iOS Automation

Importing Images to Gladys with Workflow

Gladys is an iOS shelf app. It's wonderful for temporary storage of... anything. Text, pictures, urls, etc.

Recently the developer (who is completely open to feedback and quick to respond) added support for importing images via URL schemes, specifically using the x-callback-url standard. This means I can use workflow to import images. 

How I produce Fans Without Borders

A few episodes ago, on my podcast Fans Without Borders I moved a significant part of my production to my iPad Pro and the app Ferrite Recording Studio, a professional podcast app. There was a bit of a learning curve, but overall it's allowed me to achieve the same level of quality while at the same time speeding up my workflow. However, it did create a couple of challengers that I needed to resolve first.

Share Groups of Workflows at Once

Recently on reddit I came across and interesting Workflow (thread) from u/schl3ck. Schl3ck was sharing, what to my eys, is a pretty complicated series of workflows regarding various math functions. What caught my eye was the delivery method, where he provided one workflow, which, when ran would import the others. It imported these in a similar method that my Backup/Restore does, using a combination of Base64 Encoded data and the workflow URL scheme.

What blew my mind was the concept of packaging a group of workflows together as a way to easily share them. I looked at Schl3ck's workflow, as well as my own and came up with a couple that I think Are pretty useful.

Improving My Backup/Restore Workflow

Recently I wrote about how to backup and restore your Workflows. I have a variation of that workflow that I use for savings individual workflows. These are dedicated to specific ones I want to have, but don't want to store in app. They might be ones I worked on for others on Reddit or for my friends, but not ones I actually use myself.

Open Webpages in iCab Mobile with Workflow

Lately I have been frustrated by a couple web pages that I go to on a regular basis, that refuse to show me Desktop versions on my iPhone or iPad. This would happen in Safari or Google Chrome. I finally looked at other websites and settled on iCab Mobile, which I can set to always present my device as a desktop, and so far from my tests it's been working for me.

Counting Actions with Workflow and TextTool

Something I have been interested in Workflow is find out how many actions are actually included in a paticular workflow. The only way I knew how to find out was to either search in Spotlight for it, or call a list of your workflows, from within a workflow, followed by a choose from list action. This works but I wanted to know if there was a way to get it for all of them. I asked on twitter about it and @nahumck was nice enough to provide an answer for me. So I have to give full credit to him and I would encourage you to check out his fantastic website. The workflow he provided lets you pick an individual workflow to get the result. You can get it here.

The Future of Workflow – MacStories

Federico Viticci for

With Workflow, Apple could lead us into a second generation of iOS productivity apps by turning automation and inter-app communication into an extensible, integrated platform.

I've been waiting for this article since news of Apple buying Workflow broke.

Mixed Feelings About Apple Acquiring Workflow

The iOS automation community was rocked by the news yesterday that Apple has acquired Workflow. I will openly admit my first thoughts were "oh crap." Apple has a history of purchasing an app and then we often don't see much from it after that, or at least not for a long time. For example, Siri used to be a separate app but is now built into the operating system directly. However, for at least a few months, after they acquired Siri, the app was pulled from the app store leaving people lacking for a service they were enjoying. I can't speak to what Siri was like prior to Apple taking ownership, but I think we can all agree it's advanced relatively slowly since it's debut on the iPhone 4s.

The Case For and Against Apple's Purchase of Workflow — MacSparky

David Sparks for

I once made a joke on Mac Power Users that the only reason Workflow got approved was because someone must have naked pictures of somebody important at Apple. The application seemed just so contrary to Apple's general position of iOS simplicity. (Not that I'm complaining.) Over the years, the Workflow team has continued to innovate with this application, adding new features often and allowing us to automate work on the iPad and iPhone that we only dreamed about just a few years ago.

This post sums up my thoughts on the Workflow purchase pretty well.

Using Drafts and Workflow to Help Me Speak

Annoyingly I've had a bad cough lately. I woke up this morning unable to talk. Now this time as bad as it would normally be but I happen to have the week off and today was already planned on me being solo for the most part. And typically anyone I communicate with would be via texting anyway.

And if I want I can certainly write or type something quickly to show someone if I need to get across more detail.

However this doesn't help with my four year old who can't read for the most part yet beyond some sight words.

Add iOS Device Frames with LongScreen and Workflow

A couple months ago I wrote about how I use LongScreen and Workflow to stitch screenshots together. Today I decided to write up a workflow that I rarely use but can occasionally be fun. LongScreen has the ability to add device frames for both iPhone and iPad to screenshots. You simply need to go into the app and toggle a switch, which you can find when selecting an individual photo to work with. Also in this menu you can choose which color you want the iOS device to be. I do wish you could automate the color selection as well. I have it set to silver simply because that is the color of my iPhone and iPad.

Working With Files in Workflow Just got Easier

Workflow has come out with another solid update. For me the tentpole feature is working with iCloud files has become both easier and more powerful.

I have a number of workflows that I use which ultimately append a line to a text file. If I stored those files in Dropbox I would be able to just pass the text into the append to Dropbox action, wait on the change to upload, and be done. But I store far more in iCloud since I have more storage there, and even more importantly saving is far faster as it's local (and pushed to the cloud in the background.)

Birthday Reminders with Workflow and Fantastical

For close family I like to send them a video on their birthday of my daughter singing "Happy Birthday". I found out recently I missed one last year. I decided I wanted to set up Reminders for each of these to go off every year on their birthday so I don't miss one again. Yes, I know their birthdays show in the Calendar but this isn't the kind of thing I want to use that for. I live in Reminders so that's what I went with. However, manually setting all of these would be annoying so I figured I could probably do it with Workflow, even though this isn't one I'll likely use in the future and probably won't even keep in my main workflows. (though I may keep an archived file of it). 

Epoch Time Converter with Workflow

I've been expirimenting with APIs and Workflow. They are an area I very much want to improve in as I find much of it is currently beyond me. One thing I've noticed from looking at a number of different APIs is they tell time using epoch time. Epoch time starts on 1/1/1970 00:00:00. I have made a workflow that can be used to convert the current time into Epoch Format, or take an epoch time and find out what is in a more human readable format.