When you keep shuffling between browser tabs, meetings, and tasks on your Mac, it’s easy to lose track of a few important things. You may have referenced a document that contained an important quote for a blog post, or heard an insightful comment during a meeting but forgot to save it. Rewind is an app that can help you find all of these things, in a way we’ve never really seen before on macOS.
How Rewind works
Rewind records everything you do on your Mac. It stores everything you’ve viewed on screen, and can record things you say or hear as well. It transcribes all audio files on your Mac and makes them searchable. If you’ve said or heard a phrase like, “Remind me to send you a link for…” while using your Mac, Rewind can easily find all of these references for you. If you search for a term such as “Invoice,” it will find all the open windows where you saw the term, including Finder, email, even during Zoom calls.
The app also has ChatGPT integration, and it claims to use GPT-4 to help you find things even faster from your Mac. You can use the Ask Rewind feature to power up the chatbot, and ask it to generate a summary of things you’ve done today, or ask if you’ve ever spoken with a certain person.
How you can use Rewind
If these features sound appealing, you can download Rewind and give it a shot. Currently, it’s only compatible on Apple silicon Macs (M1 or M2 machines). The free tier allows you to look up things up to 50 times, after which you can sign up for a subscription plan that costs between $US10 ($14) and $US36 ($50) per month, depending on whether you subscribe monthly or annually.
Once the app is installed, you should go to its settings and configure a few things to optimise it. Under the Screen tab in Rewind’s settings, you should choose all the apps you don’t want it to record. This could contain apps with sensitive information such as password managers or messaging apps. By default, Rewind can record and recognise the following languages:
You can enable additional languages under Rewind’s Screen settings to add these languages to the app:
- Chinese (Traditional and Simplified)
These additional languages will only be supported if you’re on macOS 13 Ventura or newer versions of the app. Additionally, Rewind supports 57 languages for audio transcription, which are listed here.
What’s the catch?
With an app that’s constantly recording everything you do, there are very obvious privacy concerns. The cost of Rewind’s convenience is that you’ll be trusting a profit-driven company to store your recordings safely. Rewind’s developers say that none of the recordings ever leave your device, and you can verify these claims by using a firewall app such as LittleSnitch.
The only catch is Rewind needs to send some data to the internet to let you use its ChatGPT features. If that bothers you, you should block all connections to and from the app using any firewall software.
Rewind’s pricing is also a bit steep for most people: $US120–$US432 per year is a big investment, so only those who use Rewind’s features daily will likely be able to justify it. Some may even wonder why an app that runs totally on-device needs to have an expensive subscription plan at all.
The other big concern is how much storage and resources Rewind consumes. The developers say its compression technologies are very good, and that the app will use roughly 14GB of space on your Mac per month. You can set up the app to delete recordings sooner to ensure you never run out of space because of Rewind.
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