If you're anything like me, you've got quite a few iMessage and SMS threads running with friends, family, and work colleagues. They make for a more personal place to share images, interesting articles, ideas and more — more private than Facebook and Twitter, and more confidential for work-related items.
Or perhaps you prefer to share your thoughts over email, giving the recipient more time to respond.
Users can mix and match contacts, using custom bubbles (of individual users or preset groups) to choose recipients — adding images, text snippets, clipboard contents, and more — and quickly send the messages off.
Group Text+ is focused on iMessage and SMS messages (it assembles the messages within the app, then passes them off to the standard iOS Messages app), while Email+ does the same for email, using the default email accounts to do its bidding.
In the apps, simply tap on the people you wish to message, select a recent photo or item from the clipboard or from a set of customizable messages, then hit Send. A message is composed, opened in Messages (for Group Text+, because of iOS limitations), and can then be sent.
Sharing from the Share Sheet is even quicker. Tap the share button in any app (the box with an arrow shooting out of the top), select Group Text+ or Email+, choose your recipients, and hit Compose. It takes more time to read this paragraph than it does to actually share something with a couple of taps. It's enough to make you wonder why Apple didn't build this functionality into iOS itself.
The apps also take advantage of the new Extensibility features in iOS 8, allowing users to share links and images through the apps even more quickly. "The sharing extensions are really great," said Contrast founder David Barnard. "Having to type in a contact's name every single time you want to share anything via text message or email is rather tedious, especially since I share with the same 3-4 people over and over again."
Contrast has spent the last two months perfecting the apps, taking concepts from some of its prior apps and drilling down to the most important features for power users and everyday customers alike.
"Launch Center Pro is a really nerdy app and we tried to simplify it with Contact Center," said Barnard. But we "realized that trying to simplify the complexities of Launch Center Pro was the wrong approach." Instead, Contrast focused on just a couple concepts from its more powerful shortcut apps, arriving at a more streamlined, easier-to-use pair of apps.
Barnard says these two apps are "the best work we've ever done," and, as someone who frequently texts with a number of different people, sharing images and links along the way, it's easy to see why. They're incredibly nice to use, making it quick and simple to share content with your frequent contacts.
What your messaging app of choice for iOS, and why? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.