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Alfred review: This Mac app launcher continues to shine, but Alfred Remote doesn't stack up

Brian Beam | Feb. 11, 2015
The introduction of the Macintosh back in 1984 helped release us from the bondage of the command-line interface. So, it seems ironic that there's a relatively new category of Mac productivity apps that lets us control our Macs from the keyboard. Quicksilver was one of the first of these utilities, and I was a big fan. But when developer support fragmented, other apps like Launchbar and even Apple's own Spotlight moved in to stake a claim. I've tried all of them and, while all have their merits, I eventually landed on Alfred by Running With Crayons and haven't looked back.

Remove the need for a direct connection between your Mac and iOS device

The first time I used Alfred Remote, I was surprised that I had to connect via Wi-Fi instead of Bluetooth. I understand that there are situations where Wi-Fi is preferable to Bluetooth — for instance, to control iTunes on your Mac when your devices may be out of Bluetooth range — but it would be nice to also have a Bluetooth option for people like me who don't necessarily keep all their devices on the same network.

More importantly, though, imagine being at a restaurant and realizing that you've left your Mac at home unlocked. An iOS remote control app, such as LogMeIn or TeamViewer, could come to your rescue since they don't require a direct Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to your Mac, unlike Alfred Remote, However, this would require taking the time to log in to your Mac from your iPhone, manipulating the desktop on a relatively small screen, and so on. By the time you finished, the check will have come. (Or your date will have left!) Wouldn't it be more convenient (and courteous) to simply tap an icon in Alfred Remote? This sort of remote connection option could also help address the Wi-Fi versus Bluetooth concern I mentioned earlier.

Bottom line

Alfred is a top-notch productivity app on the Mac that I can't do without. But Alfred Remote? Not so much — at least not for me in its present form. But Running With Crayons is a respected app developer and I trust that many enhancements are already in the pipeline. Alfred has saved me so much time that I have no problem spending a few dollars on Alfred Remote in order to support the developer's efforts to make it as indispensable on iOS as Alfred is on the Mac.


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