Tally 2 is a helpful eyes-free counter for iPhone and iPad

Agile Tortoise's Tally 2 for iPhone and iPad (universal, free with in-app purchase) is a no-look, incremental counter app that's simple and useful. It does one thing, really -- count up or down -- in a super simple manner. I can think of two perfect uses for Tally 2, but first let's look at this update. 

Using Tally 2

Tally 2 is beyond simple to use. You'll start by creating a new "tally." Tap the hash marks in the upper left-hand corner to bring up the Tallies screen. Then, tap the "+", again in the upper left. That's it. Tap the "<" in the upper right to get counting. 

Now, whenever you need to add a point of data, just tap the screen. An audible "pop" confirms that the app has recorded the data, so you can concentrate on what you're recording, and not the device's screen. That's really handy, especially in one of the scenarios I'll describe later. 

You can customize a tally's settings. Tap the gear icon (or swipe right) to bring up the settings screen. From here you can:

  • Give a tally a title.
  • Set the current value.
  • Decide on the step size (each tap increases or decreases by one, two, three...whatever  you want).
  • Set a reset value.
  • Choose a direction: will you be counting up or down?
  • Finally, enable the Today widget

How I've used Tally 2

I've used Tally 2 while playing board games, of course! I've made a tally with my name as the title, and when my points increase I just give it a tap. It's good for multiplayer, too, and this is were I've used the Today widget. My son and I recently played Magic: The Gathering, and I made two counters: one for me and one for him, both counting down from 20. Next, I enabled the Today widget and was able to track our scores without unlocking the phone. Pretty nice. 

Now, if I had a TARDIS, I'd use Tally 2 at a previous job. Years ago I was a teacher at a school for kids with autism and other developmental disabilities. We took a lot of data on their progress towards educational goals. For example, we often had to record the number of times a certain behavior was performed within a given time period.  Back then we had to move our eyes between the student and the paper we used to record. Today I wish I could have discreetly kept my iPhone in my hand and tapped away while watching the student.

A few niceties

There are some nice touches in Tally 2 that I'd like to point out. While I praised the sound effect that makes no-look recording possible, it can be disruptive in certain scenarios (like the education setting I described above). Fortunately, it's easy to switch it off.  Simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to produce a small settings sheet. From there, you can mute the app, disable the background flash that accompanies a tap, reset to zero, share your tally or launch the help screen. 

Also, a tally can count up or down. If a tally is set to count up, for example, swipe down to decrease your number. This was very helpful while my son and I were playing Magic.

Finally, an in-app purchase of $1.99 unlocks the premium features: unlimited tales and an optional dark theme.

Tally 2 is a nice improvement on the original and it does just what it says on the tin. Not everyone will have a need for it, but those who do will find in very useful indeed. You can download Tally 2 from the App Store here.