A Look at The Shelf – An App for Dragging and Dropping on iOS 11

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I recently joined the beta to test out an app called The Shelf. If you don’t know, iOS 11 introduced a feature that allows you to drag and drop different types of text, files, maps and much more across apps. The Shelf is meant to be a place where you can temporary store your stuff before moving it to the location you want to move it to. For example, if I find an image I want to send to someone by email, I want to be able to find that image again easily without having to scroll through my image library for hours to find it. So, I simply drag it into The Shelf, compose the email, and then drag it out of The Shelf into the email.

The Shelf at first glance is just a temporary place to store your text. However, it does have a lot of useful features, so let’s get into them.

Find out what iOS 11 adds to iPad here.

The Shelf supports seven different types of files that you can add to the app:

  • Plain text
  • Rich text
  • Links
  • Images
  • App Links
  • Map locations
  • Emails

You can import completely unformatted text into The Shelf. The app gives you a preview of the text, as well as an icon in the top right showing you that the text is unformatted. Rich text is similar to plain text, apart from it does have formatting. When you drag and drop it into another app, it keeps the formatting that it had.

A nice feature of The Shelf is that it shows a website preview of links. When you add a link to The Shelf, it shows a preview of the website so you can quickly and easily see what the link is.

Images are simple – you can select multiple images, and easily drag and drop them into The Shelf, where they are all saved individually.

App links have to be added in a different way. As you can’t drag and drop a link from the App Store, you have to copy the app link to your clipboard, and then go to The Shelf and tap the top right button in the app which will paste it for you. You will then see the app icon, along with the app name. Tapping on the save will bring you to the App Store on that app page. Of course, you can hold down and drag the link elsewhere around your iPad, so you could drop it into a writing app.

Map locations are quite cool. You search for a location on Apple Maps and then drop it into The Shelf. You’ll get a preview of the location, and when you tap on it you’ll be able to see the location on a map and navigate around it like you were in the maps app. You can also open the website of the place you added.

Finally, you can add emails to The Shelf. When you tap on an email you have added, it will open up in Mail.app.

The Shelf is awesome for storing all of the above stuff, but it also has a few more powerful features. For example, if you add an image from the web, there are a few things you can do with it. You can copy the actual image, the name of the image, or the image link. This is handy if you want to embed the image in a site or something similar.

The app also uses spring loading, which means you can drag items over the app icon, and that will launch the app, and allow you to drop the items you have dragged into the app.

I really like using The Shelf as a temporary storing place for all the stuff I’ll need later – with spring loading so you can just hover your stuff over the app and dump them in, it’s really easy to add content. It’s also easy to get it out again, by just dragging and dropping into the app you want.

The Shelf is a really nicely done app, and I’m looking forward to its release for iOS 11. You can check out the website about it here.

The Shelf is now available! Get it here.

Thanks for reading!