Developer: Ekaterina Belinskaya
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Apple’s iOS is a much more fluent operating system than it used to be. Its various apps now talk to one another way more, and even third-party apps can get in on the file-sharing act.
However, there’s still room for an app like Anybuffer, which acts as a handy clipboard/data repository/dumping ground for the various text snippets, images, links and files you encounter on your digital travels.
Think of it as a scrapbook where you can collect and quickly categorize those files and nuggets of information that you’re interested in, rather than dealing with them in their separate apps.
You might argue that Apple’s Files app does such a thing for you, but that’s essentially a glorified file directory and search system. Anybuffer places the power of selection in your hands.
Tapping on the plus icon at the bottom of the screen opens the option to add files, photos, or the latest clipboard item to the selected Anybuffer “shelf.” These shelves are essentially folders, which you can create, rename, and assign an icon to.
The nature of these shelves is entirely up to you to determine, which reflects Anybuffer’s ability to deal with pretty much any file format. You can store copied portions of text from documents or web pages, all the major image types, PDFs, web links, and so on.
This is about storage and quick sharing rather than deep interactivity. Tap on the file and it won’t open in its native app, but will rather give you options to share, copy, or (where possible) preview the file.
At the top of every shelf you’ll find a range of filters representing each store file type, so you can view, for example, only the images you have saved. Double-tapping a shelf, meanwhile, will open up the handy ability to place all enclosed files into a single zipped (compressed) file.
Things get a little messier when copying across content from the web, which gets stored under the description “multiple data types.” This effectively turns the item into a separate folder containing various sub-files – html, rich text, and jpegs for example – which can then be interacted with individually.
By pressing the parent file with two fingers you’ll access the file options menu, where you can opt to split these bundles into their constituent parts. There’s no apparent way to undo or instantly re-bundle them, so you need to think carefully about messing up your shelf in this way.
In all of this, and in the language used by the developer in its help and descriptive text, one thing becomes abundantly clear: Anybuffer is an iPad app first and foremost.
Perhaps the key feature of Anybuffer is its support for drag and drop in iOS 11, which of course is an iPad-only function. Being able to pull fragments of text and individual files across in split-screen really drives home the sense of Anybuffer as a digital scrapbook in a way that the iPhone app doesn’t quite manage.
Still, with the ability to activate iCloud sync, it’s quite possible to do the heavy lifting on your iPad and then access your files from your iPhone.
Anybuffer is a potentially useful clipboard app, but it feels very much like a work in progress at present. Though it’s a handy tool for many use cases, its occasionally clunky execution and restricted iPhone functionality speak to an app that could be great several versions down the line.
- Quickly collect multiple file types
- Ability to zip up batches of files
- Drag and drop iPad function
- Not as good for iPhone users
- Occasionally clunky UI