Author: Thord D. Hedengren

Author, designer, developer, and editor of Switch to iPad, among other things.

Notes: Big vs. Small (Switch to iPad #74)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter discusses what iPad sizes work best for note-taking. Note-taking is a topic dear to me, as you probably know by now.

My name is Thord, and I’m taking a ton of notes, as you’ve probably noticed by now. For this, I use my iPads, which are, as you probably also know by now, numerous. The past couple of months, I’ve been attending a course, studying Complicated Things™️, which means I’ve been taking even more notes than usual.

So, which iPad is best for note-taking? That’s not as easy to answer as you’d expect, so that’s what we’ll be talking about in this issue.

📧 Switch to iPad #74 is a paid issue, so you’ll need to be a subscriber to read this one. Do consider signing up, it’s what keeps this site going, after all. Thank you!

YouTube Kids — a review

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter was all about setting up an iPad for kids. One of the apps I’ve installed is YouTube Kids. This is an ad-free version of YouTube with parental settings, meaning that it’s unlikely your child will stumble into something truly gruesome. That’s not to say that it isn’t an app without its problems, it’s still YouTube, after all, but I still think it’s one of the better options out there. And, not the least surprising, the kid loves it.

After an extensive onboarding guide, which I’ll spare you, you get to set up the app for your child or children. Yes, there’s support for multiple profiles, which I’m sure is a plus for some. Each child has an appropriate age limit for the videos, and that’s pretty much it for many parents out there, I’d think.

However, if your child happens to watch something you don’t like, perhaps one of those mass-produced toy unboxing videos from Russia, you can block that individual video, or channel, even. And should you stumble onto something that you feel is inappropriate for your age settings, you can flag it.

YouTube claims they use a combination of filters and human curation for the videos on YouTube Kids, and I haven’t really seen anything that makes me doubt this. Overall, it’s a pretty good app, easy to use for the child, with a mix of different types of videos. My one real gripe with YouTube Kids is that there isn’t a language setting. Watching educational videos in Spanish is great and all, but my kid should probably learn his native language first.

📺 📺 📺 out of 5 — Good.

Switch to iPad #73 is about kids and iPads

Have you ever wanted to setup an iPad for kids, but are unsure how to do it? That’s what Switch to iPad #73 is all about.

It’s not just me that loves iPads in my family, it’s the little bonus kid too. He’s great with it, as most kids are with touch-screen controlled devices. To him, navigating an iPad app, and figuring out a game from the App Store, is a lot easier than, say, using a controller for a video game console. It’s a different world than what I had when I grew up, that’s for sure.

The kid’s got an iPad, obviously. He’s been using an iPad mini 4, but with the launch of the new iPads, I figured an upgrade was overdue. It was also time to give him a little more control over what he could do on his own with his iPad, so I set it up from scratch.

📧 Switch to iPad #73 is out now. You’ll need a subscription to read this one, which is $5/month or $50/year. I hope you’ll consider it.

About the app subscription model (Switch to iPad #72)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter discusses the subscription model. It starts like this:

Are you sitting there, muttering over yet another app that goes from a premium business model, to a freemium one? Quite a few clearly did the other week, when Notability changed their business model, essentially forcing all its serious users to sign up for a subscription. They reversed this decision, grandfathering their current users into a reasonable free tier unavailable for new users, but the harm was, for some, clearly done.

So, let’s talk a bit about subscriptions as a business model, shall we?

📧 Read Switch to iPad #72 here.

Why switch to iPad, revisited in #71

The most recent issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter talks about why one should switch, and why that’s something I’m revisiting regularly.

I’m sitting propped up in bed, with chills and a sore throat, as I’m typing this. It’s one of the joys of the iPad, the 12.9” Pro model sitting in the Magic Keyboard at the moment, that portability, it’s one of the things I like the most. However, I could just as well be typing this on the MacBook Air that sits on the sideboard on the other side of the room. It’d work just as well because right now, in the Magic Keyboard, my iPad is a laptop. Literally, a laptop, even, since it’s in my lap.

That got me thinking about why I prefer the iPad, and if that’s still true. I’m in the habit of questioning many things in my life regularly, I think that’s important because it’s all too easy to just accept what you’ve got. Sometimes that’s fine, but if you could change things for the better, wouldn’t you? That includes making hard decisions when need be, and to be okay with things as they are if they’re not worth the hassle.

When it comes to the iPad, and viewing as well as using it as a primary computing device, it’s a fairly simple assessment. I can boil it down to the most common question I get, regarding my choice, which is: Why don’t you just use a Mac instead?

Switch to iPad #71 is out now. It requires an active subscription, so do consider that if you want to support my writing.

Bypass Google Maps with Mapper — A review

I prefer default solutions, and love single-purpose tools and apps, so there should be no surprise that I keep Mapper, a Safari extension by Alex Kitcoff, installed on my iPad. Mapper does one thing (well, two, sort of) and it does it well: Redirecting Google Maps links to its Apple Maps equivalent. If you’re a Google Maps users, that’s obviously pretty worthless, but for me, as an Apple Maps user, it’s great.

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Switch to iPad #70: Read it later

Well, you don’t have to read it later, you can read Switch to iPad #70 now, if you like. It does cover read it later services, though.

I’ve been a user of various read it later services for a long time. They’re great, I love being able to save interesting things for later. Granted, most of the things that gets saved away will sit there for a long time, there are so many feature stories, articles, blog posts and whatnot out there, I can’t keep up. That’s okay, I don’t feel stressed out by having an ever-growing reading queue.

Back in the day, the main feature for the read it later services for me was cleaning away all the rubbish that are on websites. Ads, cross-promotions, related stories, more ads, all of that just takes away from the actual story. More often than not, the story gets a thin column, and all the other rubbish gets more space. It’s not a great reading experience.

📧 Switch to iPad #70 is out now, for paying subscribers. Subscriptions are $5/month or $50/year. There’s a free trial if you’d like to sample the goods before committing.

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Notability switches to subscription model

Update: Notability to let current users get everything, after all.

Popular note-taking app Notability is switching to a subscription model with their 11.0 release, which is out now. That means that the app is free to download, but usage is severely hindered, with limited editing capabilities and lack of iCloud sync across platforms. A subscription costs $15/year, but you can get it for $12 at the moment. That includes several things that was in-app purchases previously.

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