Extend Launch Center even further (Update)

Last week I fell in love with Launch Center ($0.99) from App Cubby, an iPhone app that lets you create one-tap shortcuts for frequently performed tasks like composing an email, launching an app, updating Twitter and more. Yesterday I described how you can create “profiles” in the app, arranging tasks in a way that supports your profession or interest(s).

Today, reader Andrew Burgess pointed out that Launch Center can be used to create shortcuts to iOS system preferences, too. This saves time but also fulfills some of my wishes for Apple’s Notification Center.

Here’s how.

Launch Center opens an app via its unique URL. For example, “tweetbot://” will open Tweetbot. David at AppCubby has conveniently posted a list of app URLs.1 That’s great, but as Andrew points out at Shaky Takes, there are also URLs for iOS system preference screens. Best of all, they work with Launch Center.

To create a Launch Center task that opens the Bluetooth system preference, for example, follow these steps:
1. Create a new app shortcut
2. Enter “Bluetooth” as the title
3. Enter “prefs:root=General&path=Bluetooth” in the URL field
4. Tap Done

Now, tapping that task brings you right to the Bluetooth preference screen. It doesn’t stop there. All of these iOS preference screens are available via URLs. Now you can have one-tap access to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Airplane Mode…you name it. All from within Launch Center. Here’s a list of app URLs compiled by Lifehacker Australia:

  • About – prefs:root=General&path=About
  • Accessibility – prefs:root=General&path=ACCESSIBILITY
  • 
Airplane Mode On – prefs:root=AIRPLANE_MODE
  • 
Auto-Lock – prefs:root=General&path=AUTOLOCK
  • Brightness – prefs:root=Brightness
  • Bluetooth – prefs:root=General&path=Bluetooth
  • Date & Time – prefs:root=General&path=DATE_AND_TIME
  • FaceTime – prefs:root=FACETIME
  • General – prefs:root=General
  • 
Keyboard – prefs:root=General&path=Keyboard
  • 
iCloud – prefs:root=CASTLE
  • 
iCloud Storage & Backup – prefs:root=CASTLE&path=STORAGE_AND_BACKUP
  • International – prefs:root=General&path=INTERNATIONAL
  • Location Services – prefs:root=LOCATION_SERVICES
  • 
Music – prefs:root=MUSIC
  • Music Equalizer – prefs:root=MUSIC&path=EQ
  • Music Volume Limit – prefs:root=MUSIC&path=VolumeLimit
  • 
Network – prefs:root=General&path=Network
  • 
Nike + iPod – prefs:root=NIKE_PLUS_IPOD
  • 
Notes – prefs:root=NOTES
  • Notification – prefs:root=NOTIFICATIONS_ID
  • 
Phone – prefs:root=Phone
  • Photos – prefs:root=Photos
  • 
Profile – prefs:root=General&path=ManagedConfigurationList
  • 
Reset – prefs:root=General&path=Reset
  • Safari – prefs:root=Safari
  • Siri – prefs:root=General&path=Assistant
  • Sounds – prefs:root=Sounds
  • Software Update – prefs:root=General&path=SOFTWARE_UPDATE_LINK
  • Store – prefs:root=STORE
  • 
Twitter – prefs:root=TWITTER
  • 
Usage – prefs:root=General&path=USAGE
  • VPN – prefs:root=General&path=Network/VPN
  • 
Wallpaper – prefs:root=Wallpaper
  • Wi-Fi – prefs:root=WIFI

In this way, Launch Center has delivered something Notification Center hasn’t: one-tap access to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi settings (among many others). Fantastic.

Launch Center is a 99¢ utility that keeps getting better. If you don’t own it, you’re nuts.

Update: Reader Aaron wrote with good and bad news. First the good. You can get to personal hotspot with “prefs:root=INTERNET_TETHERING.” The bad news is, “…in the current iOS beta, none on these system pref URL’s work anymore.” Drat.

Also, Dean notes that you can access the personal hotspot preference with “prefs:root=Personal_Hotspot”.

Creating Launch Center profiles

I’ve been enjoying App Cubby’s Launch Center for a couple of weeks. It’s an iPhone app that lets you create one-tap shortcuts to common actions like launching a website, posting to Twitter or sending text messages. It even creates alerts to remind you when a certain action should be completed. It’s a real time-saver and a worthy addition to my iPhone’s home screen.

Last weekend I realized that I set it up to suit my needs at work and home, subconsciously dividing the two. At the top of the app’s screen I’ve got shortcuts for sending email and text messages to my wife, placing phone calls to my wife and parents and posting to Facebook. Below that I’ve got shortcuts to my web stats, 1Password, OmniFocus and an email to the team at TUAW.

This got me thinking of “profiles” for the app, or how individuals might set the app up, based on occupation or interest. Launch Center does not offer a profiles feature, but it doesn’t really have to. Instead, a person’s interests or occupation naturally creates a certain collections of tasks.

For example, a writer’s Launch Center profile could look like this:

  • Open online web stats.
  • Launch iOS blogging app of choice.
  • Launch iOS text editor.
  • Email to a post-by-email account like those for Posterous and WordPress.

Likewise, a parent’s could set it up to include:

  • A camera app.
  • Facebook launcher.
  • Text to other parent/partner.
  • Phone shortcuts to pediatrician, school, etc.
  • Flashlight for late-night checks before bed or finding the myriad of things kids inevitably lose.

I can think of other setups for the social media addict, shutterbug, etc. So, how have you got Launch Center setup?

Launch Center 1.1 is a useful utility for iPhone

App Cubby’s Launch Center is one of those rare utilities that’s helpful in a very real way. It allows you to create one-tap shortcuts to common tasks and even schedule reminders for each one.

I love Launch Center so much that it lives in my iPhone’s prime location: home screen, second row, second from the right. That’s the spot my thumb reaches most easily. We all keep track of such things, right?

Here’s why it lives in the coveted spot.

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