Thanks To Apple, TextExpander Can’t Automatically Update Snippets Across iOS Apps Anymore

SCOI0119-summary-icon-100x100

TextExpander, the amazing utility that allows you to type a quick shortcut (or “snippet”) and have it expand into any text you want, has been in a bit of trouble with Apple recently. The maker of TextExpander, Smile Software, was informed a couple of weeks ago by Apple that the iOS version of its app was sharing snippets between apps the wrong way.

Now TextExpander for iOS has been updated with a fix, and it breaks the best thing about the app.

On the Mac, TextExpander works anywhere you can type because OS X isn’t sandboxed like iOS. To get around iOS’s strict sandboxing rules, Smile had been using Apple’s Reminders to store shared snippets across third-party iOS apps that implemented the TextExpander SDK. The trick cleverly circumvented Apple’s rules and allowed a snippet created in the TextExpander app to automatically work in other iOS apps.

The problem was that Smile was using Reminders for something it wasn’t intended for, and Apple finally put its foot down. As a result, the new TextExpander 2.3 can’t automatically share snippets in other third-party iOS apps. If you change or add a snippet in TextExpander, you’ll have to manually pull in updated snippets on a per-app basis. Since Smile had to implement a new SDK, apps that support version 2.2 won’t expand snippets with the new version 2.3 until they are updated.

Smile has reset the list of apps that support TextExpander for iOS, and apps will be added back as they are updated with the new SDK. “We will add apps to the list as they update their support for TextExpander touch,” said Smile. “In the interim, apps which have not updated to our new SDK will be accessing stale snippet data from Reminders. On the bright side, you’ll still be able to use TextExpander in those apps. On the downside, you won’t be able to access new or updated snippets until those apps are revised.”

It’s unfortunate that Smile had to break automatic syncing on iOS, but TextExpander had been using an Apple service in a way it wasn’t designed. iOS as a whole isn’t designed to allow a tool like TextExpander, unfortunately. Here’s to better inter-app communication in iOS 8. For now, Apple has its own version of TextExpander built into the core of iOS.

TextExpander for iOS costs $5 in the App Store.

Related
  • technochick

    They knew the rules and broke it. So Apple has no fault in this.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by places like the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too. All DMs excepted.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address)| Read more posts by .

Posted in News | Tagged: , |