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Friday Tech Tips

iOS Tips and Top Apps from ABA TECHSHOW

Become a mobile ninja!

By Brett Burney

Those who couldn’t make it to this year’s ABA TECHSHOW missed a ton of information in sessions covering cybersecurity, process management, PDF tasks, document management, iOS tips, cloud platforms, and much more. One of the fastest-moving sessions was “Get Your Mobile Ninja On: Top iOS Tips, Apps, and Gear” where I and my good friend Jeff Richardson zipped through 94 chock-full slides in 60 minutes. Here are some highlights.

Terrific iOS Tips

Easy-Peasy Print to PDF

One of my favorite tips for legal professionals is how easy it is to generate a PDF on the iPhone and iPad from an email, webpage or virtually anything using the Print function. Simply spread your fingers apart on the little print preview image and it magically turns into a PDF file. You can then email it or use the Share menu to open it in another app (like PDF Expert). Watch this in action in this video.

I’ll Be There In …

If you’re using Apple Maps on your iPhone to guide you to a meeting and you’re running late, just open an email or text message and type “I’ll be there in” — when you hit the space bar the iPhone will offer to complete that sentence for you, with the time to your destination automatically filled out. It takes out all the guesswork! Jeff gives more info in this post on iPhone J.D.

I Just Want To Read the Text …

Webpages today come with banner ads, embedded images, self-playing videos and so much junk accompanying the text of an article you want to read. That’s when you need to switch into Safari’s Reader Mode by tapping the four short lines in the upper-left corner. The images and ads melt away and you’re left with just the text to read at your leisure.

Significant Locations (or, Spy Central)

Not only does your iPhone or iPad know where you are via GPS, it also keeps a little journal for you in a section called “Significant Locations.” (Go check yourself under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services.) You can turn this off, but there were several audible gasps in the audience as they traced their whereabouts over the last several months on their iPhone.

Amazing iOS Apps

Manage Files and Annotate PDFs

Think of the iPad as your “digital manila folder” where you can stuff thousands of documents to take with you wherever. You can also highlight and mark up PDF files. The two best apps for all of this are PDF Expert, reviewed here, and GoodReader, reviewed here. Both Jeff and I declare that every attorney’s iPad should have one or both of these apps because they let you carry the documents you need with you.

Leave Your Yellow Legal Pad at the Office

Both of us have switched to taking handwritten (and typed) notes on our iPad because everything stays organized, notes get backed up automatically, and we can search through everything. There are several note-taking apps available but our two favorites are Notability and GoodNotes.

Is That a Scanner in Your Pocket?

Sure, you can take cute pictures of your kids with the iPhone’s amazing camera, but why not use it to scan documents too! Our favorite apps for this are Scanner Pro from Readdle for small jobs, and ABBYY FineScanner PRO, which can even scan books. Both apps convert your “scans” into PDF files and run OCR to make them searchable.

Save Time While You Type

I’m a huge fan of TextExpander (check out this video on TextExpander snippets) because it saves you time doing something you’re already doing: typing! And while TextExpander works primarily on your Mac or Windows computer, there’s an iOS app so you can use your snippets on your iPhone and iPad as well. You can choose to use the actual app or the embedded keyboard. Watch this for more information.

You Only Have to Remember One, Single Password … It’s True!

Both of Jeff and I are strong believers that every lawyer (and everyone else) must use a password manager today. They’re convenient, safe and secure. Our top recommendation is 1Password and you can hear all about how to integrate it into your daily workflow on Episode 4 of the Apps in Law podcast.

Finally, if you’d like to hear Jeff and me share some more tips, apps and gadgets, listen to the “On the Road” podcast from Legal Talk Network recorded live from the show floor at ABA TECHSHOW.

Be sure to read Brett Burney’s popular series on setting up an “All-Mac Law Office” for terrific advice from Mac-using lawyers.

Illustration ©

Categories: Lawyer Apps, Lawyer Tech Tips, Legal Technology
Originally published March 15, 2019
Last updated December 17, 2019
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Brett Burney Brett Burney

Brett Burney is Principal of Burney Consultants LLC, an independent legal technology consulting practice. Brett provides litigation support for law firms and assists corporations with e-discovery questions. Brett is also a highly sought-after trainer and presenter for lawyers who seek to integrate Macs and iPads into their practice. Brett is a past ABA TECHSHOW Planning Board Chair and a popular speaker on legal technology. You can follow him on Twitter @BBurney.

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