We’ve been getting lots of requests and comments about our forthcoming iBank for iPad app. I wish I were here to show screenshots and give a release date, but I’m not. However, I am here to talk about some features it will have, and what our guiding strategy has been during the development process.

First, I want to say we are not simply porting our iPhone app to the iPad. While that would have certainly been the easier route, we don’t think that is what our users want (and as one of those users, I certainly want something for more than quick entry and checking account balances). I should also say that we are not porting our Mac product to the iPad. The iPad is its own beast. It’s mobile, but not as mobile as the iPhone; its screen provides for a lot more data to be shown. And of course, it has the touch screen. Some of the best iPad apps are ones where the device becomes the app’s real-world metaphorical cousin, like Apple’s Calendar app — which feels like you are interacting with a desktop calendar. Similarly, using Contacts is like using an address book. Not all apps have such straightforward translations to what they might represent in “real life” (take the Settings app, App Store or FaceTime apps, for example).

So what will iBank for iPad be like? You can think of it as having your own personal financial report or portfolio on your iPad. If you sat down with a financial planner who asked a series of comprehensive questions to get a handle on your finances, what you would walk away with would be like our iPad app — your complete financial picture, always up-to-date.

In designing the app, there has consistently been one overriding theme: simplicity for the user. I want to make a distinction here when I say, “simplicity”. I don’t mean this is a simple app for tracking a cash account. The app is powerful, not only under the hood, but also from a practical standpoint; for example, you will be able to see and edit all investment transactions. By simplicity I mean ease of use. There is no “Download” button — you just launch the app and your accounts are updated. No import window will appear where you need to help decide which transactions to commit to the account. Instead, new unreconciled transactions just appear and they are conveniently marked “new.” The Get Quotes button is gone too; again, the market value of your investments just updates.

I think it’s also fair to talk about what the app won’t have. It won’t run on iOS 4 or earlier. There will not be bill pay. I know some of you will be upset about this… I’m sorry. At some point I would like to do another post about why we haven’t brought bill pay to our products. (Hint: it isn’t for technical reasons.)

I look forward to writing in more detail about iBank for the iPad.


Ian Gillespie
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48 comments on “iBank for iPad: First Thoughts

  • I might be in the minority here, but I am personally hoping that iBank for Mac development hasn’t slowed down because of iBank for iPad. I would much rather see the bugs in iBank for Mac fixed before seeing an iBank for iPad released. I don’t care about bill pay, but I would like to see iBank for Mac become almost entirely on par with Quicken in terms of reporting & other features.

  • I agree with “FileMaker Help.” Would love to see iBank for Mac improved, especially as far as Budgets are concerned. One of the main reason I purchased iBank 3 was for the budgeting feature, and it worked well for my needs. When iBank 4 was introduced, I couldn’t even click onto a Budget without the app crashing. I worked with tech support on several occasions trying to improve the user experience, but was eventually told that I simply “had too many accounts.” I’m sure Budgets could be improved if the time and energy of your talented staff were focused (at least partially) on iBank for Mac.

  • I probably won’t be buying it because I cant afford to keep updating. I had one and then two and now I can’t afford to upgrade. I have iBank for iTouch but it always takes an “upgrade” with iBank . With today’s tech everything is so expensive and then upgrades are expensive as well. My iPad will be iBank-lass. My Mac is going to another program that I don’t have to keep updating every year for $30.

  • Will the iPad app be Universal (whether replacing or supplementing the current iPhone version)? I know there are screen size differences, etc., but it sounds like it might be nice to have in my pocket as well…

    Personally, I’m holding off on getting iBank 4, because it’s been out for a year and two months, so it’s probably due for a (paid) upgrade. I imagine compatibility with iBank for iPad is another reason they’ll justify a full-version upgrade. I’m happy to buy all three versions — I just don’t want to end up having to pay another $30 after spending $60 (plus more for the mobile versions).

    – Drew

  • I agree with FilemakerHelp. If a new iBank version is available that includes improvements from the iPad version, then great; otherwise, frustration! For me, the reports are the biggest issue – more flexibility, and ability to actually see the data in the report (adjustable columns – it is so frustrating then all the entries in one column are the first few character, eg of the date, and are therefore useless). Also the many niggling bugs that are out there…


  • I agree with many of the above comments. I want to see iBank for Mac improved. Many features that are buggy or poorly implemented. The forums are full of requests that only get a “we’ll add your vote” reply. For years. Very annoying and disrespectful.

    And congrats on writing two blog posts in 6 weeks. Very communicative.

  • Thanks for the comments, please keep them coming. I just want to point out that while we’ve been developing the iPad app, we’ve been continuing to release new versions of iBank 4. Also, as we mentioned in the last blog post, much of the under the hood work for the iPad will makes its way to iBank too.

  • What I’m more interested in is having my budget on the go. The iPhone version is such a let down that I hate the thought of having purchased it. Moneywell’s iPhone app is far superior to iBank but then again, I prefer iBank desktop version over Moneywell for use with a business account.

    Ultimately if I had the ability to see my budget for business and personal on the go that would be excellent!

  • I’m new to iBank so haven’t “experienced” the problems long time users have encountered. But just wanted to point out that I got an exceptional level of support from Melissa after Quacken left me high and dry. There is no reason why Quacken could not have warned Quacken for Mac users that it wouldn’t work with Lion – and they weren’t providing a vehicle to rescue data if you installed Lion.
    My only “complaint” so far is the need for some white space or other delineation so I know I am viewing the last/latest transaction in the register.
    Right now I don’t have enough money to go around so I find budgets depressing.

  • Thanks for keeping us up-to-date, Ian. More frequent postings are really a good thing for the User Base, as it builds trust and communication rapport.

    I’d like to see a functional synch system between my Desktop, MacBook Pro and 2 iPad2’s. As an example (understanding iBank is much more complicated than a calendar app), I use BusyCal for Calendar. All devices are synched automatically without any fanfare or fuss. That ought to be the aim of any iBank synch function.

    Also, the iPad app. ought to have a functional report generator. As others have posted here, the existing report generator in iBank leaves a lot to be desired. If iBank for the Desktop is going to benefit from the iPad development work, then hopefully, that includes a functional report generator. That would make a lot of users very happy.

    • Joseph,

      Can you explain in more detail what you want from a functional report generator. What do you feel is lacking in the iBank for Mac reports?

  • Ian, I really think that the IGG Software team needs to take a step back and do to iBank for Mac what Apple did with its Snow Leopard release of Mac OS X, which is:

    Release one major upgrade to iBank for Mac that simply fixes all the top bugs in iBank for Mac. I know that I’ve personally emailed about 30 bugs to technical support, and I’ve posted about the same amount of bugs in the forums. But the best response I’ve gotten is, “We are aware of this bug and it will hopefully be fixed in the future.”

    How about making the future now? You can do this by releasing one major release of iBank for Mac that just fixes everything. That’s exactly what Apple did with Snow Leopard.


  • Ian, I used to use reports quite a bit in Quicken 2007. With iBank, I notice I don’t use the reports very much. While the information is nicely presented in iBank, I find the steps necessary to generate custom reports to be clunky. Further, more flexibility with how the content is presented (similar to Quicken) would be a plus. As others have suggested, the Quicken Method for Report Generation affords much more flexibility about how reports are structured, especially with totals, sub-totals etc.

    Per Stuart “For me, the reports are the biggest issue – more flexibility, and ability to actually see the data in the report (adjustable columns – it is so frustrating then all the entries in one column are the first few character, eg of the date, and are therefore useless). ” I agree!

    Other Suggestions or Bugs noted –

    Make the Report Pop-up Inspector expandable, rather than a fix frame.

    For multiple months or years, would like to see sub-totals by defined periods (quarter/semi annual).

    Still don’t understand why categories and accounts are together in some of the selection list. Makes for a cumbersome deselection or selection process.

    Currently memo entries in split transactions do not appear on the reports (field is blank). I find myself going back into the registers to determine the nature of the transaction.

    in the monthly income/expense detail report, split transactions do not appear at all in the totals. This omission renders the report DOA. Also, this report ought to show memo information in the detailed list.

    If I click on a specific total on a summary report, the detail report that appears shows the details, however, there is no grand total at the end of the list, or total by month. For consistency, comparison, and assurance, there ought to be totals my month/year.

    I’ll go back and have a look at the various reports and see if there is anything else. Perhaps others in this thread can also contribute.

  • I tried iBank about a year ago, hoping to switch from Quicken. However, the lack of classes was a dealbreaker for me. Please count my vote to implement classes. Bill Pay is unimportant to me. I can’t speak about the reports, since I didn’t get that far with the program.

  • Joseph, I completely agree with you. Take a look at all the bug reports I’ve listed in the forums… my username is “scotty321”. I’ve detailed in full almost everything that you listed in your post here. I would love to get IGG Software to take these issues seriously and move them to the top of their priority list, but I don’t know how to do that.

    An iPad version of iBank is sooooo far down on my priority list that I don’t see myself EVER using an iBank for iPad.

    But making iBank a TRUE replacement for Quicken? Now THAT is the highest priority for me. I don’t think the iBank developers have much experience using Quicken, so they’re not fully aware of how much functionality is missing in iBank.

    The good news for people who still depend on Quicken is that with the VMWare Fusion 4.1 release yesterday, Mac users can once again run Quicken 2007 on Lion, so people can now revert back to Quicken 2007 again if iBank doesn’t fit the bill. I’m currently sticking with iBank, but everyday I wish it was as comprehensive as Quicken.

  • If the iPad app. benefits the development of iBank, then it’s a win/win for me as I use both apps. However, I agree with Scotty that obvious deficiencies/bugs in the reporting mechanism be given a higher priority by addressing/fixing them sooner than later.

  • I agree wholeheartedly with the folks who want the Mac version fixed. Flexible reporting, including dividends in income, and clunky data entry remain the biggest stumbling blocks for me abandoning quicken. I’m still running both but it’s time consuming and frustrating. The “your vote has been added” response to feature updates is getting old. I honestly couldn’t care less about a mobile version. I want a personal finance app on my desktop that is truly useful and comprehensive.

  • I am so excited for an iPad version of iBank. I moved my 12 year old Quicken files to iBank officially in July after trying many alternatives. I needed something that I could have on my Mac and my iPhone and the MobileMe syncing has been great. What I miss is not having the budgets and reports on my phone, so if I could get that on an iPad app it would be ideal and would leave me free from needing to bring my MacBook Pro with me ever. With that in mind, I just need to ensure that by July 2012 we have another syncing solution with MobileMe going away. Agree with some of the other comments – communication is key. Once a month minimum would be great. I check here often to updates.

  • Music to my ears…however as a non US user who banks with the National Australia Bank (NAB), I have to manually import QIF files so I’m not sure how this absence of a download button will work out. Hopefully these kinds of technical details are some of the under the hood changes to both Mac and iPad versions you’re speaking of, else the whole app will be useless to Australians. (If there is something australian banks could be doing better on their side let me know so I can start dropping them encouraging emails).

    Very glad to hear this project is under way though, appreciate the post as “accounting apps for iPad” is becoming a more and more regular google search as I begin to rely more and more on this little gadget… The more updates on this project the better, and hopefully the app will be powerful enough to stand on its own for stretches of time when required.

  • Solid Mac App more important than iPad app.

    Strongly suggest you do that post about the lack of Bill Pay and its future. Have you read the forum on Bill Pay? For every one begging for bill pay there there are at least a 1000 or more that want it but haven’t bothered to post on your site. A “deal breaker” for me (how many times did I see those words on your forum?) – will be using Q for Win and watching your site for news on Bill Pay.

  • I was a Quicken user for decades! Had to find something else since Intuit has chosen to put the Mac in the backseat! What I found is TERIFFIC – iBank 4! Yes, there are some features that I’d like to have or have improved, but I thoroughly like your product, iBank! Could use some more flexibility in creating custom reports, etc.

  • I can’t wait to for the iPad app to come out. Would love for it to sync smoothly with iBank 4 on my Mac. Reguardless, I will buy as soon as it hits the app store!

  • I’m eagerly awaiting your post on bill pay. However, based on the comments of others, I’m getting scared to try iBank in any form if it has so many bugs. I was a beta tester for Quicken Mac a few times and was pretty frustrated that they never cared about most bugs I reported. The goal was to get the annual update out on time versus actually fixing things. They kept charging for things they called “features” and not fixing real bugs. I’m mostly happy with Quicken 2006 in terms of the features. Fortunately, Quicken’s bugs have NEVER caused me to lose data.

    I’d love to find a real Mac app for financial management, but it’s just not looking like that will ever happen. I starting to think I’ll have to break down and put Windows and VMware on my Mac just so I can run the Windows version of Quicken. I’m not excited about that, but I may not have any other choice.

    I wouldn’t mind paying for annual updates to iBank if they’re delivering value (major features or fixing bugs). Quicken’s annual updates were for the most part a joke. You paid so you could have an updated cert with the online stuff. I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a “deluxe” version of iBank that provides bill pay if that’s how we’re going to get it. It does seem you’re getting rather distracted with a whole lot of other stuff rather than focusing on getting one thing done right.

  • Okay, I thought I had a solution to my dilemma, and now, the bubble has burst. I have yet to get iBank. I have been putting it off, dreading all of the reconciled transactions that do not port over. But, now with my husband running LION, I was going to start up with iBank. I even backed up my Quicken Data file to my desktop and burned a copy to disk.

    From my understanding, the capability of downloading transactions from the banking institutions are there. I am already paying the bank a monthly fee to be able to to the bill pay from QuickBooks for our business, so I would like that option from Quicken (and I would like for it to WORK like the one in QB, ie WRITE the check and SEND it.) Quicken unfortunately gives me an error when I try to write a check and send it on the same day, saying that it is too late. So, for bill pay, I need to be able to basically write an ‘electronic’ check, and send the transaction, just like I was writing and check and putting it in the mail the same day. (I know that holidays will pose banking delays.)

    The major thing that is throwing me or putting me off, is all of the issues about the reports, classes and categories.
    The things I want to see in a report: Monthly and Yearly Totals; Category Totals, including SubCategory totals, and the TAX section reports. I have assigned my categories to the proper tax lines, so that I can run a report for my CPA. It makes it so much easier.

    During May of 2010, we (our business) started using an online dispatching software/company. Everything thing sounded so perfect. The tech completes the service ticket in the field, the ticket can then be completed, closed and posted to Accounting, and goes directly to QuickBooks. Unfortunately, that only works for QB for Windblows. I refuse to run Window on my Mac. It’s a Mac, not a PC. After evaluating, the cost effectiveness of upgrading my Mac to run Windows, including said purchase of Windows, it was cheaper to my a little laptop for QB only. Guess I might have to use Quicken for Windows on my laptop??

    OR… AH.. another solution is in my grasp, maybe we just won’t upgrade my daughter’s computer to LION, and then I will use that for my bookkeeping?

    Mandatory Requirements for me include reports that are flexible, including column width, reporting range, and various classification ability, not to mention split entries included in totals.

  • Ian, the one thing still glaringly lacking in the iBank for Mac reports is a budget report that allows one to compare one’s actual expenditures with what was budgeted in previous months. I and others posted this request on the forum years ago after this feature was REMOVED in v4 after having been there in v3, and you acknowledged that this was definitely needed. However it has yet to get anywhere in v4.

  • Ian, in the last paragraph you mention bill pay. Please do post something on this subject for those of us who have been waiting years for this feature.

  • Budgets Budgets Budgets!
    The reason I use a computerised accounts app.
    Disappeared in V4 and never returned.
    Why oh why do I still feed the transactions into this program? It doesn’t give anything back!
    I agree with all of the above.
    if v5 doesn’t have it – I’ll be moving to iFinance. It has a very simple budget monitor

  • Those of us who consider bill pay a must-have – a lengthy list judging by the extensive threads in your feature-request forum – would be interested to read why it hasn’t been implemented and why it’s not likely to be implemented in the future. Nevertheless, I’ll take this somewhat cryptic pronouncement as a strong signal to simply move on once and for all. BTW, IGG is not the only software company that has let their desktop app suffer because they put resources into the iOS versions. That cash cow is understandably difficult to ignore.

  • What a joke tease. I’ll tell you why we haven’t added bill pay to our products. Is this some tease show or a business? Tell your customers why and that way we can stop complaining and holding back from purchasing your software.

  • Thanks for a great suite of products for Apple users and I’m really looking forward to the forthcoming iPad app. As nothing is perfect, I’d like to share a small complaint. Several times now the mobile app on the iPad wont sync with the Mac. It’s an error and last night it was error 422, can’t create category. So I have to delete the iPad app, reload it, and start completely over in importing everything to the iPad in the sync. This one came up I believe because I created a new category in the iPad after the last sync. Anyway, I figure telling you this stuff will better arm you in producing an iPad version. Thanks again, Chris. PS: How about a Mac/iPad Pilot’s logbook? You’d have very little competition!

  • I am probably the opposite of many here, I am looking for a full feature version for the iPad. My Mac has reached the end of its life, so far as OS updates is concerned, Lion is out. Rather than looking for a replacement, I am migrating to an iPad only world. The vast majority of what I need to do can be done one the iPad, so why waste money on a new Mac? One of the last bastions of computer software that I need is a financial manager, so I am looking for a full-feature iBank. The two items that I see missing are:

    – the ability to import QIF files. The credit union I bank with does not auto download, but it does have a QIF download feature that I use in the iBank4 browser. Will this work in the iPad version?

    – when downloading QIF files from my Visa processor, iBank does not recognize any of the transactions as new, because the transaction Id is in the check number field, and is longer than what iBank allows for a check number. Will this be fixed in the iPad version, as it is still a problem in iBank.

  • Ian –

    I’ve been a diligent Quicken Essentials for Mac user for a few years and actually don’t have any complaints, but I bought iBank just to see and I other than a few quirks I like it as well. Would be great if iBank offered the “tags” option like QE does to make sub categorization easier. One-line display would be great and automatic reconciliation would be great too (if I missed these in iBank then my apologies).

    Real reason for my post: One of the drivers for purchasing iBank was to see if about the portability to the iPad as I’m going out of the country for a few months and won’t have access to the internet, but would like to keep track of my “register” of scheduled transactions and transactions I make while away. Leaving soon (within a few weeks); any chance it will be out before the end of Jan or to be a beta tester (can get to a internet connect to send feedback).

  • As I read through your concept of iBank for the iPad, I am concerned about how it may interface with iBank for the Mac. Your blogs to date do not sound like it will be a stand alone product – in fact it sounds like it will be limited to a report generator – which is not what I want to see. I hope it will interface with iBank for the Mac – but I also hope that I can update my data directly on the iPad. I envision being able to leave the Mac home when I travel and take the iPad (which I am yet to buy.) Pretty much like CG above says – only I would expand it to all travel. But to do this I would want pretty much want to see full iBank functionality – the ability to enter transactions and to download them – and then sync with the Mac.

    But as several people have said on this site – the quirky things and the bugs still need to be worked out iBank4 – and progress in that arena seems to be minimal of late. I will agree the Mac product has reached the point where it is pretty reliable – but there are many enhancements and bugs that need to be fixed.

  • If you have not been scanning the IGG iBank Discussion and Feature Request Forums yourself I think that you need to do that. Users are extremely frustrated over lack of response to requests for functionality and bug fixes in iBank. Regardless of the development of iBank for the iPad if the main product base is not solid users will jump ship.

  • For the love of God, finish this app so I can give you my money. I really don’t want to go back to Quicken, but whoever debuts the first iPad native app will have my money. I am currently an iBank mac user and find the iPhone app useful for entry only. I want a native iPad app that syncs via webdav to mac data.

  • My wife has been using Quicken for years, and we purchased Quicken Essentials when it came out. It does what we need at home, but since my wife and I are both iPhone & iPad users as well as frequent travelers, we wanted something we could access when away from her laptop. When the “Life After Quicken” article was posted in MacLife, we were excited at the possibilities of using iBank on our mobile devices to access and record in iBank during our travels. With an absence of customer comments on iBank at the time, we relied on the MacLife recommendation and purchased iBank for my wife’s MacBook, still running Snow Leopard but with the intent of upgrading to Lion. However, my schedule has prevented us from loading iBank (or purchasing Lion) until now, so tonight I began to research iBank for an iPad app before installing iBank on my wife’s laptop and converting everything over from Quicken Essentials.

    Unfortunately and alas, all the negative comments and reviews for iBank for Mac, plus the lack of an iPad app, have discouraged me from committing our finances from something we’re familiar with to something that evidently doesn’t work as hoped. I feel we wasted our $59.99! And to see multiple posts regarding yearly “upgrades” is even more disappointing.

    At this time, we won’t be leaving Quicken Essentials, nor will we be installing iBank until it has the features promoted, i.e., syncing with “mobile devices” and a iPad capability, and most importantly, better customer reviews. Looks like it has promise, but needs work without charging previous owners.

  • The one thing still glaringly lacking in the iBank for Mac reports is a budget report that allows one to compare one’s actual expenditures with what was budgeted in previous months.

  • I’d like to be able to have sync available without having to be right here on the same network with my desktop.
    I’d like to hit sync at my hotel room in Los Angeles and have my iPhone sync up with the MobileMe data file

  • For the love of God, release the app so I can give you my money. Whoever releases first (iBank or Quicken) I will be buying.

  • Over four months since Ian’s ‘first thoughts’, any chance of his ‘second thoughts’ as it’s been very quiet update wise. Just bought my new iPad & waiting patiently…

  • I’ve been trying to get used to iBank for the past year and I like it but I really am mobile and need an iPad app. I just came here to check to see if I missed the release of an iBank app somehow but apparently not. I just downloaded Kashoo since it seems to have a native iPad app with a sync to their cloud. The free version doesn’t seem to allow importing of existing data though I’ve found where I can export. I think for import and bank syncing of accounts I’ll need to purchase the $99 a year option which I’m not really willing to do at this point.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, get moving on this! You will lose tons of customers to the competition and I know if it was me I’d have my developers working round the clock to release something ASAP or I know I’ll be looking elsewhere…again!

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