mGifts for iPhone and iPad
As I’ve noted in an earlier look at mobile gift-list managers, the best kind of app incorporates sharing and shopping into the gift planning process. It’s even better if the app works for gift-giving occasions year-round—not just the holidays. mGifts by mSeven Software manages to do just about all of those things, making it a solid choice for those who want a simple gift-list management app that comes in handy 365 days of the year.
Launch the app and you are greeted with five default events and their respective countdowns—Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Hanukkah, and Anniversary—as well as an unassigned category. In addition to the countdown, each event has a summary of items needed, items you purchased, and a breakdown of your budget.
Selecting an event allows you to customize and edit your gift list and the people on it. You can then filter your view between People, Gifts, Stores, and Groups. Helpfully, there are three default categories for people: Family, Friends, and Co-workers. (You can add or remove categories as you wish.)
Adding people to your list is relatively simple. You tap the plus sign (+) and then add in a name, photo, and birthday. The level of detail you can add is nice but, unfortunately, there is no option to sync the people on your list with your the Contacts app on your iOS device. If your list doesn’t have many people on it, you might not even miss the Contacts sync. But users with a longer list miss the more streamlined approach of other apps.
Once you have added people to an event, you can specify a budget, the gift, and what store you want to buy from. Additionally, you can categorize where you are in your shopping by specifying whether the gift is one you still need to buy or one you have purchased, wrapped, or shipped. There is also a category for ideas and an archive where you can see your past gifts for that person.
By far, the standout feature of mGifts is its use of iCloud. Syncing mGifts with your iCloud account not only backs up your lists, but allows you to sync your lists to all of your iOS devices. Simply enable “store list in iCloud” in settings, and you can get your shopping list on any of your iOS devices.
If you don’t use iCloud, or don’t have multiple devices, you have other options for sharing your shopping list. You can share lists by groups, individuals, stores, and more via text message or email.
While I like the syncing and sharing features, I wish the actual shopping had somehow been incorporated into the app. There are dozens of preset stores to choose from (which you can modify as you wish), and it would be nice if there as a simple online look-up function such as the one in iPresents.
Visually, the app is very clean, though a bit on the minimalist side. That said, you do have enough customization options to make mGifts more visually appealing; I found that adding in photos for the individuals on my list greatly improved the look of the app.
Despite my minor complaints, mGifts’s simple, year-round functionality and use of iCloud make it a worthwhile list manager.
[Karissa Bell is a Macworld editorial intern. She likes making lists more than she likes shopping.]