Old vs New iOS App

I’ve been a longtime user of Skritter on iOS. For several months now, I’ve been trying to use the “new” Skritter iOS app (“Skritter: Write Chinese” in the App Store, white icon), but I keep reverting to the legacy iOS app (“Skritter Chinese” in the App Store, dark red icon).

What I’m struggling with on the new app:

Due Mode vs Continuous Mode
I find that Continuous Mode best resembles the algorithm of the legacy app. With anywhere between 100 and 200 words “due” on any given day, I find Due Mode frustrating as I have to get through every due card before I get to review any that I got wrong (often 30 minutes or more), which seems contrary to the philosophy of SRS. I like how Continuous Mode continues to put forth cards I get wrong at much shorter intervals in the midst of other due cards. However, I’m missing a display of the number of due cards remaining in continuous mode, so I have no idea how long I need to review before finishing the cards due for that day; I find myself constantly returning to the title screen—or the legacy web app—to check how many due cards are left.

Due Cards Count
I find the number of due cards remaining on the old app to consistently match the number that appears on the legacy web app. However the number of due cards listed on the new iOS app seems wildly off. For example, I might start a daily session with 150 cards due, which I can easily clear in less than 30 minutes on the legacy app. On the new app, 30 minutes later, there are somehow consistently many more due cards remaining after the same study time. There is also the issue that the due count itself seems to be being counted completely differently in the new app, with “due” maybe corresponding to tomorrow’s due count rather than today’s. (Even when the legacy app and the legacy website showing 0 cards due, the new app often shows 100 or more cards still due.)

I suppose I could work around the above 2 issues by simply reviewing for a fixed time (eg 30 minutes) each day in Continuous Mode without worrying about how many cards should be reviewed that day, but this seems counterintuitive and inefficient.

Card Feeding Algorithm
This has already been raised on the forums by other users, but the algorithm that the legacy app uses to gradually feed new cards when you’re ready for them is super helpful and super intuitive. Having to manually feed new cards in the new app is annoying. Though I am OK to work around this.

I’d really like to move to the new app permanently, as I suspect it’s only a matter of time before the legacy app disappears. Also I use an Android from time to time, and the analogous app to the legacy iOS app doesn’t seem to be available there.

Any suggestions? I’m curious if others have seen the same things and how/if they’ve worked around them.

My observations: With respect to due count, you’re comparing apples to oranges. The old Skritter SRS algorithm is different than the new one. The metrics and due count determination are looking at different things and calculating differently…comparing them isn’t comparing the same thing. I’d suspect if you keep switching back and forth, you are “messing” with the data that each app is trying to use, and possibly distorting the info.

I’ve been consistently using just the new iOS app for about a year after doing a data reset. It’s quite easy to get the due count to zero and it stays that way (mostly) until the next day (it works on a daily basis), unless you add new cards. In the middle of a session or after you finish, if you drop out and back in, it’ll give you any ”wrong” items first, so reviewing wrong items is simple to do.


Thanks, Apomixis. It sounds like you’re describing Due Cards mode, which works a bit differently than Continuous Mode. I prefer the latter as it feeds incorrect cards proactively, without having to end the session and restart as you mentioned. For those with large queues, restarting in this way just to get missed cards to reappear seems tedious, to me at least.

I’m sure you’re correct about the old vs new algorithms, however it seems like the confusion in Continuous Mode about how to check how many due cards remain could be easily remedied by displaying this count. I’m guessing that the reason this is not the case would be to avoid additional confusion between Due Cards and Continuous modes for beginning Skritter users, but this makes Continuous Mode more clunky for the reasons I shared earlier.

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“I have to get through every due card before I get to review any that I got wrong (often 30 minutes or more)”

I may be misunderstanding something here, but this has not been my experience. Invariably, all wrong cards (from the previous session, ie. the day before) always show up first, before reviewing other due cards, in due mode.

I was very resistant to the new app at first, and for quite some time continued to use the legacy app. I especially disliked the learn mode as the only way to add new cards. And I am still waiting for voicing of individual characters within words and other good legacy features to make it into the new app.

Now, however, I’ve changed my mind, especially with improvements to the app. I changed my habits somewhat to do so, and frankly they are better and more efficient now.

I still use the legacy app daily, but never for review!

I use it to enter all new words for the day in whatever list I am currently studying. I do this because apparently it is still not possible to add words that are not yet in Skritter’s database via the new app, whereas you can through the legacy app. Since I add multiple words to the database weekly, this is more efficient for me. So I keep both app versions on my phone.

I used to interrupt my reviews in legacy to delve into pleco and study each new vocab as it came up, modify definitions, and create my mnemonics. Thinking back, that wasn’t a very good study habit.

Now, my daily routine is as follows:

  1. Read new material

  2. Insert new vocab in legacy Skritter list.

  3. Switch to new app and first step is to complete all the due cards on the lists I am studying

  4. Only after due cards are done do I enter learn mode.

  5. There, I slow right down and proceed down the list of new vocab, prior to clicking the “learn” button. I do all of my Pleco study for each new vocab, enjoying the dictionary’s example sentences and familiarising myself with usage, components, etc. I copy and paste to update my personal definitions, and create my character mnemonics if needed.

  6. Then I click on “learn” and as I go through I choose whether to “relearn” old words i already have that I may have forgotten, and of course all new words.

Then I’m done for the day.

The change is excellent. Reviews are speedy without interruptions. And while I at first resented learn mode, I now find it important to slow down and do all my busy work at that time.

I’ve also found the habit of reserving new vocab, after I’ve learned it, for the next day’s review is a much better routine.

I’ve already studied them in detail with Pleco etc. while in learn mode. The due cards review then always functions solely as a memory aid.

Sorry for the long note! I thought perhaps detailing my routine might interest or help someone.


Thanks Therebackagain for sharing your workflow.

What I meant by “I have to get through every due card before I get to review any that I got wrong” refers to cards that I get wrong on the current session. (You are correct that wrong cards from the previous session show up first.)

For example, suppose I have 100 cards in my queue. If I get the first one wrong, I have to complete the entire queue before I see that card again that day. This is completely opposite to how legacy Skritter—and most other SRS platforms—work, where Card #1, if gotten wrong, might appear again as Card #5 or Card #20, depending on the restudy interval.

I realize that Continuous Mode does this, and this is why I shared that I prefer that mode over Due Cards Mode, but I’m questioning why there is no counter to let you know where you are in the queue. It doesn’t make Continuous Mode unusable by any means, but it does make it more tedious that it needs to be.

Hope that makes the issue I am raising more clear.


You can exit the review session and restart another one to see those cards immediately opposed to finishing your review queue!

I’ve made a note to mention this during our next team meeting to see if it’s something that we would add back in.


This is not really an answer to the question, but more an attempt to explore how people think and how they use the app.

For me personally, if I review something and forget it, it’s rather pointless to see it again in a few minutes, since I will get it right 100% of the time on the second attempt. I even often deliberately wait until the following day before going through the cards I failed.

Now, we all want to have more control over this, which is something that has been discussed, but it seems that you’re not using the app like this. Would you mind talking a bit more why you want to see failed cards so soon? I can understand if you’re using this to learn new things simply by putting them directly into the queue, which means that you’re not really reviewing, but actually trying to learn something new.

This is an area most SRS apps don’t do very well in, and indeed, partly because it’s outside of the scope of many apps. Our attempt to do something about this is to add learning mode, but there’'s more that can be done (and will be done) in this area.

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Hi Olle,

Good question. I think when learning a new character/word/phrase–at least the way my mind works–I need to use it a few times in the first session before it becomes natural. Seeing a new word one time, getting it wrong, and not seeing it again until tomorrow, is not a very reliable way for me to learn. It’s kind of like practicing a new sport; I cannot imagining swinging the baseball bat one time, not swinging well, then waiting until tomorrow to swing it again.

The SRS FAQ published on the legacy site (Skritter | FAQ) gives a good overview of the old algorithm; an initial interval of ~10 minutes with repeat interval factors of .25 to 3.5 seems to match the way learning works for me, compared to what is being described for “new” Skritter of waiting until tomorrow (or waiting for the end of a 30-minute queue) to review something you just got wrong. My sense is that Continuous Mode is actually pretty close to the old algorithm (with the exception of the missing queue counter described previously), since it continuously adds cards you get wrong back into the queue. The learning mode in the new Skritter is not very helpful in this regard, as I don’t find being walked through tracing a character several times is helpful (the idea of immediate drill of something you just drilled seems to me to be a really good example of the ineffective overly short learning intervals you mentioned in your post).

I’m guessing because of the way that you have phrased your question that perhaps you are using different tools/strategies for new words/characters, and maybe you’re just using Skritter for long-term retention. If that works, great, however I am trying to keep the number of tools/strategies for word/character acquisition/retention to a minimum, since learning and reviewing words and characters is only a part of my overall Chinese study plan. (I try to spend a decent time each day reading and listening, in addition to character/word practice.) Legacy Skritter worked perfectly for this, so I find myself wondering what the point is of “fixing” something that didn’t really seem broken in the first place. I don’t think I’m the only one thinking this way; The new app: meeting the needs of long-time users? - #11 by Therebackagain and The new app: meeting the needs of long-time users? - #33 by Therebackagain are two good examples of people expressing the same thing.

Thank you for clarifying; that made it a lot easier to understand your earlier comments too! I think it’s important to separate learning and reviewing from a pedagogical point of view, which is why I asked the question and also why they are nowadays treated as separate things in the app. My comment on how I used the app would only be relevant for reviewing, as I have no problem understanding why you might want to see something earlier than next day if it’s the first time you see it.

Learning mode is meant to deal with this. It shows you the character numerous times with decreasing amounts of scaffolding, but the likelihood is that you don’t think that’s enough. We generally want to help people move away from using mindless repetition to learn new things, as that is rather inefficient. The problem is that the learning mode is of course not at the point where it can do everything we want it to do.

The only way to deal with this properly is probably to have some kind of division between “new” and “mature” cards (using Anki terminology), so that new cards could be treated differently if need be. That adds a lot of complexity, though, so I’m not sure it should be the default solution, but I’m certainly in favour of offering more customisation here. This is also something we have planned. I mean, I can’t do what I want now either, because I need to keep a session going the whole day if I want to avoid seeing a word until the next day (the opposite of your problem, even if we are talking about different situations). Ideally, I should be able to choose that I want to see missed cards the next day.

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