Digging Into Alfred Remote

Oct 17, 2016
Joe Buhlig
~1 min

Alfred is a tool I use hundreds of times a day without realizing it. I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up Alfred Remote for my phone, but I’m now seeing the potential for some really advanced triggering for my Mac.

I’ve written before about my use of Alfred for navigating applications on my Mac. Remote takes it another step by allowing me to show/hide a program from my phone. At first, I was concerned there might be a bit of lag in activating the action but that fear was immediately eradicated. It’s an instant switch and often happens before my eyes make it back to the Mac.

As an app switcher, Remote is awesome. And given different pages of actions, I can set up different work modes since different tasks require different apps. Take podcasting as an example. Keeping my audio programs and notes a tap away makes recording seamless. But I don’t use some of those applications at any other time, so I keep that set up as a different page in Remote.

This app launching structure is invaluable for webinars and screencasting. It drives me crazy when I watch someone’s screen and they need to search for an open document or program. Or if I’m recording a screencast, this allows me to eliminate the need for fades across screens and lets me jump right into the next window.

Outside of app switching, I use Remote for opening sites I have bookmarked and my most frequent file folders. This works the same way as app launching. Remote opens them immediately on the Mac.

Where I think Remote has power that I have yet to realize is in scripting. I do this with Spotify to get a play/pause button but that’s as far as I’ve gotten. It’s possible to create some sophisticated workflows that can then be launched from Remote. This means you could run some OmniFocus AppleScripts, hide unwanted apps, open other apps, empty the trash, and more with a single tap. Again, I haven’t gone this route yet, but I can see a lot of potential for Remote that I hadn’t considered.