Files and all that stuff

Just a quick update to let you know what’s going on in development. Perhaps the biggest change coming down the line is in the iOS app where you will soon have the option to use the built in Files UI to manage your maps. See below for a screenshot:

The big upside is that you’ll be able to better access maps in Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive.

Watch this space…

Posted on December 10, 2018 .

Hand Drawn Maps - a Balanced View

There are two features that have been on my list for more years than I care to admit. One is something I thought might look cool - the other is something that people have actually been asking for:

  • Hand Drawn Maps

  • Balanced Maps

So the latest release implements both. The hand drawn map effect has actually turned out better than I’d hoped. All my personal maps now use this effect. See below for a before and after animation. The shapes are literally hand drawn (by me using an Apple Pencil on an iPad) and then ‘coded up’ into the app. I did tweak them with TouchDraw (on iPad) since my handwriting is actually pretty bad.

NB: Above you can also see one of the new system styles (‘Spearmint’)

The balanced map feature is something people have been asking for, for years. There is a new auto layout option (called Balanced) where the app ensures that there are an equal number of topics either side of the main ‘root’ topic. There is also a manual ‘balance’ option that will perform a one time balance on maps that have manual (or partial) auto layout. See below to see it in action.

In addition to the above I’ve also added 5 new canvas options as below:

As always, any questions, suggestions or issues - just let me know.

If you like the app, a review on the AppStore is alway most welcome :-)



Posted on October 29, 2018 .

iThoughts is 10 years old today

The original iThoughts went live on the AppStore on October 28th 2008. Ten years ago - back when I had hair! (actually that’s a lie - but it was 10 years ago.)

Some early screenshots below (iPhone 3G running iOS2) - I was ahead of my time with ‘dark mode’ !


The screen was a tiny 320x480 (as opposed to 1242x2688 in the latest iPhone XS Max)

Below is my first attempt at YouTube marketing. The year is 2008 and YouTube itself is only 3 years old. These are the days before we could record the iPhone screen - so I went old skool and used a video camera. Can you tell I have absolutely no training in either marketing or photography?

Oh how I miss having a phone that will fit in my hand and my pocket…

Not proud of my first app icon - but these are the days before I could afford to pay people who can draw - can you tell I have no graphic design training either?


I then made enough money to pay someone to create an icon - but I had too much ‘creative input’ and that resulted in something worse!


Gradually started to get a grip on the icon - well actually a designer took pity on me and contacted me direct ( and the result is below.


In the old days, 3D was all the rage…

Then the iPad happened - boom!

(note how I’m still all in on ‘dark mode’.)

Screen shot 2010-08-30 at 21.48.40.png

Released this before I’d even seen an iPad - just had to hope it worked ok on the real device.

It’s now 2010 and I decided to ‘walk away from a perfectly good job’ (my wifes’ words!) and go full time on iThoughts. What could possibly go wrong?

In 2013 I created a ‘proper limited company’ in order to continue making apps in a more tax efficient way then released the Mac version (see what I did with the icon there?)


Then in 2014 everything went flat - literally (with iOS6)

This meant I had to rewrite the app from scratch and for various reasons released it as a new app - which meant a new purchase (something for which I still get multiple complaints each week - 4 years later.) In my defence I did have a 1 day sale every month for over a year where people could get the new app for $1.

Fast forward to 2017 and I dabbled with the ‘dark side’ and released a version for Windows.


So here we are. In 10 years I’ve released the app on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Windows. There have been around 300 software updates during that time - most including significant new features. To see a more detailed history just scroll down and click ‘Older Posts’.

A big thanks to everyone who has supported me and the app over the years. Here’s to the next 10 years!

Posted on October 27, 2018 .

iThoughts for iOS(5.9), Mac (5.11) and Windows (5.11) now released

I’m pleased to announce that there is a new release of iThoughts on all three platforms (Mac, iOS and Windows.)

This version adds support for custom background canvases. Take a look here for more details and links to a good source of background canvas patterns.

The macOS update will also support the new Mojave Dark Mode (due to be released tomorrow - 24th Sept 18) - see below:

As always, any questions suggestions or issues just let me know.

Posted on September 23, 2018 .

Custom Canvas

A quick sneak peek at a new feature in the next update - custom background canvas!

You will be able to select an image file or color and use that as the background canvas to your maps. See below to see the feature in action.

Click to enlarge

Notice how you can add the images/colors to the built in canvas picker. The canvas is then stored as part of the style settings and so can be saved as a custom style. If you have iCloud then the custom canvases (and styles) will be synced between iOS and OSX devices.

NB: Images are assumed to be repeating patterns. This feature does not enable a photo or logo to be used as a canvas (unless you're happy with it to be 'repeating')

Posted on September 4, 2018 .

iThoughts (Windows) v5.9 released - with Outline view

I'm pleased to announce that iThoughts 5.9 for Windows is now available for download (Windows Store version will take a couple of days to go through their review process.)

The headline feature in this release is 'Outline View' - see below:

click to enlarge

You can open the outline viewer by clicking on the sidebar button (bottom right corner of the screen) or by using the CTRL+SHIFT+O keyboard shortcut.

There are also a bunch of other fixes in this release:

  • Navigation using the cursor keys sometimes skipped a topic
  • Issue with folding/unfolding topics and pasting
  • Copy/Paste text from MS Word (sometimes spaces would be 'lost')
  • Added hack option to disable HW acceleration - see here
  • Scrolling issue in search box

As always - any questions, suggestions or issues - just let me know.

Posted on June 8, 2018 .

Who turned the lights out?

Apple just announced the next version of macOS - called Mojave. One of the headline features of this release is something called 'dark mode'. iThoughts will support dark mode when Mojave is released (September'ish usually.) In the meantime, see below for a sneak peek.

click to enlarge

Not perfect yet - but I only got my copy of Mojave 2 hours ago!

Posted on June 6, 2018 .