Something everyone should do before upgrading their iPhone or iPad to iOS 11 is to check whether you have any mission critical 32-bit apps on your device. Apple has been cautioning since its 64-bit A7 system on chip (SoC) debuted in the iPhone 5s in September 2013 that termination of 32 bit app support would be coming. Four years notice doesn’t seem unreasonable, but it’s being speculated that possibly 200,000 or more iOS apps will be disabled by 64-bit only iOS 11.
There is still hope that 32-bit apps you’d really miss will get a last minute update, but it’s not a very lively hope at this stage.
It’s very easy to check whether you have any 32-bit apps that haven’t been updated by their developers. Simply open Settings, select General, then About. Select Applications from the list that appears, and any 32-bit apps that you have on your device will be displayed.
I had 14 of them, most of which were of little or no consequence and I deleted without regret. However, among them is my favorite iOS text editor, PlainText, which has been my anchor writing and Dropbox archive access and organization tool since I got my first iPad in 2011.
Unhappily, PlainText is no longer being developed, and I’ve been aware that the end would come, but it presents me with the dilemma of finding a substitute for an app I’ve found almost perfectly suited to my needs.
However, I was surprised to discover that Nuance’s Dragon Dictation iOS speech transcription app has not been and apparently will not be updated, probably because Apple has incorporated dictation into the iOS itself.
Back to Dropbox synching text apps, this development, or more precisely termination of development of what is a vital tool for me underscores one o the shortcomings of having no user accessible document based file directory in the iOS. I’m aware that this has been addressed to some degree in iOS 11 by a new app called ‘Files’ that functions in iOS devices as a substitute for the macOS Finder. Files allows users to browse, search and organize all their files in one place, with a dedicated space for recently created or modified files, providing centralized access to individual files, whether they be stored locally, in iCloud Drive, or on other cloud services like Dropbox, Mega, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Box, and others. Sounds like it could be at least part of a solution for me, but whether it will satisfactorily replace PlainText’s transparent and simple Dropbox directory remains to be seen.
Many iOS text and word processing apps can link to Dropbox, but none that I’ve tried have matched the elegant simplicity of PlainText, which automatically saves any changes made to an open file, which will show up at the top of the chronologically organized files lists in both PlainText and the Dropbox Folder on my Macs, which makes working on the same file across multiple devices simple and transparent as long as you work in plain text (.txt) files, which I do. If I need formatting, it’s easy to switch to a word processor like Pages.
There are some promising newer iOS apps with Dropbox sync that I’ve only tried the demo versions of. One of them, SyncNotes, shares some similarities with PlainText, including use of standard plain text without formatting, and a commitment to Dropbox as the clear best choice for Cloud file synching. SyncNotes will auto-sync your files with Dropbox across all your devices where they will show up as .txt files that you can edit in any standard text editor.
Other good stuff in SyncNotes includes 12.9″ iPad Pro native resolution and keyboard support full-text search, support for Split-view multitasking, and for exporting to PDF, RTF, and other formats, for which you will need the paid version of the app ($4.99 in-app purchase).
For more information, visit:
Another text app that looks like it’s worth checking out is Notes for Dropbox by Lau Brothers LLC which features Dropbox sync Multi-level undo & redo, TextExpander support, full-text search (titles & note contents), word count, export to pdf, email, text, facebook and twitter, sorts files by chronological or alphabetical order, and saves in plain-text files that will work with any modern text editor, so there’s no format lock-in, and much more.
For more information, visit:
Hopefully one of these or the new iOS 11 Files app will be a solution for me, but 64-bit PlainText would have suited just fine.