How to Automate Tasks in iOS Using This Simple App (Video)
This has to be the most useful app ever on iOS. It’s called Workflow and it’s made by Apple (even though they don’t promote it very much). The concept is rather clever. The app has tons of triggers and actions that you can string together and then run by simply tapping on the widget button. It starts at the top and then works its way down to the bottom and outputs whatever it is you need. And, because it is made by Apple, it actually has access to system things that any other third-party app wouldn’t have, making it far more powerful.
Some examples the app itself gives you are things like logging your caffeine by pushing a button then choosing whether it was a soda, coffee, or espresso, what size it was, and then adding that to the health app. Or a button to grab the top stories from Apple News. Or automatically make a collage from your photos in the gallery. Call a pizza place. And it just goes on forever.
The real use for it though isn’t so much what Apple suggests as it is the small tasks you know you have to do on a daily basis that could be made so much easier if they were more automated. Now, that is up to you guys, what that might be but an example of something for me, is when I do written articles on my site, I put a lot of screenshots in and usually they’re way to large of files to be putting on the web so it would be super helpful for me to be able to automatically resize a bunch of them at once and then upload them to my site easily. So, to show you how Workflow works, let’s use that as an example.
So first, let’s download and install Workflow from the App Store.
Open it and you can tap on Gallery to see some examples of Workflows you can just use, or create a new one by tapping on on New Workflow.
You have the options for what type of Workflow you want to make.
- Normal: Which will let you select it from inside the Workflow app.
- Today Widget: Which will let you swipe down to get to the Today screen and then have a button there to do it.
- Apple Watch: Which creates a button on your Apple watch to run the workflow.
- Action Extension: Which has the button show up in the standard share menu whenever that is brought up.
For this, I’m going to make a Normal Widget one.
Next, we need to add some actions to the workflow. Swipe to the right to get to the Actions.
Pull over whatever action you want to get started, but for this example, I’m going to use Select Photos under Photos & Videos and drag it over to the right to put it in the workflow. Then I’m going to tap multiple since I usually have multiple screenshots for each tutorial. This will have the system ask us what photos to select when we tap on the workflow button.
Then we can swipe back over to add another action to do after the first has completed (after I’ve selected all the images I want). I’m going to search for what I want by typing in Resize and then I can drag over Resize Image under Photos & Images. And I’ll select 640 as the width and height can be auto so it’ll keep the aspect ratio the same.
Now, I’m going to swipe back over to get another action to share them. I can’t directly send them to Google Drive from Workflow but I can open the share dialog and I know Google Drive is in there so I search for Share and drag that over as the last step.
Now, you can tap the gear at the top right and choose a name, icon, and adjust the type, etc.
Once satisfied, you can either leave it in the Workflow app by tapping back then Done or you can tap Add to Home Screen to launch the Workflow in Safari, then tap Share and Add to Home Screen (or tap Add to Launch Center but that’s a separate app that costs money).
I personally like to add it to the Today Screen by making it a Today Screen Workflow and then going to the Today Screen by swiping to the right, tapping Edit at the bottom and adding the Workflow Widget to the screen. It’s just the fastest way to get to the button and launch them.
My Example Workflow for Resizing Images
And here’s the result of my new workflow:
And there you go. The only real limit here is what you can think up, there’s a crap ton of options in there so good luck with coming up with things you need to do. Also, you can share your workflows with other people by clicking on the Workflow app, tapping on the Workflow, then tapping the gear and share Workflow and sending it to anyone else with the app installed.
Hope you guys enjoyed that, let me know below if you did and feel free to leave links to your Workflows below to help others out! Here’s my photo resizing one if anyone wants it. Also, don’t forget to follow me on social for more tips, tricks, and other tech stuff.