Tag: Lists

Cool Things You Can Do On Drafts 5

This week’s Workflow Wednesday is kind of an audible, but Drafts 5 was released today and I wanted to share some of the cool things you can do with it.
There are a slew of great reviews of this out there (like MacStories by nahumck, and Christopher Lawley’s video). So I am going to let those fantastic people share their reviews and thoughts on what the app has to offer while I show you some really cool things Drafts in their Drafts 5 directory.

Send List to Things

I recently hopped on the Things 3 bandwagon, and so far I am loving it. However, I am not a huge fan of not having native multiple task input support. Meaning I want to be able to add a ton of tasks without having to input them one by one. This is where Drafts comes in.

With this handy action you can make a list and each new line is seen as a new task. So if I have a ton of things on my mind I want out and captured in Things 3 I can do so with just a single swipe and tap!

Run Workflow

I have spent a ton of time in Workflow, and I love the things I have built. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, Drafts has a handy action built in that you can simply have it run a previously built workflow. All you need to do is edit the action and put in the name of the Workflow. Make sure it is exactly the same, otherwise it will error out, this is one of those times where it is case-sensitive.

One workflow I have is to post Markdown text I’ve written as a WordPress article. So with a quick tap Drafts takes the work I have written and takes it to Workflow to send to my blog. Super handy for the quick linked-posts I do from time to time.

Micro.blog

I have spent more and more time on the up-and-coming IndieWeb social media service Micro.blog. It has become a safe-haven for me to turn to when I wanted to leave Facebook and spend less time on Twitter. I find the community great and it has functions to send out my posts in Micro.blog to Twitter so I can kill two birds with one stone.

Drafts makes it even easier for me. Now, I don’t even need to open the app to send out a quick post. I can just type it out and then send it through the action and the rest is taken care of. This is why I love Drafts, I can quickly send out a post, a tweet, or a message to someone, and then keep right on trucking with my work.

Event in Fantastical

I love Fantastical and their amazing natural language input they have, it makes adding calendar events fun again. But what is even easier is typing it out in Drafts and sending it to Fantastical 2 to sort out for me.

All I do is write something like “Coffee with Jim next Thursday at 9am /p” and it sends it to Fantastical with the name “Coffee with Jim” scheduled for next Thursday at 9am in my Personal calendar. Boom, event added. The “/p” portion is part of Fantastical syntax that takes the “/“ icon and a letter or two written out

Save to File as

Drafts 5 has cloud syncing and auto-saving feature with this app, but sometimes I want to keep a backup of the long posts I write in it, and plain text is my preferred method.

So, I have an action that takes the text I wrote in Drafts, it then prompts me to enter the file name I want. It defaults to a .txt but you can change the filetype to .md or .rtf if you so choose. For me .txt is fine so I leave it. From there it opens up the Files document picker and allows you to save it to any folder in iCloud, or other 3rd party cloud services you have turned on in the Files App, and save it. Now you have a backup of all your hard work!

Conclusion

Drafts 5 is an app I have tried out for testing purposes, but it has easily become one of my absolute favorite apps on iOS. It allows me to get things out of my head and send them out when I want to. I no longer spend my mental RAM trying to figure out what I want to do first, the n what to say.

Drafts makes the process a complete 180 from what it was. Instead of trying to find the app to use, then working on what I want to say, I now can work on getting my ideas and writing out of my head first then send it wherever it needs to. I just tap the app in my dock and dump what’s on my mind out of my head and it’s saved for later organization.

For me, this is how things should be when you have ideas and creativity: a frictionless workspace.

If you want to get Drafts 5, you can download it on the App Store. It is free, but if you want all the features you’ll have to go Pro. It is either $19.99 a year or 1.99 a month. For me, I am paying the $1.99 a month because it allows me to pay Greg more money then $19.99 a year. That is how much I love this app.

10 iPad Life Hacks

When you are working with your iPad, many people feel stuck. Some feel like they aren’t being efficient enough or doing the right things. Well, today we have 10 ipad life hacks on how to get more out of your favorite iPad.

1. Type to Siri

Type to Siri is a new addition to iOS 11. And if you are like so many others, you usually have a keyboard attached or connected to the iPad. So, instead of talking to Siri you can type to her (or him).

This is great for the people who aren’t into talking to a computer to do tasks, it is also great for those night owls who don’t want to wake anyone that may be sleeping in your home.

Give type to Siri a try, it may just be the extra kick you need to getting things out of your head and into a system you trust.

To do this go into Settings>General>Accessibility>Siri and from there turn on Type to Siri.

2. Have a shelf app in Slide-Over

I spoke about Shelf Apps before. They are a great way to put things you want to save and use in other apps for later. One trick I found to be immensely helpful it to always have it available with a simple swipe from the right side of the iPad.

This is called the Slide-Over app. It is basically a floating app that isn’t connected to another app, allowing it to be freely accessible wherever you are on you iPad.

I use this a lot with the images to my posts, but I have seen others use it for practically any type of file or input.

If you are looking for a good Shelf app I recommend Gladys or Yoink. Each have their quirks but they are both very powerful and definitely something I keep in my dock for frequent use.

3. Use Spotlight for searching more than just apps

Spotlight is underutilized, in my opinion, when it comes to using the iPad. Many just use it for the occasional search for an app, but there are so many other things that Spotlight can search for.

You can search for files, websites, and even local stores through Maps. Spotlight is something I underutilized until I started pushing to see what all it can handle. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that it managed to find what I wanted a large majority of the time.

Granted, there are times where I couldn’t find what I was searching for but that happened far less then when it worked.

Give Spotlight a try more and see it it works for you.

4. Edit your Share sheet

The Share Sheet is the place to send things from one app to another. But sometimes you have to dig through to find the right app to send the information or file to.

One thing you can do is remove the apps you never use in the Share Sheet. You can do this by hitting the share icon and scrolling all the way to the right and tap the “More” button.

From there you can rearrange, hide, or add the apps you want. This works for both the top and bottom rows of the Share Sheet.

Additionally, you can drag icons to rearrange them if you find you want one more readily accessible.

5. Use text shortcuts and/or TextExpander

Many of us have common phrases or information we send to people regularly. Things like email addresses, updates on where we are, or just emails we send when someone asks a question you get asked a lot. This is where Text Replacement and TextExpander come in.

Text Replacement is a feature built into iOS. To see it go to Settings>General>Keyboard and you will see the option there. Once you open it you can add or edit text replacements. One you may see there is omw. What this means is that any time you type “omw” iOS will replace that with “On my way!”

Text Replacement is useful for quick phrases or words that you may use a lot, but when you add longer strands of text or need something that is Rick Text, you will need TextExpander.

TextExpander is a great tool I recommend to anyone who does email support, communicates to others via email or text as part of their job, or just someone that is geeky like my and wants to make things easier for me in the long run.

Because of the robust features TextExpander offer you may need some help getting over the learning curve of it. David Sparks did a video series on Textexpander a little over a year ago when the company redesigned their app from the ground up. If you want to learn more about the vast amount of features this app has, David is the man to teach you.

6. Edit Control Center

Control Center is one of those features that if you use it, it can make things much more efficient and change the way you use your iPhone or iPad.

When iOS 11 came out Apple put together a slew of options you can set for your Control Center, including having up to 8 button instead of the default 4. There are some great options on there, my personal favorite is the screen recording option. With this you just tap on the button and you screen is then being recorded. This is especially handy when you are the tech support person for your family and a relative asks you how to do something on their phone. Instead of walking them through it with long texts or emails you can record how to do it and send it their way to view as many times as they need to accomplish what they want.

7. Schedule Do Not Disturb times for working on the high-energy level tasks

Do Not Disturb sounds like a feature you would use when you are going to sleep or when you’re at the movies, but this feature can cut distractions out of your life big time.

I use DND when I am writing or working on other high-energy tasks that require my full attention. It saves me from being distracted by email, messages, and more when I am in deep work mode.

If you want to learn more about what Do Not Disturb is, Apple has a great support doc to read over.

8. Long Press on some Apps for a force-touch like response

While the new iPhones have Force Touch, the iPad does not. Regardless of the reasoning from Apple, there is a way to get the added pop-ups on an iPad.

This doesn’t work for all apps that have force touch support, but those that do have it allows you to use it without having to open the app.

Just tap and hold on an app, instead of it wiggling a pop-up will appear with whatever the developers built to come up. For instance, Apple’s Files app shows the most recent documents you have opened, which can be handy when you need to quickly open up something you were working on earlier.

9. Scan QR codes with your Camera

QR codes were never the smash hit they were meant to be. Rarely do I ever use it, but on the rare occasion I do I always thought you needed to download a separate app. Instead, you have a QR code reader built in to the camera.

With a few taps in settings you too can turn on QR Code reader and have the option to scan one within the native Camera app.

Apparently this feature was added with iOS 11. It is a hidden feature to many, but this is so convenient when necessary.

10. Access Saved Passwords in Safari

Password management has become more and more important over the years. Between hacks to your email, or even your personal finance information, a good password that is unique on each site is a must.

Safari has made some major improvements to creating passwords for accounts you make in the browser, making them uniques and then saving them to iCloud.

But there are times where you need that password and iOS doesn’t have it as an option in the shortcut menu. You’re not out of luck, you just need to copy it from Settings.

To do this go to Settings>Accounts & Passwords> then tap on the App & Website Passwords option at the top. From there you will get access to all the saved passwords in you iCloud Keychain.

While the iCloud Keychain can get the job done it doesn’t offer many options for other things like secure notes, and getting to these passwords can be tedious over time.

This is where apps like 1Password come in and they offer a great app that can be built into the Share Sheet and is integrated in may apps like Twitter where you jut tap on the lock button in the login screen and it will search for passwords that match Twitter. It is a very intuitive app and well worth the money to ease the stresses of password management and security.

Extras

So there are some life hacks for using you iPhone or iPad. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed something.

Also, if you’re wondering how I made these screenshot annotations, I used the app Annotable. They are not a sponsor, just a very cool app and one I want to share with you all!

Why iPad vs Mac

I love my iPad, so much so that I created a blog for it. It’s clear that I talk a lot about how to use an iPad as a “laptop replacement“” but I never have gone into why I chose to do this.

To explain this there are two schools of thought, one being why I personally chose this and then the reasons that can be universal to everyone.

Personal Reasons

Federico Viticci really changed how I looked at the iPad and is one of the biggest reasons I picked up my iPad for something other than Netflix and YouTube. It all started with him and his blog MacStories and his story of how while he was battling cancer he found a way to write on his blog with the iPad. This lead to him finding ways to use that device for everything he did. Knowing how someone can turn this big slab of glass into a work horse of a machine-made me really rethink of what you need from a computer, even what a computer actually was.

From there it was my curiosity and persistence to throw everything I could at these machines to see what stuck and what didn’t. To continue with the spaghetti metaphor, I found most of what I threw at the wall stuck.

I needed a machine that can handle multiple areas of my life: podcasting, writing, and the occasional image editing. All three of these things were handled in some capacity or another, some with less friction, and others with more. No matter the obstacles I had to hurdle there was a solution to allow me to use this tablet as my main machine, and that was easily the hard part of the battle. I was able to store my laptop away from my desk and accomplish everything I wanted with just my iPad Air 2, and now my iPad Pro.

But my personal reasons are just a portion of why I use the iPad. I also have some more general reasons that I think goes further than just my personal journey.

General Reasons

My personal reasons were much more intimate, but for the general reasons I wanted to list them out and just show how many reasons there are for me, and possibly you, to use an iPad over any other computer.

Portability

Having the ability to carry a tablet that weighs light enough to hold as a book in my hand-made even my MacBook Air seems cumbersome. The iPad is the epitome of a portable computer and having to take my computer with me to work and other places regularly this meant my bag was getting a lot lighter.

Ease of Use

David Sparks of MacSparky has said before that working on the iPad such a “delight.” I couldn’t agree more with him in the regard. Something about being able to move things with your fingers directly on-screen is much more satisfying than using a trackpad on any Mac. It felt like the future when I can actually move a piece of text or part of an image with the tips of my fingers.

There is also something special with the Apple Pencil as an input device. I know there are things you can buy to use a stylus with a computer but The Apple Pencil has no frills or hiccups because it is an Apple product for Apple devices. The Apple Pencil isn’t something I use all the time but when I do I am elated to have it. I jot notes down with it, markup PDFs, even just use to fight RSI when I get cramps on my hands. I posted some other reasons to use an Apple Pencil as well if you’re considering getting one. 

Battery Life

Charging my Macbook was a given when I decided to take it outside my desk, which meant that I also needed to find a place to do my work that had an outlet readily available. Finding a place to work that also has seating at or near an electrical outlet made my goal to find somewhere to work outside my home very undesirable.

iOS Software

Development for iOS is on a much more secure foundation than macOS is in my opinion. Buying a Mac App isn’t as easy as a one-stop shop that is the iTunes Store. The Mac App Store has had its issues over the past several years and it doesn’t look like there is a light at the end of the tunnel just yet.

Ability to Focus

One of the big reasons I love the iPad is because it allows me to focus on what matters. With a Mac or PC of any kind it is way too easy to have your writing app next to a YouTube video or search for things and go down a Wikipedia rabbit hole. With only having just one or two apps up and nothing else in the way I can find ways to focus on the things that matter.

Conclusion

So there are a plethora of reasons for me to love the iPad, but this is more about why you love the iPad. I hope these reasons helped explain that. If I missed something or you would like to add to this feel free to comment below!

3 Ways to Stay Focused on Your iPad

Many people, like myself, work on an iPad because they love iOS and prefer it over macOS or Windows. They also do it because it inherently makes you focus on one or two applications at a time, leaving distractions behind.However, the human brain is great at finding things you can do to procrastinate from getting things done. If your main machine is an iPad, chances are you don’t just have apps for your work on it. You probably have streaming services, music, games, and more to occupy your free time; but what if you find yourself using those apps instead of doing your important work? Today we are going to look at that and see what options there are to limit this kind of behavior.

1. Delete Unnecessary Apps

The simplest solution could be to remove the distractions entirely. Delete the YouTube app, the games, music and anything else you catch yourself using instead using doing the work that matters.

This can be great for people who live by the mantra “out of sight, out of mind.” However, this can’t always be accomplished because we want to use these apps when we’re not doing work and downloading those apps over and over again when we want them is too much of a hassle. If this is the case for you the next option could be what you need.

2. Move Them to a Different Page on the Home Screen

If you do find yourself needing to keep apps like YouTube, VLC, Twitter, etc. for various reasons you can still keep them “out of sight” by having it on a separate home screen.

This not only allows you to keep the apps for luxury time, but it also puts that barrier up so you have to tell yourself that you are going to this page because you want to do something that is meant for free time.

I am a big on the idea of having different areas on your devices for different goals you want to accomplish, so this is one I recommend to many.

But what if you aren’t too keen on the idea of having a second page on the home screen? Then look not further than the next option you have.

3. Nest Them all in a Folder

If you are one of those types of people who hate a second page on their home screen (like me) you can still keep those distracting apps on the home screen but as its own folder tucked away for when you need those breaks from the hustle and bustle of work.

I suggest naming the folder something that reminds you what you’re doing to yourself if you decide to go rogue on your big plans of work for the day. This is why I have a folder called “Time Waste.”

The name can be anything you want but I recommend it be something that your brain will recognize as something you shouldn’t be doing when you have something on your to-do list that needs to be done.


So if you are like many and mix between work and play on your iPad these tricks can help you stay focused to the tasks at hand.

Let us know what you think, or share your own tips to stay focused on the iPad, in the comments below!

Learn How to Use Workflow

The beloved app Workflow, which was purchased by Apple back in March, has been in use for many pro users in iOS for years now. If you are someone who is not familiar with this app the best way to explain it is from Workflow’s website:

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows. Providing hundreds of actions that interact with the apps and content on your device, Workflow opens up infinite possibilities of what you can do with your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.

workflow on iphone

Workflow can be the app you use to make your iPad the one and only tool you need to get your work done because it bridges so

many gaps between seperate apps and allows you to focus less on how you can get your things done and lets you focus more on what it is you want to get done.

So, we here at Tablet Habit wanted to share with you a list of great places already on the internet where you can learn how to get started with the app, or even help you sharpen your skills if you’re a more seasoned user of the app.

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Read Later Services: What You Can Do with Them

Have you ever wanted to save an article for later while browsing the net and not know what to do? Well there are several apps for that, and they are called Read Later Services. Many of them have the ability to save web pages from the internet to a cloud service, and you can even read it while you are offline within the app.
But Read Later Services like Pocket, Instapaper, and — to an extent — Apple’s Reading List built in Safari can do so much more than just save an article to read later. It can be a powerful tool if you use it the right way.

Here are some uses you can do with your Read Later Service of choice.

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5 Things You Can Do with the Apple Pencil (it’s Not Just Drawing)

The Apple Pencil is a wonderful tool for artists who want to draw and create something on a digital canvas, but what about those people with no artistic talent? Is the Apple Pencil useless for them? Absolutely not!Don’t believe me? Here are 5 things non-artists can do with the Apple Pencil on their iPad Pros.

DISCLAIMER: While the Apple Pencil is the main focus of this article, it is not necessary. So if you have an iPad Air or the latest iPad a 3rd party Stylus will work just fine for most of these things (except Instant Notes). So don’t feel left out if you don’t have an iPad Pro. This is also for all you non-Pro users!

1. Image Markup

iOS 11 really outdid itself when it came to screenshots. Now, instead of having to dig through Photos to find that screenshot you took, when you take the screenshot it shows up on the bottom left-hand corner for you to tap on and markup.

From there you can do things like make annotations on a webpage, circle where your mom needs to go in the settings, or anything else you need to do to get your point across to someone in the screenshot.

I use this more often than when I had a Workflow to annotate screenshots back in iOS 10 and earlier. Something about being able to natively edit a screenshot without having to leave what I’m looking at is so satisfying and convenient.

Give it a shot next time you need to write on a screenshot, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a great video from Apple Insider that shows you just how powerful screenshot markup and Instant Notes (which is next!) can be.

2. Instant Notes

iOS 11 really made the Notes app a very viable option to handle your ideas, writings, sketches, and more thanks to improved Apple Pencil support and a ton of backend improvements in the app as well.

The one feature you may not know about though is the fact you can tap on the lock screen with your Pencil and a new Note will appear for you to sketch on and make notes.

This is especially useful for students who need to write out something their professor is saying quickly so they don’t miss anything. It is also useful if you are the kind of person who needs to take notes for meetings at work or you need to get your ideas out of your head and on to a page immediately.

3. A Secondary Input Device

If you are like many who get cramps and pains when working in the same position, you might have RSI. RSI is more serious than an occasional strain or a little discomfort, it can be permanent if you don’t do something about it.

One thing that can be very helpful is switching how you do your work. Instead of constantly using your hand on the iPad you can switch over to the Pencil as an input device as it totally changes what muscles you’re using and allows the body to keep from straining.

Also, if you don’t have any indications of RSI it is still nice to be able to change things up from a mental perspective. If we get too complacent on how we do our work your brain isn’t going to be stimulated and you may fall behind in your work. Changing things up can be helpful for you the next time you have to be on your iPad for a long period of time. Not to mention a Pencil is much more comfortable to use when navigating your iPad whilst it is upright for keyboard use.

4. Email Files Markup

If you aren’t the type to take lots of screenshots and/or notes, markup could still be useful for you when handling email and files from your friends, coworkers, or family.

For instance, if you get a PDF of a contract you need to sign or you need to go over someone else’s work you can simply open it up within Mail. From there you can make any annotations or markings that are necessary and send it right back to the person who sent it to you. This can be extremely handy if you are the type of person who needs to sign everything during work or even in your personal life. You just need to open the file up and tap the Markup button.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how you can do this.

Add Signiture

Signature Added

Share Signed Document

Please note, this kind of Markup is available on the stock Mail app. There may be some 3rd party apps you can find that offer something similar to this, but if you plan on using this feature a lot, we suggest you use Apple’s Mail app.

5. Mind-Mapping

Speaking of getting things out of your head and on to the page, mind-mapping is a very handy exercise for new projects you are working on.

From new personal projects to a new client at work, you can really improve your thinking process on what is necessary to accomplish your goals with a simple mind-map. This allows you to get everything out of your head and on to something you can have in front of you to determine what is important and what isn’t.

If you can’t think of anything right now to mind-map maybe just try this technique from Jenny Blake on setting goals for yourself across all of the aspects in your life. It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do in the next year, and mind-mapping it can be cathartic.

Conclusion

So whether it is to provide tech-support, handle files sent to you at work, or even higher-level thinking like setting goals for yourself, the Apple Pencil is a powerful tool you can use to help you get things done. If you have an Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro and feel like you aren’t getting your moneys-worth, try one or two of these things out today and see if it helps you.

Did we miss something you can use the Apple Pencil for without any artistic talent? Let us know in the comments below!

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4 Things You Can Do with Your Old iPad

As we all know, it’s been some time since Apple pulled the plug on supporting the original iPad. With the last update it received being from the iOS 5 era, one would think that the original behemoth is nothing but an expensive paperweight. But, think again! While it may be particularly difficult to find apps that still support the device there are quite a few things that can still be done with it. Here are just a few things we came up with.

Music Player

The biggest use that I still get out of the iPad is music, something extremely simple and easy to pull off. If I am in a music mood and my other tablets are dead or are dying I plug it into my sound system and rock out! Since the tablet is no longer supported by most apps that are around today, most of my music comes from my own personal library and I just loaded them on via iTunes. Aside from that this iPad, mine at least still has a pretty decent battery life.

WEB BROWSING

Sometimes I like to surf the web or post to Facebook before bed and even though it might be a little slow at times it gets the job done. It’s also great for emails, watching a few YouTube videos, and even catching up on your e-books! I check my emails and browse social media via Safari but I do most of my reading on the Amazon Kindle app.

ALARM

Because I usually leave my iPad on my nightstand I sometimes use it as an alarm clock! I went and purchased a metal frame from my local dollar store, something kind of similar to this MoKo stand, to prop it up on and downloaded the Nightstand Central app, one of the few still supported by the original iPad. While you can’t wake up to your favorite song you can still wake up to several other soothing sounds provided by the app itself.

PHOTO  STORAGE

Another great use that I get out of the device is a place to store a few photos. While you can’t  necessarily store much, you can add a few recent vacation photos to the iPad and have it be a digital photo album to pass around with friends and family. For this, I simply use Apple’s Photos app that ships with the iPad.

Conclusion

With all of the above being said, it’s pretty obvious that you can still squeeze a bit of use out of that 1st generation iPad that’s sitting in your nightstand drawer collecting dust. We’d love to hear how our Tablet Habit readers still manage to use their old iPads, sound off in the comments section and let us know how you still use your yours!

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