pack

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

Pack 2 TestFlight

Pack, my simple packing list iPhone app, has (finally) been updated for the latest iPhone models. It has been rewritten from the ground up to modernize the UI and the code.

Here's what's changed:

  • Pack is now totally free for everyone!
  • A complete rewrite of the app in the latest Swift tools, and including a solid foundation for future enhancements.
  • Still loads the version 1 data.
  • Replaced the categories with tags, so you can now assign items to multiple tags, e.g. "Cold" and "Clothing".
  • New View Options to control how to display the Choosing and Packing lists.
  • Now doesn't show tags and people when arranging by those, since that's redundant.
  • Enhanced crossing items off the Packing list, including haptic feedback.
  • Improved the sharing feature to work better with more apps, and include the packed state as a leading checkmark, or unpacked as a dash.
  • Removed the Apple Watch app. Sorry if you used it; it was built for an early version of watchOS, and would have to be rewritten from scratch.

Want to help test it?

Join the TestFlight!

Pack 1.2 released

It's my birthday today! To celebrate, I give you a gift: a redesigned Watch app for Pack!

Like many developers, I was excited by the ability to write an app for the new Apple Watch, so I wrote one before the Watch was actually available: Pack 1.1.

And like many developers (e.g. Marco's Overcast), once I actually had a Watch and used my app on a real device, I realized that my initial design wasn't all that good.

I had thought that scrolling a long list of items to pack, like on the iPhone, would be annoying on the Watch. So I split the packing list up between two screens: a list of categories (or other groupings), where you tap on one to drill down to the items within that group.

In practice, that was cumbersome. Scrolling long lists is actually really easy and fast with the digital crown (or even swiping), and realistically most packing lists aren't all that long, especially as you get towards the end of packing. Having to go back and forth between categories was a pain.

So for version 1.2, I redesigned the Watch app. I collapsed the two screens into one simple list, with headings for groupings.

I also added a Force Touch menu to change the grouping (between by item name, category, or person), and to mark all remaining items as packed (or mark all as unpacked).

I also found, as many others have, that going to the app home screen is less preferred as a way to launch apps. The best way in most cases is to use a Glance from the watch face. So I also added a Glance to Pack, which indicates the number of items still to pack. Now one can simply tap that to launch the full app.

Here are all the changes in version 1.2:

  • Redesigned the Apple Watch app to simplify the layout, with all items in one list like in the iPhone app.
  • Added a Force Touch menu in the Watch app, with buttons to change the arrangement and to mark all items as packed or unpacked.
  • Improved the appearance of the Watch screen when all items have been packed.
  • Now automatically updates the Watch app when making changes in the iPhone app.
  • Fixed a crash when launching the Watch app in some circumstances.
  • Added a Glance on the Watch, as a quick indication of the number of items remaining, and a quick way to get back to the app.
  • The iPhone and Watch apps now arrange by category by default (your selection is still remembered).

Learn more about Pack, or download for free on the App Store.

Pack 1.1.1 released

Quickly following the 1.1 update, which introduced the Watch app, here's version 1.1.1 with an important fix:

  • All items are now selected by default, so you can begin packing immediately.
  • Fixed a crash when adding a new item.

Learn more about Pack, or download for free on the App Store.

Pack 1.1 (with Watch app) released

The Apple Watch is available for pre-order and in-store tryout today, and will be delivered starting April 24 for those who stayed up late enough to get their order in quickly. Did you order yours? What did you get? Let me know in the comments.

Personally, I ordered two Watches: a 42 mm for myself and a 38 mm for my wife, Jenn:

Also available today is an update to my Pack iPhone app, to include an Apple Watch extension to help you even more quickly and easily pack for trips.

The Watch app for Pack is very simple: the idea is that you choose what to pack on your iPhone, then you can put the phone in your pocket while actually stuffing your clothes etc into your suitcase, and just tap on your Watch to mark things as packed.

This will be much more convenient. I've used Pack for my own travel for several years (as a pre-release prototype), and while it is quite easy to mark things as packed, having to take my iPhone out of my pocket while I have my hands full of clothing can be a little inconvenient. Being able to just tap my watch will be so much easier.

Since I don't have a Watch yet, I've only been able to test this in the simulator, but Apple has tested and approved it (after a couple iterations of fixes and clarifications), so I'm confident that it'll work well. I'm sure I'll add further features in a future version, based on my and others usage. If you already have a Watch, please try it and let me know what you think!

Here's a brief looping demo of the Watch app in action:


Learn more about Pack, or download for free on the App Store.

Pack for Apple Watch

The Apple Watch will be available soon... how soon we should learn on Monday with their special event. So lots of developers have been announcing apps to run on the Watch — see WatchAware's excellent site for a good showcase.

I don't want to be left out from the fun. So a few weeks ago I spent a few hours over a weekend adding an Apple Watch extension to my latest iPhone app, Pack — a simple app to help you quickly and easily pack for trips.

Apple isn't accepting Apple Watch apps yet, but I'll be ready when they do. The Watch app for Pack is very simple: the idea is that you choose what to pack on your iPhone, then you can put the phone in your pocket while actually stuffing your clothes etc into your suitcase, and just tap on your Watch to mark things as packed.

This will be much more convenient. I've used Pack for my own travel for several years (as a pre-release prototype), and while it is quite easy to mark things as packed, having to take my iPhone out of my pocket while I have my hands full of clothing can be a little inconvenient. Being able to just tap my watch will be so much easier. And yes, you can bet that I'll get my order in for an Apple Watch as soon as pre-ordering is open. (I haven't finally decided which one, but probably the Space Gray Sport model, or maybe one with the green sport band, since green is good.)

Here's a brief demo of the Watch app in action:


Want to try Pack? You can download it for free from the App Store.

Introducing Pack for iPhone!

Just in time for your holiday travel!

Pack is a very simple packing list, so you can get packed quickly and easily.

There's no need to maintain separate lists for each trip. There's no need to guess and enter unnecessary details like weight or cost for each item. It has a clean and elegant appearance, without blinding you with wacky colors and images.

Pack comes with a catalog containing hundreds of items as a starting point. Quickly add, edit or delete them to make your own personalized list.

When preparing for a trip, simply skim through the list, checking or unchecking items as needed for this journey. When ready, flip over to start packing, crossing off items as you put them in your suitcase.

The Choose and Pack lists can be arranged by item name, category, or person name, and can be filtered to show only packed, packed at the end, or all.


Pack is free to use, and includes an optional one-time in-app purchase to unlock all of the app's premium features:

  • Add an unlimited number of items.
  • Add new categories.
  • Rename categories.
  • Delete unused categories.
  • Add multiple people.
  • Arrange items by person.

Purchasing also helps support further Pack development.

Learn more about Pack.
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