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Here's how you can create your own micro-apps on your iPhone

Workflow allows you to create custom tasks on your iPhone by combining actions from existing apps.

Image: Workflow

FOR THOSE OF you who are on iOS, you might already be familiar with Workflow, but if not, it’s a way of combining apps together and creating your own automated tasks.

While you already have the likes of IFTTT on iOS and Android and Launch Centre Pro on iOS, Workflow (€2.99 on iOS) focuses mainly on first-party apps (with a few third-party services thrown in for good measure) as well as simplicity and ease of use.

You can also place them on your home screen, creating your own micro-apps for future use.

What exactly is Workflow?

Essentially, Workflow tells apps to combine actions and complete tasks, creating your own mini-apps that you can access any time.

Through it, you can get it to carry out tasks like taking multiple photos and saving them as a GIF on your phone, looking up lyrics of a song you’re playing, and look up directions for the next event you’re attending.

While it sounds complicated to do, it’s done through dragging and dropping actions and works better in practice.

There’s a handy tutorial which will show you the basics, but even if you do feel a little bit lost after it, there are a collection of pre-made workflows in gallery should you need more inspiration. It’s worth familiarising yourself with these first before you start creating your own.

The only drawback is that tasks don’t act automatically – you have to activate a workflow each time you want to use it – but adding them to the home screen is a way of getting around that.

Workflow 2 Source: Workflow

What can you do

While you are provided with a list of suggested actions based on what actions you’ve already carried out, all actions can be found under one of the following sections.

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Documents
  • Maps
  • Music
  • Photos and videos
  • Scripting (anything that requires you to write or type something in like a URL)
  • Sharing
  • Text
  • Web

Creating a workflow

Creating one is pretty easy to begin with, thanks to the drag and drop mechanism Workflow uses. For this example, we’re going to show how to create a GIF and email it to yourself.

1) Tap ‘Create Workflow’.
2) Tap actions (or swipe left to right) and find the action you want to start off with. For this example, we’ll choose ‘Take photo’.
3) Hold and drag ‘Take Photo’ to the right (to workflow) and make whatever adjustments to it you need.
4) Go back to actions, drag ‘create GIF’ and place it underneath ‘Take Photo’.
5) Repeat with ‘Quick Look’ (offers a preview of your GIF) and ‘send email’ and enter in your email address.
6) Press play and let Workflow do its magic.

Once that’s done, you can press the gear icon to change the name of your workflow so it’s easier to find.

Workflow 4

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Lining up multiple actions

Actions aren’t limited to just one thing, you can set together a chain of actions that will carry out as soon as you start it. Using the above example, you could also drag in additional actions like ‘posting to Twitter’, resize image or ‘save to Dropbox’.

That’s just one example mind and it’s worth visiting the gallery to see what else you can do.

Workflow 3 Source: Workflow

Creating micro-apps

Adding one to your home screen is a little more long-winded than you would expect, but it’s pretty simple to do.

1) Tap the share button at the top-left hand corner.
2) Select add to home screen.
3) Choose icon colour.
4) When it redirects you to Safari, hit the share button at the button and select ‘add to home screen’.
5) And now you can access it whenever you want.

Workflow Source: Workflow

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About the author:

Quinton O'Reilly

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