Using the iOS 8 Share and Actions Button

Many apps in iOS 8 created by Apple and third parties have a share button. You can use this button to share what you are currently viewing, such as a web page, photo or other information. You can customize which options appear available for sharing. You can also perform other actions with the content depending on what is available for the app you are using, and which other apps you have installed that will work with it.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Using the iOS 8 Share and Actions Button.

Hi, this is Gary with On today's episode let's take a look at the Share and Actions button found in most apps on iOS 8 on your iPad and iPhone.

So a very powerful button that you will find in almost any app in iOS on your iPad and iPhone is the Share button, sometimes called the Actions button.

You can see in the upper right hand corner it's a box with an arrow pointing up. If I tap it it brings up several sets of controls.

The top is AirDrop allowing me to share it with other iOS devices or Macs near by. Then I've got a whole list of other ways to share. For instance, Messages, Mail, Twitter, or Facebook. Then below that I've got actions. Things that are not necessarily sharing with anybody else but you can do different things. What you see in all of these depends on lots of factors.

For instance Sharing depends on what types of things this app shares, which other apps will work with whatever it is they are sharing and so what you have installed. So, for instance, Twitter and Facebook I have those apps installed. But more importantly I have them both configured in the Settings app. So you can have the Facebook app and be using that but if you haven't gone into the Settings app and entered your Facebook ID and password you won't see the Facebook sharing icon there.

However things like Messages and Mail should always be there as long as you are using those services at all.

If I were to scroll over I can see there are more items, or in this case there is no more items, but there is the More button. The same thing for the actions at the bottom. Scroll over and there's More.

Now the actions also depend upon what else you have installed. For instance notice that I have the 1Password app and I have enabled that to appear here in Sharing and that works with Safari specifically. So I wouldn't see that necessarily in other apps, only in Safari.

The same with other things here. Add Bookmark is a Safari specific action here. I wouldn't see that in say a Painting app or something.

So what happens if I use one of these. Let's try using Messages. You can see it is going to basically work with what app I'm using. So I was using Safari. So it is going to share a link. You can see it there. All I need to do is fill in the To field with who I want to send this message to. I'll hit cancel.

The same thing would happen if I shared in say Mail or Twitter. Like let's use the Twitter button here. You can see it is going to share the title of that page and it's even going to put a little image of the page in there.

So it depends upon what the app actually adds to this Share button. It is going to change over time too as apps improve.

Now also I can tap the More button and see what else I've got. I can see I've got switches and controls next to apps I have installed. So, for instance, I have Flipboard and Gmail apps installed and I can turn those on. I also have Pinterest. I will add that, hit Done, and now I can see that Pinterest appears there and now I can share very easily.

I've got some more controls in this particular thing. Actually you can see it says 1 of 15 so the Pinterest sharing function is actually going to allow me to share different images it finds on this wikipedia page I am viewing. So I can flip through them. A lot of them are nothing on this page. Saw there was at least one there of an iPad. I can also change what board it is I am using. So you can see there an image that is 11 of 15.

So it really depends upon what you are using and what you've got installed. You can use this More button not only to determine what is there but move things around. You can see those three lines to the right of anything. So I can move Pinterest down in the list if I want.

Sometimes you have to enabled this also in the app. So you may have to go to one of these apps here and enable it to appear in Sharing or in the sharing sheet.

The same thing for Actions here. I can hit More and I can see I've got the 1Password app there and I have that turned on. I can also move things around.

Now there may be apps that have activities or actions but they don't work with Safari. So for instance here I am in Photos and I am viewing a photo. Notice I have that button but it is not at the upper right. It is at the lower left. When I tap it it will actually show me in addition to that photo the ability to select other photos. So you can see the functionality changes a lot depending on what app you are using.

But I can see the same things. There is Messages, Mail, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Flicker now appears because it works with the Photos app but it doesn't work with Safari. I can see 1Password isn't on the actions at the bottom because it doesn't have anything to do with Photos. I can hit the More button and I can add more apps to it. So I can see I have Gmail and Path and Goggle+ and Flipboard that will also work with Sharing from Photos.

Here is an upcoming version of my Word Tiles game and I've got a Share button there as well and I've got ways to share from here. In this case the game creates a visual representation of the board and the word list and then you can use that to do different things. For instance let's go and share that via Messages and you can see a little image of it appear there.

So this app determines that that's what it is going to share. Another app may share a piece of text. Another app may share different things in different ways depending upon the functionality of the app you are using to do the sharing and the functionality of the app that you are sharing from.

Now unfortunately not all apps are going to have sophisticated sharing and actions. For instance here I am in Apple's own Pages app and all I get are just a few options here. I don't get that whole set of different actions, even though I think it might be useful to do that from Pages.

In Apple's own Maps app instead of having the box with the arrow its got the word Share but it brings up the same set of controls there and you even have some of the same things that you can see in say Photos where you can share an image because if you go to share something here it is actually going to share an image of that area and allow you still to continue to type some extra text, for instance, there.

So you've got the ability to do all sorts of different things. Notice the print functionality also usually appears here in the Actions section. So whether you are in Safari or Maps or somewhere else a lot of times you will get this print functionality by using the Share or Actions button.

So whatever app you are using, whatever apps you use on a regular basis check out that Share and Actions button and see what things you can do with it. Then maybe also look and see what other apps you've got by hitting the More button that will then interact with the app you are currently using via that Share and Actions button.

Comments: One Response to “Using the iOS 8 Share and Actions Button”

    4 years ago

    I have a problem in iOS Numbers when trying to import spreadsheets from Dropbox. When I tap on the + icon, I get options such as iCloud drive, OneDrive and the More option. When I tap on the more option, it then shows Manage locations for Dropbox and OneDrive with an on/off switch however with Dropbox switched on it still won’t display in the + options list. This seems to be a bug.

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