When iOS 4 was released, Apple introduced Folders. Folders enable us to keep up to twelve apps grouped together under one icon. While folders may not be the most aesthetically pleasing of features, for productivity reasons, they’re great. We no longer have to keep screen after screen filled with apps, we can just sort them all into folders and have as little as two or even one home screens. Launch Center, one of my all time favorite apps, takes folders a step further, allowing you to do so much more than just launch up to twelve apps.
Launch Center, which is developed by our friends over at App Cubby, is a speed dial for actions. Using URL schemes, Launch Center gives you instant access to all of your favorite apps. It can take you to a specific page, or ‘action’, in an app, so you don’t have to go looking through menus to find it. For instance, you can create shortcuts to open your Facebook messages, call your coworker, email your boss, open a website in Safari, add a new item to OmniFocus, etc. What’s great though, is that they’ve added a ‘Supported Apps’ page, which shows you all of the apps you have installed on your phone that can be added as shortcuts, as well as apps that you don’t have installed that can be downloaded from the app store. This makes things so much easier, as you don’t have to try and guess all the different URL schemes for apps you’d like to add.
If this was all that Launch Center did, I’d still have paid the whopping one dollar for it- it’s worth five times that. It’s like having a folder that lets you store an unlimited amount of apps- except that you can also store other functions like texting, email and websites in it as well. When filled with the proper shortcuts, Launch Center can literally be the only app you need to click on the entire day. Luckily for us though, App Cubby didn’t stop there and decided to add one more clever feature- Reminders.
Launch Center allows you to schedule any of your shortcuts for a specific time of day. When that time comes, You’ll get an iOS notification that will stay in Notification Center until it’s clicked on. (Originally the notification would stay in Notification Center permanently, so you could swipe down and easily access your actions, but Apple rejected that feature, so now the notifications are temporary.) Why is this useful? Let’s say every day before you go to bed you’d like to read all the links you’ve saved in Instapaper, but you’re constantly forgetting to do so. You can schedule a reminder for ten minutes before you go to bed, and every night at that time you’ll be reminded to open Instapaper, and be able to launch it via the notification. Not only will this save you time, but it will also ensure that you never forget to do anything important.
If you, like me, are a productivity nut and constantly trying to find new ways to get things done quicker on your iPhone, then Launch Center is for you. To date, it is the only third party app that has managed to earn a permanent residence on my dock. Nowadays, I rarely venture on to my second screen, because all of my most used apps can be launched from my dock. People, just buy it. It will definitely be the most productive thing you do all day.