Quick memes with Workflow.

Something I do a lot (for better or worse) is look for silly images online, and apply text over them, for ostensibly comedic purposes. How effective this is depends on a variety of factors, such as alcohol intake for the evening, who the intended recipient is, etc. Anyway, there’s this amazing new app called Workflow that is bound to make so many things on iOS so much cooler and easier. It’s truly a groundbreaking achievement, and as such, I decided the first noble application of this new power would be to extend my reach as a horse’s ass.

With that, I introduce my first workflow. I’ll probably revise it, and I’m certainly looking for feedback if you’re the kind of person who can make it better. Please get in touch. Anyway, here’s what it does. It’s saved as a shortcut in Launch Center Pro. When I tap it:

  • The Workflow app launches
  • I’m prompted to enter some text
  • I’m sent to Safari for a Google search on that term, where I can pick “images” and find something
  • I find an image and copy it to the clipboard
  • A second workflow that sits as an extension 1 returns me to Workflow (the app is told to wait until I return to continue executing the flow)
  • Upon returning to the foreground, it opens the clipboard contents in the image editor
  • From here I can add text quickly
  • The new image is saved to the Camera Roll
  • Then my Twitter app opens, and I can drop the new asinine image right into a tweet

I know for sure that I can tighten this up, and I plan to keep tweaking it, as well as try to do something legitimately productive with this unbelievable app. But this was a great little exercise to figure everything out and now I have a handle on the basics.

If you want to try it out, you can install the following:

Add Text to Photo

Return to Workflow (action extension)

Have fun and make lots of hilarious pictures!


  1. I reached out to Ari for a hand relaunching the app from the action extension since I couldn’t get the default URL to work. What’s currently saved in that extension will likely change as the team updates the URL scheme(s) for the app, so keep that in mind. For the time being, it functions as expected. 

The tyranny of two screens.

I have this habit that I’ve developed. On both of my iOS screens (iPhone and iPad) I try, whenever possible, to have all the same apps and icons in the same places. The reason I do this is because in thinking about it, I like the idea that no matter where I am, and on either device, I always have a quick mental map of where apps are located and the stuff I want is always where I expect it to be. It’s sort of interesting to go between the devices quickly and it certainly seems to work pretty well when I’m using my devices in tandem.

However, the truth is that I don’t really use the devices the same way. I have certain apps on my home screen on the phone that make no sense on the iPad. Like Messages, for instance. Used constantly on the phone, almost never on the iPad. Because the whole ‘get your messages wherever you are’ thing only works if everyone sends messages to your email address. And uses iOS. And not everyone does, and the years-long habit of using phone numbers to message people is not going away, no matter how much Apple wills it.

So I find myself using my iPhone intensely for a few days, then reaching for my iPad after a period of not using it, to find everything needs to be rearranged. And because I have mental problems, I often feel the need to do this before I do anything else because I’ve been looking at things the other (new) way so much on the phone that it doesn’t feel right the way it is now on the iPad.

I start to wonder about just setting up apps completely differently on both devices, as I did when I first got the iPad, the way most people probably do. Is it more valuable to have the perceived speed gain from mirroring the app layout in both places, or should my specific use for each device dictate how apps are arranged? Does anyone else ever think about this or should I just start looking for a decent therapist now instead of waiting?

Maybe I’ll just move them around.