Since my early Mac-using days, I've been an avid shortcuts user — keyboard commands, QuickKeys, launchbars, you name it. I probably use my keyboard more than my trackpad for navigating through programs and windows, though I've grown to love the multitouch gestures for swiping screens on my 11-inch Air.
Given that I'm also multitasking with my iPhone almost all the time, it makes a crazy amount of sense that a launcher utility like Alfred would take advantage of that second screen to create a remote control. Enter Alfred Remote: The app uses local sharing with the Alfred app to turn your iPhone into a launchbar for your Mac.
I'll admit: It's taken me awhile to integrate Alfred Remote into my daily workflow, and I find it easier to use it with my iMac than my laptop. But that's me — I love shortcuts, but I have to intentionally force them into my routine for a few weeks before they actually stick.
And the good news is that Alfred Remote has a wide selection of the kinds of shortcuts you might want for your Mac. My favorite section to use with my iMac is Alfred's iTunes controls: My iMac runs most of the music in my household, and often I would drag my wireless keyboard into the kitchen to control songs while doing dishes, cooking, and the like; now, I need only have my iPhone with me.
I also love being able to zap my computer to sleep or launch a website from across the room using Alfred's system commands and URL bookmarks.
The app's real strength is as an auxiliary input to Alfred itself, however (and you will need Alfred's Mac app to use the Remote): You can launch applications, files, folders, URLs, preference panes, system commands, AppleScripts, and even one of Alfred's Workflows if you've built any.
I use these features less often largely because I have key commands set for my most-used triggers, but I've been finding folder-launching to be really useful. I have folder shortcuts set for Screenshots, Downloads, and my Dropbox's Public folder, all of which allow me to quickly and easily get to files without having to click or mouse my way through Dock items and menus.
I do wish you could set up and rearrange Alfred Remote's various items on your iPhone or iPad, but sadly any organization and workflow-adding is limited to Alfred on your Mac. Rearranging the grids is a bit of a pain, too, as you must have an open space to drag icons around, and they won't swap with each other — a la the iPhone home screen — if you move one icon atop another.
I also want a way to sync Remotes between computers; right now I have Remotes for both MacBook and iMac, and each is set up completely differently. That could be a boon to some, but personally, I'd like my settings the same for each computer.
These are minor 1.0 quibbles, though; overall, the app is well built and a nice addition for people who use Alfred's launchbar utility on their Macs already. It just may take a bit of adjustment to use it in your workflow.
- Alfred Remote - $5 - Buy Now
Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.