Current State of iOS App Version 1.3.0

With our new iOS App version 1.3.0 we added some really cool features: Document scanner, markup on images and PDF files, shortcut integration, markdown to PDF, clipboard manager and many more!

Author: Matthias Hühne, ownCloud Mobile Lead Developer, iOS Developer

It all began with WWDC 2019, where Apple presented iOS 13, and with it a whole range of technical possibilities, increasing the productivity and usability of iPhone and iPad for the business context. We were eagerly sitting in front of the screen and made a long list of features that we wanted to integrate into the ownCloud iOS app. Now we are proud to present you the ownCloud iOS App version 1.3.0! With this blog article, we want to show you the ideas that captivated us back then and that are now implemented into the ownCloud iOS App.

What’s new

Multiple Windows

This feature is so huge! Not only one app instance can be opened, but you can have as many app windows as you need! For example, you can place two ownCloud windows side by side and use it as a file manager, like the classical midnight commander. Drag a file from one window to another, move or copy files between folders, or copy files to a different account.

Unlock the next level of multitasking! With iOS 13 you can use multiple spaces: Place an ownCloud window beside your image processing app and another window with a different folder opened next to your writing app:

To get an overview of your opened windows, swipe up from the bottom of your device into the center and the App Switcher will appear where you can see an overview of your spaces and windows. If you tap on the app icon you will see all open windows.

UI Restoration

Starting with iOS 13 we implemented UI Restoration, which means all your windows will be reopened where you left even if the app was terminated. This will let you continue your work, trouble-free starting from the very same folder or file. Of course, this is also available on the iPhone.

Document Scanner

Everything is digital, but we are all still receiving papers every day. Now it is possible to scan these documents directly from the ownCloud app. Just tap on the create button on the right top and select “Scan Document”.

Now you can place your document in front of your camera and scan it right into your cloud. There are different options for saving. You can save your document as  PDF, JPEG or PNG, change the output to color, grayscale or black/white while you can also create a single file or multipage files.

Markup Images and PDF Files

You scanned a document into your cloud but now you have to sign it… Awesome, this is also possible directly in our iOS ownCloud app!

Tap on the (More) button beside your file and select “Markup” now you can add your signature to your document and save it.

Additionally, you can markup, annotate, draw and highlight, add text and shapes or show details with a magnifier in your document. This is possible for images and PDF files on your iPhone and iPad. If you use an iPad you can also use the Apple Pencil.

Shortcuts

Apples Shortcuts app is the perfect tool to automate your workflow. It adds a huge library with actions and scripting tasks to build your own workflows. The best thing is, it is not required to be a software developer: It is intuitive and easy to understand for average users, but it also adds a long-missing base to automate and script tasks for power users right on your iOS device. Starting with iOS 13 developers got the possibility to provide actions with parameters which is absolutely great for a file-sharing app like ownCloud.

We are providing actions in the Shortcuts app, to view, receive and store your files. All actions have a short explanation and for a better understanding we even have some sample shortcuts for you:

Markdown to PDF Example

This converts a markdown document into a rendered PDF file. Here is a quick guide on what the job does:

  1. It asks you to choose an ownCloud account from the iOS app
  2. Then it downloads a markdown file from GitHub
  3. Safes the file into the chosen account
  4. Reads the markdown file and converts it to HTML
  5. Adds HTML margin and exports this to a PDF file
  6. The file will be saved in the accounts root folder

Clipboard Manager

Wouldn’t it be cool to have your own clipboard manager? All clipboard content will be securely stored in your ownCloud. You can use it to sync your clipboard between different devices, but also between different operating systems.

As an example, you are using an iOS device and you want to share your clipboard with an Android device. Here is a workflow for it.

Use the Clipboard to ownCloud workflow to save your current iOS clipboard to the folder Clipboard in your select ownCloud account.

To get the newest clipboard content back to your iOS clipboard run the ownCloud to Clipboard script. Isn’t it great?

Give us feedback!

These samples will give you a short idea of how you create your own workflow and how you can use the ownCloud actions. We are interested in your creative workflows! If you want to share your workflow or if an action is missing, please send us your workflow.

System UI-Theme

We already shipped our app with three different themes with version 1.0.0. Since iOS 13 the user can decide if he wants a classic or dark mode interface. Now if you choose System theme in our app, the UI will automatically adapt to the system setting. You still can override this setting by your preferred app theme too.

Keyboard Commands

If you have an iPad you can connect an external keyboard. Apple implemented keyboard commands to use shortcuts. Starting with our app version 1.2.0 it is possible to control the whole ownCloud app with your keyboard. It is not needed to touch on your screen. This will smoothen your workflow and handle tasks faster. It is a great improvement, not only for power users. If you want to know which shortcuts are available, press long on the Command key and you will see which commands currently are available. These shortcuts can differ if an item is selected or not.

Media Player Improvements

Maybe you know, we have an integrated media player, so you can play your favorite audio and video files straight from the app. Streaming is supported you don’t need to download the files before. Video and Audio work when the app runs in the background and on the iPad you can have a Picture-in-Picture video player.

In version 1.2.0 we added support to show the album artwork in the lock screen and added controls to skip to the next or previous media file. Another great feature is, you can control the media playback directly from your Apple Watch. This makes the iOS ownCloud app a perfect companion for media playback!

What’s new Screen

If you missed reading our AppStore changelog (you wouldn’t dare, would you?) you can see all changes after an update directly in the app. All important changes are listed with a small description. If you want to give us some love you can leave an app review from this view.

Photo and Video Upload

Most mobile users like to take photos and videos. As an ownCloud user, it makes sense to store these files in the cloud to share them with your family and friends or only as a backup.

We integrated an option to select an upload path for photos and videos to automatically upload new media files to ownCloud.

Quick Access Collections

Since version 1.0.0 we have a view called Quick Access. Here you can find collections of all your shares, links, recently changed files, favorites, available offline, images and PDF files. This is really handy to get a fast overview of all these file types without navigating through a directory structure.

In version 1.3.0 we added the following collections: documents, text files, video, and audio.

Cleaner File List Layout

Meta-Informations are very important for a file sharing app. We changed the file list layout to show more informations to the user and better aligned so that the user can faster see the current state of the item.

In detail we have more space for longer file names, all sharing and the availability icon was moved to the left side below the file name and we used a smaller font size.

Available Offline Support

For a mobile app it is very important to have all needed documents on the go. There are situations, where users are not connected to the internet and the ownCloud server cannot be reached. Available Offline support will help the user in this situation. When a network is available, set all your needed files or folders to “Available Offline” and it will be downloaded to your device. If a file is downloaded you can see a status icon for it. Furthermore in the Quick Access view is a collection Available Offline where you can see all marked files and folders in one place.

File Previews

Filenames are great, but sometimes you want to have a look how the file content looks like. We improved our preview engine to show more file types directly in the app and as a benefit we can generate more preview icons for the file list.

USB HD-Drives

Starting with iOS 13 the system got support to connect external harddrives. This means you can save files from a connect harddrive directly to your ownCloud or store a file on this external medium by using our file provider in the files app.

Give us Feedback

We hope that all this features are a great improvement for the users. Please give us feedback if you like it and have fun with our iOS app. Thank you for using ownCloud! Here you can download our iOS app from the App Store.

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