as I still use Firefox as a secondary browser, and I couldn’t get the built-in password maanger to interface with it. I am still waiting for Apple to support Family Sharing of specific passwords. I am still on the fence on shifting to BitWarden from 1Password, but that is for another day.
Currently, I am using two e-mail applications, the built-in e-mail client, Mail.app, and FMail, a Fastmail third-party e-mail interface. This is how I separate personal and work email, but I could merge them together, but Fastmail has so much more functionality that Mail.app does not have.
I am still midway through the process of going back to using all stock applications instead of using third-parties. I am hoping that Apple continues to improve the stock applications and make them at feature-parity with popular applications.