It’s incredible to think that the original iPhone came without an App store. All those games, tools and crazy features that have helped make the iPhone such a revolutionary product weren’t there at the start. However, now the App store is huge and contains a plethora of apps, some great, some fun, some terrible and some are just plain rip offs.
All this is to say that not all iOS apps are equal and some are much more revolutionary than others. Today I want to look at a few revolutionary iOS apps, ones that will completely transform how you use your device. [All these apps or features are specifically focused on iOS. Either they are exclusives to iOS or have some extra functionality that you can’t get on Android or Windows phone. You might also want to ready about 9 Game Changing Android Apps.]
Passwords are a pain, they have to be difficult to break and easy to remember, but these two factors rarely meet. If it’s easy to remember then it will probably be easy to break, if it is difficult to break, then it will probably be difficult to remember. The common resort for most people is using the same password everywhere which is a terrible idea when if there is a security breach on one account, someone has your password for everywhere!
An alternative is 1Password, this simple tool let’s you generate, store and use difficult to break passwords on your phone. Not only that but with the new extensions in iOS 8 (and especially with touch ID) you can go to a webpage with Safari or Chrome and bring up your passwords so you simply press a button and the password is entered.
This data can be synced across devices using cloud storage or over your WIFI connection (more secure) with a desktop if you wish and is encrypted too.
Are there some common message that you send again and again? Well Texxtexpander is perfect for you. Textexpander turns a small snippet of text into a longer message. You can add in options for choosing certain options or fill boxes to enter certain details.
This occurs within apps which support Textexpander snippets such as drafts, and certain email clients, but also with the new third party keyboard. A word of warning, the keyboard does use a form of key logging to check if you have entered the snippet.
There are text expansion apps on Android, but none of them sync with your laptop and they are usually restricted in size to only a sentence or two and can’t be accessed anywhere on the device.
Are there some common strings of actions that you have to do on your device? Like sharing an article to a friend by clicking on the title, copying the URL, opening the messaging app, writing a message and then inserting the URL you copied? Or sticking images together to make a GIF? Well Workflow let’s you create workflows (crazy I know) so you can chain common actions together. Now you just click on the workflow button or use the extension in iOS 8 and you can carry out your action. There are so many functions and uses of this app which can adapt to suit you but some really good ones are downloading files to your cloud storage, turning a webpage into a PDF, and saving to Evernote and more.
Launch Centre Pro
Launch Centre Pro is similar to Workflow but where as workflow uses cloud services to run tasks, Launch Centre Pro is more based on your device and X-Callback-URLs (though it does have IFTTT integration as well now and even supports Workflow!). To start with the basics of Launch Centre Pro, imagine you send a message to your partner everyday like “I’m on my way home, see you in 30 mins,” you could type this out everyday, or you could set up a workflow on Launch centre pro and just click a button to send the message.
This is a basic example, but just like Workflow, you can get a lot more complicated and combine different applications together in interesting workflows. Some of the best uses I’ve seen are for things like time logging (press one button for when you start work, one for when you stop and it is saved into a Google spreadsheet/Evernote file) and for journaling (want to keep a log of beer reviews in DayOne, click a button and then enter the details of it in the text boxes).
Launcher turns your widget section in iOS 8 into an actionable apps section. Now you can launch (get it) apps from your widgets section. You don’t have to keep going back to the homepage, but you can just pull down your widget menu. You can also add in common actions just like Launch centre pro and workflow.
Drafts supports X-callback-urls. This means it can share it’s data (your text) to a host of different applications including text messaging, email, Evernote, other writing apps, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Calendars, Reminders and more. This makes drafts a great distraction free environment to write anything in, but it can also change your perspective on writing.
Imagine you need to send a message to a co-worker. You’re planning to send an email, but as you start writing it you realise you could fit this in a text (or the other way round, you start a text but realise you need to include more in an email). With Drafts, you can write your message and then decided what the best form is for it.
It works in other ways to, you can start writing a social media update and then expand it into a full blog post or vice verse. What’s more, it is also a really quick and easy way to enter data without seeing the distractions of another app. Worried you’ll forget an idea, just start writing it down.
It takes some time to get used to and set up, but it is true mindset shifting.
Not a Definitive List
These are just examples of some of the crazily powerful iOS applications that are out there that can really help you get more done and aren’t just another email app or todo list. However, it isn’t a definitive list, more apps are being added everyday and there are some I still haven’t discovered.