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From launching specified URLs and apps and scheduling text messages to quickly firing up the Instagram camera, Launch Center Pro ($4.99) is a handy way to perform common tasks on your iOS device. With each new upgrade, additional supported apps and actions are added that can save several taps or opening of folders. The release of the second version includes an iOS 7 redesign with several new features for customizing and adding keyboard prompts to actions.

Apps like Launch Center Pro appeal to users who want to get the most out of their iPhone or iPod touch. Launch Center Pro provides one of the best solutions for automating iPhone tasks How To Automate Your iPhone To Adapt To Your Routine How To Automate Your iPhone To Adapt To Your Routine iPhone automation is not as robust as desktop operating systems, but there are some iPhone features and apps that can help you in your daily routine if you take the time to set them up. Read More , similar to how it’s done with automation programs for the Mac, like Keyboard Maestro Automate Everything On Your Mac with Keyboard Maestro [Mac] Automate Everything On Your Mac with Keyboard Maestro [Mac] I've written several articles about Mac automation, including a MUO Automation Guide on how to get started with Apple's Automator and the built-in OS X features for creating smart folders, playlists, albums, and mailboxes. But... Read More .

The app has been on my iPhone homepage ever since I first reviewed it Do Less Tapping By Using Launch Center Pro [iPhone] Do Less Tapping By Using Launch Center Pro [iPhone] I use my iPhone several times a day for various purposes, so any way I can find to do less tapping and execute actions in a few less steps is important to my day-to-day workflow... Read More  for MakeUseOf back in October of 2012 so let’s see what the new features have to offer.

How It Works

You should read my previous article Do Less Tapping By Using Launch Center Pro [iPhone] Do Less Tapping By Using Launch Center Pro [iPhone] I use my iPhone several times a day for various purposes, so any way I can find to do less tapping and execute actions in a few less steps is important to my day-to-day workflow... Read More for a detailed look at how Launch Center Pro works, but in a nutshell it consist of actions you build for launching apps, performing web searchers, making phone calls, sending emails and text messages, or quickly adding events to your calendar. The homepage of Launch Center Pro consists of single actions or groups of actions with customized icons.

Launch Center Pro homepage

In the above screenshot, some of my actions include one for quickly sharing a photo link in Dropbox, opening the Jazz page in the iTunes Music Store, launching MakeUseOf in Safari, and a group of weekly scheduled actions for launching other apps.

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Launch Center Pro scheduled actions

Search Prompt Action

Since it was first released, Launch Center Pro has always been able to launch specified URLs, but in version 2 you can add a search term prompt action for supported websites, like the Kindle Store. Since there’s no dedicated app for the Amazon Kindle Store, I’ll create one. Here’s how you do it.

Start a new action by tapping the pencil icon. Tap on an open spot on the Edit Action page, and select Action.

New action

In the resulting page, tap on the Action Composer, which connects you to the actions and apps that support Launch Center Pro. For this search action tap on System Actions and then Safari. Notice there are several Safari related actions for launching a bookmark, a Google or Bing search, or connecting to Google Transit Directions. Choose one that is useful for you.

Searches

The action you choose will be given a default name, which you can change. Next, tap on Search Terms. You get a couple of options for the type of search you want performed. You can have Launch Center Pro prompt for a search term, which is the action on the far left of the menu. You can have it search a term on the clipboard, or you can type a specific term that you might frequently search. For this tutorial, we’ll add the keyword prompt.

Search term prompt

Tap on the prompt icon and then tap Keyboard. Next, tap Done. Version 2 offers more features for customizing and thus further distinguishing the icon for individual actions. Tap on the Icon section and then tap on Custom to change the style, color, and icon image. Notice, you can now also use a photo from your Camera Roll as an icon.

Cutomize icon

When you’re all set, tap Done. When you tap on the action, the keyboard prompt will pop up for you to enter your search term, and Launch Center Pro will launch the site, in this case the Kindle Store, and will automatically enter the search term. Currently App Store search URLs for Launch Center Pro aren’t working for iOS 7, but the developers say they will be added back when Apple fixes them.

Search terms

This page explains additional keyboard types for input prompts; for example, adding an email address code so that keyboard automatically includes the “@” key.

Dropbox Photo Post and Link

In the Action Composer, the best supporting apps are the ones that have URL schemes for a particular set of functions that you normally do with several taps. For instance, in System Actions, there’s a set of in-app Dropbox actions for quickly adding a file or photo to Dropbox and copying a link to the posted file or photo on the system clipboard, where it can be pasted wherever you need it.

System actions

To set up this Dropbox action or to create a new action, select System Actions > In-App Dropbox > Upload Last Photo & Copy Link. You can simply use the default settings or customize them.

Dropbox action

Other Third-Party Apps

When you have some time, browse the supporting third-party apps for Launch Center Pro. You may already have many of them installed on your device. Check out apps like Camera+ Camera+ for iPhone Adds Powerful Controls Without Over-Complicating Things Camera+ for iPhone Adds Powerful Controls Without Over-Complicating Things Freshly updated for iOS 7, Camera+ features a range of powerful features that will please even seasoned photographers used to shooting with digital SLRs. Read More , Fantastical 10 Productivity Apps For Your Mac-Based Home Office 10 Productivity Apps For Your Mac-Based Home Office If you work at a home-based office like I do, you no doubt spend a significant amount of time getting things done on your Mac. While I have already written about the advantages of using... Read More , Instagram New To Instagram? Top Tips For Newbies New To Instagram? Top Tips For Newbies When you’re getting started on Instagram, there are a few tips and tricks to bear in mind to make sure that you hit the ground running. The popular app is part photo-sharing site and part... Read More , Tweetbot Tweetbot 3 For iOS 7 Gets Redesign, Background Updates & New Price Tweetbot 3 For iOS 7 Gets Redesign, Background Updates & New Price Tweetbot just got a huge update for iOS 7, with a makeover and lots of new features. But even if you are an existing Tweetbot user, you'll have to pay to get the upgrade. Read More , and Yelp Get Local Reviews for Local Businesses With Yelp [iPhone] Get Local Reviews for Local Businesses With Yelp [iPhone] One of the worst issues I have with my friends is when we are driving in the car, our stomachs start rumbling, and we simply don't know where to eat. There's often tennis-like banter between... Read More that include actions that can save you some tapping and get at their functions quicker. For example, the Instagram app has an action that will automatically open the app’s camera, and another one for taking you directly to a specified Instagram user’s stream.

Launch Center Pro apps

Automate Tasks

If you’re fairly new to the iPhone, Launch Center Pro may feel a little difficult to use. But after setting up a few actions, you’ll see why it might just belong on your iPhone’s homepage for quickly launching apps and executing actions.

Download: Launch Centre Pro ($4.99)

Let us know how you use Launch Center Pro, and what other features you would like to see added.

  1. Anonymous
    January 31, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    How do I create the Itunes Jazz feature in the recent version of LCP? Thanks!

    • Bakari Chavanu
      January 31, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      That jazz genre action is based on adding a URL action: itms://itunes.apple.com/genre/ios/id11. The custom icon should automatically appear.

  2. Bakari Chavanu
    November 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Greg, thanks for that tip. I forget about using it. There used to be a little trick in previous iOS versions of selecting all messages and deleting them, but I forget how it's done. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Greg
    November 8, 2013 at 6:35 am

    You can hit the "Edit" link in the top right corner of the mail app and then select multiple messages to move or delete. Before you select any messages you can mark all read or flag them, but no way to delete/move all.

  4. pachanguera
    November 5, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Can Launcher Center pro delete all or multiple emails with at once. Iphone does not offer this IMPORTANT facility so one has to delete emails one by one .... and is it compatible with the latest IO7 for iphone 4S?

    • Bakari Chavanu
      November 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Pachanguera, I wish Launch Center could batch delete emails. For the life of me, I can't understand why Apple hasn't add the feature by now. The third-party app, Mailbox is one of the few apps I know that batch archives emails. Not sure if it delete them all at once.

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