Tap here, tap there. Sometimes an app is just too many taps away and no home screen fits every app we use. If that’s a common scenario, you need something to save you taps and swipes, turning the whole iPhone experience quicker and appealing. What you’re looking for is Launch Center Pro.
Launch Center Pro lets you create actions to interact with other applications and skip taps on basic functions of your iPhone, such as calling, messaging or opening sites. The application recently delivered its second version with plenty of new features for the automation rookie and the power user.
How LCP Works?
Ok, you know how a website address works, right? The http:// is the best metaphor to this little trick used by some apps to communicate with each other. An “url scheme” can be registered by every developer for each one of their apps and it works like the http://, hence the app can be called as when you open a link.
The reason for this explanation is that not every app has a url scheme and therefore can’t be summoned by another app. Launch Center Pro maintains a list of officially supported apps so you can check if your app can be automatized before purchasing LCP. If you got LCP already and it doesn’t support an app you hold dear, don’t decry it with a bad review and ask the developers of your unsupported app to include an ‘url scheme’ in the next release.
Some apps extend their url schemes to allow more actions, but you probably won’t have to worry about that just yet since Launch Center Pro has a straightforward process to create actions: just find the app you want in the list of installed apps and you’ll get all possible actions — from there just choose how to fill the gaps. I bet you’ll find your way creating your workflow as the most noticeable improvement of the newest version of Launch Center Pro is how natural building an action became.
If you’re still kinda lost, you can reference our previous article on the first version of Launch Center Pro, which explored the brand-new launcher of url actions when it arrived at the App Store. LCP got Text Expander support, clipboard actions and deeper system integration later on, but nothing could forecast the changes brought by the second version of the app.
Launch Center Pro 2.0 is an update for the iOS 7 environment, with a flatter design and thinner icons, but the major overhaul came into branching out from the power user with small advances to assemble a more friendly app. Several new features drive into that direction, such as being able to set a picture as the icon of an action and, as one of the most recurrent actions in LCP is to quickly call or send a message to your main contacts, build a more personal experience.
But, of course, the main enhancements on the new version of Launch Center Pro are under the hood with its integration to Dropbox by generating short links from images or the clipboard, navigation through your files to handpick the one you want or grab the contents from a text file using the [dropbox-text] tag. For example, you can upload your last taken photo to Dropbox, grab a link and send it as a message to one of your contacts, all within a single action, or even tweak this action by attaching photos into a message, which is another new stunt from LCP.
You can also create multiple prompts for a single action and apply different labels to them in the new Launch Center Pro, for example, send an email with a custom subject and body, both with their own well named prompts. Another trick to come in handy if you use apps such as Clear or Silo is the [prompt-list] tag, which splits a regular list with commas, allowing you to use their url schemes to add various items at once to your lists.
Most of the time a “x.1” update is equal to “bug fixes”, but the guys from Contrast spent their time well and the next version of Launch Center Pro is like a revision, bringing a truckload of new perks to automatize your iPhone. One of the major changes is in LCP’s own url scheme, which used to fork into different triggers for each feature and now were merged within the launch:// tag. This may not sound great for the average user, but definitely aids the transition as he delves into the app.
The next big thing is in the photo department, which sets Launch Center Pro apart from similar automatization apps. In the latest version you can create prompts for photos, so you can access your camera roll or open your front camera to take a selfie and attach it to many distinct services using the new, take a guess, attach=photo tag, which can be customized into the dimensions, quality, resolution and a few other refinements to your photos.
Another remarkable new resource is the [list] tag, which differs from the aforementioned [prompt-list] as it gives you an array of items to select, for example, instead of creating one action for every contact you call often, you can create a single action with a list using their names and their numbers, that’s because you can assign a unique value to each item.
Still Not Satisfied?
I didn’t even scratch the surface of Launch Center Pro as version 2.1 in addition brings access to the iOS Share Sheet and prompts with the Fleksy keyboard, which can give you voice feedback as you type and truly smart auto-correction for your scribbles. For the non-geek, Launch Center Pro makes creating, sharing and importing actions intuitive enough that you wouldn’t need to type a single line of code and then, as you crave to further automatize your phone, unveil new features as you demand them.
Automatization is for the user who frequently uses the iPhone for repetitive actions or when their tasks, as simple as they sound, demand way too many taps to complete. It is great for the user up with double tapping the Home button to bypass the limitations of the iOS environment. Somehow, I believe every person could benefit from Launch Center Pro as we all, once in a while, remind ourselves of our tiny fingertips.