I’ve been using a Stream Deck XL for about 18 months using the stock Elgato Stream Deck application on macOS. One of main choices in configuring a Stream Deck is whether to switch profiles based on the foreground application, or to assign the “Switch Profile” action to a button to go between profiles manually. I’ve been manually switching profiles as it offers greater control, and a combination of automatic and manual profile switching on one Stream Deck was too much for my brain.
Elgato recently announced that Stream Deck Mobile - App Store now offers 6 buttons for free. Curious, I installed it and started mucking around. I found I could use my iPhone as a secondary Stream Deck that switches profiles based on foreground application - in addition to my physical Stream Deck keeping my existing manual profile switching. Within one day, I upgraded to Pro to get more than 6 buttons, and I’m currently rocking 6x4 buttons, although it can be configured with Mini (3x2), Classic (5x3), XL (8x4) and Custom (up to 8x8).
I think Stream Deck Mobile iOS - Elgato website could be a great entry level Stream Deck, or a way to play around with the idea of that second (or third, or…) Stream Deck for established users. Although it was $79.99 (Australian Dollars), it is much cheaper than the Stream Deck hardware ($379 for Stream Deck XL). This is also sure to slow a few imitators.
Reading back through the App Store reviews from 2-3 years ago, it seems this app had a rocky beginnings, but since the iOS app now requires macOS Stream Deck version 6.3 or later (current as of writing this), this feels like a new beginning. I’ve been using it without issue for 3 days, I’ll report back here if I have any issues.
Having the combination of auto and manual profile switching has opened up a new world for me. I’m curious to hear how others are using multiple Stream Decks - physical or on iOS. How are you using your Stream Deck(s)?
I saw their video (and liked his style).
As the owner of several Stream Decks, and not wanting to quasi-dedicate my iPad Pro to this, I think I’ll stick with what I’m currently doing.
I wonder how Better Touch Tool will eventually integrate this.
Regarding your thoughts on use cases per application (BBEdit), I’m considering having Stream Deck Mobile display “close” applications - so for development, this app grouping would be Visual Studio Code, Sourcetree (git), Terminal. In addition, Stream Deck Mobile can also have buttons that manually switch profiles on the Stream Deck XL, so when I’m in VS Code it could offer a selection of profiles for the Stream Deck XL for each type of task I complete there (re: your example for different languages).
This context or task-based manual profile switching could extend well to other applications like OmniFocus. Stream Deck Mobile could display Perspectives and the Stream Deck XL could show actions specific to that perspective. So “Do” could be different to “Review”, and so forth.
This concept is kind of like the “Office Ribbon” at the top of any Microsoft application. You are still using the same application (think: Stream Deck Mobile app-specific profile), but depending on what you are doing (context or task), the whole top bar of the application (Stream Deck XL in my case) changes to exactly what you need for that task.
How this works in practice, I’ll find out, but I’m keen to explore multi-deck setups like this.
I’ve just signed up for MacSparky labs, there is some content on there around BetterTouchTool which I haven’t seen yet. I have explored setting up Stream Deck XL using BetterTouchTool but it was a bit too fiddly and time consuming at that stage. Things could have changed since I’ve experimented with it though. If I’m convinced to jump then I’ll give it a go.
SDMobile also supports multi-window, and you can show a different StreamDeck in each window. I did a test with a big 64-key Deck next to a “slideover”-sized deck. Put in split-screen, you can use the small deck to change profiles on the big deck, all on the same iPad. It’s pretty neat and opens up a lot of possibilities for a travel setup!
Posted a video over on Mastodon: Jimmy Little: "@firstname.lastname@example.org This is so cool. I set up a samp…" - Hachyderm.io
That dual setup on an iPad is awesome! Agree with your point about USB-C, if there is one weakness, it’s that both the Mac and the iPhone/iPad with Stream Deck Mobile need to be on the same network. My work laptop connects via VPN so unless that is connected then the iPhone doesn’t see the Mac.