The Shelf

In his article iOS 11: iPad Wishes and Concept Video Federico Viticci wrote about an hopeful addition to iOS 11 which he called the “Shelf”.

There are times when you want to save something without necessarily dropping it into an app or sharing it with the clipboard or extensions. For better or worse5, macOS users can drag anything they want to reference later on the desktop (or any other Finder window); iOS has no such area that serves as a holding place for bits of content without an immediate destination. I'd like iOS 11 to bring a Shelf feature to the iPad that would let users clip anything with drag & drop.

More succinctly:

Think of it as a transient dock for temporary clippings, or, even better, as a multi-slot clipboard that can hold a variety of items and be consistently available across apps.

Having worked exclusively on iOS 11 for a few weeks, I agree with the need for this feature. Federico made a very specific assertion in his wishes for the Shelf: “The Shelf would be local to each iPad”. This is fundamentally wrong for someone who moves back and forth between iOS devices through out the day. I use a 12.9 inch iPad, a 9.7 inch iPad and an iPhone for everything, but I move between them constantly. Some tasks are better suited for the smaller iPad, most tasks are suited for the large iPad, but the device that I use the most is my iPhone. I need to be able to move fluidly between these devices so having the Shelf’s content locked to a single device is a non-starter.

With the official release of iOS 11 this week, developers making Shelf inspired apps have had their work released and reviewed. Ryan Christoffel wrote a roundup of the first Shelf inspired apps noting how each works. Some have more ability to filter and search, while others have a design aesthetic that mimic Apple’s design language very closely. The four apps that were included in the roundup follow Federico’s suggestion. I have tried almost all of them and they all have their own merits, but all lack of sync.

Today, the developer of Copied, a clipboard manager for iOS and mac OS, released version 3, which incorporates many of the features of iOS 11, including drag and drop to move items into the app. Depending on the type of item, drag and drop out of the app is possible, although files are not supported. It is not perfect, but I believe that Copied’s ability to sync may make it the right Shelf for me.

Download Copied for iOS