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Scribe: Cut and paste between your Mac and iOS device

Roman Loyola | April 16, 2014
I spend most of my day working on a Mac (well, yeah, duh, I work for Macworld), and often I need to transfer a snippet of text from my Mac to my iPhone or iPad. As it turns out, that's not really a no-brainer type of task. For example, if I want to transfer a snippet of text, I have to paste it in Evernote or Notes and then sync my devices, or I can email it to myself.

Version 1.1 keeps this functionality, but there's also the new App Routes feature. App Routes allow you to determine what app should open for a snippet — but to make it work, you have to have Scribe open on your iOS device. If you want to copy over a URL, you can select it on your Mac, and when you press Command-Shift-X, Scribe displays a panel where you can choose to open the URL in Safari. With the iOS app open, when you copy a snippet, it appears in the Scribe iOS app, and then the app you picked in App Routes opens. If Scribe is closed and you've allowed Scribe to post notifications on your iOS device, you can tap on the Scribe notification of your snippet and then Scribe will launch, which then triggers the launching of the App Routes app.

Unfortunately, the developer currently determines the list of available App Routes apps, and you can't add or remove apps. There's also no imaging apps on the list, so you can't, say, copy over a small image and have it go directly to the Photos app. A Hipo representative said that a future version would have the ability to let users to add and remove apps in the App Routes list. Hipo also provides the option to turn off App Routes if you don't want to use it.

Mac memory

Scribe isn't made for large file transfers. It took nearly 4 minutes to transfer a 170KB image. When I tried to transfer a 2.4MB picture, Scribe posted a warning that the transfer might fail; after 20 minutes, Scribe was only 20 percent done with the copy. I'll still have to use Dropbox or My Photo Stream to transfer large images to my iOS devices, which is fine. (A representative from Hipo said that improvements to file transfers are in the works for a future version.)

With version 1.0, I encountered a memory issue that was confirmed by the developers. When you perform a transfer, the data is stored in your Mac's memory, and with version 1.0, Scribe's memory allocation grew the more you used it, and the memory wasn't released back to the Mac unless you quit the app. When testing Scribe 1.0 after just launching the app, its memory footprint grew from 5.7MB to 7.3MB when I did 20 transfers of 89-character text. In another instance, when I performed a file transfer of a 553KB image — considered too big by Scribe, but I was still able to transfer the file — Scribe's memory allocation grew from 5.7MB to 10.9MB.

The issue still exists in version 1.1. When I performed my test of transferring 89 text characters 20 times, Scribe's memory footprint grew from 6MB to 22MB. During the image file transfer, Scribe grew from 6MB to 19.8MB. A few minutes after each of those transfers completed and I didn't use Scribe at all, the app sometimes reverted back to its starting RAM allocation, and sometimes it didn't.


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