What Apple’s acquisition of Workflow means for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch automation

“When I wrote ‘Workflow Is the Next Step for iOS Automation‘ (21 December 2014), I had no idea how literal that title would prove to be,” Josh Centers writes for TidBITS. “Apple has now purchased Workflow and the team behind it.”

“As you may recall, the Apple Design Award-winning Workflow is an automation app for iOS in the same vein as Automator on the Mac,” Centers writes. “You can use it to perform actions in supported apps automatically. For instance, you can use Workflow to send your estimated time of arrival to a friend, upload photos, or shorten a URL.”

“Despite declining sales growth, Apple appears committed to the iPad as the future of computing, releasing products like the iPad Pro, accessories like the Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard, and iPad-only apps like Swift Playgrounds. One big missing puzzle piece for the iPad’s professional future is system-wide automation,” Centers writes. “If Workflow were integrated into iOS with a system for third-party app integration, it could become a powerful, easy-to-use automation tool.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: We expect to hear more about automation in iOS, watchOS, macOS, and, possibly, tvOS, at WWDC 2017 in June!

More info about and download link for Apple’s free Workflow app here.

Workflow app
Workflow app

Apple’s Workflow acquisition is a powerful tool for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch – March 23, 2017
Apple acquires Workflow and its amazing app – March 23, 2017


  1. This will be a great feature for the mythical pro iOS user, especially since Apple will be able to provide the means for any app developer to talk with it, and it’ll be able to act in ways a third party app simply can’t.

    1. His is nothing more than a little bandaid.

      I keep repeating it. Apple is once again, like it was under Sculley, faced with the problem of having to do a new operating system.

      The two different worlds of iOS and Mac OS X is straining for the user; cumbersome for developers; and, limits the kinds of devices Apple can make for either OS.

      We need a completely new operating system. One OS, not two. This will usher in a new desktop and new class of devices. Will revolutionize the blending of multiple input methods like multi-touch, speech, pen input, keyboard, mouse…

      The Surface Studio PC is an expression of this , but Windows sucks and we need more. Think the desk in Tron, melded with a large transparent screen, where you can use multi-touch on the desk surface and see things on the screen. All devices wirelessly connect to this future computer, where the OS is designed for all of this stuff.

      We’ve come a long way. Ya. But go back and watch the Xerox Parc video from the 1970s showcasing the personal computer they invented. What we use today on PCs/Macs is really no different and in many ways is IDENTICAL.

      We need to rewrite the operating system.

      As of today, and after 8 months of owning a 128 GB iPad Pro 12.9″, I’m selling it. I simply cannot use it to be productive. I’m getting a 12″ MacBook. iOS is too limited.

      We need a new era…

  2. Oooh! I can press a button to play a playlist? Say it isn’t so! On my Mac (Automator/Applescript) it wakes me everyday with a playlist that gradually gets louder from zero to 3/4 volume over a span of 20 minutes. I don’t have to press anything. It notifies me before hockey games with the HNIC theme song. This reeks of either lipstick automation for iOS or an excuse not to further develop Automator after letting it languish for so long.

  3. “One big missing puzzle piece for the iPad’s professional future is…”

    An OS suited to the iPad’s bigger screen.
    Or a user file system that is open.
    Or bundling the Pencil with the Pro.
    Or better multi tasking.
    Or a better Dock with recent documents etc.

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