In 2014 during a hackathon in Michigan, four students dreamed of building something capable of automating and connecting applications on a mobile phone. 36 hours later, the first provisional version of that idea came to light. Three years later, Apple has acquired the most versatile App Store: Workflow for iOS.
Workflow has a very simple yet powerful idea: to build workflows in iOS thanks to the connection with other applications and services. Something similar to IFTTT, but focused on much more specific and detailed tasks within iOS. This idea has allowed the application to be essential for both advanced users seeking to squeeze Apple’s mobile operating system as much as users who want to automate cumbersome and periodic tasks on iOS. Now that Workflow happens to be free in the App Store, expect a very promising future.
Why Apple is so important to this acquisition?
The purchase of Workflow, its system and the union of the developers to the Apple team has a series of advantages and direct and indirect consequences. It is an acquisition that nobody expected, despite the good feeling between the creators of the application and Apple.
This acquisition affects as follows …
- Developers will be able to integrate into a much larger workforce with better investments and better access to iOS APIs to improve app integration or better automate iOS. It is Apple’s decision to keep the app or integrate it into iOS.
- Apple demonstrates its clear and safe bet by the automation in iOS, something that for now we have only seen in macOS with automate and that in fact is being forgotten.
- iOS is slowly leaving behind the image of a restricted and limited operating system. Workflow has managed to make possible the impossible within iOS by playing intelligently with the limitations Apple has put on developers. Of course, without Apple losing control of the situation.
- Users in the end are the clear winners with more and better integrations between iOS applications and task automations.
- Who loses in all this is Android, because it automatically eliminates the hope and possibility that Workflow reaches the operating system of Google. If you reach another Workflow platform, it will be macOS.
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We may not see it on iOS 11, but sooner or later the purchase of Workflow will show its fruits in iOS. The essence of the application is its ability to communicate to different applications with each other. Apple has the URLs and Workflow actually feeds them, but creating a comfortable system of communication between apps is in the hands of Apple. Developers are doing as much as possible with URLs, and since iOS 8 with extensions it’s all more comfortable, but there’s still way to go.
What you can do with Workflow for iOS today?
From today, the application happens to be free in the App Store. This can mean or well do not need more investment and therefore it happens to be free or that well Apple wants to close soon. We hope it to be first. In the meantime, you can download the application and test for yourself how powerful it is.
The operation is simple, despite how enrage the app can be. You create a new workflow and choose the actions you want done and the order in which you have to do them. For example, if you want to take the last screenshot, publish it on Instagram and then delete it from the Photo Library, this workflow will do it.
There are dozens of predefined workflows both in the Workflow gallery and in Internet directories. We have gathered some of the best, here are a few …
- Compress or unzip a ZIP: It allows you to compress a file to a ZIP format or unzip the contents of a ZIP file.
- Record a voice note from the Apple Watch on Dropbox: Start recording a voice note on the Apple Watch and save it automatically to your Dropbox account.
- Calculate the days between two dates: Insert two specific dates and calculate the number of days between them.
- Chart of the weight of several months: Take the monthly weight of Health and shows it in a graph for months.
- Delete screen captures, all or selected: Allows you to choose which screen captures you want to delete or directly delete all the ones in the photo library.
- 2×2 Photo Composition: Creates a single image consisting of 4 images in a 2×2 grid with a border between them.
- Share a YouTube link from a certain time: Insert the minutes and seconds from which you want to see a link that you share.
- Save a YouTube video in video or audio: From a YouTube link allows you to save the content in video format or audio.
Each user has their own needs and their way of using the phone or the iPad, so in this sense, it is advisable to try and create your own workflows. These are just a few examples, but the integration of Workflow is much greater, grabbing applications of the most diverse, in addition to iOS features.