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Use Launch Center Pro and Foursquare to speed up your check-ins

Launch Center Pro may have removed Foursquare from its supported app list, but there are ways to still get it to work; it just takes a little extra effort.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Launch Center Pro, the popular iOS automation app, takes advantage of third-party apps that have URL schemes. These schemes are nothing more than ways for apps to talk to one another in iOS, sharing information between one another.

Previously, Foursquare was listed as a supported app for Launch Center Pro, but it was removed after a recent update removed the URL scheme setup Launch Center Pro had been using.

By looking at the Foursquare developer documentation you can see that URL schemes are still part of the app, but they need to be more specific than in the past. Instead of launching Foursquare to a list of nearby venues, or simply launching the app to the default page, the app needs to be launched with a specific venue, tip, check-in, or user ID.

I think it's safe to assume the most common use for Launch Center Pro and Foursquare with these restrictions in mind is to launch Foursquare to a specific venue's page, speeding up the check-in process. So with that in mind, I'll show you where to find the venue ID for your favorite venue(s) and add the URL scheme to Launch Center Pro. The process, however, is similar for all categories with supported URL schemes.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Finding a venue ID is actually really simple. You can find it by pulling up the venue on Foursquare.com. Let's use Times Square as an example. When viewing the Times Square venue on the Web site, copy the alphanumeric string of characters at the end of the URL in the address bar. This long string -- 49b7ed6df964a52030531fe3 -- is the venue ID.

Now that you have the venue ID, send it to yourself in an e-mail, or you can visit the venue page through mobile Safari and copy it from the address bar.

Next, open Launch Center Pro and create a new action. Since Foursquare is no longer listed as a supported app, you'll need to type in the URL "foursquare://venues/" followed by the venue ID you just copied.

In the end, the URL to quickly launch Foursquare to the check-in screen for Times Square will look like this:


Launch Center Pro still populates the Foursquare app icon for actions with the Foursquare URL scheme, which is nice. Give your new action a title and save it.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Tapping on the action will then launch Foursquare directly to the Times Square check-in screen in the Foursquare app on your iPhone. This is an ideal setup for those venues you check into often and don't want to have to wait for Foursquare to load, find you, then load a list of nearby venues.