Six-Month Usage Report


I’ve been using Arc for about six months now. I know you know all of this already, I’m just submitting feedback for sake of documenting a periodic review here.

  • Data gaps - the occurrence of gaps has increased with time and app usage. However, it seems to be resolved by Arc Mini which I put through rigorous testing yesterday at Walt Disney World. Nice!

  • Edit/UI latency - this too has increased over time. But, this seems to be improved by the latest update which I installed this morning. As you already noted, it doesn’t fix all latency but there is a noticeable and significant improvement when editing. Thank you for tackling this!

  • Colors - I realize I’m probably an edge case, but it would be useful to have a broader color palette for activity types. Currently, tram, tuk-tuk, songthaew, cable car, funicular, chairlift, and ski lift activity types all have the same gold color which makes it more difficult to interpret maps. Also, and this is super minor considering you just released Arc Mini, it would be nice to have a white-on-black color scheme for the new Arc Mini widgets. It would help decrease display brightness energy consumption. :slight_smile:

  • Place statistics - the total visits and common stats are useful. I know you said you’d like to expand the stats measurements, so I’d be interested in any future development in this area.

  • Security - it’s unlikely I’ll want to continue to use iCloud for backup for much longer due to Apple’s recent moves into this area. What is the best way to manually back up Arc’s database?

  • Exporting maps and timelines - long timelines won’t export and maps only export a fixed map extent. The easy workaround is to just screen capture the info. No big deal here.

Other than that, once I learned your Arc editing techniques, Arc became one of my favorite and most cherished apps. For me, Arc’s ability to record precise locations and its minimal UI blows everything else away. Your continued support and improvements are appreciated, Matt!

Thanks for the feedback!

Yeah the multiple recorders workaround is a successful one so far. It’d rather it didn’t have to be like this - that one app could do the job without risk of getting killed off randomly, but it is what it is. Having multiple apps also helps to share the load of daily tasks such as updating ML models (for Places and ActivityTypes), and … some others I forget.

Arc Mini doesn’t know how to do all of the daily tasks (for example it can’t take part in doing the iCloud Drive backups yet), but having it take over doing some of them does help to reduce the workload in Arc App, and reduce the risk of iOS getting angry and killing either of the apps off. So the multiple apps / recorders is multiple layers of protection, in that sense - it gives the second app the chance to take over recording if needed, and it also reduces the chance of each app raising its head up enough to piss off iOS.

I share this want. I added in a bunch of new activity types after Mladen had done the designs and colour schemes for the existing shorter list of types, and I just reused several of the colours for the new types, which has muddied things up a bit. Hopefully once I’ve made more progress with Arc Mini and Arc v4 I’ll get to adding some more colours in and making this more sensible.

I think they already respect iOS’s Dark Mode? Or maybe not? Hmm, let me check. Yep, they do. So if the phone goes into Dark Mode, the widgets will change to white text on black background.

This is a pet project area, where I personally want to add a lot of extra stuff, but it feels indulgent given there’s already a lot more going on there than in some other areas of the app. But yeah, it’s definitely an area where if the mood hits me I’ll likely add in some new stats on a random weekend :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I’m quite frustrated by this one. I’d hoped to make use of an iOS feature that was announced several years ago, that would allow the selection of any cloud service / folder as the backup destination folder. But Apple quietly pulled the functionality, and scrubbed the documentation to have no mention. There is a hidden button in Arc’s Backup Settings view that allows you to select a destination folder, but it doesn’t work due to said iOS feature disappearance, so … that’s that.

The only other option really is to manually export months as JSON, from the timeline view, and save them to a folder of your choice during the manual export process. Tedious.

Another one I need to get back to. I’ve got a plan for how to work around the limitation that makes the image exports silently fail, and it’s not as fiddly a job as I at first thought. So hopefully I’ll get to it eventually. It’s definitely something I run into myself quite often, so it’s not forgotten.

Thanks again! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes::pray:t3:

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With regards to the last point, if you want to just see all your timeline without regards to type you should try this website after exporting gpx:

For whatever reason the code seems to work a lot better than implementations of full timeline views in both arc app and quantified app in displaying multiple years of data, but maybe thats just because a computer can use more ram than a phone


That website reminds me of the old Move-O-Scope visualization for Moves data if anyone remembers that. It’s nice, but I think an Arc screen capture is better.


Arc screen capture

Turning on the dark mode for the Arc Mini widgets works. Matt, can you increase the font size and color for the updated/active info at the bottom? It’s hard to read in light mode or dark mode.

My home screen

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Yeah iPhones may be very powerful, but apps aren’t allowed to use lots of memory or lots of CPU (unless it’s only a brief burst).

Trivia: Move-o-Scope was the initial motivation for starting to build Arc App!

I was throwing my Moves data into Move-o-Scope and absolutely loving it, but the more I played with it the more I could see potential for going deeper (more detail and accuracy, more activity types, etc). So it motivated me to start building Arc as an experiment in “what’s really possible to achieve, if you make use of the full power and abilities of the phone”.


Chiang Mai

Hong Kong

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Heh. I can’t see the little text either. I need to put on reading glasses to see it! Though that’s kind of intentional for the bottom left text that shows when the widget was last updated - it shouldn’t have to be a stand-out visible thing, as long as iOS is properly updating the widgets as requested. So it’s more like debug info, to let me/us know whether iOS is still holding up its end of the bargain.

But yeah, it’s still a pretty scruffy bit of design. I’ll do some cleanup and make it more readable, for sure :+1:t3:

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