Article in App of the Week category.
Habit forming app Streaks is a brilliant example of a simple idea
Streaks — the habit-building app that pushes the limit on how many features a simple task manager can have. On its surface, with its big…
Streaks — the habit-building app that pushes the limit on how many features a simple task manager can have. On its surface, with its big icons, clean matte colors, the app appears quite bare. But as a longtime App Store standby, Streaks is always quick to add new features and is immensely polished and a gleaming example of what a flagship App Store app should be.
Compared to your run-of-the-mill task management app, Streaks is focused on building healthy habits. Tasks such as fitting in a workout, brushing your teeth, walking the dog, not smoking for the day, watering your plants, etc. By encouraging you to complete these tasks, over time, they should go from daily tasks, to reliable habits that you complete without thinking about them.
Tasks are easily added, twelve of which can be added each day. Which is fine, because to be honest, more than that seems like hectic days. Once added, you just tap and hold to complete the task for the day.
When adding a task, you can choose which days of the week that task needs to be completed, how many times it needs to be done in a week, how many days it needs to be done in a month, or the frequency of that task. As an example, let’s say you have to mow the lawn with some regularity. You could say to mow every 14 days, or two times per month, or once per week.
While building positive habits like mowing or eating a healthy meal, the app can work in the reverse. By *not* doing a task, you start breaking bad habits. You could set up a task to not bite your nails, not smoke, not drink any alcohol, or not drink coffee. We aren’t sure we could give up that last one though...
For each day you either don’t do those bad habits, or do do your good tasks, you are building a streak. The idea is the more you do them, the more you continue that streak. Eventually, just as with the rings on the Apple Watch, you have this powerful urge to keep that streak for risk of losing. The longer the streak goes, the more you will push yourself to continue it.
Health apps are particularly well suited to Streaks. Streaks is able to tap into the Healthkit app on iPhone to complete your tasks auto-magically. It can be completing a certain amount of exercise each day, or completing your Apple Watch rings, or completing a workout, or standing for a certain number of hours, or reaching a set number of steps, and clearly much more. There are dozens of preset options for these health-related apps you can choose from.
There are presets, actually, for all categories of tasks. Most of the popular ones are here, ready to go. These presets will be paired with a proper icon, relevant frequency, and are the quickest to set up. Of course, manual tasks are supported too. When added, you can even search Streaks massive library of icons to properly associate with your task.
The Streaks app will automatically ask you to complete your tasks, but you can also schedule specific times it will ask you too. When a notification appears, it can be snoozed — a time period you can also adjust. The app has a customizable color scheme and the ability to rearrange your tasks for further personalization.
Completing all these streaks would be nothing if there was no way to visualize that data or celebrate your progress. Streaks breaks these down for all time, the current year, and the current month for all tasks as well as individual ones. It shows you your best streak for that tasks, how many times you’ve missed it, and what your current streak is. And for total gratification there is a share ability so you can take your accomplishments to social media.
One of my favorite aspects of Streaks is how quick the developer is to adopt Apple’s latest iOS features. It fully takes advantage what iOS has to offer. There are fun customizations such as choosing the app’s icon. It has a powerful Apple Watch app with complications. And all the app’s data is synced over iCloud.
At the moment, diehard users are awaiting the release of iOS 14 which brings more changes for developers. Widgets, for example. These new widgets will get prominent placement on user’s Home screens and of course Streaks is ready to get in the game.
Based on shared images on Twitter, Streaks is exploring several options for widgets. Different sizes with different views of relevant tasks as well as your progress.
Streaks is so engaging to us because of its simplicity. The app is clean, intuitive, and does one thing, but does it *so* darn well. As we continue to build our streaks we get more and more compelled to lengthen them, giving us just that little push to build these habits. Whether you are looking to be a bit healthier, to stay up on your household chores, or to kick that bad habit, Streaks is an absolutely fantastic way to get there.
But enough about other people's apps.