Launcher


'Launcher' Articles

Launcher App for iOS Notification Center Gains Grouped and Time-Aware Widgets

Once-banned iOS widget app Launcher received its first major update yesterday, more than a year after its return to the App Store. Launcher was one of the first apps to take advantage of Notification Center widgets introduced in iOS 8 by letting users add shortcuts to apps and tasks, thereby avoiding the need to swipe through screens or perform a Spotlight Search. Apple originally approved Launcher in 2014 and allowed it to exist in the App Store for over a week, but then subsequently removed it, calling it a "misuse" of widgets. However, a few months later, Apple reversed course and the fully featured app gained approval. In addition to app shortcuts, Launcher lets users configure workflows and add one-touch actions to the Notification Center, such as the ability to launch a favorite playlist or call a spouse. The new version introduces support for multiple widgets that can be grouped together by theme. Widgets can also now be customized to display or become hidden based on day, time and location. This allows users to set a group of specific widgets that only appear when they're at work or at the gym, for example. A new auto-setup feature means the app can set up contact launchers for the people most important to users as well as their most frequently used apps. The update also includes widget support for 3D Touch Quick Actions, along with the option to backup and restore custom widgets to iCloud. Launcher is available as a free download on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, with paid upgrades for additional widgets available in-app. [Direct Link

'Launcher' Returns to the App Store After Apple Relaxes Policies

Back when iOS 8 first launched, Launcher was one of the first apps to take advantage of the new widgets allowed in the Notification Center, and it introduced shortcut functionality that let users launch an app or complete a task like calling a specific person with a single tap. Apple approved the app and allowed it to exist in the App Store for over a week, but then the company made the decision to remove Launcher from the App Store, calling it a "misuse" of widgets. Since then, Apple has gone on to make a series of questionable decisions about widgets, banning apps for similar widget offenses and then later changing its mind. Up until now, Apple has not reversed course on Launcher, but that didn't stop Launcher developer Greg Gardner from continually resubmitting different variations of the app in the hopes of creating something Apple would find acceptable. Earlier this month, a limited version of Launcher gained App Store approval (a version with only calling, emailing, messaging, and FaceTime access), and when Gardner asked for clarification on why that was acceptable when his original app was not, Apple reviewers opted to revisit the first Launcher app and stated that its functionality was now acceptable. According to Gardner, he did not have to remove any of the original Launcher features to get it re-approved in the App Store. Apple reportedly told him that when a new feature first launches, they are conservative about what they allow, but restrictions sometimes relax over time. "That is what appears to have happened in this case," Gardner told MacRumors