Goodbye Pushbullet

Why I Used Pushbullet

Pushbullet is a multi-platform app that can “push” text, photos, and files between a computer, phone, or tablet (a task I perform frequently). For example, it’s much easier to write up an article on the desktop with its full keyboard and mouse, grammar checking, and multi-monitor setup where I can research topics, grab URLs, check facts, etc. But to create an associated Instagram post I push the text and images to my phone and create the post there.


What Happened?

Unfortunately, Pushbullet stopped working recently. When I followed the official support advice to re-login, I found my iPhone unable to even connect. After a bit of digging, I found that even Pushbullet Pro users (who purchased the premium version) have also found themselves abandoned (per this Reddit thread).

Finding an alternative has not been an issue. There are now plenty of competing technologies. I already use iCloud photos and Google Photos for images. And there are plenty of cloud services to handle other files types. The one sore spot was simple text because I so frequently ship articles, captions, and URLS between devices (like a universal clipboard). Sure, I could use email, Google Docs, OneDrive, etc. But the reason that I had previously used Pushbullet was it had been fast and easy. Those other products added navigation layers (and sometimes extraneous credential prompts) that were obtrusive. But, now that Pushbullet is fading, what’s a geek to do?

The Solution

With some experimentation, I settled on the built-in iOS Notes app, but only after changing the provider. Neither Google or my email provider made editing iOS Notes possible on the desktop side. However, when I selected iCloud as the repository, I no longer ran into that limitation. The keyboard controls are Mac-centric and a little disorientating for PC users (e.g., Alt-Right instead of Ctrl-Right to jump the cursor to the next word), but since I'm using it more for cut & paste than composition it’s not a big issue. But at least the flow of my workflow has been restored.