Launch Center Pro 3.0

After something that felt a lot like a hiatus, Launch Center Pro came roaring back into the iOS automation space this week. You may recall Launch Center Pro as one of the original iOS automation tools.


The idea behind Launch Center Pro, which hasn’t changed since its initial launch, is to give you an app to launch other applications and other automation friendly tasks with just a few taps. Open the app and you can immediately initiate a telephone call to your spouse or prepare an email to those key people at work or do any other type of URL scheme-based iOS automation (which these days means quite a lot). With version 3 you can also launch Siri Shortcuts and other automation tools making the app even more useful.

Not only does this new version expand the dictionary of available automation actions, but it also lets you trigger automation with things other than a tap in the application. These include NFC and time-based triggers.

NFC Triggers are little NFC stickers you can purchase from the developer. Once you program them (it’s easy), putting your phone in the proximity of the sticker is enough to trigger the automation. (This only works with iPhone X or later iPhones). As an example, I have a phone stand on my writing desk. I’ve been trying to get better at journaling so now when I set my phone into that stand, it scans the NFC sticker and runs a simple Siri Shortcut to open and create a new entry in Day One. I put another sticker next to the shelf where I put my workout shoes. When I tap it with my phone, it sets an exercise timer and kicks off a podcast on my phone. People are using these stickers at their desks, in their cars, and anywhere else they want to make automation easier.

There are also significant improvements to the ability to have scheduled automation, something we don’t currently get with Siri Shortcuts. 

I have been using this new version of Launch Center Pro throughout the beta. It’s stable and it’s much faster than version 2. While Launch Center Pro isn’t more powerful than Siri automation, it still has a place. It’s wicked fast not only in launching your URL-based automation but also Siri Shortcuts themselves. Moreover, the addition of NFC and time-based automation gives you some pretty cool automation triggers that don’t exist otherwise on iOS. There are a variety of ways to support the app from subscription to a la carte feature purchases. 

We’ve got David Barnard, Launch Center Pro‘s developer coming on Automators later this week to talk about how the app fits in the world of Siri Shortcuts. I expect with the new app and the new business model, we’ll see more great things from Launch Center Pro in the future.

Put Your Mac to Sleep with iOS Drafts

Occasionally, I have sensitive things on my Mac’s screen and occasionally I leave an office, or conference room, or courtroom and forget to shut the lid on that Mac. While I’ve got my Mac set to lock itself down after a few minutes, I thought it would be nice to have a way to force the issue. Mac Power User listener Mariusz wrote me about Polish Mac Geek Milosz Bolechowski who pulls this off with Drafts, a Dropbox File, and Hazel. I thought it was pretty clever so I duplicated it tonight.

This is how it works:

  1. I type “MB sleep” in Drafts and save it to the standard Drafts folder on Dropbox. (In my case it is located at Dropbox/Apps/Drafts.) I use “MB sleep” because I’m going to add a second one for putting the iMac to sleep.

  2. Point Hazel at the Drafts folder and tell it to look for a file that contains the terms “MB sleep”

  3. When Hazel sees the file, it deletes it and runs an AppleScript to put the Mac to sleep.

This is a really simple script.

tell application “Finder”


end tell

Once you set this up, open Drafts and type “MB sleep” and save it to Dropbox. Within a few seconds, your Mac goes safely to sleep.

Extra Credit

Milosz had another great idea of using a URL scheme to further automate this. If you want to take it a step further, set up a URL scheme in Launch Center Pro as follows:


Then when you tap the button in Launch Center Pro, it opens Drafts and fills in the text “MB sleep” for you. You just need to send it to Dropbox for the Magic to happen. The below screenshot gallery gives you the details.


Extra Extra Credit

On Twitter, @Eiscik points out the following Launch Center Pro action performs the Dropbox upload for you with no further taps.