Launch Actions, not Apps, with LaunchCenter Pro

There’s a tap for that.

by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)
by Colter Reed
2:07 read (647 words)

The iPhone (and smartphones in general) has become a powerful productivity tool.

But some tasks take too many taps. Like driving directions. I love having driving directions on my phone. That’s one of the killer apps for a smartphone—possibly more useful than making a phone call.

I can get directions to someplace I’ve never been. I can discover new routes I haven’t considered before, especially when I’m starting in unfamiliar territory. Even when I know every turn, I’ll still pull up directions for the traffic updates and ETA.

So I’m frequently getting directions to the same places. If I have the address in my contacts list, Siri can easily get directions. “Hey, Siri… how do I get to Ron’s house?”

Sometimes, Siri has a hard time recognizing a name. Or I just need to be more discreet. It’s not too hard to get directions to your next appointment, and I can certainly get directions from a contact card or searching in Maps.

But that’s a lot of taps.

Fortunately, there’s a way to automate a lot of the actions you take on your iPhone and reduce an action to a single tap. Maybe a tap and slide.

LaunchCenter Pro lets you open apps directly to an action. Basically, anything you can do on your phone (or iPad) by opening a URL, you can create an action for. And you can do a surprising lot.

Let’s start by creating an action to find our way home.

  1. Open LaunchCenter Pro.
  2. Tap the pencil icon to start editing.
  3. Tap on one of the available slots to create a new action.
  4. Tap on Action Composer.
  5. Tap on Featured Apps.
  6. Tap on Maps.
  7. Tap on Directions from Current Location.
  8. Change the Name to “Directions Home”.
  9. Enter your home address next to End.
  10. Tap Done.

(If you prefer, you can use Google Maps instead. I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader.)

Congratulations! You just made your first action! Tap Done again to return to the dashboard. You should see a new action named “Directions Home”. Tap it to try it out! (Note: if you’re at home as you’re doing this, it won’t be very interesting.)

Any time you find yourself performing the same sequence of steps over and over again, it’s a candidate for automation. On iOS, that probably means LaunchCenter Pro for single-step “fire and forget” actions or Shortcuts for longer and more interactive workflows. (The best part is that LaunchCenter Pro and Shortcuts work well together.)

Part of the fun of automating with LaunchCenter Pro is discovering what you can do with it. Confirm your appointment with your trainer, send the last photo to a group, or create a journal entry with writing prompts. It’s flexible and powerful.

Question: What routine task would you like to reduce to a single tap? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.