Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
iPhone Integration Rating:
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Workflow: Powerful Automation Made Simple is probably one of the most comprehensive and accurate names for an app. This tool allows iOS users to create strings of actions that can work in tandem to complete a complex task or various simple tasks at once, all at the touch of a button. For power users on iOS this idea might not be new, but Workflow is a great new entry point for budding iOS automation tinkerers.
Some might be asking "what the heck is iOS automation?" Fair question. If users have always wanted a more elegant or quicker way to cross-post content across social media, share their location with their favorite contacts, search nearby businesses, or make their own gifs, apps like Workflow allow for all of this to be done within one app and in a way that is completely customizable. As someone that has always thought the "app-centric" navigation of phones was clunky, apps of this nature are very intuitive.
Imagine an interface where, when I arrive at a location, I can swipe a notification that sends where I am to a favorite contact, or where I can touch a button to pull up directions to the location of my next meeting as specified by my calendar. This is the dream of the action-based phone interface, and Workflow takes iOS one step closer to a reality where things like this are possible.
After creating any given workflow, users can add them to other automation apps like Launch Center Pro or even use iOS 8's share sheet to add a workflow to the home screen. Workflow boasts a nice gallery of pre-made workflows for beginners to get their feet wet, but the interface for creating wholly custom workflows is also intuitive and helpful by offering suggested next steps after initial actions have been put in place.
While Workflow's integration with iOS is great and its interface is more intuitive than most of its competition, the app still feels a little lacking for those that have used other automation apps. This makes it feel more like an accompaniment app than it does a replacement for anyone that has already dabbled with things like Drafts and Launch Center Pro. Part of the reason could also be the fact that Workflow is still pretty new. While hunting for older automation app workflows is relatively easy at this point, there are few tools beyond the gallery that let users explore some of the crazier features and functionality that Workflow offers.
Overall, the goal of apps like Workflow is to make routine actions that usually take quite a few taps or input to take much fewer taps or automate the input process entirely. While it definitely delivers on this promise in a way that is visually appealing, it doesn't quite seem like the end-all-be-all automation app. Yet.