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Posts tagged with "iOS 11"

More Great Shelf Apps to Boost iPad Productivity

Left to right: Yoink, Gladys, Copied

Left to right: Yoink, Gladys, Copied

Last month after iOS 11’s launch I pulled together a roundup of iPad apps belonging to a whole new category of apps. Dropped, Workshelf, The Shelf, and Scrawl Pouch all launched as manifestations of Federico’s dream for a drag and drop-powered temporary holding place for content on the iPad. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, here’s how I described it in my last shelf roundup:

The need for a shelf springs from the addition of drag and drop to iOS 11. It’s not always practical to drag content directly from one app to another; sometimes you know you’ll need that content soon, but you’re not ready to drop it elsewhere yet. Additionally, in some situations you may wish to drop the same data into multiple places over a short period of time, and it can be cumbersome to re-open the data’s source app to pull it out multiple times. A shelf can solve these problems: it serves as a temporary resting place for anything you know you’ll need quick access to soon. In this way it can serve a role similar to the macOS desktop, which is commonly used as a temporary holding zone.

While all the apps I originally highlighted continue to fill this role well, several additional quality apps have launched that bring new things to the table in this young category of apps.

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Pixelmator for iOS Adds Drag and Drop Support and HEIF Compatibility

Following just a few days behind Pixelmator for Mac, which recently received support for HEIF and editing files stored in Apple Photos, Pixelmator for iOS was updated today with the aforementioned HEIF support – Apple’s new file format for images in iOS 11 – as well as drag and drop support on iPad.

Drag and drop enables, as you might expect, moving images and graphics out of or into Pixelmator. Dropping images into a work in progress will import them all as new layers. Depending on the size and number of images you’re dropping, there may be a brief delay before they appear in your working document, but overall this action works well. When it comes to dragging content out of Pixelmator, you’ll need to do it with a single layer at a time – once you’ve lifted a layer, you can’t use drag and drop to pick up any additional layers. In a document containing many different layers, this can be fairly limiting, but there is a type of workaround: you can merge layers together in the sidebar to then drag the newly merged layer out of the app as a single image. Unfortunately, this only solves the problem if you want both layers permanently combined into one when dropping them elsewhere.

This layer merge technique is the only way I’ve discovered to drag a final image, containing multiple layers, out of Pixelmator and into another app – if you don’t want to first merge all layers together, you’ll have to use a more traditional data transfer technique like the share sheet. I would have liked to see drag and drop enabled within Pixelmator’s main image browser for moving a completed image out of the app, or for importing photos into the app to edit later. Currently, long-pressing an item from the image browser simply engages rearrange mode.

One nice side effect of drag and drop support is that when dealing with layers that don’t fit inside your canvas – such as an image you’ve dragged in that’s larger than the canvas itself – previously it was difficult to easily determine how large the full layer was. But now, grabbing the layer and watching it lift from the screen will provide a view of the full image, regardless of canvas size. Once you start dragging the layer away, it will shrink into a smaller drag preview, but until that move is engaged, the lifted image will be shown in full.

Despite its limitations, drag and drop support in Pixelmator is definitely great to have; before today I have tried several times to drag images into the app only to remember I couldn’t do that yet. Perhaps when the upcoming Pixelmator Pro arrives on the iPad, it will include a richer implementation of drag and drop. Until then, I’m grateful to have one less app limiting my iPad drag and drop experience.


GoodNotes Adds Drag and Drop Flexibility

Drag and drop is a natural fit for a note taking app like GoodNotes. The app excels as a way to capture handwritten or typed notes, but one of its greatest strengths is the ability to combine notes with other media, which drag and drop makes easier than ever.

GoodNotes has one of the best ink engines of any note taking app I’ve used. You can choose from a preset selection of ink colors and line widths or customize them to suit your taste. There’s a highlighter tool for marking up your notes or other documents too. The lasso tool lets you select notes and other on-screen elements to move them on the page or, in the case of handwritten notes, convert them to text.

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Apple Previews Emoji Coming in iOS 11.1

On World Emoji Day, Apple provided a sneak peek at some of the emoji it was working on for iOS 11. Today, Apple revealed that the new emoji will debut in iOS 11.1:

Hundreds of new emoji, including more emotive smiley faces, gender-neutral characters, clothing options, food types, animals, mythical creatures and more, are coming to iPhone and iPad with iOS 11.1.

The first chance to try the new emoji will come in the second beta of iOS 11.1, which BuzzFeed News reports will be released on Monday, October 9th.

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Create a Real-World Masterpiece with Paint Space AR

One of my all-time favorite tech demos is Tilt Brush, a VR painting experience where you can create art in 3D on the HTC Vive. Immediately, you begin seeing the potential of VR artistry, allowing artists to utilize tools not available in the real world. By creating free-floating structures with unique brushes, Tilt Brush was my first exposure to what the future of digital art could look like.

Paint Space AR is Tilt Brush for the AR world, enabling you to create interesting pieces of art right where you are. With AR, though, Paint Space has a unique advantage: instead of having to create something in a simulated space, you’re able to paint on objects right in front of you.

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Google Drive Now Supports iOS 11’s Files App

Following the lead of Dropbox last week, Google Drive’s iOS app has now been updated with full support for the new Files app in iOS 11. This means all Google Drive files can be accessed and managed alongside files from other cloud providers like iCloud Drive and Dropbox.

By replacing its legacy file extension with the new Files integration, Google Drive gains access to the full benefits of the Files app. You can now easily copy Google Drive files to or from other cloud services, organize files in a folder saved to the Favorites sidebar, add tags, use drag and drop to move files within the Files app or even into other apps, and much more.

Unfortunately, previews for Google Docs and Google Sheets files are not available within the Files app, so viewing them requires tapping the documents to load them in their respective separate apps. And oddly, every time you open one, the Google Drive app is opened first before you’re taken to the proper Docs or Sheets app – a seemingly unnecessary first step. Another drawback is that unlike the Files integration of Dropbox, Google Drive offers no ability whatsoever to manage file sharing from within Files – that will still require going through the full Google Drive app.

Shortcomings aside, the greatest benefits of Files support are still available with Google Drive: all your files are in one place, and drag and drop transforms the way you get files in and out of Google Drive.


1Writer Update Includes Open in Place and Drag and Drop Support

Before I moved to Ulysses for most of my writing, I used 1Writer. At first, it was how I accessed my large collection of NVAlt notes when I wasn’t at my Mac because its search is exceptionally fast. Over time though, it became my primary text editor because it syncs with iCloud and Dropbox, works with Markdown files, has excellent export options, is highly customizable, and supports URL schemes and JavaScript actions. I don’t use 1Writer as often these days, but it remains one of my favorite text editors, so I was glad to see it has been updated to take advantage of new iOS 11 features.

The latest version of 1Writer supports Open in Place via iOS 11’s new document browser. Tap the omnipresent plus button in the lower right-hand corner of 1Writer and choose ‘Open Other…’ to launch iOS 11’s document browser. 1Writer has tinted the navigation elements of the document browser, which helps remind users that they are still in 1Writer, which is a nice touch that not all apps bother to support. With Open in Place, 1Writer can edit the Markdown or plain-text files of any file provider. For example, that allows me to grab a draft from one of our MacStories GitHub repos via the Working Copy file provider to make edits to the original document without creating a local 1Writer copy of the file.

1Writer supports Open in Place.

1Writer supports Open in Place.

1Writer also supports two-way drag and drop. I can drag any document from 1Writer’s document browser and drop it into another compatible app that accepts text like iA Writer, Byword, or Notes. I was also able to attach a 1Writer file to a message using Apple Mail.

Dragging into 1Writer works too. 1Writer can handle text and URLs, so it disregards images included in something like a note from the Notes app, but will set up Markdown syntax for an image if you drag in just a photo. If you drag into an existing 1Writer document, the text and links are appended to the end of the document.

1Writer has also added support for smart punctuation, which, for example, replaces straight quotes with the curly variety, and is iPhone X-ready.

1Writer is one of the most versatile text editors available. The addition of Open in Place means the app can be used with a wider variety of apps than ever before and drag and drop eliminates the number of steps needed to get text into and out of 1Writer. If you’re looking for a text editor that is at the forefront of iOS 11 technologies, 1Writer is an excellent choice.

1Writer is available on the App Store.


Fantastical Gains Drag and Drop Support on iPad and iPhone

One of the most valuable advantages of digital calendars over physical ones is how much easier they are to manage. For example, the concept of a recurring event is easy for calendar apps to grasp, while adding the same event to a physical calendar can be both a time drain and a literal pain in your dominant hand. After recurring events, I’d guess that rescheduling is the next greatest pain point for physical calendar users. There’s erasing and re-writing involved when dealing with something physical, whereas with calendar apps you simply scroll the little date spinner to adjust a rescheduled event. Or if you’re using Fantastical, then thanks to the addition of drag and drop you can simply pick a task up and drop it on the new date.


On both iPhone and iPad, drag and drop in Fantastical empowers easy event rescheduling, and it also enables you to drag and drop reminders to set new due dates for them. The drag and drop support on iPad is more extensive, of course, allowing you to bring events and reminders out of Fantastical and into the app of your choice. Drag events into a Mail.app compose field and they’ll send as ICS files. Add them to a text editor and they’ll expand to include all attached information, such as location data, notes, and more. Similarly, reminders dropped elsewhere include their additional metadata as well. You can also drop text from other apps into Fantastical to create new events: simply hold the text over the day you want to create an event on, and drop. The text will be pre-filled in a new event creation dialogue, letting you add additional details then and there, or hit the Add button to complete it.

The pace of new apps adding support for drag and drop on iOS has been encouraging. There’s still plenty of work to be done by third-party developers, but we’re moving quickly toward the day when all of the main apps we use on a daily basis will be able to send and receive information in the most natural way possible.

Fantastical is available on the App Store for iPhone and iPad.