BeamApp: Simple Sharing to Your iPhone

You’ve probably already got a great notes app with syncing for moving chunks of text around, but what about the other stuff? Let’s face it, when you’re sending stuff from your Mac to your phone, you’re mostly just trying to get the directions to your cousin’s wedding or send the link to that awesome Harry Potter fanfic you’re halfway through.

BeamApp, a lightweight menu bar app, has you covered. With simple sharing to your iPhone, you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.

Beam Me Up

You’ll need to first add BeamApp to your other devices and connect them. Right now, BeamApp only works with the iPhone and other Macs, but that’s still pretty cool. To add a device to BeamApp, click the menu bar icon and then the plus sign. BeamApp will give you a PIN and a QR code, and you can use whichever is easiest to add your device.

Use the QR code or PIN to add your device.

Use the QR code or PIN to add your device.

Once you’ve gotten your device added, you can start sending yourself stuff, but whatever you beam from one device to another has to already be present on the second device or accessible via the internet. No shifting PDFs or JPGs from your Mac to your iPhone. What you can send are URLs, map locations, and music. Pretty sweet. That’s about all you can send, but it’s probably all you really need to send at the end of the day, anyway.

To send an address, just type it up, select it, and copy it, sending it to your clipboard. It will be available in BeamApp as not just text but as a map location. If you’ve searched for a location and have pulled the address up in Google, you don’t have to copy it this time or do anything else; just find it in your list of things to send in BeamApp. You’ll have the option of either sending the address to your iPhone or sending the URL.

Send an address or all sorts of information.

Send an address or all sorts of information.

Directions work similarly to searching for an address in Google. Find your to and from address and plot your course, though don’t bother customizing your route as that information will get lost when the directions are sent. Once you have your origin and destination addresses set, head back to BeamApp in your menu bar. Again, you can select to either send your directions or the URL to your phone, whichever you prefer.

URLs are about the simplest thing to send. All you need is to have a browser window open, and BeamApp knows what to do. If you’ve got multiple tabs, though, BeamApp is only going to recognize the active tab. Click out of the browser window, and BeamApp can’t do anything with it; BeamApp is only looking at the active application.

You can even send a phone number. Your iPhone will dial!

You can even send a phone number. Your iPhone will dial!

I’ll confess that I’m sort of over actually typing out phone numbers on a keypad. Sure, my fingers are probably going to fall off from disuse, but every time I have to type out a phone number, I make an audible, “Ugh!” I know some of you are with me on this and wish when you searched for a business on Google there was just something you could scan to dial the numbers for you. BeamApp is almost just as good. Select and copy to the clipboard anything that sort of looks like a phone number, and it will offer to beam it to your iPhone and dial it for you!

Pros and Cons

BeamApp is supposed to be able to start and stop your music as you move among your devices, and it sort of does this, in that it will start and stop your music. It should be able to pick up your playlist where you dropped it as you move from your computer to your iPhone and back again, though, and as far as I can tell, it didn’t do this once. BeamApp never picked up the playlist as described on the BeamApp site when the song was over, it just played the next song by the artist, the next songs in my iTunes queue, or stopped playing music altogether.

Your music will pick up where you left off, but the playlist won't keep going.

Your music will pick up where you left off, but the playlist won’t keep going.

Okay, so the music thing didn’t work, but I found something really cool by accident. Without realizing Evernote was my active application, I clicked BeamApp, and it offered to open my selected note in Evernote on my iPhone! I don’t know how many other applications BeamApp’s compatible with, because on the website, it says it will only do about three or four things, and cool Evernote tricks isn’t one of them. My advice is to keep your eyes open, because there may be more of these neat little tricks up BeamApp’s sleeve.

There are a few things worth mentioning with BeamApp, and I just want to lay it all out there. While the app recognizes a Googled address and will open that in the Apple Maps app on the iPhone–sorry, it’s all defaults for BeamApp–it doesn’t jive with Bing. If you prefer Google Maps or want to use Bing, you’ll have to beam those URLs to yourself and open them in Safari. It’s also best to have your iPhone unlocked and awake for BeamApp to work.

Final Thoughts

I’m really blown away by how useful BeamApp is. When I sat down to try out the app, I didn’t expect it to become so essential to how I use my iPhone. Sure the music thing doesn’t really work, but how much aggravation is saved by having my computer autoplay my iPhone’s music? Not a lot. Give me an app that save me having to email myself URLs or directions, the number one and two things I seem to email myself, and I’ve been saved a lot of aggravation indeed.

BeamApp is absolutely going to become one of my must-have apps. If you find you’re shifting a lot of URLs betweens your Mac and your iPhone or even between two Macs, definitely give this one a try. You’ll never know what you did without it.


Summary

A great, simple app for sharing URLs and more with your iPhone.

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  • Jeremy

    Too bad ya can’t share images with it. Then i’d be interested.

    • http://palobo.tumblr.com Pedro Lobo

      Hey Jeremy,

      You can try http://instashareapp.com. Can’t share links and such but great for files.

      • Jeremy

        Thanks, I just checked it out. Exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Yeah, I agree it would be great to have a one-stop solution for sharing from Mac to iPhone. :\

  • Sean Sykes

    I have found this new technique that’s recently come available, to be very useful. It’s called ‘emailing’.

    • http://pauladupont.com Paula DuPont

      Haha, yeah, that works, too, but instead of drowning under a million pieces of paper, it’s emails now. This helps with that. :)

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