Do You Use Apple Stock Apps or 3rd Party Apps?

The App Struggle Is Real

I've been going back and forth between using Apple apps for what I call "Core" functionality - Calendar , Email, Web Browsing, Task management, Notes , Photo Management , and equivalent 3rd party apps. I've noticed that native apps tend to be more responsive and stable than 3rd party apps, but they sometimes fall short in the feature department.

3rd Party apps usually have more features , are updated more frequently, and can have "new car smell" when you get them.

However, for each Core Function ,  I use a combination of  both types in order to get the best of both worlds.

iOS Apps

The App List


  • Apple Calendar - Travel Time, Time to Leave, and the ability to click the map on the appointment to start Apple Maps ( ios only )
  • Fantastical 2 - Natural language to enter appointments, list view of upcoming appointments. Quick appointment entry in Menu bar ( Mac only )


  • Apple Mail - identifies updated contact info, meeting info, locations, and ( I think ) travel itineraries .
  • Airmail - Custom Tasks ( ios only ) , sync signatures across devices, store email account settings in iCloud and unlock all of them with just your Apple id,


  • Apple iTunes / Music App all the way -  Rock solid, has library sharing, and the huge selection is great.

Note Taking

Note: I'm all over the place here

  • Apple Notes - Simple. iCloud sync.
  • Byword - iCloud Sync, Markdown support
  • Evernote - Cloud sync, Tags , Notebook stacks , saved searches. It does everything I need  except for lack of Markdown support.

Photo Editing

Note: I don't do much editing

  • Apple Photos - iCloud Storage, Organize Photos, tag, Markup(ios only), Face recognition.
  • Apple Preview - Quick view/editing of Photos that are not in Apple Photos library. This app is much more powerful that most people think. Google it!
  • Pixelmator - Layering , advanced editing tools.
  • Photosweeper - deletes duplicate photos from Photos.


  • Apple Podcasts - I never use it. I re-try it periodically because I like that it sync's between Macs and iOS devices, but they refuse to add the 2 features that I want the app, despite me submitting feature requests every year.
  • Pock Casts - Trim Silence. Boost Voice audio. Sync's across iOS devices. Syncs some data with their Desktop app. I use this app daily.

Task Management

  • Apple Reminders - Simple. iCloud sync. Siri integration. I use it mostly to end data to 3rd party apps such as Anylist, IFTTT, Omnifocus, Alexa Shopping list, and more.
  • Omnifocus(OF) - Great for GTD, frequent updates, locations, contexts ( soon to be tags ), projects, just a ton of great features. I'm sad that it does't run on Windows, but I heard that is coming with Omnifocus 3. I've tried several competitors (ToDoist,, etc ) that work on Windows, but nothing else comes closen to the featureset of OF.

Web Browsing

  • Chrome - Works on Macs and PC ( Windows, Linux ). Huge array of Extensions to choose from.
  • Safari - Keychain for passwords and payment info, Reading List, Native text shortcut support. By this I mean if you add a shortcut to settings Keyboard->Text , you can use the shortcuts in Safari.

While I'd really love to go "all Apple" and use the free apps that they provide, they fall short in some area that is important to me.

What do you use?

Leave your favorite apps in the comments below.