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Similar Apps to Bear and Things 3

I saw a simple question on Reddit today, and it sparked an answer.

Any other apps similar to Bear and Things 3?

Looking for similar apps to these two that perfectly balances minimalism, functionality, and UI/aesthetics.

I interpreted this as not being about the specific functionalities, and the types of apps (note-taker and task-manager), but the way those apps feel. Because, if you haven’t used them, you really should. They are truly special pieces of software. I will write more about some of these apps later, but …

Here’s my answer:

Oooh, I like this question!

I’m the kind of person who really values how a piece of software feels (in addition to looks and works.). But I 100% get that I might seem like an idiot for using pricier, and maybe less powerful, software, just because I think it’s nice, heh.

I really like both Bear and Things, but I’ve gone for a workflow where I mostly use plaintext/.md files, which I then access from different apps. The files are located in the folder for NotePlan, which I use it because it has good task and calendar support, so it fills the function of both Bear and Things. And compared to Obsidian and Logseq, it’s closer to Bear in terms of nice-ness — though not quite at that level.

Here are som apps I’d say are on that level, though:

These are apps that (mostly) adhere to principles of Fast Software, the Best Software, and are filled with details you might not appreciate at first glance.


Severely overpriced, but very nice, files-based Markdown editor. The “preview mode” is also a great rich text editor that still outputs Markdown.


A brilliant, but simple, outliner. Not expensive! Also files based — which I don’t prefer, but I still use these two apps because they’re such a joy to use. The way it handles rich text should be copied by all. So clever! And 2.0 looks very promising as well.


Plain-text task manager, by the same developer as Bike. Almost as pleasant to use, which still makes it nicer than most apps. Lightning fast, and plays quite nice with NotePlan — so I can use both apps, with the same files.


A great Mastodon client, with a remarkable feel. They’ve made a custom scrolling engine, which is just so delightful! It’s not my favourite, though, because Mona is almost as nice, but has several features I really like. I’ve written a bit about it here.


I’m not vouching for its security or the owners — but as a simple chat app with friends and family, which is my use case, it’s head and shoulders above the rest. Especially compared to the other three I’ve used the most: iMessage, Messenger and Signal (though I still recommend Signal if you want more security — and they deserve the support). I’ve given examples of why here.


Just a really nice code editor, with a good business model, and some noob-friendly options I like, like rainbow brackets and code structure headings. A Mac-assed Mac app if there ever was one.

Honourable mentions:


Before I used Paper, I would’ve put this on the list! Still really nice.

iA Writer

Very opinionated, and I don’t agree with the opinions. Still nice, though!

Reeder and Mela

RSS reader and recipe manager, made by the same developer. He’s also working on the next version of Reeder now, and while the TestFlight is pretty bare-bones, it feels outstanding. To be frank, these might deserve a spot on the other list — but when the new version of Reeder drops, it’s a shoo-in. It also supports more than text! However, just like with Mastodon, my favourite client is almost as nice, but has a killer feature: I use Lire because it caches full articles from truncated RSS feeds.


I really like the attention to detail here. I’ve personally decided not to use it due to the combination of Chromium and questionable AI shenanigans, but it’s still the best browser IMO.


The same hippie stuff that makes me not want to use Chromium also keeps me away from Gmail, so I can’t use this app. Hopefully, they’ll support JMAP (here’s why I use Fastmail) in the future because it looks really, really good!

Raycast 🖇️

Just feels modern and fast, while managing to do many different things without being too busy.


Another code editor. Less noob-friendly and featureful than Nova, as it’s still a bit early for this. But oh-boy, it’s fast!


A neat little note-taker of the “Post-it” variety. Free on the Mac, and the iOS version is currently 50% off until 8th of July 2024!