iA Writer

Me, my favorite iOS app for writing in Markdown, without question, is iA Writer. Jason Snell has it on his aforelinked shortlist, but dings it for its lack of extensibility. The truth is I don’t do much of my writing on my iPad (and almost none on my iPhone) but when I am writing on my iPad, it’s generally something long, and I’m trying to focus. The right words for each sentence, sentences that snap together into paragraphs, paragraphs ordered properly into sections, sections that together form a complete piece. I don’t use any of iA Writer’s actual “focus mode” stuff, I just find iPadOS naturally better for focusing on a single task. So while I’d never consider using a Mac writing app that wasn’t richly scriptable and customizable, it’s not an issue for me on iPad.1

And iA Writer is just beautiful. To me it’s the gold standard for Markdown syntax styling — great colors, real italic and bold styling for *italic* and **bold** spans, and, my very favorite touch, outdented #’s for headings. iA Writer is even so presumptuous as to only use its own custom typefaces: Mono, Duo, and Quattro. But they pull it off — all three of iA Writer’s typefaces are very good (I’m a Duo man myself).

The best way I can put it is that iA Writer is a classy app. BBEdit and MarsEdit are like pint glasses or coffee mugs. Occasionally, though, the mood calls for an elegant champagne flute. That’s iA Writer for me.

  1. iA Writer has a great Mac app too. Most iPad writing apps and text editors don’t. I generally don’t use iA Writer on the Mac, but I’m glad it’s there. (It syncs via plain text files in iCloud Drive.)  ↩︎