Favorite apps: PastePal

    I used to think the Copied clipboard manager for Apple devices was spiffy. I don’t know how or why, but that app disappeared from the Internet and the App Stores.

    PastePal seems to be its spiritual successor. It works perfectly, it syncs across devices, and the pro version is a one-time, reasonable $15 purchase. It’s the only clipboard manager I’ve found that checks all those boxes.

    Review: Jellycuts

    Jellycuts for iOS and iPadOS is 2 things:

    1. A text-based language for writing Shortcuts,
    2. A compiler that turns the text language into “real” Shortcuts, and
    3. An IDE for writing the language.

    As a programmer, this is super exciting to me because it feels like I spend too much time fighting against the limitations of the visual language. Now I can use the programming tools I work with every day to write my little applets, and store them in version control so that I can track changes and roll back mistakes.

    It’s not a perfect system as the design of the Shortcuts app means that getting the compiled code into it is a little convoluted (but automated and as smooth as possible). That’s on Apple, though, and not Jellycuts. The author has done an amazing job with the tools available to them.

    Jellycuts is a game changer. I haven’t gotten far with it yet, but if it works as promised on larger projects, I see it becoming the way I write Shortcuts. Get it at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/jellycuts/id1522625245.

    Mastodon apps for iOS

    Updated: November 11, 2022

    There are several excellent Mastodon apps for iOS and iPadOS. These are the ones I’ve tried.


    • A good app is stable and (at least nearly) crash-free. This rules out a few apps I’ve tried that I’m not including here.
    • Mastodon evolves with new features like polls. The best apps are updated with support for these new features.
    • I use an iPhone and an iPad. Apps that don’t support both platforms are non-starters for me. It’s possible I could find a brilliant, flawless iOS-only app and a different iPadOS-only app and be happy with the combination, but that’s unlikely to happen. Bonus points for apps that have Mac versions.

    Here are my recommendations that mostly meet those requirements.


    I stumbled across Metatext and I’m glad I did. It feels native in ways that other apps don’t and looks beautiful on my phone and iPad. I’ve used it as my main app since its release and recommend it to all my friends. Development has slowed down recently, but it feels “finished” without any obvious bugs or missing features. If you’re bored with your current app and want to try something new, get Metatext.


    Toot! is a favorite. It’s rock solid, updated frequently, and good looking on both iPhone and iPad. I suggest this for anyone getting started with Mastodon. The sole thing I don’t love is that it doesn’t always “feel” like a native iOS app, as opposed to say an alternative web interface. I’m picking nits, though: if you stop reading and install Toot!, you’ll be fine. It’s great.

    Mast: for Mastodon

    Mast looks and feels different from the other popular apps with its multi-column layout, and I appreciate its fresh take on how a Mastodon client can work. It’s a beautiful experiment. I can’t recommend it right now because it has significant bugs, like crashes and timelines which don’t refresh even when you try to manually refresh them. Its author released a popular Twitter app, Aviary, which I suspect has been taking their attention. This means it hasn’t been updated recently and I worry that it might be abandoned. Still, Mast supports iPhone and iPad and Mac and Apple Watch, which is amazing, and I’m watching it to see if the author resumes regular development. I hope they do.

    Mercury for Mastodon

    Mercury is a gorgeous, new, native-feeling app. I think it’s going to be a good option. It’s iPhone-only today with iPad support on their published roadmap, and I’d like to see that happen because it’s already a solid alternative for people who just use an iPhone. I’m monitoring Mercury’s development, too.

    Honorable mention: Linky for Twitter and Mastodon

    Linky is for posting to Mastodon, not reading it. I use this brilliant little app for sharing links to interesting websites, photos, or songs I’m listening to. It’s scriptable with x-shortcut-url, so if you’re technically savvy you can use Shortcuts, Drafts, or other apps to post things you’ve written. If you share a lot of content to Mastodon from other apps, Linky is your friend.

    See also

    Mastodon for iPhone and iPad is the official app brought to you by the people who made Mastodon. In spite of that, it lacks (or at least hides) vital Mastodon features, such as the local timeline. It’s ok if you’re joining one of the large, generic instances like mastodon.social that don’t have meaningful local communities, but offers a substandard experience on cozier instances.

    Favorite apps: Copied

    I think Copied is the best clipboard manager available for Apple devices.

    I use Copied constantly. It lets me copy 3 different things I see on a web page, then quickly paste them into a text editor without bouncing between the two apps several times. It lets me search my history for stuff I’ve copied earlier, even if I’ve done other things since then. It’s one of the first apps I install on a new device.

    I have a few a hard requirements for a clipboard manager:

    • It must sync across all my devices. Sometimes I start work on my iPad, or even my iPhone, and later move to a Mac. Other times I start on my Mac then switch to a portable device. I want the things I’ve copied to be available in all these places.
    • It has to be rock solid. When I’ve become used being able to access my clipboard history, and then discover it’s not available because the app has crashed and hasn’t been recording, I’m not happy.
    • It’s got to be quick. If I’m in the zone working on a project, I want to summon the app with a key press, select the item I want to paste with my keyboard, paste it with my keyboard, then have the app go away.
    • The user interface has to be simple. See above. A clipboard manager is a tool that I want to use for one thing and have it disappear until the next time I need it. I don’t want to spend more time playing with its interface than is necessary. It’s not an app I’m going to have open for a while as I poke around in it.

    Copied meets all those requirements, and a one time $6 purchase (with family sharing!) covers Mac, iPad, and iPhone apps that sync together with iCloud. It’s simple, quick, reliable, and available everywhere I work. And did I mention it’s a one time purchase? There’s nothing more I could want.

    Note that development had paused for a long time after its version 3 came out, and the app stopped working on macOS Catalina. In late 2020 the author released an updated version 4 that works perfectly with Catalina and Big Sur. A few old reviews lament that it broke with an OS upgrade but that’s old information.

    If you’ve wished you could copy several things in a row and paste them, or recall something you copied last week, install Copied. It’s great.


    Apple’s own Universal Clipboard is excellent, but limited: it uses only Bluetooth to sync directly between devices and requires them to be near each other, it doesn’t keep a history of previously copied items, and it doesn’t support older devices. You can’t beat free, though.

    Paste is another great app, but it has two things I don’t like:

    • The user interface is pretty but much more complex. This is a matter of personal taste but I find it too powerful. Again, I want to pop in and out of a clipboard manager as quickly as possible, and don’t want anything that slows this down or breaks me out of my thinking.
    • It’s hella expensive at $10 per year, or $15 per year for the family plan. That’s way more than I want to spend for a utility that spends almost all its time in the background.

    Pastebot is a wonderful Mac-only app. If it had iOS and iPad apps that it synced with, I’d have a hard time deciding between it and Copied. Alas, it doesn’t.

    Gladys, Anybuffer, Yoink, and Unclutter are beautiful shelf apps, but are way more complicated than I want in a clipboard manager, and not as good at that specific task as the dedicated apps are. Several of these don’t have cross-platform sync.

    Update 2022-03-29: From what I can tell, Copied is dead. Its web page is empty and it’s no longer available in the app store. That’s a pity and I miss it. Until a better option comes along, I’ve bitten the bullet and subscribed to Paste.