Drafts 4 for iOS 8

Drafts 4 for iOS 8

Drafts by Agile Tortoise has always been an amazing app. It is more powerful than most apps that exist on any platform. When people ask me what Drafts is, I usually reply by saying it is like Launch Center Pro for text. It has been in my iPhone and iPad dock for a while now. Just when I thought Drafts was powerful enough, Greg absolutely blows everyone away with Drafts 4 for iOS 8.

Given how much functionality is added in each point update to Drafts, a whole new app implied ground breaking functionality and Drafts 4 completely delivers. Drafts 4 is an all new, iOS 8 only, universal app and not a free update to Drafts 3 that still functions fine today. The app has always been powerful, but now it does all that and more, all while looking great. The app has 3 main themes: the default light one that is my favourite, a dark them that is let down by an awkward looking status bar, and a light solarized one. The appearance editor is quite nicely done with a small live preview of the font and theme in action. There’s also support for plain text, markdown or social highlighting and the font support is pretty insane.

Drafts, like Editorial packs a ton of functionality into an interface that tries to not overwhelm you. Drafts 4 has some great interface tweaks that allow for a better experience overall. The app supports gestures and while most apps tend to use edge swiping, Drafts 4 uses swipe anywhere in the compose window to access previous drafts or actions. Swiping to the left, reveals the action drawer that has its own set of folders for actions that you define along with a search bar. Swiping to the right brings forth a similar view but with your drafts. Drafts 4 also has a log of draft actions. Tapping the information i button reveals details about the draft like the location it was created in, location modified in, version history (Seriously Greg, Thank you for this), and the actions that have been done to the draft. Items inside both these views are actionable and you end up saving loads of taps thanks to this. I love how the swipes aren’t the default edge swipes that iOS apps tend to use now. There’s also a nice really subtle animation on the draft glyph and the action glyph that gets highlighted as you swipe in either direction.

The major iOS 8 features that most apps implement are share extensions and widgets in the Today view of Notification Center. Drafts 4 has a quick capture extension in the native share sheet that is more useful than you would think. On the other hand, the widget is hit or miss. It gives you easy access to create a new draft or a draft from clipboard and view your inbox status but I was hoping for more. I have a feeling the widget functionality being limited is more of an issue with Apple than it is with Drafts 4 though. Drafts 4 switches to iCloud sync as of version 4 and the sync has been rock solid for me so far unlike my overall experience with iCloud Drive.

The customizable bar above the keyboard is quite the game changer. You can edit the bar by tapping the pencil glyph at the right of the bar and add your own buttons and even import actions and assign them to buttons in the extended keyboard bar. This itself would warrant a paid upgrade, but Drafts 4 has so much more.

Drafts 4 is an amazing upgrade to an already super powerful app. The possibilities are endless. The asking price is more than justified and you absolutely should buy Drafts 4 at the introductory price of $4.99. The price will go up to the the regular price of $9.99 soon.

Mikhail Madnani is the acting Editor-in-Chief of Beautiful Pixels. He’s usually the one making sure so many weather apps get reviewed when he isn’t playing Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or Hearthstone.