Transferring items from your Mac to your iPad has never been easy. The act of emailing items to yourself seems archaic and is not a good solution for users who try to enforce techniques such as Inbox Zero. With email being the default fallback, what are the other options out there?
Users could and might rely on note syncing services such as Evernote and Simplenote, but this process can get tedious when trying to force sync repeatedly. That is where myPhoneDesktop aims to fill the void of easily getting data from your Mac to your iPad. You might not be able to easily think of when this might be useful, but if you are trying to get certain urls to your iPad without having to search for them or use another service it can be really useful.
MyPhoneDesktop requires you to create a new account. This will allow you to log into the app on your iOS device. MyPhoneDesktop has desktop companion apps available for the Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. If you find yourself in a position where you cannot install extra software, myPhoneDesktop also has a web client.
While the functionality of the app does not seem groundbreaking and there are other ways to accomplish the task that myPhoneDesktop accomplishes, the app puts everything together nicely. The main focus of the app is to receive content from your desktop and to make it actionable. This can be contact info, urls, notes, images and more. If you have ever been in a hurry to get information to your iPad and settled on just e-mailing it to yourself (therefore junking up your inbox) then this app and service is definitely worth a look.
The app has four key sections including phone, url, text and image. The last item in the bottom bar is access to the Settings. The phone section of the app will accept data input from the desktop companion. The desktop client can sync to your address book which allows you to search through your contacts. Once a contact is selected you can type info to be copied to the iOS clipboard to be sent in a sms message (iMessage). This functionality may be dated since Messages is available on the Mac, but it can be useful for users who might be on a Windows machine.
Sending an iMessage through myPhoneDesktop
By sending contact info to your iPad you can also activate a FaceTime call with the user. I found this to be useful when I knew I would be walking around and did not want to use FaceTime on my Mac. One item to note though is that the developers have FaceTime written as “Facetime,” which is incorrect. Not that big of an oversight but it should not be that hard to appropriately capitalize an action.
Sending URLs and More
MyPhoneDesktop includes a URL option which will send a URL to the iPad. On the desktop client, the user has the choice to open, send and copy. Choosing the Open option will push a notification to the iPad. Pressing the notification will open myPhoneDesktop on the iPad and then open Safari, which will open the link. The Send button option will deliver a push notification to the iPad and allow the user to then choose the method of action from the Action button. The Copy button copies the url to the iOS clipboard for the user to act on.
In the Settings of the app a user can choose the default browser to open links sent through myPhoneDesktop.
An action button is always present to transfer the data out of myPhoneDesktop.
The url option will also work on map URLs. Pasting in a Google Maps URL will open the Maps app on the iPad. The desktop client can also send data to TomTom, Motion-X GPS Drive and Navigon.
The desktop client can also push URLs to GoodReader and Instapaper, but I never could get them to open in my Instapaper app. The action would keep pushing me to the Instapaper website in Safari. Pushing links to the GoodReader app worked as expected by opening it up within the GoodReader app.
MyPhoneDesktop also has a text option which can paste text from your desktop into the app. The desktop client also includes options to send data to certain to-do apps including InstaTodo, Appigo Todo and OmniFocus.
Opening text in myPhoneDesktop
Once the text has been sent or copied, the user can use the Action button to send text to several text-based apps using the Open In… functionality The number of available apps that appear in the menu will vary depending on the text editors installed on your iPad.
MyPhoneDesktop also includes an Image option which can send an image from your desktop to the iPad. To accomplish this, drag an image from the desktop or copy and paste the URL into the desktop client. Using the desktop client the user can choose to copy, send or save the image.
Transferring an image through myPhoneDesktop.
The Send and Copy commands are pretty self-explanatory, but the Save command will actually send the image to myPhoneDesktop on the iOS device and save it in the Photos app. The Image section also includes Open In… functionality, which can send the image to another app as well as save the image to the Photos app.
MyPhoneDesktop is not going to win any design awards anytime soon. Most of the app screens have a lot of white space. While space is expected since the main feature of the app is to receive something from the desktop client, I think a different design would make it standout. This does leave a lot to be desired in the design category, and since the app features seem mature, I wish the developer would go back to the drawing board for some improvements. With that being said, the app does offer functionality that is quite useful.
MyPhoneDesktop will fit a niche market for users who need to get content easily from their Mac to their iOS device, although as more time passes, it seems that some of these uses are beginning to look dated. For example, with the addition of Messages on the Mac, sending a text through myPhoneDesktop from your Mac most likely will go unused. Now with iCloud becoming more and more built into the Apple ecosystem with Mountain Lion, myPhoneDesktop’s unique features could be shrinking.
That being said, myPhoneDesktop is great to transfer a long url, text or images to your iOS device. The push notification worked 100-percent of the time during testing and could be a nice addition to your workflow if you regularly perform these actions.