Qbserve FAQ

Licensing

Application

Projects

Technical

Licensing

Can I use my license on multiple Mac machines?

For personal use, you can share your license on five machines that belong to you or your family members.

For business use, you need to purchase one license per user.

Will I need to pay for upgrades?

We currently don't plan any paid upgrades. Your license is perpetual.

Do you have a student discount?

Yes, please contact us.

How do I upgrade from the trial version to the full version?

Click the tab with the key icon in the top right corner of the app window. Enter your email and the license key you've used for the purchase. (It should be in your inbox.)

Why is Qbserve not available in the Mac App Store?

Apps from the Mac App Store are sandboxed (limited in functionality). Therefore, if Qbserve were to come from the App Store, it would also be sandboxed and it would lose its core functionality because sandboxed apps cannot automatically track time. However, even though it’s not available in the App Store, every release of Qbserve is securely signed with our developer certificate issued by Apple and is safe to use on any Mac.


Application

How is the app's name pronounced?

Cube-serve, an observing cube. It's odd and sometimes gets written as "Qobserve" or "Qbserver" but finding a short available name for a time management app is a tough challenge, so we decided to be the odd ones.

Does Qbserve support synchronization between multiple Macs via iCloud or Dropbox?

Not yet, sorry. But you can change the daily backup path in the app's preferences to keep backups in your cloud storage, so your tracking history will not be lost in case something happens with your Mac.

What's the battery usage?

Minimal. Qbserve is a native Mac app, optimized for running in the background. It "sleeps" most of the time, checking your active windows once every 3 seconds with a lightweight algorithm.

Is Qbserve really private?

Absolutely. It does not send any data besides anonymized macOS version, language, and crash logs. This is feedback required for future app development and localizations.

There's also a checkbox to anonymously submit newly categorized domains or app bundle IDs, so we can add them to the app database in future releases. But don't worry – we check each domain and your private domains will never get there. You can completely opt-out from these submissions in the app settings. Just uncheck "Allow sending categories to developers."

So, we collect some anonymous generic statistics but there's no way we can see your tracked history or identify you. It's all stored on your Mac and never leaves your computer. Please see our Privacy Policy for more details.

What is the "Show windows as activities" checkbox for?

By default, all windows are hidden inside the app activity and you can see them by selecting the app in the Details table and pressing the "View windows" button. But, if you'd like to see detailed time reports for each window in this table and dashboard, then select this option.

What is the "Day Start"?

Qbserve shows reports for your "real" days instead of switching the day at midnight. So "Day Start" is the time when you're usually asleep; 05:00 in the morning by default.

Why sites are not tracked in Firefox?

Qbserve requires this extension to track sites in Firefox. Please check if it's installed.

Do you have plans for iOS time tracker?

Unfortunately, iOS doesn't allow apps to watch other apps, so automatic time tracking is not possible there.

But Apple made their own simple time tracker! It's hidden in "Settings -> Battery". Just tap the clock icon to see your app usage.


Projects

How to log project hours automatically?

You need to create rules in "Advanced -> Rules" that will match some unique words in web page addresses, file paths, window titles, or chats. See "Tracking Work Hours" for more details.

Rule examples:

  • "project_name" in web page addresses because it’s used in addresses like "github.com/company_name/project_name/issues"
  • "ClientName" in file paths because you store project files in folder "~/Documents/ClientName/"

How to add project time manually?

Go to the "Timesheet" tab, "Projects" section. Then, drag activity rows between columns to assign them to projects. You can switch projects by clicking on column headers.

What apps are supported for automatic project tracking?

Qbserve can track any app that follows macOS accessibility guidelines. Most Mac apps follow these guidelines.

Here's the list of the tested apps:

  • Design: Sketch, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe After Effects, Adobe InDesign, Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer
  • Development: Xcode, IntelliJ IDEA (and other JetBrains IDEs), VS Code, Sublime Text, Atom, Eclipse, Android Studio, Coda, MacVim
  • Media: Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Logic Pro, VLC, QuickTime
  • Documents: Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Numbers, Keynote, Pages, Scriviner
  • Utilities: Terminal, iTerm2

How is invoice time calculated?

You enable checkboxes in the day rows of the project history table and Qbserve converts recorded project time for these days into invoice items. You can manually increase or decrease time for each item. See "Creating Invoices" for more details.


Technical

What version of macOS (OS X) do I need?

Any version starting from Yosemite (10.10) is good. If you have an older version, you will have to update to a newer version before using Qbserve.

How exactly does Qbserve work?

Qbserve uses the macOS accessibility API for screen readers to see the frontmost window, and then "looks inside" it. Then, it checks the information against a local database of known domains and apps to determine the productivity of this window. That's why Qbserve asks you to enable accessibility access on start.

How to move tracked data to another Mac?

Go to the "~/Library" folder (see here how to find it), then the "Application Support" folder, then the "Qbserve" folder and copy UserDatabase.sqlite to the same folder on another Mac.

You can also copy "com.QotoQot.Qbserve.plist" from "~/Library/Preferences/" to bring all the settings from the Preferences tab.

It says my database is corrupted...

Sorry, it rarely happens, but any database can get damaged. But Qbserve makes a backup every day, so most of your data should be ok.

If this happens, quit the app, go to the "~/Library" folder (see here how to find it), then the "Application Support" folder, then the "Qbserve" folder and move UserDatabase.sqlite to the Trash.

Then rename "Backup.sqlite" to "UserDatabase.sqlite" and launch Qbserve. If you previously setup a different backup location – get the "Backup.sqlite" file there instead. In case there are any problems, please contact us and we will try to help.

If you set a custom backup path before – use "Backup.sqlite" from that folder instead.

How do I uninstall Qbserve?

Find it in your "Applications" folder and then move it to the Trash.

To delete all the tracked history, go to the "~/Library" folder (see here how to find it), then the "Application Support" folder, then the "Qbserve" folder and move "UserDatabase.sqlite" to the Trash.

To remove your settings go to the "~/Library" folder, then the "Preferences" folder and move "com.QotoQot.Qbserve.plist" to the Trash.

How is it build?

Qbserve is a native app made with Objective-C and Apple's AppKit. It uses amazingly reliable open-source libraries: Core Plot, FMDB, DateTools, CocoaLumberjack, GCDWebServer, MASShortcut. Its critical code is tested with Specta and Expecta.