At it’s most basic Alfred is an Mac app that replaces spotlight for search on OSX, but it does much more than that. You can create hotkey controlled workflows or manage clipboard snippets. If you add the powerpack you get even more functionality, but for me so far just the basic functions are plenty.
I noticed when I upgraded to Yosemite, spotlight is suddenly dog-slow. I’m not sure if that’s something specific to my system but its certainly interrupts my normal workflow, which is to use the search window to launch apps as well as find files.
Switching over to Alfred the speed difference was immediately noticeable. Like bicycle to rocket noticeable.
So now I use Alfred as my system search and as an app launcher, which brings us to Alfred Remote. This is an iOS app that acts as a control panel / command centre for your Mac. You can use an iPad or iPhone as an extra desktop control and set up shortcuts to all your apps and system settings.
The layout is simple yet flexible, allowing you to build panels for all sorts of controls and simply swipe through them. While Alfred Remote has not yet ranked as a necessity in my workflow, there are times when it’s very useful.
The basic Alfred app for Mac is free, but the iOS remote app will cost you about $5 bucks.