We’re just a few weeks into 2022, yet there are already a slew of new applications promising to fix your issues in creative ways. Do you, for example, SMS yourself reminders from time to time? That habit will be aided by a new note-taking software with a chat interface. Another software aims to keep you focused by reducing distractions from your Apple devices.
Ochi, a free app created by Michael Tigas, was launched on the App Store on February 1 as a free download. You may alternatively pay $3.99 / £3.49 / AU$4.99 for a monthly membership or $19.99 / £17.99 / AU$21.99 for an annual subscription. By buying the Pro edition altogether for $49.99 / £44.99 / AU$53.99, you may avoid paying a membership charge.
This new tool lets you build filters for various applications and websites so you don’t get sidetracked when working on something essential. You may, for example, prohibit particular social network accounts from accessing specific applications or connected websites using web browsers. Ochi allows you to pick and select which applications and websites you want to stay silent while you concentrate.
When you’re using your smartphone, tablet, or computer, it’s simple to get sidetracked. While Apple has its own capabilities to help with distractions, such as Do Not Disturb and the new Focus feature in iOS 15, which allows you to hide applications and rearrange your home screen, Tigas wanted to design something that went even farther.
Following my experience with Ochi over the previous few weeks, I’m reminded of an app called SelfControl that I used to use on my old MacBook Air 2013 laptop. When I was concentrating on writing my college dissertation, SelfControl would automatically dismiss applications and block websites.
However, Tigas’ app is designed for today’s world, where you may have many devices connected to the same account. If you establish a filter to ban Facebook on your iPhone, for example, the filter will automatically move over to your iPad or desktop iMac without your involvement.
On iPhone and macOS, the app’s interface is attractive, both basic and colourful, with helpful widgets to activate filters or show you how much time is left until Ochi unblocks the applications and websites you’ve selected.
On macOS, Ochi appears in the menu bar, allowing you to quickly stop the filtering if you need to use any of the programs or websites you’ve blacklisted.
A discussion with Ochi’s creator
When I spoke with Tigas following Ochi’s debut, I inquired him what inspired him to design the app.
“On a whim, I was motivated to create Ochi,” Tigas remarked, “by the thought of eliminating distractions across all of my devices and keeping me focused when my willpower is at its lowest.” “During the day, I use the Focused Work program on my Mac to block applications like Twitter when I’m concentrating on a job.” However, I do sometimes use my iPhone or iPad to test applications that I’m developing. Instead, it’s incredibly simple to doom-scroll with them.”
From Focus in iOS 15 to the ScreenTime feature in iOS 13, Apple has made attempts to look at how we manage our time on our devices. We asked Tigas what set Ochi apart from these and other third-party concentration applications.
“Rather of inspiring individuals to concentrate on accomplishing a job, Ochi helps them stay focused for longer periods of time by steering them away from distractions.”
“It’s a versatile tool that can effortlessly interact with diverse processes, particularly if they take use of iOS (and to a lesser degree – macOS) automation features,” Tigas noted. “You may set timers to prohibit access to iOS applications, Mac apps, websites, and website categories including Social Media, Chat, and News.”
Shortcuts also allow you to activate filters on your iPhone and iPad from your Mac, which is a first in the distraction-blocking market.”
We were curious in which instances Tigas found Ochi to be most useful, given that it addresses a concentration problem by focusing on distractions.
“When I’m not at work or when it’s time to go to bed,” Tigas noted, “Ochi has been quite useful when I’m playing online games with pals.” “In between Apex Legends or PUBG bouts, I have a tendency to take up my phone and tune out the group talk.” It’s a horrible habit, and Ochi keeps me on track while we’re having fun.”
We were curious whether there were any additional features in the works, despite the fact that the app was just recently released.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the next phase, and I’m keeping an open mind about making Ochi as adaptable as possible!” Tigas was ecstatic. “On the Mac, Ochi can use Shortcuts & Focus to use automation in the Shortcuts software to automatically limit distractions on iOS devices.” However, because Shortcuts for Mac lacks automation support, I’m interested in bridging that gap so that I can apply filters to my Mac from my iPhone, iPad, or even my Apple Watch.”
Tigas said that he’d want to provide the ability to schedule recurrent filters.
“This will be especially helpful with automatically blocking apps like Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit from 1 am onwards, without needing to initiate that every night,” Tigas said.”I can also see people appreciating the ability to block emails at various times during their work days.”
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