TextExpander 2.3 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 001)TextExpander 2.3 for iOS (iPhone screenshot 002)

Over time, I’ve managed to purchase a lot (too many?) of apps for my iOS devices and Macs. But if you asked me to name one instant purchase I have never, ever regretted, I’d easily pick TextExpander by Smile Software in a heartbeat.

This handy utility doesn’t come cheap: the Mac edition will run you $34.99, and then an additional $4.99 for the touch-optimized version for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

Despite dropping forty bucks on this particular app, I’ve recouped my investment many times over in just a few short months, by cutting down on the time spent typing common terms and phrases. TextExpander lets me create handy shortcuts which automatically expand during text entry.

For example, I have the ‘iDB’ shortcut set up to auto-expand to ‘iDownloadBlog’. Same with common URLs, brand names and other oft-used snippets of text. The problem is, the curious little trick the app employs to manage and sync those snippets across third-party iPhone and iPad apps that integrate with TextExpander hasn’t sat well with Apple.

The App Store review team has refused to approve a recent update on the grounds that Smile’s use of the stock iOS Reminders app for shared snippet storage is no longer acceptable. In response, Smile has introduced a new snippet-sharing method and updated an accompanying SDK for third-party app makers…

The new TextExpander 2.3 for the iPhone and iPad is now live on the App Store.

It removes Reminder-based storage of snippets and adds a new method to share and update snippets on a per-app basis. In other words, users are now required to manually set up snippets in their favorite apps that support TextExpander snippets.

The Smile blog explains:

We have come up with an alternative to using Reminders, which will require you to take action to update your snippets and keep them updated. This will have to be done via apps you use with TextExpander integration.

There will probably be a “Get Snippet Data” button in the app’s settings, but that depends on how the developer chooses to handle this.

If you’re a developer looking to enhance your warez with TextExpander functionality, Smile has refreshed its software development kit with an updated TextExpander touch SDK you should use in revising your apps.

As developers ourselves, we know this sort of unexpected and unscheduled change is difficult to accommodate even under normal circumstances. At this time of year, with impending holidays and year-end obligations, it’s even more difficult.

You might want to let the developers of your favorite apps know that you would like to see updated TextExpander support, but please be patient with them as they work out how to fit that into their development schedules.

As a result of these changes, Smile had to reset its list of third-party TextExpander apps.

At post time, no third-party app was listed on the website.


More information about this kerfuffle can be found in another Smile blog post, which mentions that many developers are already “working hard to ensure their apps are updated” with support for the updated TextExpander touch SDK.

Apps that are not yet updated for the new snippet-sharing method can continue to access data from the stock Reminders app, but users won’t be able to access new or updated snippets until those apps are revised.

You’ll want to turn on Share Snippets in TextExpander’s preferences and eventually flip a TextExpander switch in your TextExpander-enabled app.

This TextExpander release also improves handling of marked text from input methods such as Japanese, resolves potential issue when sharing snippets on local network and fixes a few minor bugs.

Again, TextExpander 2.3 no longer uses Reminders for shared snippet storage and now solely relies on the new mechanism between TextExpander and third-party apps with TextExpander integration.

On the Mac side, the app also doesn’t play nice with Apple’s sandboxing – that’s why the Mac App Store version has not seen a single update since March 2012.

This, however, isn’t posing much of a headache as tech-savvy users can simply use the in-app update check or manually download the latest update from Smile’s website.

On the iOS side, Apple’s App Store is the only venue to distribute and download consumer apps so Smile has had no other option but bend to Apple’s rules.

You can grab TextExpander in the App Store for $4.99.

The universal app weighs in at just 3.6MB and requires an iDevice running iOS 5.1 or later. It supports the iPhone 5/5s/5c’s taller display, but has yet to be updated for iOS 7 aesthetics.

Are you a TextExpander user?

What’s your experience with it been like thus far?

Again, this app has helped me save a ton of time typing!

  • Tsavo Walker

    I’ll have to try it!

  • Flex

    Manual Correct Pro does this on iOS for jailbreakers.

  • Falk M.

    Why this over a feature built into iOS and OS X?
    I don’t get it… :S

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      You don’t get why reminders shouldn’t be used for things other than reminding users of tasks?

      • Falk M.

        What I actually meant was that TextExpander isn’t needed to have text completion.
        OS X and iOS have this on-board and system-wide at that.

        Maybe TextExpander has some nifty features that make it worthwhile to some, but I bet that many folks get TE because they don’t know the actual main feature is part of both OS’s already.
        I used TE myself on Mac for a while until I learned that it’s just another start up item for a feature already present.
        And an expensive one at that. So it had to go. 🙂

        On a Mac open your Settings -> Keyboard -> Text

      • Imahottguy

        This is true, both platforms have the feature baked in at this point. I prefer TE on OSX and the builtin (mostly because we don’t have much choice not to) on iOS. However, TE has been around for several years. For a new user, who decides to give this time saving stuff a try, of course it makes sense to try the features that are built into the OS first. But the user base that wants shortcuts and snippets have been doing so via third parties for a long time. I don’t recall there being shortcuts on the Mac and iPhone that will insert the date and time, etc etc. Choices are good right? Isn’t that why we jailbreak in the first place?

  • Skilachi

    atext cheap and effective.

  • Jonathan

    Why not just use the text expanding settings built into iOS?

  • Lol, $40 for this? Typical rip-offs on Mac AppStore…I’m too used to legally getting quality multi-purpose applications for free on Windows, one of them being AutoHotkey…this $40 software is a micro-part of that.

    • Imahottguy

      You know this is not new right? I love TE because it gives you more options than the baked in expansion OSX offers. From what I have read, TE was purchased by Smile in ’06. It appears that Apple added this feature in Mountain Lion, which was 2012. Comparing AHK to this is like pitting MS Paint against Photoshop. Just so we are clear: AHK is awesome and deserves to be thought more of than just expansion.

      • Please, stop fooling yourself into justifying getting ripped off…AHK has been around since 2004 and it offers the following capabilities:

        – Ability to expand/auto-correct abbreviations as you type them. For example, typing “btw” can automatically produce “by the way” (which is basically what TextExpander is asking $40 for along with some sugar-coating http://bit ly/1bcFb9X )

        – Automate almost anything by sending keystrokes and mouse clicks. You can write a mouse or keyboard macro by hand or use the macro recorder.

        – Create hotkeys for keyboard, joystick, and mouse. Virtually any key, button, or combination can become a hotkey.

        – Remap keys and buttons on your keyboard, joystick, and mouse.

        – Respond to signals from hand-held remote controls via the WinLIRC client script.

        – Ability to re-map the button-presses from external devices (like a Remote) to a combination of keystrokes on your keyboard

        All of the above is available for free and you methaphorically refer to that as Microsoft Paint whereas TextExpander is PhotoShop to you? Sheesh…what dingbat-logic do you guys use.

      • Imahottguy

        I know this is a bit of a late response, but I need to clarify something: AHK is awesome. When I used Windows computers, it was installed on all of them. TE does not offer anywhere near what AHK does; but that is the point. It truly is Apples and Oranges to compare something that substitutes text and inserts snippets with something that remaps keys, runs scripts and etc. I don’t think you realize that we both agree on how powerful AHK is.