borg: iPhone Org-mode app

May 25, 2017

If use Org-mode and have an iPhone carry on reading.

As you know Org-mode is a fantastic plaintext based system for outlining, task planning, authoring and more. Many people, myself included, started using Emacs because of Org-mode.

You are probably also aware that there is an iOS Org-mode app called MobileOrg. It allows for sync and editing of your org files on your iOS device. It doesn’t however allow you to quickly see your agenda, and is a harder tool to use than popular iOS apps such as Things, OmniFocus and Wunderlist.

I’m a newcomer to Org-mode, and will only be feasibly able to continue using it if I can carry it around on my iPhone. I need to be alerted when my tasks have upcoming deadlines and be able to quickly glance at what the day and week looks like.

borg is a (really) new app which may eventually provide a relatively complete Org-mode experience on your iPhone - or at least in terms of todo lists, projects and notes. How far I take borg depends on feedback from Org-mode users - and whether I can sufficiently fund ongoing development.

With that in mind I’m looking for Org-mode users to test the first version of borg. There are (lots of) limitations, which I will explain below, however if you use Org-mode in a certain way then it should prove a useful tool.

If I’ve got you excited about a new toy to play with stop reading now and email and ask to be put on the list of testers. It would be really useful if you can explain your experience with Org-mode and what you are looking for from a mobile Org-mode app.

The main limitations are:

  • Only works with Dropbox - however the app is architected to eventually allow other sync solutions
  • Syncs files from a folder on Dropbox, but doesn’t recurse into subfolders
  • Doesn’t support repeating and more complex date representations
  • You can see dated tasks, but you can’t see the details of the tasks. You can’t see tasks which don’t have a date
  • Completely readonly - no editing currently implemented
  • iPhone only at the moment - iPad support to be introduced in due course
  • Probably lots more depending on how complex your Org-mode usage is

There is a roadmap that currently looks like this:

  • v1.1 - “Tip jar” and release on the App Store following implementation of most vital changes suggested by testers
  • v1.2 - Show basic item details, including notes
  • v1.3 - Show a list of all todos (not just those which have dates)
  • v1.4 - Provide a list of your Org files in the app and a read-only outline style view of the files
  • v1.5 - Outline folding
  • v1.6 - Quick capture
  • v1.7 - Editing of existing files
  • v1.8 - Creation of new files
  • v1.9 - Search

If you are interested in getting the app and providing feedback to create a tool which will hopefully bring many more users into the Org-mode fold, then send an email to and I’ll get you a build.

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