While I have a long term relationship with my iPhone, the true meaning of mobile for me is pulling out my iPhone and getting something done quickly while waiting in traffic at a stoplight, in line to order fast-food, or in the morning after my alarm goes off.
These type of iPhone communication apps include Triage for quickly checking emails, Pastie for pasting quick snippets to text, Swipy for quickly emailing myself, Reach Fast for quickly locating contacts, and Scraps for quickly writing notes and saving or exporting them somewhere else. I have covered similar apps for using your iPhone while driving, but these are apps for anytime, and anywhere, including in and beyond the car.
I’ve written about novel mail client apps for the iPhone, including Mailbox and Mail Pilot, but when I want to cut through my emails like slicing up an apple, I launch Triage. Like the other apps below, Triage has a simple swipe up and down feature for archiving or keeping individual emails, delivered to you in a stack.
That’s it. That’s all it does. Swipe down to keep a message in your inbox, or swipe up to remove it. You can also of course, reply to selected messages. Triage is compatible with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, iCloud Mail accounts, and most email services that support IMAP.
Unfortunately in order to get messages off our iPhones many of us still email ourselves. This is where Swipy comes in. It allows you to write notes on virtual scraps of paper, swipe the page to the right, and the app will send the note to your designated email or Dropbox account. There’s no tapping, selecting folders, or even responding to an annoying pop-up.
Swipy also allows you to attach a photo, and it’s compatible with popular services like Evernote, Remember the Milk, and the iOS version of TextExpander.
Scraps for iPhone ($0.99)
Scraps is similar to Swipy , but it conveniently saves all your scrap notes in a list and folders. There are plenty of notes apps with similar features to Scraps, but this app is just for writing a quick note that probably would not go into your Apple Notes, Evernote or Sprinpgad notebook. I’ve also reviewed five other alternative notes apps for iOS devices that you might be interested in.
Notes can be password-protected, managed in folders, copied to the clipboard or exported to Mail, Messages, or Twitter. The app includes iCloud integration for syncing notes between iOS devices.
Fliite is a Twitter client that is not so much fast as it is convenient. Even though you may already have a favorite Twitter app on your iPhone with all the bells and whistles, Fliite does one simple thing well: it allows you to send a tweet to a group of selected Twitter contacts.
You don’t have to write the contacts’ names, just select their icon from your Twitter list and your tweet is ready for sending.
I use Pastie (there’s also a free lite version) for quickly pasting snippets of text to designated family members and a few select friends. For example, when I pick up my daughter or when I’m running late, I can choose the snippet, “I’m here,” or “5 minutes away,” both of which are set up to message my daughter directly. I have similar snippets for my wife.
If I need to message someone directions to my house, I have a Pastie snippet to do just that. I also have snippets for written responses to phone calls, such as “I’m in a meeting. Will call you back.” Of course, in the latest version of iOS 6 for the iPhone, you can create similar voicemail snippets.
Reach Fast Contacts (Free)
There’s something about Apple’s default Contacts app that has always felt a little slow and cumbersome. Though I’ve tolerated all the tapping that needs to be done to locate a contact, a recently developed app called Reach Fast does what its name says. It incorporates the handy swiping features of the iPhone so you can quickly search, locate, call, and add contacts on your iPhone.
Instead of scrolling down and tapping to send a message to a contact as you do in Apple’s Contacts app, simply swipe left on a name and up pops the message window. If you want to make a quick call, simply tap on the name. There is also an optional feature to confirm calls before they are made.
You can arrange the contacts list by first or last name, or chronologically. It also lists your Favorites and most recently called contacts, inline. I especially like that you can view the photo icon of each of your contacts inline as well for faster searching. And finally, when you want to add a new contact (see the above screenshot), simply tap on the plus “+” button and type in the info. Other nimble features include Swiping left or right on the number keys to move between text and number fields. It’s these kinds of quick features that have caused me to move Reach Fast to the first Home Screen on my iPhone, and put Apple’s Contacts app in a folder of least used apps.
That’s it for this round of quick notes. There are several more iPhone communication apps out there, so let us know a few of your favorites as well as what you think of this list in the comments, below.