Pack 2.0 released

I'm pleased to announce version 2.0 of Pack, my simple trip packing app for iPhone.

And best of all, Pack is now totally free for everyone! It no longer has an in-app purchase to unlock features; everything is available.

Want to get it right now? Download Pack from the App Store. Read on for details.

The app has been completely rewritten from the ground up, using the latest Swift development tools, to provide a solid foundation for future enhancements. But if you used version 1, don't worry, it still loads your existing list.

The basic design philosophy is unchanged: a single list of all things you might want to take on a trip, from which you choose what to take, then flip over to cross things off as you pack. No need to make new trip lists, add extraneous information like weights or quantities, or ugly graphics. Just what you need.

You'll start with the choosing view, but are probably more interested in the packing view. Here it is:

Pack screenshot

I've enhanced crossing items off, including a subtle haptic feedback. And improved the sharing feature to work better with more apps, and include the packed state as a leading checkmark, or unpacked as a dash, among other changes.

Tap the eye icon to reveal new Packing Options, to control how to display the packing list, including by item name, by tag, or by person, and whether to show all items, only unpacked ones, or put the packed ones at the end, after the unpacked ones:

Pack screenshot

Flip over to the Choose Items view to pick what to pack:

Pack screenshot

You can add or edit items:

Pack screenshot

Other than a modernized UI, including support for the X-style iPhones, a big enhancement is to replace categories with tags, so you can now assign items to multiple tags, e.g. "Cold" and "Clothing":

Pack screenshot

As before, you can assign items to multiple people, so they show up separately for each person. This used to be a paid feature, but can now be enjoyed for free:

Pack screenshot

Like with the Packing view, the Choosing view also has some Choosing Options, with the same arrangement options, the ability to show only packed or unpacked, or all items, and buttons to select or deselect all items, and mark the items as packed or unpacked:

Pack screenshot

Why free?

So why did I spend all that time rewriting the app, only to release it for free?

My wife and I travel a few times each year, and use Pack before each trip to ensure we don't leave anything we need behind. But I use an iPhone XS Max currently, and the old version wasn't optimized for that. I could have updated it, but the code was rather old and crusty, using old technologies that I don't prefer nowadays. It was also a little unstable in some situations. I prefer writing apps in Swift now, and Pack is a fairly small app, so I decided to rewrite it to address those issues and make it much more modern.

So why free? I am primarily a Mac developer, though certainly have iOS apps, and do consulting on iOS apps (e.g. NewsBlur), but Pack has never been a big earner for me. I originally wrote it for my own use, and actually used it for quite some time before releasing it. I released version 1 for free, with an in-app purchase to unlock premium features, but most people were satisfied with the free features, if they stuck with the app. That was fine with me. I definitely wanted to continue supporting the app, if only for my own use, but didn't think it was worthwhile to continue trying to monetize it.

It's actually quite nice releasing it for free; it takes some of the pressure off me. And of course now more people can enjoy it, too, without having to worry about paying for it.

I will of course continue to use it for every trip, and have plans for several enhancements I want to make in future versions, while keeping the overall design simple and easy to use.

And now the watch has ended

It's not all improvements. One casualty of the rewrite is that I didn't re-implement the Apple Watch app. The old one was built for an early version of watchOS, before it was called watchOS, when it was just a remote view of the iPhone app. It would have had to be rewritten from scratch, and since I didn't tend to use it myself, I decided not to take that time. Sorry if you did use it; please let me know if so. I might re-implement it in a future version, if there's demand, though no promises.

Want to try it?

Again, Pack 2 is completely free! So download it from the App Store and try it before your next trip.

Please rate & review

If you do try it, please do me a favor and write a review for it. The old version had some 1-star reviews due to old issues, but I'd like to get some more positive ones there, to encourage people to give it a try. Pack has long been an indispensable app for me, and I'm sure others will find it useful too.

Thank you,
David