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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 January 13, 2020

          11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

          11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

          Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

          Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

          Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

          1. Lumosity

          This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

          Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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          Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

            2. Fit Brains Trainer

            This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

            Free.

            Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

              3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

              Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

              First four games free, then $13 a month.

              cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                4. Brain Fitness Pro

                The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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                Buy for $3.99.

                5. Happify

                If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

                Free to use.

                Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                  6. Clockwork Brain

                  You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

                  Free.

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                  Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

                    7. ReliefLink

                    Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

                    Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      8. Eidetic

                      Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                      Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                        9. Braingle

                        Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                        Free.

                        Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                          10. Not The Hole Story

                          If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                          Free.

                          Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                            11. Personal Zen

                            This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                            Free.

                            personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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                              Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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