One of the things that makes typing long-form text on the iPad bearable is TextExpander Touch, the iOS version of Smile Software’s amazing snippet-substitution app for the Mac. Sadly, iOS7 has broken the clever hack Smile was using to let it share its snippets with any app on your iDevice.
But happily, there’ a new hack, and it just requires third-party developers to make some tweaks to their own apps.
TextExpander is simple in intent, and incredibly powerful in use. You just type a shortcut and it is immediately expanded into a longer phrase. I use it for boilerplate e-mail replies, to add chunks of custom html code to my posts, or just to avoid typing my e-mail address. Something similar is now built in to iOS, but TextExpander goes much further. At the very least it allows for multi-line snippets, so you can use it for addresses and the like, but it offers a lot more.
But you already know that. What you might not have known is that TextExpander Touch used a special pasteboard to store your snippets, and because this pasteboard was available system wide, any app could read it.
However, Apple has shut this down as it could also be used for evil, letting apps share information about the user between themselves, for instance.
Smile has gotten around this by using Reminders to store the data, putting it into a reminder dated long in the past so users hopefully never see it. If I remember correctly, the first iterations of TextExpander on iOS used the Contacts app to store something similar.
Several apps have already updated to the new mechanism, and there’s a running list over on the Smile site so you can check. Drafts and Writing Kit are already on there, along with several other indie apps with great developers, and I’m sure more will follow soon. I can’t wait, as typing without TextExpander is like typing without fingers.
- Source Smile Blog