Rewind was all the (tech) news a few months ago.
The app runs in the background of your Mac and records everything you do.
Everything? To be more specific, it’s screen capture software. Whatever app you open and work with, Rewind will record it and make it searchable for you. It does this automatically all the time you are active on your Mac.
You can go back on a timeline view and see what you did on your Mac. That raises of course serious privacy questions.
I tested the app for a few weeks and want to share my early findings.
Stability and Performance of The App
Rewind is still a young product; the app I use is the first public version of it.
But for that, the app runs very stably. I noticed no crashes or performance impacts while doing my usual work.
Rewind runs quietly in the background. Only an icon in the status bar reminds you that the app is running.
You can pause the recording, open the app, and access all settings.
Going back in time …
On a timeline graph, you can go back in time.
An app icon allows you to spot which app was opened. Instead of scrolling, you can also use a date selector to jump on the timeline.
When I select a moment on the timeline graph, I can mark it as a highlight, or if it’s from my web browser, click “open,” and Rewind opens a browser window with that exact page opened at that moment.
This does not work for other apps I use. Slack, for example. I can’t jump to the exact conversation. You can open the screenshot, select an area of text, and copy it.
But seeing the screenshot of that Slack convo gives you enough details to browse it from Slack directly.
Search is the decisive feature ..
But scrolling through your timeline is cumbersome when looking for something you did in the past.
Rewind creates a searchable index (image text recognition) for all captured content. Search for a word or a phrase, and Rewind shows all the recorded moments it was mentioned.
You can also filter for the app the phrase was mentioned in and bookmark elements.
It can record your online meetings too
Rewind also records online meetings – you can replay, i.e., a Zoom meeting and provides a copy of the transcript.
Rewind records anything
During a typical work day, I send personal messages on Signal or WhatsApp Web, or do other types of sensitive stuff. Do I want a screenshot of that stored on my Mac? You have to answer this for yourself.
Rewind already considers that case: You can define apps that should not be recorded. But work and personal life always interfere on a typical day, and it’s not always specific apps you use to manage your personal life. So blocking specific apps does help but only partially removes privacy concerns.
Another feature I would appreciate is to define working hours during which Rewind can capture anything. You can already manually pause the recording.
Is my archive all up in the cloud?
Rewind does not rely on cloud storage. Everything is saved on your local computer. How much space does it need? Compression is mentioned as a critical feature. And for roughly two weeks in use, Rewind tells me it is using about 2.5GB of space on my hard disk.
Do you need it?
I have been using the app for a little over two weeks. During that time, Rewind was helpful to me two times.
Once, I accidentally closed a browser tab with an ad copy that I hadn’t saved. Using Rewind, I located the browser tab and copied the text from the screenshot. I did not have to rewrite it again.
Another time I needed to find a Google sheet again, but I couldn’t find it quickly via Google Drive. Again, I used Rewind to locate it.
$20/month. I think that’s a bit much compared to how often the app was helpful to me. But it’s still early on.
My early verdict
Rewind is already an excellent product from a technical point of view.
I can see it growing into something many appreciate. It helps to save time, re-create lost content, and to get a feeling for what you are up to all day. It feels good knowing that forgetting to save something does not mean your work is lost.
Sitting on that recorded data allows Rewind to surface all kinds of data to its users in the future. For example, statistics on how much you use which app, how productive you are, and much more.
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