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7 Launch Center Hacks to Save Time on Your iPhone

7 Launch Center Hacks to Save Time on Your iPhone

    Launch Center

    is a $0.99 app for iOS that allows you to create shortcuts that are kept in one handy list. You can do things like make an email, call, or SMS shortcut to someone that you contact a lot, a Tweet shortcut that uses the official Twitter, or even a flashlight shortcut to turn on your iPhone’s LED. It’s pretty darn handy.

    But, what’s awesome is that you can schedule these shortcuts to show up in iOS 5’s Notification Center as well as create custom Website/App shortcuts. Here are 7 Launch Center hacks that save your time while using your iPhone.

    1. Add tasks to your inbox

      I’m an OmniFocus user but this could work with any task app on iOS, as long as they have an iOS url scheme to follow. Simply add a new “Launch Website/App” shortcut with the URL of:

      omnifocus:///add?

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      That will open up a blank task for your OF inbox.

      For other services that support task addition by sending an email to a special address you could create a new LC shortcut for email, add the special address, and then go about it that way.

      2. Launching apps

      If you are a heavy app user on you iOS device your Springboard probably isn’t cutting it for you anymore. I have even resorted to using Spotlight Search for an app if I don’t want to look for it.

      With LC you can setup a shortcut to launch an app. Most apps have a URL that is associated with them (like omnifocus:// above). You can check out AppCubby’s site for some of the URLs for different apps.

      3. Reminders and process

        So, you can launch apps with LC, huh? Pretty cool. But, what about launching an app at a certain time to remind you to use it?

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        Every day I want to make sure that I go through my RSS queue. So, with LC I can create a custom app launcher for my RSS app, Reeder (reeder://) and then tell LC to schedule it everyday at 7pm. If I want it to go multiple times I could create multiple instances of the same launcher set for different times during the day.

        So, you could set these types of reminders for all sorts of things like calling your parents, sending SMS’s to people, searching Google for something that you do everyday (like your own name, you narcissist), or anything else you are too smart to remember.

        4. Custom searches

          If there is something that you search for on a regular basis on your iPhone, then setting up a custom search within LC is the way to go. Just create a new “Launch Website/App” shortcut, name it, and add your search URL. Here are a couple of things to get your started:

          Weather in a certain place: http://bing.com/search?q=weather+in+pittsburgh+pa
          Twitter searches: http://twitter.com/#!/search/lifehack
          Any other type of Google (or even Bing) searches: http://google.com/search?q=<whatever+you+are+searching+for>

          You have to make sure that instead of using spaces in your query you use “+” symbols. Also, if you are searching for crazy characters that aren’t supported in URLs, then you have to encode them.

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          5. Launch iOS settings

          One thing that I truly miss from Android is being able to make almost anything a widget or shortcut on your home screen. We have seen some of the ways that you can setup shortcuts to get to options in iOS settings, but they require that you have some sort of internet connection and are sort of clunky to setup.

          With LC you can create a “Launch Website/App” shortcut that uses the iOS “prefs” shortcut to open up settings. Here are just a few:

          Brightness: prefs:root=Brightness
          Bluetooth: prefs:root=General&path=Bluetooth
          iCloud Storage and Backup: prefs:root=CASTLE&path=STORAGE_AND_BACKUP

          If you want a full list of the ones that you can use, check out this Stack Overflow page for more. There are a ton of them.

          6. Launch custom actions inside of apps

          If an app has a published URL scheme, you can save those URLs as shortcuts in LC. For instance, my favorite Twitter app, Tweetbot, has a pretty nice URL scheme for iOS. I setup two shortcuts:

          Twitter timeline: tweetbot:///timeline
          Tweet with Tweetbot: tweetbot:///Post

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          For this example you need to have three forward slashes as you can put an optional screenname after the second one (for people that use multiple Twitter accounts).

          If you have a favorite app and you would like to see what things you can do with their URL scheme, just Google something like “iOS URL scheme” to see what your options are.

          7. Find businesses close to you with Google Maps

          Wherever you are there usually is a Starbucks nearby. And rather than opening Maps and typing out Starbucks, you can use this shortcut to find one. Create a new LC “Launch Website/App” shortcut with the URL set to this:

          http://maps.google.com/map?CURRENTLOCATION&q=starbucks

          This will open up the mobile version of Google maps, but will at least give you any of the Starbucks that are around your location. You can also change the query to whatever you want like “mexican+food” or “bars+and+clubs”.

          Conclusion

          Launch Center is pretty awesome and is getting close to making its way to my iPhone dock. There are a couple of things that would make LC even better, like having a better repeat function, grouping of similar shortcuts and tasks, and keeping some of the shortcuts in iOS Notification Center so they can be used at any time (this may be a limitation of Notification Center, not LC).

          But, as you can see, this one little app can save you a ton of time doing things that you repeatedly do on your iOS device.

          More by this author

          CM Smith

          A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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          Last Updated on July 8, 2020

          10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

          Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

          As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

          In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

          Projects and Tasks Management

          1. Monday dot com

            Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

            The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

            The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

            The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

            Check out the software here!

            2. Asana

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              The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

              The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

              Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

              Check out the software here!

              3. Trello

                Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                Check out the software here!

                4. Jira

                  The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                  The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                  The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                  Check out the software here!

                  5. Evernote Business

                    Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                    The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                    Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Communication

                    6. Slack

                      Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                      Check out the software here!

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                      7. Spike

                        Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                        Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                        Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Creation

                        8. Office 365

                          Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                          Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                          You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                          Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                          Check out the software here!

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                          9. Grammarly

                            Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                            Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                            Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                            Check out the software here!

                            Team Analytics

                            10. ActivTrak

                              ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                              The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                              Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                              Check out the software here!

                              The Bottom Line

                              Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                              More Productivity Tools

                              Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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