The Drafts 4.7.0 update is now available on the App Store, and it’s a good one.
Free Update, Price Drop & Tip Jar
Drafts 4.7.0 is a free update. This release marks the second anniversary of the Drafts 4 release, and we are excited to be able to continue to add value to to the app.
Drafts is now available for $4.99 (USD) in the App Store. We want everyone to use Drafts and hope a lower price point will make it easier for more people to dive in and get the benefits of greater productivity Drafts offers. If you are new to Drafts, please check out a few of our excellent screencasts to get you up and running!
That said, ongoing development costs money. If you get value out of Drafts and would like to see it continue to be on the cutting edge of iOS productivity, we would love to have your support. To make it easier to chip in, Drafts now has a Tip Jar - available in Drafts settings.
If you want to contribute and save us Apple’s 30%, you can always use Square Cash, too. Please consider taking the time to write App Store review, too! It really helps.
Drafts 4.7.0 is ready for iOS 10 and watchOS 3, but still compatible with iOS 9 and watchOS 2. Many of the new features outlined below require iOS 10, so I recommend you update as soon as possible to get all the great new features. You can run this version on both iOS 9 and iOS 10 devices and have them sync, but it is highly recommended for the best experience you update all your devices to iOS 10 around the same time.
Easier, More Powerful Multilingual Dictation
iOS 10 has introduced new speech recognition features for third party apps. While Drafts has always supported Siri dictation via the microphone key on the iOS keyboard, integration of these APIs from Apple makes it easier than ever to use dictation with Drafts. Drafts’ new dictation interface can support any language/locale supported by Siri dictation, not just the current locale of the device. Locale can even be selected on the fly and changed within a single dictation session.
There are now several more convenient ways to trigger dictation, as well:
- Tap and hold the “+” (new draft) button in the app. This triggers draft creation options, and there is a new “Dictate” entry in this menu. This opens the dictation interface to create a new draft.
- Tap in the text of a draft and select “Dictate” from the popup menu (same menu as copy, paste, select options). This will trigger the dictation interface to insert text at the cursor location.
- Use the widget. There is a new dictate icon in the Today widget, which launches the app directly to dictation. Note on iOS 10 the widget is also now available via 3D Touch on devices that support it.
- Use a keyboard command key. There is a new extended keyboard command key type for dictation, which triggers dictation to insert at the cursor position in the current draft. The main advantage of this key is that it can be bound to a keyboard shortcut, allowing dictation to be triggered from an external keyboard. There is a ready to install dictate key bound to option-command-D in the Action Directory. PLEASE DO NOT USE ON IOS 9: 4.7.0 has a crashing bug using this key on iOS 9. 4.7.1 has been submitted with a fix, but dictation requires iOS 10!
Advanced users, also note that Drafts dictation interface has an x-callback-url URL scheme to allow integration into other automation workflows. You can install this sample Workflow app workflow to try it out. This URL scheme supports a locale parameter to open the dictation interface with a particular language-region pre-selected as well. This directory action demonstrates using the URL scheme to launch dictation in Italian, or there are similar examples for Spanish and German. Documentation on the new /dictate URL scheme and supported locales is on the Help Center
More details on Dictation can be found at our Help Center. If you plan to use dictation often, I recommend reading over the information here for some of the details.
When running on iOS 10, Drafts now includes a Messages app. This app allows you to insert text from drafts in your inbox or flagged drafts into a Messages conversation. The text will be inserted just as if you typed it in Messages – there is no attribution or links visible in the conversation like many Messages apps.
The Messages app makes Drafts a great place to store reusable conversation snippets, Emoji rants, or whatever else you might care to stick in an iMessage conversation.
OneDrive Action Steps
Drafts now adds support for Microsoft’s OneDrive service. For those familiar with Drafts’ existing support for Dropbox, Google Drive and iCloud Drive, the action steps will be familiar. OneDrive action steps are fully template-able and can create, replace, append, and prepend to files anywhere in your OneDrive account.
New installations will come with pre-configured OneDrive example actions, or you can install these samples from the Action Directory to get you started:
Full documentation on configurable values can be found at the Help Center. Note that OneDrive actions, at least at this time, only support the consumer version of OneDrive. It is possible support for OneDrive for Business accounts will come in the future.
The Drafts share extension has been rewritten for this update. Functionality is similar, but it is fast and better integrated under the hood. A couple of noteworthy changes:
- In addition to inbox drafts, append and prepend can now be done to flagged drafts.
- When appending and prepending, the drafts list can now be searched to
- Drafts which are created via capture in the Share extension are now available for appending and prepending via the Share extension immediately (previously required launch to Drafts).
Today widget & 3D Touch
The Today widget has also been updated to support the new iOS 10 widget format. On iOS 10 the widget is also now available from the home screen on 3D Touch enabled devices. Because the presence of the widget when using 3D Touch made the existing quick actions redundant, the quick actions are now used for recent drafts.
Drafts Apple Watch app has also seen improvements and is ready for the vastly superior Watch experience that is watchOS 3.0. Features are similar, but there have been a few simplifications to the interface. The main screen adds the ability to scroll down and get advanced capture options. The main reason for this addition to allow access to watchOS 3.0’s scribble input. When browsing down to a specific inbox draft, the archive/trash/append/prepend options now show as buttons, not just hidden behind a force touch.
Other Improvements & Fixes
- Spotlight continuation support (iOS 10 only) adds “Search in App” link to Spotlight results, allowing the search query to be passed off directly to drafts.
- Improve display of spotlight results.
- Reduce time delay when tapping an holding “+” for draft creation and import options.
- Draft list improvements, includes change to system font, additional text preview visible, and removal of initial leading Markdown header characters.
- Action list improvements, including change to system font.
- Draft version history - under (i) draft details - now includes character counts and the ability to clear all previous versions.
- If action has no steps, tapping on action detail will go directly to select a new step.
- Update to the latest TextExpander Touch SDK.
- Export actions should not add “.txt” extension if blank extension is generated.
Keep Up with Drafts!
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