Taking off the Bowtie; Hello Sleeve

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Bowtie is an app that I’ve been using pretty much since I switched to running a Mac. A simple utility application; it hooks into iTunes, Spotify, etc and displays the currently playing track on the desktop. It’s simple, elegant, customisable, and regrettably abandoned.

Despite not receiving an update since 2012(!) it runs perfectly well, but I’ve always tried to keep half an eye out for replacements; and I’ve recently found that replacement – Sleeve from Replay Software.

Where it matches Bowtie…

Like Bowtie, Sleeve hooks into your media player and displays the track name you’re listening to, the artist, album, and album art work. It can be configured to sit on your desktop, or float above your open windows to keep the information always visible.

A recent update to Sleeve added Last.fm support, so you can automatically scrobble your listening to that service. I’ve been pushing my listening to Last.fm since 2016, and I’m not planning on stopping any time soon!

You can optionally enable media buttons through it to play/pause, go forwards / back… but with media keys on your keyboard, I’m not completely sure why you would want to enable this.

Where it differs Bowtie…

Bowtie has a remarkable number of different themes which you could (and still can) download from the ‘Bowcase’. The optionally within Sleeve is impressive - and the design of the preference window is excellent, if you’re coming from Bowtie you may miss the array of themes.

Looking ahead, Sleeve ships with Apple Silicon for the new M1 processors support out of the box which will guarantee longevity for when Apple inevitably drop Intel support in a MacOS update down the road.

While it’s not free (like Bowtie is), it is only £3.71 ($5 with current exchange rates), I’m going to use it every day which means it’ll work out a little over a penny per day! I’d say it is worth it. I don’t see myself returning to Bowtie.

Sleeve can be purchased from replay.software/sleeve.

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