We can’t wait for iOS 8 to supercharge our trusty iPhones with Extensions. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
iOS 8 will bring Extensions to your iPhone and iPad. Extensions are essentially miniature versions of apps that can be run inside other apps. For instance, if you have Evernote installed on your iPhone, you could pop up the Evernote Extension when you’re running the Mail app, and save a snippet of that email to your Evernote account.
Clearly this is huge. It’s something that Android and Windows Phone users have enjoyed for a while, but Apple has – typically – taken its time to get it right. In fact, you have probably used Apple’s own “test” Extensions already: Whenever you see the Mail sheet roll down inside another app, or you access the built-in Twitter sharing box, you’re using an Extension.
But what kind of things can Extensions do for us? I’ve been thinking about that, and here’s a wish list of Extensions I’d love to see.
Despite all efforts to the contrary, email is still the default way to shift files, photos and – yes – mail around the internet. Even when you share a file using Dropbox, the link goes via old-fashioned email. And yet email clients are still awful. They’ve gotten a lot better in the last couple of years, on both iOS and the Mac, but we’re still stuck without a proper task manager that integrates with the native iOS/OS X Calendar and Reminders.
Clear, everyone’s favorite swipe-based to-do list app, now integrates with the native Reminders app on the Mac and iOS. Originally planned for February, the latest update lets you get reminded to do things on that list.
Realmac Software today confirmed that the much-anticipated update that will bring reminders to Clear for iOS will arrive in April. It was originally due to arrive this month, but the company has been working hard to ensure everything’s just right before it goes live.
Seriously, if I have to start over from scratch one more time when I try and use Siri to send a Tweet or book an appointment, I may just give up using Apple’s much-touted personal digital assistant altogether.
As it is, I tend to skip trying to use Siri other than as a glorified app launcher and I use the built-in dictation instead from within the Messages, Twitter, or Calendar apps.
But that was before I found out that you can just tell Siri to change whatever it is she’s not getting.
Realmac Software is throwing in the towel on Clear+ and making its original Clear release the priority. A new update that’s rolling out today brings iPad support to the app at no extra cost, while support for Reminders is coming soon.
Every time I walk into a bookstore, I want to buy a book. Or three. Sadly, my budget doesn’t cover that all the time, because I go into bookstores quite a bit. To scratch that itch, I’ve turned to taking a photo of the book covers with my iPhone; that way, I get the satisfaction of doing something about my book lust without having to pull out the wallet each time.
Shoots & Leaves is a new iOS app that aims to solve the same problem, but for all those things you need to be reminded of, not just books you want to buy (though you can use it for that, too, I suppose).
The built-in iOS Reminders app has two big advantages: it’s ubiquitous, and it syncs flawlessly between devices. This makes it a great back end for other apps’ reminder systems, which is handy as the reminders app is a nightmare. Viewing and checking off completed tasks is fine, but creating them? Even Siri starts to seem attractive.
Luckily, you can now use an app called This Week to create and use your reminders. Better still, it excels at adding and managing due dates, which is the weak point of Reminders’ already weak task-creation offering.
If This, Then That (IFTTT) is a system by which you can create amazing workflow recipes. There’s also an app in the App Store that lets you use the incredibly powerful recipes right on your iPhone. Send all your Instagram photos to Dropbox, for example, or email all your Photos to a specific address. There are tons of recipes you can browse and steal use, plus making your own custom recipes is a snap.
Since emails can often contain things you have to make reminders for follow-up, let’s take a look at turning our emails into reminders using the IFTTT app right on your iPhone.