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Hands-On

MindNode 6 mind mapping app adds new Focus mode to Mac and iOS

The longstanding mind map app MindNode has been updated to add new features to its Mac and iOS versions. Both now feature a Focus mode that concentrates the map on one topic and the iOS edition also lets you select multiple elements to edit or move together.




MindNode 6 is a new update to the mind mapping app which is designed for brainstorming and organizing ideas on iOS ormacOS. The latest version adds to both platforms with a minor but useful new Focus mode and Hide Connections option that helps you concentrate on individual sections or topics in your map. It's a more significant update for iOS, though, where it also adds the ability to select multiple objects at once, plus improves how it works with external monitors.

This isn't as substantial an update as the 2017 move to MindNode 5, but the new tools are strong additions to an excellent app.

The new Focus mode in MindNode 6 for Mac. You can faintly see the whole map yet concentrate on just one area.

The new Focus mode in MindNode 6 for Mac. You can faintly see the whole map yet concentrate on just one area.


Focus mode is a development of MindNode's previous tools for helping you clear away clutter to concentrate on individual elements of your mind map. You've long been able to collapse the map so that, for instance, a giant and complex topic can temporarily be shown as just a single heading.

Now Focus mode lets you take that single heading and all the elements underneath it, but hide everything else on the entire map. The elements nearest wherever you're focusing are kept very faintly visible so that you don't forget where you are, but you can properly concentrate on just this one segment.

Mind maps are meant to start as just an outpouring of ideas as you think of them and then you use tools like MindNode's for organizing these thoughts. You're supposed to end up with a neat map that shows everything in logical sequences —and for the most part, you do. MindNode, however, recognizes that sometimes you just have to mess it all up a bit and draw a line different sections of the map.

The app calls that a connection and new to MindNode 6 on macOS and iOS is a feature called Hide Connections. Tap that and these extra lines disappear.

The new Focus mode in MindNode 6 for iOS lets you concentrate on one area of your brainstorming

The new Focus mode in MindNode 6 for iOS lets you concentrate on one area of your brainstorming


This, Focus mode and the existing ability to collapse sections of the map are all about helping you see the big picture and zooming in on the details that you need right now.

These all work smoothly on both platforms. The joint iOS version adds more and, at least on the iPhone, the new features can be tricky to get used to. Perhaps the most significant addition is the ability to select multiple objects on your mind map and so move or edit them together. It's very useful, it's one of those features you're surprised you didn't notice was missing before, but like all iOS multi-select tools, it takes practice.

In MindNode 6 for iOS, you tap and hold on any blank part of the map and then, with a second finger, tap on each element you want to select. That works fine every time. However, you're also supposed to be able to hold that first finger down and drag the second over other elements to select them as you go. And we kept triggering the pinch-to-zoom feature instead. Doubtlessly it's our finger trouble, but even with that problem, the ability to tap-to-select multiple objects is a boon.

MindNode 6 really needs a bigger screen than an iPhone when you're creating a map. It's a much more absorbing tool on the iPad and now, with this version, you can also do more with external displays. If your iPad can drive an external monitor, as the USB-C iPad Pros can, you can elect to have different areas of your map on each display. Keep the whole map in view on the iPad and zoom in on a particular area on the external monitor.

MindNode 6 for Mac requires macOS High Sierra or later while the joint iPad and iPhone edition needs iOS 11 or later. Both apps are free downloads from the Mac App Store or iOS App Store and include a two-week free trial of the full software. After that, the free edition remains working as a read-only viewer, but you can upgrade to the full edition for $39.99 on the Mac, $14.99 on iOS.