Handy new app turns Notification Center into messaging machine

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Select a pre-written message and send it straight from Notification Center.
Photo: George Tinari/Cult of Mac

“I’m leaving” is a message I probably send way too often, but not as often as “I’m here.” It’s just become routine whenever I’m making plans or picking someone up. It’s not necessarily a burden, but it’d be a nice luxury to be able to quickly send friends these repeat messages automatically to save a little bit of time. You’re smart so I bet you know where I’m going with this.

Yes, Written is a new app for iPhone that lets you write out five of your most commonly used phrases and save them for easy access in Notification Center. Then when you pull down the Today view from the top, you see the Written widget with your five messages. Tap one to send it along to your favorite contacts. It works with the Messages app and even WhatsApp.

Here’s how to put your Instagram feed in Notification Center

Feeday puts Instagram right in your Notification Center.
Feeday puts Instagram right in your Notification Center.
Photo:

If you’re like me, you probably spend a lot of time in Instagram during the day. In fact, if you’re like me, you probably spend so much time in Instagram that you wish it was integrated right into iOS, just a swipe away from no matter where in the operating system you are.

Apple’s never going to get around to baking deep integration to the Facebook-owned Instagram into iOS, but here’s the next best thing: a new app that puts Instagram right in iOS 8’s Notification Center.

How to keep iOS gaming sessions from being interrupted

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Stop getting interrupted when you're gaming. Photo: Rob LeFebvre
Stop getting interrupted when you're gaming. Photo: Rob LeFebvre

I’ve been playing Vainglory quite a bit lately, and the one thing that really distracts me and actually impacts my gameplay (when on my iPad 3) is notifications. They can make the game stutter, which wreaks havok on my ability to gank an enemy Joule from the bushes with my Krul.

Seriously, it’s annoying.

I turned on Do Not Disturb last week to try and get rid of these badges that annoy, but it never worked: I still got notifications from Facebook, Messages and other appss. I did some digging to find out why.

How to enable that sexy new iTunes Notification Center widget

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Quicker than switching to iTunes, for sure. Screengrab: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Quicker than switching to iTunes, for sure. Screengrab: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

The advent of iTunes 12.1 gave us a sweet new widget that lets you control iTunes from the Notification Center’s Today section, without ever having to switch to the app itself. You can even favorite songs and buy currently playing tracks if you’re listening to iTunes Radio.

Unfortunately, this widget doesn’t seem to appear by default. To enable it, you need to drop into System Preferences. Here’s how to get it up and running.

Here’s what Apple should do to fix Notification Center

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notificationsiOS8
Notification Center is surprisingly unintuitive for Apple. Photo: Apple

 

I have very few complaints about iOS 8, and based on casual conversations I’ve had with friends plus the high percentage of users who have upgraded to Apple’s latest mobile OS, I’d suggest the same thing is true across the board.

One part of iOS I use very rarely, however, is Notification Center, which aims to be a one-stop-shop for all the information you need to know, but instead looks like a strangely un-Apple mass of informational overload.

Apparently Stockholm-based MobileCreative designers Petter Andersson, Friðgeir Torfi Ásgeirsson and Jonas Jerlström feel the same way, because they’ve come up with a concept video showing a new possible notification interface for iOS. And you know what? I kind of love it.