I’ve got to admit that Parking App is an application I never would have thought of. I had resigned myself to using the simple timer function in Apple’s built in clock/timer application. I use the timer almost daily to warn me of expiring parking meters. Tickets are very costly and could amount to hundreds if not thousands in fines, tows and penalties on a annual basis.
Parking App by cgCraft LLC is an extremely well thought out and designed program. The user interface is clean, simple and easy to read. The layout is very intuitive and the app is learned in a minute or two. That’s not say it isn’t powerful, though, so read on.
The top third of the home screen is the time setting control. The graphics and simplicity of use are great. Slide the button at the bottom of the time scale to show the time remaining on the meter. I always set mine 10 to 15 minutes less, to give myself time to get a latte and still get to the meter in time to plug more quarters in. The middle half the screen is occupied by the various Parking Zones you set up. I immediately set up zones for weekly street cleaning, and the 3 pm to 6 pm No Parking Zone in front of my office. I added my house, a few of the restaurants I eat lunch at and soon I had most of the zones I regularly park in entered.
Zones can easily be modified, deleted or added. There are settings to enter times, days of the week, weeks and when to sound alert. For example street cleaning takes place from 4 am to 6 am every Thursday. I programmed this into the app with several simple clicks and now it appears on the main screen in my list of zones. Every Thursday evening I’l get an alert at 10 pm to remind me to move my car. So simple.
Another great convenience is the ability to take a photo of where you parked you car, to use later as a reminder. This could eve be used in parking lots and garages. A shot of the aisle, row number and you’re all set. It’s not infallible, but it sure makes finding your car a little easier.
There is one limitation all users need to be aware of when using this program. Apple does not allow multiple apps (except Apple Apps) to run in the background. So what does this mean to the user? Say you set the meter alert to go off in 1:45:00. In the interim you check mail, listen to iTunes, check an app to find a new lunch spot etc. You get the idea. If you don’t at least re-open Parking App after the last application was used, the alarm won’t sound. So the rule is, if you use another app, you must return to Parking App after you close the other app. Simple enough, just don’t forget. This is not a limitation of the program. It is a limitation forced on all non-Apple applications.
The only thing I would change is to have a choice of alarm sounds and a volume control. The alarm is too soft in some surroundings, such as a noisy lunch counter. Yet a little loud for the quite of my office. I really like Parking App. A few may balk at the price, $2.99, but I’ll spend that any day to save a fine and a tow. The clean design and ease of use, make it a pleasure to use daily. It’s earned 5 Stars.