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The App Store doesn’t allow premium upgrades to existing apps, so what’s a developer to do when it wishes to go above and beyond the usual tweaks and release a totally new version of an app? In the case of Screens, a screen sharing and VNC client for iOS, Edovia opted to launch a new standalone 3.0 app, which is a departure considering the previous significant upgrade had been free. In this case, it's luckily a very worthwhile investment for previous users.
The most immediately visible difference comes from the interface. It’s been completely redesigned and matches the new iOS 7 aesthetic beautifully. The previous Screens 2 still works with iOS 7, though, so it’s good to know that this upgrade is more than just skin deep. For one thing, Screens 3 offers a much better use of space with a top-down interface as opposed to a left-right one, which means you can see more than one computer you’d like to connect to at any given time. It’s also now possible to reorder those screens so the ones you connect to most often are at the top of the list.
Owners of the previous version will be greeted with all of the devices they usually connect to when launching Screens 3 for the first time. Only the passwords aren’t transferred, so you’ll have to type those in again manually. There’s also a new section called Quick Connect that scans your network and displays all available computers you can access, which is great when trying to control new devices.
How you interact with your computer (be it a Mac or PC) with Screens 3 using touch gestures feels much better than before, and Screens 2 was already one of the best screen sharing apps on iOS for that. This may well be due to how fast the refresh rate is now: tap on a command and the menu appears instantly. Before, there was a short but noticeable lag, which always made you wonder if the command had been passed on to the computer. With Screens 3, it’s also now possible to transfer information from your clipboard back and forth between your computer and your iOS device. It's a fantastic addition, and it means that you'll never have to send an email to yourself again if all you need to do is copy some information. That's a huge time saver.
The usual commands at the bottom of the screen have been expanded, although it isn’t immediately obvious. Swipe the toolbar and you’ll be presented with additional shortcuts, which are organized in groups and all designed to make your connection to your Mac more convenient – like giving you access to the arrow keys, as well as Spotlight, undo and redo commands, cut, copy and paste, etc. You can also reorder those groups and even remove them from your list if they’re of no use to you.
The bottom line. Between its many new features, speedier connectivity with remote computers, and a sleek new iOS 7-centric look, Screens 3 easily justifies the investment for serious users by increasing productivity.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 7.0 or later
Much more responsive use during screen sharing. New customizable shortcuts. Can transfer clipboard information from one device to another. Slick iOS 7-centric makeover.
No upgrade options for existing owners. Limited to iOS 7 users.