Workflow, the clever if somewhat geeky app aimed at iOS power users that helps you automate frequent tasks you perform on your iPhone or tablet, like ordering an Uber to your next event, making a GIF from your photos, creating reminders that alert you when you arrive at a particular destination, playing a favorite album, and much more, is out this morning with a notable update.
The app now offers a Today Widget for iOS devices that makes it even easier and quicker to run your workflows. Instead of launching the Workflow app, you can now kick off your automations just by pulling down on the Notification Center and tapping on the item you want to run.
This powerful feature wouldn’t have been possible before Apple relaxed its rules around how its Today Widgets operate. As you may recall, Apple initially hesitated to allow widgets that launched other apps installed on your phone, having once banned a popular newcomer to the space called Launcher from its App Store, much to users’ dismay.
But the company later changed course this spring, and allowed Launcher back in. That set a precedent for developers who wanted to build other widgets capable of launching apps, like Workflow now does with its own widget.
Similar to the automations users built within the app previously, the updated version lets you quickly drag-and-drop items from a list of suggested actions to build your own Today Widget workflow, or browse through a gallery of pre-built workflows to get ideas. There, you’ll find a special “Today Widget” section that helps you discover useful shortcuts ranging from utilities (like “pizza assistant” or “directions to next event”), to quick actions (speed dial, play a playlist, etc.) to sharing or health-related shortcuts (log a run or your weight) and others.
After clicking the “get workflow” button or building a workflow of your own, your new Today Widget automations can be launched with a tap right from iOS’ Notification Center. Arguably, this is now Workflow’s killer feature – before, the app could get buried on your iPhone’s back screen where it was forgotten about, but having its own widget could turn it into something you use daily.
Despite seeming like something that may only appeal to a niche crowd of passionate, power users, Workflow is doing fairly well for a mobile application priced at $4.99. According to Ari Weinstein, a co-founder at DeskConnect, the company behind Workflow, the app has hundreds of thousands of users.
The company is also profitable, he tells us, even though it hasn’t raised money. (“Though we are considering it,” he notes.)
Along with widget support, the updated app also introduces a number of new actions, including several health-related actions, a few network-related actions (e.g. get your IP address or network details), and more. Plus, several current actions have been improved – for instance, you can now output high-res photos, send video or audio in WhatsApp, tweet videos, or take photos without tapping the shutter, for example, among other things. In total, Workflow offers over 200 actions to choose from.
In addition, there’s a new “Workflow Sync” feature, which will automatically back up your workflows and sync them between devices.
Today’s launch follows the app’s recent update which introduced Apple Watch support, allowing you to run workflows right from your wrist. The new version of Workflow is rolling out to the iTunes App Store here.