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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 September 25, 2019

          7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

          7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

          Project management doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, not if you have apps that make things a whole lot simpler. When you have project management apps, you can take care of your team, tasks and deadlines, without even being in the office. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get most of the apps you might need.

          Here are the 7 best project management apps to super boost your team’s productivity:

          1. Basecamp

            It’s probably the most well-known project management app out there. It allows you to organize projects that act as a central location for everything and contains such things as to-do lists, notes, events, files, and much more.

            It is user-friendly, and has a free 30-day trial period. After that, the plan is $99 per month.

            Find out more about Basecamp here.

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            2. Asana

              If you are looking for something that is not difficult to use, check out Asana. This is a great task management app that can be used for managing projects as well.

              In a nutshell, Asana helps you create and share task lists with your team. The app is simple but smart enough and has got a lot of integrations. Teams with up to 15 members can use Asana for free. Teams with 15 members and up can choose plans that range from $10.99 per month.

              Find out more about Asana here.

              3. Casual

                This is a unique app that offers a different way of doing things. On Casual, you plan your tasks just by drawing them as a flowchart. The neat thing is that Casual helps you visualize and track dependencies between tasks.

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                This app is incredibly intuitive and works great for personal projects, as well as for organizing projects for small teams. You can try it for free, and if you don’t like it, there is no obligation to pay for anything.

                Find out more about Casual here.

                4. Trello

                  This app is incredibly user-friendly, and is based on Kanban boards. It actually works like a virtual whiteboard with post-it-notes.

                  Trello is great for organizing your to-do lists, ideas, and is very easy to use. You can create several boards to use for various projects, and it’s free of cost. Trello is available to iOS and Android users as well.

                  Find out more about Trello here.

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                  5. OmniPlan

                    This is an awesome app for iPhone and iPad users. If you love Gantt charts, this is definitely an app that you can get a lot out of.

                    You start out by creating a simple project outline. Then you can use the app to help you through every step of the project until its completion.

                    A standard plan for iOS costs just $99.99, and the pro plan is only $199.99.

                    Find out more about OmniPlan here.

                    6. Podio

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                      This is a great app for medium and large-sized teams working on projects. The special point about Podio is that there are additional features such as CRM and social intranet.

                      There are four different packages: Free, which is free for up to five employees and five external users; Basic, which is $9 per month per employee; Plus, which is $14 per month per employee, and Premium, which is $24 per month per employee.

                      Find out more about Podio here.

                      7. Microsoft Project

                        This is one of the most commonly-used project management apps. However, it is also one of the most difficult apps to use. It does have a lot of features that are popular with project managers, which is why we have chosen to include in on this list. You can customize reports, track burn rates, and stay on track until projects are complete.

                        The basic plan starts with $7 per month, which allows you project team members to collaborate in the cloud, via web browser or mobile.

                        Find out more about Microsoft Project here.

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                        Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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