Power up your iPhone and iPad with these essential iOS 8 extensions and widgets

The very best sharing and action extensions

The best iOS 8 extensions and widgets for iPhone and iPad
The best iOS 8 extensions and widgets for iPhone and iPad
The best iOS 8 extensions and widgets for iPhone and iPad
The best iOS 8 extensions and widgets for iPhone and iPad

Sharing extensions are no longer restricted to services Apple has baked deep into iOS. Many social network, journalling and note-taking apps now provide an extension, activated via the More button in the Share sheet. We’ve therefore picked two slightly different highlights, which stand out from the crowd in important ways.

Transmit for iOS£7.99 • iPad/iPhone

Few people use an iPad or iPhone for web design, and so the idea of FTP client Transmit for iOS seemed odd. And then we used it. Immediately, we realised the app was the missing link for iOS file management. With the share extension, organising and managing files becomes so much easier, because you can immediately upload content either to Transmit’s own documents space or any defined servers. This includes Macs on your local network, enabling you to, for example, share Photos to your Mac if Photo Stream has temporarily fallen over, or a Figure composition to FTP, for safe-keeping and web-based sharing.

Instapaper£free • iPad/iPhone

Apple’s Reading List is fine, but Instapaper was always the best read-later system, due to it efficiently storing only text and images. Before, it required a nasty kludge to work on iOS; now, share to Instapaper from Safari and the article will be added to your archive in seconds. 

Extensions for actions

Extensions for actions are a touch rarer than for sharing, but some great examples exist. The best of them is 1Password, now a system-wide means of securing important data. However, there are also handy actions for converting content to PDF, duplicating photos, and more.

1Password£free • iPad/iPhone

Apple’s iCloud Keychain secures passwords and payment details, which are shared across iOS and OS X via your iCloud account. However, 1Password is now a better bet on mobile. Previously awkwardly requiring its own built-in browser, 1Password now has seamless Safari integration by way of its action extension, and Touch ID makes it easy to access your vaults. The system further beats iCloud Keychain in enabling you to edit login details and store software licenses and secure notes. On mobile, it’s also free, making the 35-quid Mac version’s price-tag rather more palatable.

View Source£0.79 • iPad/iPhone

Open a page in Safari, use View Source, and you get access to web page source code. But that’s not all: an Assets button lists images, links and style sheets, and you can write custom JavaScript to be executed when you close the widget. Great for devs; fun for the nosey.

Zip-it for iPad or iPhone£2.29 • iPad/iPhone (separate apps)

It has a slightly oddball interface that feels like it’s dropped in from another universe’s iOS, but Zip-it contains useful functionality. Use its extension to gradually create ZIPs from multiple sources; in the app, ZIPs can subsequently be explored and edited, without decompressing them.

PDF Converter£2.29 • iPad/iPhone

The PDF Converter extension takes whatever you’re currently looking at, converts it into a PDF and then bungs the result in the Documents section of its parent app. From there, you can print the PDF, delete it, or open it in another app. Simpler and much sleeker than the competition.

Duplicate Photo£0.79 • iPad/iPhone

You’d imagine duplicating photos is possible in the iOS Photos app. Nope (bizarrely). But Apple’s baffling omission is a dev’s 79p extension opportunity. Grab a copy if you plan to heavily edit anything in your Camera Roll, and remember to allow the app itself access to Photos.

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