Workflow For iOS

3 January 2015

Workflow, App Store:

Workflow is your personal automation tool, enabling you to drag and drop any combination of actions to create powerful workflows.

Workflow includes over 100 actions, including those for Contacts, Calendar, Maps, Music, Photos, Camera, Reminders, Safari, AirDrop, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, Evernote, and iCloud Documents, to name a few.

I’m not sure what to say about Workflow. iOS places too many constraints on third-party apps for Workflow to ever fully satisfy what I want from an app like this. A forgiving mentality would say that this is the best implementation they could make within the system-imposed limits. I can’t think at that kind of level, though. Personally, I’m left frustrated that the app can only do so much. I don’t care that the reason for the shortcomings is outside of the developer’s control.

The only way an automation app will ever meet my standards is if Apple made it and created a plethora of integration points to enable complex interactions between apps. Given Apple’s lack of attention for Automator on OS X, I doubt that will ever happen.

Workflow caters for a slim slice of the user base that has no ambition of doing more. Frankly, Apple shouldn’t have featured this app in the way that they did. Novices will be lost — the app is too complicated for most people. For those who do understand it, once the novelty wears off, the app will fall into disuse once the walls are hit. A Mac (and/or a set of dedicated iOS apps) is better at all of the tasks Workflow can offer, simple as that. If you don’t have a Mac, then you’ll get lasting value out of Workflow.