What you need to know
- Black Ink is a Mac app that opens and lets you solve crossword puzzles.
- The app is now free for everyone, but a premium license has more features.
- The update brings visual improvements, Dark Mode support, VoiceOver, and more.
Updated: Added links to download Black Ink 2.
Black Ink from Red Sweater Software just received a major update to 2.0, and it brings a complete overhaul of the puzzle-solving window, new accessibility features, and Dark Mode support. If you've never heard of Black Ink before, it's a Mac app that lets you open and solve crossword puzzles in the Across Lite format, which you can get from sources like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and others.
Free for everyone
The new 2.0 update includes a plethora of new features and allows anyone to download and use the program for free. There are in-app purchases for premium features, like being able to check your answers with most puzzles, a puzzle timer, and the ability to print book-quality copies of puzzles.
The developers may also add new premium features in the future, so if you are invested in using the app, consider purchasing a license for the premium additions.
Visual improvements and Dark Mode support
Red Sweater has gone and redesigned Black Ink from the ground up. The result is a huge visual improvement, as things like the outdated "drawers" for clue lists were removed. They added more details into the elements of the puzzle grid being drawn on the screen.
One of the goals with the redesign was to mimic the aesthetic joy of working with crossword puzzles, so the developers made it as beautiful as possible.
And if you are using macOS Mojave or later, then there is now full support for Dark Mode. In Dark Mode, the puzzle grids are filled with shades of black and gray, and white text for the clues and your answers only.
Black Ink 2 is finally bringing in VoiceOver support for the puzzle grid, making it more accessible to everyone. The developers do want to make note that this is a v1.0 for VoiceOver support, as it was a challenge to make it possible to begin with, and the developers want user feedback in order to make improvements.
The update now correctly handles "focus follows zoom" as well, so those who use the Mac's overall zoomed-in screen can enjoy the benefits of the zoom area moving automatically in order to reveal the currently focused word.
Streamlined crossword puzzle solving
This new update brings a lot of small little nuances that make the entire crossword solving process easier and more streamlined than ever. This includes things like behaviors in tabbing forwards and backward in a puzzle, and answers marked as incorrect being treated as "empty" so you can easily navigate back to them to re-solve them. The Home and End keys now navigate to the beginning and end of a focused word, as it should be.
Finally, puzzles with notes from the author attached to them are easier to spot.
Relax with some crossword puzzles
This is a big update for Black Ink, and it's much more accessible for everyone. If you're a crossword puzzle fan, then this app is definitely worth checking out.
What do you think of Black Ink 2.0? Let us know in the comments.
A nine-letter word for the best crossword puzzle interface ever.
Solve your favorite crossword puzzles in style with this beautifully streamlined interface
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.
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