With the brand new iPhones, iOS developers can use 3D Touch Home Screen Quick Actions to provide a way for users to have easy access to frequently used functionality, right from their home screen. As a user, all I have to do is 3D Touch (press hard) the app's icon, and a little menu pops up while the rest of the screen blurs. From there, select an action, and I'm taken right to that place in the corresponding app.
The only drawback is that the app's creator needs to program this into their app for it to be supported. Right off the bat, when I got my new iPhone 6s Plus, I started 3D Touching every app icon to see which had Quick Actions. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that most of Apple's stock apps had Quick Actions (look for a future post on those). I was a little disappointed to find out that hardly any 3rd party app supported Quick Actions at launch, but the thing is, I have a newly discovered engagement with some older apps on my phone, because I frequently find myself just 3D Touching each app icon in order to see if Home Screen Quick Actions were added in a recent update. I feel like I'm striking gold when a menu pops up in an app that didn't previously have one.
Here's my current top five 3rd party favorite Home Screen Quick Actions
Instagram was famously one of the first apps to implement use of 3D Touch across their app. This included Home Screen Quick Actions. There are Quick Actions to create a new post, view feed activity, launch the search screen with focus already in the search box, and launch the direct messaging interface.
I'm falling back in love with the original Twitter app after having used TweetBot 3 for a year. There's something to be said about the increased level of functionality that Twitter can provide by having access to many private APIs that 3rd parties aren't allowed to use. Twitter provides three Quick Actions: create a new direct message, create a new tweet, and search Twitter. "New Tweet" is my most frequently used option.
I'm a huge Marco Arment fan, and a huge Overcast fan. If you haven't listened to the Accidental Tech Podcast you really should, it's by far my favorite podcast. Marco created Overcast, and recently, with the launch of version 2, made the app entirely free. You really need to try Overcast if you haven't yet. Amongst many other awesome features, Overcast includes an entirely automated social recommendation service. You can see podcast recommendations from the circles of people you follow on Twitter based on their Overcast recommendations. As a result, it's really important to have easy quick access to be able to "Recommend" a podcast that you like. Marco makes this really easy by providing a Quick Action to recommend the currently playing podcast. There are other actions for selecting another podcast in your playlist, launching the "All Episodes" screen where you can see a list of all available episodes, and a "Resume" button to start the current podcast playing again when it is paused.
DayOne is a journaling system with apps available for OS X and iOS. It makes it really easy to keep a journal. In addition to text, you can add a single photo to each post. You can have more than one post a day. When my son John was born, I started keeping a daily journal in DayOne. It's hard to keep the diligence to write in it each day, but seeing that I have 366 posts in DayOne, and he is just over two years old, I'm at least hitting every other day. That's much better than none in my opinion, and whatever makes it easier to get those posts written, I'm all about. That's why DayOne makes it to number two in the list. It provides three Quick Actions: create a new text entry, create a new entry with a photo you select, or create an entry with the last photo taken. Three Quick Actions to conveniently create a DayOne entry, awesome!
While I'm still learning about the "Getting Things Done" method of planning out stuff I do in my life, I still find so much productivity out of OmniFocus. Honestly, I use it as a glorified Todo app that syncs across both the OS X app and the iOS app. My main use of the iOS version is to add items to my inbox. Occasionally, I'll mark items as complete, but more often than not, I'll be somewhere away from my computer, and need to add something to my OmniFocus list. The Quick Action to add a new item is priceless. It makes it that much quicker to get the todo out of my head and written down so I can get back to what I was doing. That right there is why OmniFocus makes it to number one on this list. There's also options for launching the list of things to do today, another Quick Action for launching the forecast, and finally an option for launching the app to the home view.